Last year the focus for the Steve Kenneway and his Banta Racing Limited Sportsman team at Thompson Speedway was big picture racing.
A championship was what the team was eyeing all year long.
With that goal accomplished, the focus this year turns for Kenneway and his team. Ending the night in victory lane will be the singular focus each week for the team in 2014 at Thompson.
“I’m very excited to get back in the car and defend the title, but moreso, win races and prove that we weren’t a fluke and that we can back up that championship by winning races and be a top-three car every week,” Kenneway said. “Last year we put so much emphasis on winning a championship that this year I’m really thinking about just producing wins. We focused so much on the championship last year that I felt we lost sight of winning some of the races that I think we left on the table a few times. We go back this year just wanting to win.”
Last year marked the first title at Thompson for Kenneway, of Lowell, Mass. and his father-son team owners Charlie Banta and David Banta. Kenneway finished 22 points ahead of second place Scott Sundeen last year.
Kenneway said the short season at Thompson really necessitates putting the focus on victories. The Limited Sportsman division will have seven events during the 2014 season at Thompson with one double points night.
“You’ve got to look at this year, with only seven [races], you really can’t have a bad a week because someone else is going to have seven good [races],” Kenneway said. “It’s not hard to have seven good races. To win the championship this year you’re going to have to be on your game and be up front as much as you can be so that’s why I think winning races is the biggest thing this year. You can’t lay back.”
Kenneway will see most of his toughest competition from last year return, along with some old power hitters from the division’s past returning. Kenneway can look down the roster and see a stacked list of drivers like Larry Barnett, Scott Sundeen, Jesse Gleason, Corey Hutchings, Shawn Monahan, Bill McNeil and Ed Puleo all ready to grab that title from him this year.
“There’s a few guys there coming in that I feel like they bring out the best in me to race with them because you’ve got to really be on your game to beat them,” Kenneway said. “It should make for a really good division as long as we don’t get back into the stuff we were in like in 2010 and 2011 where people were crashing each other under caution and stuff like that. It should be a really good season.”