Up until 2019, Trevor Ward was a regular competitor in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour before scaling back to a part-time schedule last year.
Dylan Ward has competed at tracks all along the East Coast but none of those starts came in a CARS LMSC Tour event.
The two brothers have embarked on similar yet different paths during their Late Model Stock careers but both arrived at Ace Speedway on Friday confident in their chances to bring home a victory.
Trevor, who was fourth in final practice, is confident that the speed his #77 AAR Roofing Chevrolet has shown during Ace’s weekly events will carry over into his first CARS LMSC Tour start of the year.
“We’ve been working on race pace all weekend,” Trevor said. “Hopefully we have a good car for the race but we’re going to do what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks down here and put a good run together for the hometown people.”
Trevor started the 2021 season at Ace by winning the season-opener on March 26 and currently sits second in the Late Model Stock track standings after tallying two second place finishes to Dustin Rumley.
Since the CARS LMSC Tour started competing at Ace in 2018, Trevor has taken part in each event, with his best showing being a fifth in the inaugural Race at Ace 125 back in 2018.
Trevor admitted that figuring out the two different corners at Ace is crucial to obtaining a strong qualifying run and staying in front of the competition once the green flag drops.
“I prefer tracks that have different corners,” Trevor said. “Turns 1 and 2 are so much different than Turns 3 and 4 and I tend to just run better at places like Ace. Right now we’re just working on this car and trying to make it better.”
Trevor is hoping that the adjustments made after practice will be enough to challenge for the win and finish in front of Dylan, who posted the third quickest time in final practice.
Dylan said that the speed he showed practice came as a legitimate surprise but has also given him some confidence ahead of his CARS LMSC Tour debut.
“I’m running a lot better than I expected,” Dylan said. “We’ve done a lot of testing with this car so that we could be prepared to run against the best Late Model drivers around. So far it’s going good but there’s a lot in front of us.”
While Dylan spends most of his time at Bowman-Gray Stadium these days, Ace has been one of his better tracks during his career, with his accomplishments including a championship in a Limited Late Model.
Dylan added that Ace is a tight track like Bowman-Gray and anticipates the Race at Ace 125 to be slowed down by several cautions with the field expected to stay close together.
Dylan said that the key to avoiding the accidents is to qualify at the front of the field and affirmed that he would not have showed up to Ace if he did not believe that his car had the necessary speed to start in the Top 10.
“I don’t show up to the track unless I expect to win,” Dylan said. “I know that’s not going to happen every single time but I’m always going to do what I can to try and be there at the end.”
While Dylan wants to showcase what his car can do against drivers like Bobby McCarty and Layne Riggs, Trevor simply hopes to win for his daughter, who turned a year old on the day of the race.
Trevor and his team have made numerous sacrifices to get their cars competitive with the top Late Model Stock organizations and is optimistic that a stellar run on Friday could result in more opportunities.
“Winning would open up a lot of doors for me,” Trevor said. “We’re spending a lot of money out of our pocket and it’s hard to come to the track every single week. I work every night and day to try and make the best of what I have but we’ve had great stats this year and we’re going to try and do that tonight.”
Trevor and Dylan are expected to continue their diverse schedules following Friday’s Race at Ace 125 but will look to build momentum heading into the summer with a victory against a talented CARS LMSC Tour field.