RPW Column: Pat Reiser’s Looking To Continue Last Year’s Momentum Into 2023 At OCFS
Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / RPW – MIDDLETOWN, NY – After Pat Reiser won two Rookie Sportsman races at Orange County in 2016, the team made the move up to the 358 Small Block Modified division.
While he is still looking for that first 358 win, he came very close in 2022 and he is looking for the momentum from last season to continue in 2023.
Perhaps the team may be branching out to get some experience at some other tracks as well.
“Our plan is to go back to Middletown and run the Small Block. We hope to get out and travel just a touch. Whether it’s with the Brett Deyo stuff or the DIRT stuff, we’re not really sure yet. We are trying to branch out and explore what everyone else is experiencing. To develop yourself, your team and your equipment, it’s good to get out and try some new things.”
Pat feels that his team made some great strides in 2022.
“We’re finally getting to a spot where we’re gaining confidence and momentum. We were pretty happy with our year. Didn’t capitalize, I had the opportunity to get my first win. We have a saying you have to figure a way to lose one to figure a way to win one. We checked the lose one off last year with dealing with lapped cars late, and missed getting the win. Other than our first night when we should have written off the car, but we didn’t. We got into that bad accident. Other than that, the season was really good. Most weeks, we would start mid pack 10th to 15th and kind of charged our way up. And we always felt that it was a positive night.”
A major part of the team’s success was being able to roll the car into the trailer easily after concluding the event.
“All in all, it was a really good year. We kept our nose clean for the most part. Learned a lot. And the finances weren’t a total disaster which is always good, thanks to our sponsors. It’s really easy to get behind if you are always going to the parts truck.”
Pat and the team had a good Eastern States Weekend. He was running in the top 10 most of the 358 race until a tire started going down. He still finished 15th, completing all 100 laps. And he qualified for the 200, finishing 24th with no power steering for 2/3rds of the race.
“We started the Big Block race with our Small Block and we were going to go for as long as we could. We lost power steering halfway through. I had the best seat in the house for the race for the win there. We had radio issues and we threw that thing together Sunday morning. When Tyler Boniface had that big wreck on lap 64, that’s when the power steering went out. With 136 laps to go, I learned a lesson in grit on that day. Just glad to say that I finished my first 200, we made it in.”
With all the factors that go into racing, Pat doesn’t set any seasonal goals.
“In other sports, I would always set goals. But they didn’t have the outside factors that racing does. Racing can go sideways really quick. But I think the more I’m in this game, the more I’m around this whole industry, the more I can just go with the flow and take it as it comes.”
While Pat doesn’t try to use anyone’s driving style, there is one driver who has been a tremendous influence on him during his time in racing.
“If I were to say that Tom Meier hasn’t had any effect or influence in my racing career it would be a lie. He drove for my Dad for a long time and we’ve done trips together, so I’ve really looked up to him and I still do.”
And even though Pat wants to be running in the front, he feels it’s important for his competitors to know how he will race them.
“Just trying to be consistent, just trying to be respectful and trying to make sure that everybody knows what they will get out of me on the track, which is someone who’s going to race you hard, but respectfully.”
It was in the first 1/3 of the season that was making gains in that area.
“It was a race when I was running with Jimmy Horton for 20 to 25 laps of the feature side by side. He would get me and a lap later, I would make a run on him. I knew that if he touched me that it would be inadvertent and vice versa. I want my competitors to know and understand what they are going to get when you race with me and hopefully, I will get raced the same way.”
Does Pat have any desire to move further up in the racing divisions?
“To race a Modified is something that we’ve all looked up to however long we’ve been at the race track. They have always been the title fight. But this was the first season that didn’t financially sink us. If I can string a few of these types of seasons together, maybe we can start talking about it. But with the landscape of racing the way it is, this is what I’ll be doing and I’m good with that.”
Pat and his dad, Doug Reiser are important team members when Mat Williamson races at Middletown and some other tracks. And they’ve had some big moments with Money Mat.
“With Dad being retired, he gets to go when and where he wants. Whenever he’s racing, more than likely, one of the two of us will be there. Dad still spots for Mat at the radio races. Lots of big wins and great memories to last a lifetime.”
Sponsors on the 33 for 2023 are Jill Barnes at Cabins & Canoes Real Estate, RLST Entertainment, Panel Fast, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Bicknell Racing Products and Cacti Fab.
When Pat and the team show up at OCFS for a race, it’s usually just him, Doug and Daryl Barnes. But if the team got into trouble, there’s always many helping hands to pitch in.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do Eastern States or anything all year without Daryl. He joined us a few years ago and our life just coming to the track is so much easier with his help. We’ll always have anybody that wants to come down and learn. And we always have our friends, Dom Roselli, Randy Green and Brad Szulewski and others that will help us out in a jam.”
To sum up his ultimate goal, Pat says, “I want to win one. I’ve raced at Middletown a long time. I’ve won in Rookies, but I want the bigger win.”
Pat and his dad Doug are two of the really great people that you will find in the OCFS pit area, two class acts. I’m looking forward to seeing Pat on the top step of the podium and having a cool one in the 31st lap to celebrate.