Column By: MICHELINA FRISS / DIRTCAR – WEEDSPORT, NY – To live the dream of a full-time racer, Tim Sears Jr. has also had to balance the life of a full-time worker since his teenage years.
This year, that balance has resulted in his best season yet with the Super DIRTcar Series.
During the week, the 31-year-old spends his days working for his family’s construction company, Sears Contracting Inc., building houses. Then, it’s dinner with his wife and kids and off to his “second job” in the garage.
In this third full-time season with the Super DIRTcar Series, those late nights have helped propel the Central Square, NY native to third in Series points behind nine-time and defending Series champion Matt Sheppard and 2019 Series champion Mat Williamson.
“It’s definitely tough (working a full-time job and racing),” Sears said. “You definitely feel like you’re behind the eight-ball to start. But we’re putting in some work. We’re gaining ground on them. We’ve been racing with them for a couple years now pretty consistently. We’re getting better, it’s just a lot of time… We don’t get that little extra time to spend on shocks or the smasher, or just working on stuff, and just get that extra time that a lot of people do.”
Sears enters the Cavalcade Cup Weekend at Weedsport Speedway (Sunday, Sept. 10) with three top-five finishes and 10 top 10s, so far – including a seventh-place finish at Weedsport in May and then a fourth-place finish at the 3/8-mile in July. He’s also scored five top-10 finishes in the last six races.
Outside of the Super DIRTcar Series, Sears also claimed the track championships at Brewerton Speedway and Fulton Speedway this year.
“We’re going to these places more, we’re getting more competitive at all the different tracks,” Sears Jr. said. “When we go to our home tracks, we always want to be competitive. It definitely means a lot to be able to race up front and race with all these guys. There’s quite a few of them that don’t have much else to do besides work on race cars. It means a lot to have a full-time job and work for our family, and do this stuff on the weekends, and take a day off here or there, and then go be competitive against these guys. It’s very rewarding.”
With six races to go this season, highlighted by Super DIRT Week 51 at Oswego Speedway (Oct. 2-8) and the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Nov. 1-4), Sears is on track to earn a career-best points finish. In his first two season with the Series, he finished 11th both times.
“I think a lot of it is we’re just racing more,” Sears Jr. said. “The more you sit in the seat, the more you race, the more you learn, the better you get at driving the car. I think a lot of it is you just need the seat time. Getting the more seat time and following the Series and running the longer races has definitely helped us get even better at our home tracks, too. It’s all showing.”
He’s currently more than 150 points ahead of 10th-place Larry Wight, however only 52 points ahead of seventh-place Jack Lehner and three ahead of fourth-place Mike Mahaney.
Looking at the three upcoming tracks on the tour, Sears Jr. finished seventh at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in June, repeated his career-best Super DIRT Week finished of 15th last year and earned a career-best finish of 11th at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in 2022.
On top of trying to best his career-best finish at each track, Sears will also be on the hunt to cap off 2023 with his first Series win. Especially at Super DIRT Week 51.
“Hopefully, we’ll come out of the box fast and are able to time good,” Sears Jr. said. “Then, we can start up near the front, and maybe even challenge for a top-five or a win.”
But in between it all, he’s still making time for work and family.
The Super DIRTcar Series Big Block Modifieds make their third trip to Weedsport Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 10, for a 100-lap, $10,000-to-win, Super DIRT Week 51 Saturday.