INNISFIL, Ontario — After a successful NASCAR Pinty’s Series debut earlier this year, Connor James is already looking forward to his next opportunity behind the wheel.
“There is a good possibility,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “We’re definitely still looking for partnership. We don’t know the exact race that we’re going to do, but we’re very close to having a couple more deals with the Simone team.”
Last month at Jukasa Motor Speedway, James made his series debut, impressing fans and fellow drivers alike en route to a 10th-place finish.
“It was an overall success,” he said. “We went into the day not knowing what to expect. My only expectation for myself was to finish the race, and that’s what we did. We exceeded that by finishing top-10 and lead lap. It was a big, big learning day for sure.”
The day didn’t come without ups-and-downs, though, as a miscalculation getting onto pit road mid-race set him back, but keeping himself level-headed went along the way at the end.
“I pretty much did that by knowing this was my first race out and there’s going to be learning curves,” he said. “Actually, it was a learning thing for the whole series as they had never done break races. But we ended up with a decent position on the restart and held our own, and ended up being able to go to pit road after that and made some adjustments and got back out there.”
His series debut came following success in the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup Series and Ontario Modified Racing Series, which has led to him racing at Sunset Speedway as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Sauble Falls Tent and Trailer Park Late Models division.
Going from the late model to a Pinty’s Series car, James admits it was a big adjustment due to the difference in suspension, and depth of competition.
“The Pinty’s Series – you’re out there with the best guys in Canada, so it was a lot of fun and I was happy with how I adapted with the car throughout the whole day,” he said.
So far this season at Sunset Speedway, he has started off his rookie campaign on a solid note, scoring seven top-10’s in nine starts thus far.
“It’s a learning curve,” he said. “That’s what it is. It’s a lot of new stuff for us with the Late Models. It’s taken some time, and that’s what we expected. We didn’t expect to be right there out the gate, but we’re getting better and looking forward to the second half of the season.”
Following a season-best fifth-place finish to start off June, James hopes to keep improving throughout the rest of 2018.
“We struggled through the first half – got caught up in some wrecks, haven’t had a best handling car, but I know we can get better,” he said. “I know we have a great group of guys with us – Stu Robinson, Willy, Warren, Patrick, Gilly – whoever comes out and helps us.”
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