Stephen Kneer May 11, 2018
Albany-Saratoga Speedway – Full 8 Sports Marketing – Without a cloud in the sky and a clear forecast, the 21k was unloaded in the pits of Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Stephen was ready to go and jumped in the car for warm ups with the sportsman division. Again, his times were in the top half of the sportsman, a motivator and confidence booster that would come in handy as Stephen drew the pole for this heat race.
Lined up in the shoot for the heat race, Stephen cleared his mind. He had to hit his marks 8 times to secure a pole position start for the feature. Hit his marks he did. The 21k hugged the bottom nicely and Stephen looked confident behind the wheel. A spin in turn 4 brought out the caution but a solid restart kept Stephen in the number 1 spot. A few more cautions would test Stephen’s restart skills. Stephen took the checkers in first place, leading from green to checkers.
As the sun set, the 21k was getting the once over. Stephen and his father made adjustments and prepared for the changing track conditions as the temperatures dropped. Stephen rolled onto the track following the flashing yellow lights of the pace truck, waiting for the flagger to give them the go ahead. The field got the call, they were going green out of 4.
“I knew starting on the pole would be a huge challenge. It’s difficult to hit your marks every time while trying to hold everyone off.” - Stephen
Stephen hit the throttle and the 21k looked great. Stephen lead several laps and had an almost half second lead when he had to contend with lap traffic. The 21k was good on the bottom and finding a new line proved difficult. This gave the field time to catch up and then, caution. Stephen slipped on the restart and dropped to 7th trying to find a new line around the track. The 21k finally settled in and Stephen was able to bring home another top 10, finishing 7th.
Being 17 years old, Stephen faces some different challenges in racing. Friday night, most of Stephen’s friends were at their prom. Stephen decided to go racing instead. Stephen understands that racing requires sacrifices. Skipping prom was one of those sacrifices but according to Stephen, he would rather be racing anyway!
"I hope this shows people just how dedicated I am to this sport. I really believe I was born to be a racer. I like to say I’m living my dreams while chasing my dream." - Stephen
Another of his friends made that same sacrifice and went racing Friday night as well. Full 8 asked Stephen what it is like racing with his best friend, Paolo Pascarella.
“Racing with Paolo is awesome and it’s a unique situation to be racing with your best friend every week. All we do throughout the week is talk about racing and bounce ideas and information off each other. But, when we are on the track, he’s one of my competitors and I race him just as hard, if not harder, than everyone else. I have a lot of friends I race with, but Paolo and I have been friends since we were 5 or 6 so it just that much cooler.” - Stephen
2018 Sponsors/Marketing Partners: Sharp Upholstery, Gould Erectors and Rigors, Tom Phibbs Lawn Care, Eric Orzoco Racing, Full 8 Sports Marketing, Bicknell Racing Products
Stephen Kneer will be back on the track Friday May 18, 2018 at Albany – Saratoga Speedway.