WATERFORD — Wayne Burroughs is focused on winning races. He’s also focused on winning an SK Lite Modified championship at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.
He’ll be chasing both of those goals Saturday when Burroughs prepares for his biggest night of the 2018 season — two SK Lite features, a pair of races that could do a long way toward determining the season champion.
“This is the night that can make or break you as far as winning the championship is concerned,” Burroughs said. “You may not need a great night — but you sure can’t afford a bad night. You’ve got to try and win races, why trying to keep your nose clean at the same time.
The twin 25-lap SK Lite features are just part of a busy night of racing at the Speedbowl. Also in action are the SK Modifieds, the Late Models, the Sportsman, the Mini Stocks, the Connecticut Pro 4 Modifieds and the Open Vintage Modifieds.
Burroughs, who has a slender one-point lead over Jonathan Puleo in the SK Light standings, is having his most successful run since joining the division prior to the start of the 2017 season — two wins in his last three races.
“I think I’ve become better, but my car also has gotten better,” Burroughs said. “Tom and Billy of my team have done a great job in tailoring the car to me and the way I drive. I’m able to be much more aggressive because the car does what I want it to do. It is very driveable for me. Before that, I was just playing defense. Now I can play offense too. And the recent results have showed how much more aggressive I can be.”
Two wins and a fifth place effort in the Bubby Brouwer Memorial on Sept. 8 have elevated Burroughs into the point lead.
“This recent streak has been very satisfying to me,” Burroughs said. “I’m used to being on top of the standings in the Mini Stocks and I’m used to winning a lot of races. So when we moved to the SK Lites and started to struggle, it got very frustrating to me. I wasn’t used to struggling. But now we’re competitive again and we’re back where we belong. It’s a great feeling.”
Burroughs knows how to run for championships — he’s captured back-to-back titles in the Mini Stock division at both the Speedbowl and at Thompson Speedway Motor Sports Park.
“I never want to say we’re point racing,” Burroughs said. “I still wan t to be aggressive — that’s not going to change. But in the back of my mind, I’m thinking about the points.”
Burroughs realizes it should be a two-car race down to the wire between Puleo and him.
“That means I have to know where J.P. is at all times and I have to try and beat him,” Puleo said. “But I still have to drive my race and not be overly concerned with him. We’ll be aware of where he is, but we’re not going to go crazy about it.”
Burrough’s sponsors include Crystal Auto Body and 32 Signs. His car owner is Tom Abele Sr. His dad and his cousin Mike work on both Burrough’s SK Lite and his Thompson Mini Stocks. Burroughs would also like to thank his wife for her support to his race team. Burroughs also has two crew members who also work on Kyle James’ SK Modified, Billy and Bob.
They’ll be busy Saturday at the bowl with two 25-lap races — a make-up from Aug. 18 and the regularly scheduled 25 lapper.
“We just want to approach the races the way we always do,” Burroughs said. “Winning is always our ultimate goal. You get the most points that way.”
And when you’re in an intense battle with Jonathan Puleo for the track title, you have to battle for every point you can get.
Burrough’s one point edge over Puleo is actually three points — Burroughs had a two-point edge over Puleo in Aug. 18 qualifying that will be added to the standings once the first 25-lap feature is concluded.
In other action, Kyle James leads Rob Janovic Jr. by 16 points in the SK Modified standings, Jason Palmer leads Anthony Flannery by five points in the Late Model standings, Shawn Gaedeke has a 17-point leads over Jason Chicolas in the Sportsman standings and Doug Curry leads Charles Canfield by two points in the Mini Stock standings.