Josh Oakley has not raced this year, but he is feeling good about what the 2021 season could bring.
The Rougemont, North Carolina resident is devoting the year to working on his new Late Model Stock Car. Last Wednesday he and his team made their third visit of 2020 to South Boston Speedway to test and work on the car. That visit turned out to be a charm.
“We feel like we hit on something,” Oakley remarked after the testing session.
“We’ve been struggling with the car doing a certain thing every time we have been up here. Today, it started doing the same thing. We finally found an adjustment that really helped the whole car.
“We feel we have touched every piece on it (the car), but there is a combination we didn’t hit on,” he added.
“Today, we finally hit on that certain combination, and it’s like a totally different racecar from what we have brought here so far. We feel like we can go back to the shop, work some more in that area and be way better when we come back whenever the track says we can race. We feel really good about coming back when they decide to start racing.”
Oakley is a veteran racer and has experience racing at South Boston Speedway. However, Oakley did not race at “America’s Hometown Track” in 2019. The seat time Oakley accumulated during his three visits to South Boston Speedway this season will benefit him in 2021.
“I didn’t get to come up here at all last year (in 2019) so this is helping me,” Oakley said.
“Driving this new car with the setups we are running now is helping me a lot. I’m more used to the old-type setups from a few years ago. Things have changed so much that the car drives differently. Every time I get out on the track, I feel like I’m getting a little more comfortable with the car, the new setup and the track. I feel like I’m making a gain every time I go out, and the car is getting better.”
Oakley pointed out the team’s notebook on adjustments to the car is much better thanks to the knowledge the team gained through the trio of tests at South Boston Speedway.
“It (the notebook) is definitely better off than what it would have been, especially if we hadn’t come today,” noted Oakley.
“I feel like we would have gone through the winter and then when we come up here next spring we still would have to go back home and do a lot of work. There is a definite gain we’re going to be able to make to the car before we come back.”
Oakley said he would like to run the full 2021 season schedule at South Boston Speedway, and hopes to be able to do that. Sponsorship, however, will be key to that effort.
“We’ve got to go out this winter and try to find some sponsors,” Oakley said.
“I have some people willing to help me out here and there, little stuff. We really need that one big sponsor to come on board and say ‘we’re going to be with you,’ and ‘let’s go to South Boston and run for the championship or run the whole schedule.’ That is really what we’re looking for.
“I feel like we have everything we need,” added Oakley.
‘We just need that one sponsor to come on board for us and make this happen for us next year. We can do the whole schedule. We just need to have the financial backing to help us do it.”
South Boston Speedway is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. for teams wishing to schedule testing sessions. The track is available for testing from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day. Teams wishing to schedule testing sessions should contact the speedway office at 434-572-4947 at least a day ahead to schedule a testing date.