Column By: BILLY HODGES / RPW – JOHNSTOWN, NY – At the beginning of any year, a driver and his or her team may set goals they’d like to achieve that season.
In that regard, Pro Stock racer Slater Baker is no different and 2022 was a season where he and his team exceeded expectations.
“Last season went, in my opinion very well,” Baker said. “We had a goal of at least one top 5, at any track. We really exceeded that with one at Fonda and quite a few at Glen Ridge.”
It was Baker’s success at the Ridge that set his season on warp speed.
“We got two wins at there,” he said. “I was really happy about that and we finished third in points. That’s something we can build on that going forward.”
The team’s success at the Fultonville, NY track came by surprise to Baker.
“About halfway through the season, we wanted to try the Ridge,” he said. “I wasn’t doing so well at Fonda. We actually didn’t have intentions of not racing on Saturday nights, but after a few weeks running both tracks weekly, we made a decision.”
“We ended up in a good spot in points at the Ridge but still weren’t having the performance we wanted at Fonda,” he said. “Unfortunately, with being in point contention at Glen Ridge, and only having one car and one crew guy, I cut back to only Sunday nights.”
What were the factors for the move? Was it the right choice?
“We didn’t want to risk not making it to the Ridge if the car ended up getting torn up on Saturday,” he said. “Looking back, I should have stuck it out because when we went back for the Fonda 200 weekend, we did really well.”
What made Baker take to the Glen Ridge Motorsports Park so well?
“I certainly love the Ridge,” he said. “I like how small it is. You’re always up on the wheel and there’s really tight racing in every class. I’d love to see the car counts rise up there this year. Ray, Butch and Glen Ridge crew do a great job.”
This coming season, Baker and his team are ready, with even loftier expectations.
“The goals for 2023 are going to be high,” he said. “I’d really like to try and get the Pro Stock championship at the Ridge and just be a little better at Fonda.”
The team will go to battle with a new race car that Baker feels will improve his performance.
“This year, we have a new coil car,” he said. “I would love to add a win at Fonda but when you’re racing with guys like Kenny Gates, Beau Ballard, Luke Horning and Jason Morrison, winning is definitely a tall order to fill.”
Baker had a great support system behind him, with several helping him get ready for 2023.
“No part of this season or last would be possible without the help of Jason Morrison, John Ray, Dave Horning Jr, and Michael Achzhet,” he said. “Of course, I also have to thank my sponsors, including 518 Renovations, Rugged Anglers, Wilson’s Towing, Maria Cozzolino CPA, Horning’s Excavation, Morrison Auto Repair, Russell Property Management, and Double H Porta Potty & Septic.”