Near the end of 2013, a deal was put together between Joey McColm and Canada’s Best Racing team to go racing together in 2014 in hopes for the championship. With the deal locked together as of October, the team began work on preparing cars for the upcoming season.
With working on getting ready over the past seven months, there is no doubt about how excited McColm and team are for the season to start.
“We’re just really excited to get to the first race and like I’ve been saying for the last month, we’re ready,” he commented. “It’s just a matter of waiting as it can’t come soon enough. We’re really excited about some of the partnerships that we have on board for this year and like I said, it’s going to be a fun year racing for the championship.”
With brand new cars under his belt for the new season, McColm expectations for the upcoming year are simple – finish on the podium each week.
“We’ve put in a lot of work over the off-season to make that happen,” he said. “We’ve built new cars and we’ve built together a team that may have some experimentation at first to get used to each other and the equipment. Once that gets rolling, we’ll expect nothing less than podiums.”
For McColm, it marks his first time running the full schedule since the 2010 season when he finished 11th in points with three top 10s. The reasoning for not running the full year other seasons is simple – funding.
“When I owned the team, it’s been a part-time basis as when we had the funding, we’d go racing,” he said. “We always knew that we didn’t have the best of equipment when we showed up at the track.”
For the most part, that’s been the story of McColm’s career in not having perhaps equipment to equal that of the front runners. However with a new team in 2014 and support from TSC Stores, PartSource, Toronto Maple Leafs and other partners, right now is the time to make it work.
Back on the schedule and set to contend, there are some tracks that McColm has centered already on his calendar.
“There’s a couple of new ones on the schedule that’ll be interesting to go to – the one in Quebec (Autodrome Chaudiere) and Edmonton,” he commented. “Obviously going to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park is very exciting. It’s one of the world renowned tracks. But I really love Antoginish. I raced there once and can’t wait to go back there because it’s a super fun track.”
McColm will get to check Canadian Tire Motorsports Park off the list early with the season opener set to take place later this month on May 18th.
“I think its excitement. The whole winter it’s been like, ‘Okay, we just want to go racing’,” he commented on his thoughts going into the race. “We’ve done so much work – we haven’t stopped working since October – so it’s just excitement. The whole crew is just excited to be there, to compete and know that we’re going to be a top contender.”
Certainly with unique corners all the way around, CTMP can present it’s fair share of challenges. McColm says for him, the toughest section has always been Moss Corner – 5a and 5b.
“It’s the most critical corner of the track leading on to the long straight,” he explained.
In an effort to get better at road course racing, McColm went to the Bondurant Driving School during the off-season to learn “some tips and tricks” to be a stronger road course competitor this year.
Beyond general excitement for the season, there’s extra excitement surrounding the season opener with McColm’s special paint scheme. McColm formed a partnership with PartSource and the Toronto Maple Leafs over the off-season, and will be running a special car that resembles a TML jersey.
The new partnership brought forth a unique opportunity for McColm to have a teammate in both CTMP races this season as Steven Mathews will be running a second car for Canada’s Best Racing Team in those events.
It came together very nicely,” McColm commented. “We have a partnership with TSC Stores and it was very important to them to be at those races so we had to look for someone that’d be the best fit to represent Canada’s Best Racing Team and TSC Stores. So we approached Steven about the opportunity and we’re excited to hit the track with a two-car team at the beginning of the year.”
Like many drivers, McColm got involved in racing by starting in the Mini Stock division in 2002.
“I kind of went the tradition route in Mini Stocks, then moving up to Limited Late Model, open-wheel modifieds, CASCAR Sportsman and then into CASCAR – which turned into the Canadian Tire Series so it’s been that progression through the ranks,” he stated. “I think every division prepared me for the next one ahead and it as that progression that got me to where I am today and being in this series for as long as I have been I it. I think I’ve earned the respect from the competitors and they know that we’re out there to compete as hard as they are and we’re here to stay.”
With being involved in racing for 12 years now behind the wheel, McColm has learned a lot of lessons – including that viewing racing as a business first is important.
“I think everyone that is involved in racing is very passionate about racing and would do anything to go racing. I think that’s great for everybody involved, but at the end of the day, it’s very much a business,” he commented. “There’s a lot of money involved and a lot of marketing that goes into it to sustain it as a business, to keep the sponsors in the sport and keep progressing. I think it’s very important to understand the business of the sport and the value to partners in what you can bring. If you can understand that, you can have a long career in this sport.”