By KEN BRUCE
Ryan Watt and his Roberts Racing No. 14W racing team have never been a team to just stick to their local tracks and be afraid to venture out and try something new. In 2019 Watt and his team will be even more adventurous as they will embark on a schedule that will take them to some new tracks along with some tracks the team has run very infrequently.
The team will get their season underway in March running the Short Track Super Series South opener in Georgetown, Delaware and then hit Port Royal Speedway for their STSS race the next week. The team plans to hit the opener at Bridgeport Speedway which will be the Doug Hoffman Memorial along the Bruce Rogers Memorial at Grandview Speedway. The following weeks is where it gets interesting with the team set to do some traveling.
In an effort to gather some more experience and notes racing on Hoosier tires, the team is venturing north to the Canadian border and run the Super DIRTcar Series opener at the Can-Am Speedway on April 13th. The team returns to the State of New York the next couple of weeks to race in the Fonda Speedway opener along with the SDS race at the Fulton Speedway. Watt is excited to hit the road with his team.
“We seem to have a lot of fans up in New York and this will give them a chance to see us a couple more times,” mentioned Watt. “We run on American Racing tires most of the time so this will give me some more track time racing on the Hoosier tires. I learned a lot about the Hoosier Tires racing last year at Oswego (Super DIRT Week) and more importantly it helped me in getting used to running on the slick tracks which seem to be prevalent in New York. I really think that helped me last year when we ran at Port Royal the next week when it turned slick.”
In addition to some northern trips in the spring, the Roberts Racing team will once again head to Rossburg, Ohio, when the SDS returns to the historic Eldora Speedway. Watt has raced there the last couple times the series was there and was extremely excited when the 2019 SDS schedule was released and Eldora was back in the fold.
“When DIRTcar released that Eldora was back on the schedule my wife Lesley told me we’re going,” explained Watt. “We loved going out there before and we all had a great time. Honestly, after they booked the UMP Modifieds last year I wasn’t sure we would get the chance to go back so when it was announced the race was back on the schedule the whole team was excited. We will also run the SDS race at Sharon Speedway on the way to Eldora and probably make a week out of it and hit Lernerville on the way back.”
Watt still plans to call the Bridgeport Speedway his home track and plans to be there as much as possible, but with show up points being giving out to the midweek show in July which will be run on the same day as the Eldora SDS race, that will pretty much curtail Watt’s chance at a fourth consecutive points title at the New Jersey speedplant.
“Our schedule is going to be a little different this year,” commented Watt. “We’re going to be on the road this year more on Saturday nights. Bridgeport has some races that conflict with big paying race and races our team wants to hit. With the show up points they are giving out this year it will take us out of the points battle so we’re gonna opt to not go for the points this year and hit some bigger paying races. It will also give me a chance to attend some of my son Logan’s regional events and help him along with his racing career.”
There are a lot of big paying show this season for the Modifieds and Watt and his team would like to attend as many as they possibly can. Depending on how the team fairs at Fonda early in the season that will determine if they will pass up the King of the Big Block race Bridgeport in September to race in the $53,000 to win Fonda 200 both scheduled for the same date. Watt would also like to get to the Orange County Speedway if possible as everyone still awaits the announcement of what the payout structure will be for the 100-year anniversary race scheduled for late August at the legendary “House of Power”.
“We would like to get up to Orange County for a race this year if at all possible,” explained Watt. “It most likely won’t be during Eastern States weekend though. We really like racing down at Delaware which always seems to be the same weekend and we have a lot of fans that look forward to us coming down there each and every fall.”
Definitely on the team’s radar is repeating as champion in the Short Track Super Series South region for the third year in a row. In the short four-year existence of the STSS South series Watt has taken the title three times and the year Watt didn’t win he finished second to Stewart Friesen. It is a series that fits Watt well and he would like nothing more to win the title once again.
The team plans to head north to Oswego Speedway again for Super DIRT Week in October as they look to improve on last years finish in the 200-lap finale. Last season Watt put on a show in one of the last chance races coming from the back of the pack twice to take the win. Unfortunately, his run in the SDW finale ended up with Watt coming in on the backside of a wrecker.
The team is scheduled to run as many 358 races during the season as well when their schedule permits. If that is not enough, Watt will also hop into the Tim Hogue No. 39 360 Sprint Car when possible. Watt got his first taste of running a Sprint Car last season and hopes to gather some more experience in the winged division. A schedule has not yet been determined for the Sprint Car, but the team will announce it on their Facebook page when it has been set.
To run a schedule like the one Watt has laid out for 2019 requires multiple cars and motors and the Roberts Racing team is well equipped to handle the schedule. Watt will have his choice of four Bicknell chassis’ to choose from with power being supplied by both Enders Motors and Morrison Performance. The team will be well prepared when the season opener rolls around and Watt is looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring.
“It’s a schedule I think our fans will enjoy and want to see,” stated Watt. “We might even put something out on our Facebook page to if there are any other tracks our fans would like to see us run at. Like I said, the schedule is still not fully put together but it’s definitely going to have a different look to it this year. None of this would be possible without the support of Ronnie (Roberts) and Fay (Lancaster) who give us what we need to be competitive each and every year and I can’t thank them enough for what they do for me. I need to thank my sponsors for their support along with my crew and most importantly my wife Lesley and son Logan.”
As always, I can be reached for questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @dirtracefan25