WHEATLAND, Mo. – With the Lucas Oil MLRA season opener now less than two weeks away, Joseph Gorby has confirmed he’ll chase the Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Year crown.
Gorby will join Jake Neal as the early season candidates for the season-long contingency award.
Gorby has spent the long off season in the shop getting prepared for what will be his first run at following a series points battle.
“I am super excited and ready, and actually wish the season would have started a couple of weeks ago,” stated the 39-year old driver.
The Bartlesville, Okla., native comes from a family that is deeply rooted in dirt track racing. His brother, Kerry, is the promotor at Caney Valley Speedway while father Gary is a fellow Late Model driver. He credits his father as being one of his biggest supporters and the one that likely influenced his decision to follow this years MLRA series.
“I usually race thirty some shows a year anyway, so dad thought it would be as good of time now as ever to go try and run for points somewhere,” Gorby said.
While following the MLRA series might be a new experience, it will come backed with a lengthy stat sheet that is not without its fare share of notable accomplishments. Following the ladder or progression, Gorby got his start in 2000 racing Pure Stocks before moving to Street Stocks and eventually into the Modified ranks. This upcoming season will now mark his 8th behind the wheel of a Late Model.
Gorby, who is a building demolition contractor by day, knocked down the 2015 late model points championship at the quarter-mile Caney Valley Speedway, which will host the MLRA late this month on April 27. In addition, he is a two-time winner with the Sooner Late Model Series, scoring a 2017 victory at Enid Speedway as well as the series season finale in 2018 at Oklahoma Sports Park, in Ada, Okla.
Planning to debut a new 2019 Swartz Chassis during the MLRA Spring Nationals at Lucas Oil Speedway, he acknowledges that the first few laps on a new car can often be nerve racking for a driver.
“I was looking to do some testing before heading to Wheatland and settle some of the nerves about the new car being ready, but unfortunately the weather is not helping us do that,” noted Gorby.
The upcoming season will also come with lots of travel time for Gorby, as the series will again stretch north with multiple stops in Iowa and Illinois along with a first time visit to Beaver Dam Raceway in Beaver Dam, Wis. With the majority of those tracks being new to him, he admits that too can always make a driver a bit nervous.
Gorby’s successful track record and experience running on quarter-mile facilities should provide a boost to his Rookie of the Year quest, as this year’s MLRA slate is dotted with numerous short track venues, most of which will be first time stops for the series and its drivers alike.
“I really like the quarter miles and the smaller bull rings where you can get up on the wheel and drive,” Gorby said. “Caney will be a real fun race for everyone – it will be high action. I have seen it be three and four wide there running through lapped traffic and it always seems to put on a good show and that’s the kind of racing I really like.”
At the end of the day Gorby has one goal in mind for the upcoming season – having fun.
“My only concern is to go and have fun, and it seems like when you can go and have a good time everything else falls into line and good finishes follow,” said Gorby.