RPW Column By: TOBY LAGRANGE / RPW – PITTSTOWN, NY – As the days start to get longer and the calendar slowly creeps its way towards the Spring, drivers, crews and tracks alike begin finalizing their plans for the coming season. When the gates open in April each team will have its own set of goals.
One local driver is hoping the 2020 season is an improvement to last season.
From his home not far from the Vermont border, Capital District Sportsman racer John Stowell will see roughly the same schedule when the green flag waves in April.
“I plan on returning to the Lebanon Valley Speedway on Saturday nights,” Stowell said. “I will still be running a Teo Pro Car chassis in the Sportsman division. We did a lot of upgrades to the chassis in the off season.”
While the Pittstown, New York driver will continue to call the high banks of the Lebanon Valley Speedway home, he also plans on making starts at other tracks in the Capital District and in Central New York.
“We plan on doing some traveling here and there,” Stowell explained. “We are looking at traveling to the Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Fulton Speedway and the Utica-Rome Speedway.”
With where the team will be racing in place, their attention turns to trying to improve on the results from the 2019 season.
“My 2019 season had its ups and downs,” Stowell said. “We ran at Lebanon Valley full time and had some success. The season was shortened to eight races due to rain with my best finish being a third.”
Stowell made his way back to Lyle DeVore’s Albany-Saratoga Speedway in 2019, a place he called home from 2015 through 2018.
“We ran Albany-Saratoga a few times including Brett Hearn’s Big Show,” Stowell said. “This was the first time in my career that I ran this event and we brought home a top ten finish. We made the switch from Albany-Saratoga to Lebanon Valley in 2019 because, with a young daughter at home, the schedule worked better for us.”
Like many racers, Stowell got his start with a friend after watching the weekly racing action.
“I was always a fan growing up,” Stowell said. “One day with the influence of a buddy of mine I bought a car and started racing.”
The 2020 season will see the Stowell team looking to accomplish four main things, three of which will hopefully lead them closer to the fourth.
“We have four goals for the 2020 season,” Stowell said. “We are looking to stay out of trouble, be more consistent and finish off the year in the top ten in points at Lebanon Valley. Of course, we also want to find our way back to victory lane.”
Interestingly when speaking with John, he pointed out something about his first feature win that I had not remembered.
“When I picked up my first ever win (at the Fonda Speedway), you were the announcer in victory lane doing the interview,” Stowell reflected.
No one can be successful by doing it on their own and Stowell has a dedicated group of sponsors and crew behind him.
“I have a core group of sponsors that have been with me for years now,” Stowell said. “They include Bulson & Son General Contracting, Edelmann Sales & Service, Burdick Excavating, A Septic Service, Fretto Industrial Cleaning, Palmer Auto Sales, Saratoga Hair Transplant, Capital District Services Asphalt Paving and Harrington Farms.”
From his start in the Limited Sportsman ranks at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway to victory lane for the first time at the Track of Champions to his current home on the high banks of the Valley of Speed in the Sportsman division, John Stowell is looking to head to the front in the 2020 season. Like many, that slowly creeping calendar cannot creep fast enough towards opening day in April.