Column By: RANDY KANE / RPW – LAKE WYNONAH, PA – Since he can remember, Skylar Sheriff has always been seeking that next mountain to climb. Going after that next rung on the ladder, if you will.
Sheriff, who will turn 23 on March 3, will enter his twelfth full season of racing in 2018. Sheriff, who’s a senior at Moravian College majoring in sports management with a minor in journalism, presently, began a career in racing aboard a family-owned Go-Kart at the age of 12. From there the Lake Wynonah, PA resident advanced into a 600cc Modified owned by Doug Borger and progressed into a 600cc Micro Sprint. Next up was an ARDC Midget opportunity courtesy of Wayne Lesher, which developed into a Slingshot ride and it, eventually, became a family-funded SpeedSTR ride at the Action Track in Kutztown.
“We are still very new at this,” explained Sheriff. “We raced a full season of Sportsman competition in 2016 and 2017 was my rookie year driving a 358 Modified car. We raced, mainly, those two-years at Big Diamond on Friday nights because it was so close to home. We just seemed to have no luck at Big Diamond. We just couldn’t get anything going. We traveled to Grandview three times in 2017 and got rained out three times. I never got the opportunity to drive the 358 Modified there, last season.
“In 2017, the weather was tough. It robbed us of a lot of seat time. We had a month off also because we had a brand-new motor built by Burns and Yost (in New Ringgold, PA) after we suffered all kinds of early season engine troubles. Once we got that engine from Burns and Yost I was extremely happy and we put a good second-half of the season together. Once the season ended we made the decision to rebuild everything we had and make the switch to Grandview for 2018. Grandview Speedway just has more to offer us as a racing team.
“We decided to put a rubber floor in our Bicknell chassis we’ve been running. I’ve got a back-up car that’s under construction now. We’ll have our Burns and Yost motor freshened and get a second engine in place. We’ll switch from Penske Shocks to Integra Shocks. We’ll run racing gasoline at Grandview and race at Big Diamond using alcohol. We purchased a new gasoline fuel cell and picked up a racing gas carburetor also. We plan to rebuild things from the ground up. I want to run a healthy schedule at Grandview and there will be weeks where we’ll run only Big Diamond. Some weeks we might run both tracks? We’ll follow the closer to home events out on the road on the Short Track Super Series schedule. We’ll consider the closer to home events out on the road running the DIRTcar shows, too, and we’ll give it our best shot and really be everywhere. We’ll have a smooth schedule planned out and see how things go. I feel we’ll be successful,” announced Sheriff.
Sheriff is well aware the more experience he can get, the more time he can spend in the seat of his familiar family-owned Schuylkill Tree & Landscaping No. 33S entry and the more opportunities he can take advantage of will only benefit him greatly as a racer down the road.
“As a racer, you can’t beat it,” offered Sheriff. “You want to spend every second you can out there in the seat because you feel like you’ll lose your edge if you don’t. We learn things every time we go out there and that knowledge is valuable to the driver and the crew, as well. I feel confident when I go out there now I can bring back a top 10 finish every time. I believe we’ll be competitive right out of the gate.
“I am still in college. I’ve recently developed my own racing parts business and we’ve got a busy season of racing that’s in the planning stages right now. The more experience you’ve got, the better you become and the easier you can adjust and adapt to different things and changes in your situation. I think in 2018 I’ll be in the best situation I’ve ever been in,” Sheriff summed things up.