Column By: MIKE TRAVERSE / MIDDLETOWN, NY – Randy Torres made the jump in 2022 from Street Stocks into the Rookie Sportsman division at both Accord Speedway and Orange County Fair Speedway.
In doing so, he was able to win two races at Accord and is looking forward to the 2023 season very much.
“We will be running Middletown and Accord this year. It’s going to be our 2nd year in the open wheel car. Last year was our rookie year. We raced the Street Stock the year before. We had fun, but we wanted to do something a little more exciting. That’s how we got into open wheel racing.”
With the challenges of racing 2 quite different tracks, sometimes on back-to-back nights, Randy and his team enjoyed the season.
“We did okay at Middletown, a bunch of top 5 finishes. We had 2 wins with the Rookies at Accord. We are looking to bring on a couple of more sponsors and hopefully make a little more of a name for ourselves.”
With his 2 Rookie wins at Accord, it may require Randy to move up into the regular Sportsman when he records win #3.
“I think that if we get one more win at Accord, we will have to move up. So there’s a good chance that we’ll be moving up into the Sportsman for the rest of the year.”
One place that Randy wants to see improvement is at the 5/8th oval in Middletown.
“Middletown has been my kryptonite. I haven’t been able to do better than a top 3 finish.”
Randy freely admits that he needs to improve on his knowledge of chassis setups. But he is getting some great tutoring and learning about the way he should drive the car.
“Not knowing enough about chassis setup to get the car to do what I wanted it to do was a setback. I would get help from Hig Fab Chassis, the Arnold family and the Hedges family. I was racing thinking the car was loose. But the car was actually tight and I was making it loose by overdriving it. So those guys were a big help.”
And sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to get some classroom type instruction as Torres related.
“We are looking forward to this season. We just did Elmo’s Speed and Supply Chassis Seminar and it was great.”
As to how he got interested in racing, Randy said that it just seemed to go along with the area of Orange County.
“Living in Orange County and listening to the cars was enough to get me interested. I’m a car guy. I’ve done a lot of Show Cars, Hot Rods and Rat Rods. I raced some in the 4 Cylinders for a short time, back around 2010. We had fun with that. Then, life happened so I got out of racing. Two years ago, we were doing Enduro racing and some burnout competitions at Middletown. My wife loves being at the track. Probably even more than me. We were sitting at dinner and she said that I should probably get a race car. It was the next day that I bought a Street Stock from the Clark family. We had fun, we finished 5th at the Eastern States. It was only like the 5th time I had been in the car.”
When he’s out on the track, Randy doesn’t try to copy any particular driver’s style. But he pays attention to all divisions and he picks up on things that he feels will be helpful to him.
“I do my own style, but I really pay attention to Matt Sheppard, his throttle control and his patience. He’s a very patient driver. He’s not constantly looking to get ahead until he feels it’s time to move ahead. I really like his driving style. I want to build consistency, I want to do the best I can. I want to put the car where I want it to go and to have a good understanding of the car. And that’s what Sheppard does.”
And like most racers, Torres likes not only the competition, but the Racing Family experience.
“You can be racing against the most competitive guy and at the same time, they will offer you a part to help you out in the next race. The Arnold family and the Hedges Family have been great to me. The Hig Fab guys, Jerry and them have been phenomenal. And the biggest thing about it is that I feel like I have a 2nd family, even though it’s been only a year and a half.”
Sponsoring the team in 2023 are Amelia Acres Horse farm (Goshen), Warwick Valley Travel and TAM Enterprises (Goshen).
Crew members are Randy’s wife, Amelia Torres, Danny Hedges, Nick Torres, Billy Myers and Kevin McEwen.
As he prepares for the 2023 season, Randy is extremely grateful to the folks at Accord.
“The Palmer family was really good to us last year. I had a lot of questions going up there. They helped in any way that they could. Those guys are great.”
No matter which division or track they are racing at, the Randy Torres team really enjoys the racing experience. A good guy, wishing Randy good luck for 2023.