By MIKE MALLETT
KNOXVILLE, IA – Dylan Westbrook has been a constant winner in the 360 Sprint Car ranks since coming onto the scene only a couple of years ago. He’s already a multi-time winner in 2018. On Friday night the Scotland, Ont., driver came west for a new challenge, the Knoxville Raceway.
Westbrook’s Ohsweken Speedway sponsored team decided to make the trek to the heartland of America to compete for the first time at Knoxville in the 28th Annual Knoxville 360 Nationals due to a semi-off night at Ohsweken.
“We’ve always talked about it and Ohsweken had a non-points night,” mentioned Westbrook. “No one else was racing so we figured we might as well come here. We’ve never been here before so it seemed like a good thing to do.”
Like everyone else who makes the trip west to Knoxville from the Northeast, there is an adjustment period. The track is nothing like we have at home. Although he struggled early, Westbrook continued to get faster and faster as the night went on. He didn’t make his A-Main, but he did gain a ton of experience which will come in handy on Saturday night.
“In hot laps I wasn’t that good,” he said. “I really had to work on being real smooth. I got a little bit better in qualifying. We went out a bit too late and that hurt us. In the heat we started seventh, was a real good heat race, and I passed some good guys that race for a living. We got up to fifth. In the B-Main they go back to time. We started ninth, went back a bit, but came back up to ninth. Every time we went out we kept getting faster so I think we’ll have a better starting point for tomorrow. That should really help us out.”
For a guy that is used to winning, running ninth in the B-Main wasn’t what he was hoping for. Westbrook took it in stride while keeping an upbeat attitude about the finish.
“To come out here while getting a pretty good finish, beat guys that do this all the time, that have way more experience than me kind of feels good,” cited Westbrook. “Just knowing that I can run with them and be competitive.”
Like every driver that comes to Knoxville, the goal is the make the big show. Westrbook has his work cut out for him as he’ll be starting near the back of Saturday night’s C-Main. It isn’t impossible if that track widens out and does what it normally does at the Nationals.
“My goal was to have fun, learn and see where we are with everyone else,” stated Westbrook. “I was really hoping to make the A-Main. That is kind of my goal. If that doesn’t happen we are still getting a lot of experience from coming here and there is always next year.”
As he said, there is always next year and regardless of how things turn out Saturday, the experience is something that will only help him get better for that next trip. He may make the show Saturday or he may not, but there is no doubt he’ll still have a smile on his face after having the opportunity to race against the best at the Sprint Car Capital of the World.