Former SYRA competitor Mike Toner Jr. made his Late Model debut on Sunday as part of Opening Day. Toner has been successful as part of the Fast Friday program competing in the SYRA class over the last few years, but this year, the team decided to make a move and compete on one of the highest levels Seekonk has to offer.
“For me, the learning curve has been fun out there,” Toner said Sunday prior to stepping behind the wheel. “Just being out there in something you can consider a full-time stock car in nice. The power difference is so much different, I’m just getting used to what it’s like to have others around me.”
Toner knows that this season isn’t going to be a dominant one for him. With his first full-time race now under his belt and many more to come this season, it’s all about one thing — learning.
“We’re out here to do as best as we can, we want to learn as much as we can this season,” Toner said. “If we’re in contention for a win, I might still push it, even though my parents may say something different. I’m funding the entire team, so if I end up wrecking it, I buy it.”
With only limited laps behind the wheel heading into Sunday, Toner just wanted to finish the race — which he did. He started 25th on the field and finished 21st, which may not seem like much to many. But Toner brought the car home and can work on getting better next Saturday night.
“It’s tough, we just have to see how practice goes every week and get the car handling better,” Toner said. “If we can get it there I will be feeling better about being around other cars.”
Toner is among a list of many rookie contenders in the division this season. The youth movement in the class will be on display every Saturday night in 2017.
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