So far this season for Mike Bentley at Sunset Speedway, it has been a mix of bad luck and wins so far.
“We had that wreck the first night, had a mechanical blackflag while running for the lead, had an incident with Chris Morrow – which I believe we should have had that win, but that’s circumstances that we’ll call the track,” he says. “Other than that, we’ve been running strong every week.”
Despite the three bad nights, Bentley has three wins and a second place finish to go with them, which has him sitting third in points. With the gap to points leader Kevin Cornelius being 46 points, it’ll be tough closing the gap in the next two and a half months.
“I definitely think it’s going to be tough,” Bentley says. “I pretty much gotta hope that the top two cars there are going to have a bad night or not run so well for the rest of the season. But if I keep winning or run in the top three, I think I can close the gap quite a bit.”
Bentley came into this season as one of the favourites following his victories in the Gary Reynolds Memorial and Ocktoberfest.
Bentley got started in racing at the age of nine in go-karts, before moving up to stock cars at the age of 15. He got interested in racing through his dad.
“He raced for 18 years in Vintage Modifieds,” Bentley says. “I used to go watch him race and just fell in love with it.”
It is his dad that he calls his racing hero.
“He’s taught me everything I know and he inspires me to do more,” he says. “He’s always on my case to make me work harder. That’s what it takes to win championships and races.”
Success came to Bentley immediately in Late Models as in his rookie season, he finished ninth in points and won the feature on the last night.
Beyond the racing at Sunset Speedway this year, Bentley made a trip to Barrie Speedway on June 30th to get ready for the Gary Reynolds Memorial in August.
“We’ll be back at the Gary Reynolds,” he says. “We went a couple weeks ago and tried to get it geared up for that. We’re really quick there, so I think we’ll be in contention for the win again this year.”
On June 30th, Bentley came home with a victory in the first feature, followed by a second place finish to Dwayne Baker in the second feature.
For their help in preparing the car, he would like to thank his crew, including his dad.
“I’d like to thank, first of all, my dad,” Bentley says. “He worked hard to get this car ready and give me a good car. I’d like to thank my family – my mom, my brother for helping me out all the time, my crew – Brad Snelling, Craig Snelling, Dylan Little my spotter, Dave Case, Bruce Case – these guys are always working hard on the car every week and that’s why we run up front.”
Despite the success, the No. 51 Late Model continues to go unsponsored. If you’re interested in sponsoring Mike Bentley, you can get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his twitter handle @MikeBentley51.
For more information on Mike Bentley, check out http://www.mikebentley51.com/#!.