2013 Season Preview Series: John Baker, Kyle Soper and More

LongIslandJam.com’s next installment of its 2013 Season Preview series includes Charger driver John Baker; Blunderbust driver Frank LaPocca; Figure Eight driver Rick Swanson; and Legend drivers Kyle Soper and Alex Urbina Jr.

John Baker finished the 2012 Charger season fourth in the standings, 30 points behind Jeremy McDermott. Baker feels that he gained experience and the knowledge that goes along with it to attain more success in 2013. “I learned that patience definitely pays off,” said Baker. “Rather than driving aggressive and using the car early, I learned to just pass one car at a time instead of trying to do too much at once. I hope to win a couple more races and contend for the championship.” Baker said he is waiting to hear from one of his major sponsors from last season, but he said he will have Prototype Race Fabrication, Race Engines by McBetts, and Staria Automotive on the car this year.

Frank LaPocca finished the 2012 season, 24th in points in the Blunderbust division. He said he learned a lot last year as the season went on and he would like to carry that over to 2013. “I learned a lot of mechanical things with the car,” said LaPocca. He would like to run as many races as possible as long as he has the sponsorship. “We have JR’s Plumbing and Heating, and Your Floor Store,” said LaPocca, “We are in the works for two others. I’m hoping to run as many races as I can, sponsorship willing, and be more competitive than last year.”

Rick Swanson raced in the Figure 8s last season, but this year he’s going to take a step back and focus more on being a crew chief for a fellow racer.  “I’m going to be a crew chief for Gary Fritz Jr.,” said Swanson. “Hopefully we can get a few top-fives this season.” Swanson said he hopes his driver can learn the car quickly and what it takes to be competitive. He would like to drive if he gets the chance to, but that’s not what he’s focusing on. “I’m up in the air on what I’m going to do,” said Swanson. “I’m just centering all of my attention on his car right now.”

Kyle Soper finished the 2012 season fourth in points in the Legend car division. This season, instead of driving his recognizable No. 12, Soper styles another number. “We bought a brand-new car over the break,” said Soper, “I’m going back to driving the No. 4.” Soper has similar plans this year as last. “I plan on running at Riverhead Raceway and [Pennsylvania’s] Mountain Speedway just like last year,” said Soper. For 2013, Soper has decided to keep his eye on the prize. “I plan on being more competitive than last season,” said Soper. “Stout Motorsports plans on taking down the top three in style.”

Alex Urbina finished 13th in points in the Legend car division in 2012. Throughout the year, he said that he has become better acquainted with his car and as the result, more comfortable with it. “I was really able to get some more laps under my belt last yearand really felt more comfortable with the car itself.” said Urbina. During 2012, Urbina and his father discovered what to do with the car to make it better.  “My dad and I learned a lot more about the car and which changes would make the car better,” said Urbina. “For example, we realized we were chasing a bent rear for more than five weeks at the end of last season.” Urbina thinks a win could be achieved this season, but that’s not necessarily his main goal. “I’m hoping to really be able to run up front more and finish in the top 10 every week,” said Urbina. “With more experience and learning which changes can be made, I think we could possibly contend for a win. We have won some heat races in the past.” While Urbina already has Café Amici locked in as a sponsor for this season, he said he is still in talks with others.  “Nothing is really definite yet,” said Urbina. “We are really looking for some sponsors to come on board and help us out so we can have a really competitive 2013 season.”

Source: Danielle McCormack/Rob Blount/LongIslandJam.com