Sandercock Reflects on Dream SeasonWednesday - December - 2014
By Clayton Johns
BELLEVILLE, Ont. – As 2014 draws to a close, Charlie Sandercock likely won’t spend much time thinking about the past. He has already moved on, and is looking ahead to 2015. But it certainly is one worth looking at a bit closer.
This past summer was a record setting and memorable campaign for the Crate Pro Late Model pilot from Belleville, Ont. Sandercock won three separate championships in his No.57, a triple crown that is unparalleled in Ontario. Not too shabby for a driver that started his racing career driving a Toyota Tercel at Brighton Speedway in 2002.
“The feeling is incredible knowing that our team was able to put together such a stellar year,” said Sandercock.
His first hardware came on August 29 when he officially won the track title at Chapman’s Can-Am Motorsports Park in Lafargeville, NY. He finished the season in style at the big 5/8-mile oval, earning a pair of Friday wins on the final two nights.
In all, Sandercock won four times in seven weekly starts at Can-Am in 2014, and totaled five podium finishes. That doesn’t even include his win there on July 18 with the Go Nuclear! Late Model Challenge Series.
The 27 year-old brought his success north of the border as well, earning his second consecutive championship at his home Brighton Speedway. His numbers were equally impressive at Brighton – eight wins in 16 starts – on route to the crown.
Sandercock also toured across the Northeast with the Go Nuclear! Series with hopes of dethroning two-time champion Dale Caswell. The season started well with a win at Utica-Rome Speedway in May following a disqualification. The No.57 won at Can-Am in July and then swept the weekend at Mohawk International Raceway September 12-13.
The battle with Caswell remained close throughout the year. Caswell stole a win from Sandercock at Brighton and then picked up a win at Brockville in October. However, Sandercock turned in an impressive fifth place finish at Yates County Speedway, one spot ahead of Caswell, and secured his third championship in as many months.
“It was an awesome feeling as well as a challenge to win the Go Nuclear! Series,” explained Sandercock. “We have a tough field that we battle against at each race and to put my name beside Lee Gill and Dale Caswell (as series champion) is a huge honour.”
Despite the success, Sandercock’s biggest moment was yet to come. In November, Sandercock travelled to Charlotte, NC to compete against the World of Outlaws Late Models at the World Finals.
Sandercock’s car co-owner Paul Crouter teamed up with Brighton driver Greg Belyea to put the successful champion in to a Chub Frank-owned car for the Charlotte event.
“Greg approached me and said ‘what would to say if we rented you a car from Chub Frank to race at the World Finals?’ I would be crazy to say no, I told him,” Sandercock explained.
Sandercock didn’t have any seat time in the car before hitting the track at Charlotte. Nonetheless, his results improved each time behind the wheel.
On Friday night, Sandercock finished 12th in his heat, one that featured Outlaw champion Darrell Lanigan. He followed that up with a 15th-place finish in his B-Main race, which didn’t qualify him for the 50-lap main event.
“The excitement level is above no other,” said Sandercock. “It was intimidating and cool at the same time to go look at your heat line up of 12 cars and see that Scott Bloomquist, Rick Eckert, Josh Richards, and Dale McDowell were all one in the front couple rows.”
A day later, he improved again, scoring a ninth-place finish in a heat won by Bloomquist. Then, he scored a 10th-place result in his B-Main, a five spot improvement over Friday night’s result, but still shy of a main event berth.
“It was an awesome experience. I wish that I had more seat time before we headed down there,” said Sandercock. “By the end of the weekend I had just gotten comfortable in the car and we were starting to move forward in the pack.”
Adjusting to the track was a challenge as well. The 4/10-mile oval resembles more of an egg-shape, Sandercock said.
“You had to keep your momentum up big time and that’s where I had trouble. I jabbed the brakes to get the car down in the corner and that did not work.”
After some success at Charlotte, the groundwork is now set for Sandercock to dabble with major Late Model races south of the border in the future, including the possibility of World of Outlaws races in 2015. He’ll have one start guaranteed when the Outlaws visit Brighton on June 20.
“Being at Chub Frank’s shop for a week, and traveling with their team and racing with them for three days was an incredible experience,” explained Sandercock. “I listened a lot, and learned a huge amount that I can transfer to my program.”
For 2015, Sandercock will remain at Brighton on a weekly basis and chase another Go Nuclear! championship. He also hopes to venture south and compete against the Pennsylvania-based RUSH Late Model Series.
Armed with an expanded arsenal of racing knowledge, it could mean an eerie forecast for competitors next summer.
Clayton Johns is a fourth-year journalism student at Carleton University and a regular contributor to On Dirt Racing News. Please send questions and comments firstname.lastname@example.org.