MADISON, Conn. — One of the northeast’s hottest young drivers is gearing up for big things in 2020.
After winning the Granite State Pro Stock Series title in 2018, 22-year-old Devin O’Connell slipped into a brief slump in 2019. Next year, however, things will be different.
O’Connell is excited about his brand new Port City Racecars chassis, now sitting in the shop at Crazy Horse Racing. He’s one of over a dozen regional race teams with renewed interest in next season, fueled by the precision technology that defines Port City products.
For O’Connell, it’s a happy time.
“I don’t think I’ve been this excited during an off-season in my career,” O’Connell said. “We had an off year this past season, with only a pair of top-fives as the highlight. We had some strong runs, but we wrecked our primary car in April at Hickory and that really hurt us. Things just didn’t click.”
In 2020, the father-son race team will approach the sport a bit differently, with a different focus.
“Next year, we’re actually going to slow the pace down a bit. We won’t race as often, but we’ll concentrate on the bigger races,” O’Connell explained. “There are a few major races, like the Oxford 250, the All American 400 and the Canadian Short Track Nationals at Jukasa we really want to run.
“We don’t want to just go there and run around in 15th place, we want to be competitive and run up near the front. We ran a race with a few Port City cars in it this season, and just couldn’t believe how fast they were the entire race. They never fell off the pace, so that’s when we made up our minds.”
O’Connell, like Maine’s Dan Mckeage and Ivan Kaffel, competes in the ultra-competitive world of super late model racing. In the northeast, talent lurks around every corner.
Veteran race teams know the ins and outs of chassis setups, so a brand new race car alone won’t guarantee success.
“What we are so excited about is the fact that now (that) we’ve bought this Port City car from Crazy Horse Racing, we get not only the great knowledge of Mickey and Mitch Green, but we gain from the R&D and chassis development they do down at Gary Crooks’ shop in North Carolina. It’s very cool.
“We’re excited and can’t wait to get rolling on next year.”