Pre-season work turns into regular season success for Jordan
WATERFORD — Tim Jordan says running fast laps in the SK Modified division at the New London Waterford Speedbowl has never been a problem for him. Trying to run 35 fast laps in the same race, however, was a problem.
“Our story in the SKs is that we always ran up front, but we never sealed the deal,” Jordan said. “And when you have good runs and you don’t win, the pressure mounts.”
This season, however, Jordan’s end game has been formidable. He won on opening weekend July 18 and hasn’t stopped winning.
He also won the Bob Potter Memorial on Sept. 19, worth more than $5,000, and also won the following week, on Sept. 26 for this third win of the season.
Jordan will go into Saturday’s 35-lap SK Modified feature with a 25-point lead over Joe Gada in the battle for the season championship.
“I think the potential has always been there,” Jordan said. “But we definitely have had more success this year, We’ve used our experiences over the past few years and tried some different things. We’ve come up with something that’s been consistent and good.”
Consistency would be an understatement. Jordan hasn’t finished out of the Top 5 in any race this year. The fact that Jordan has competed in all seven races has also made a major difference.
“During the past few years, we really haven’t race that much,” Jordan said. “People associated me with full-time racing, but we really haven’t been full time since 2014,
“This is the first time in five years where we said let’s go racing every week regardless of what happens, In the past the team took time off if we got wrecked or if family stuff came up. Racing was a focus, but it wasn’t our main focus. This year we put racing right up at the forefront. No matter what happens, we’re going racing every week.”
This success story, however, actually started before the season began. The late start, because of the coronavirus, worked to Jordan’s advantage.
“We had more time, and that allowed us to work on stuff that we normally don’t have time to work on,” Jordan said. “We didn’t wait until the last minute to get things done. We treated it like the season was going to start on time and we kept working.”
That work ethic continued into the start of the season.
“We kept working on the things that made us better,” Jordan said. “Wee were able to focus strictly on the race car, rather than other aspects of the sport.”
Perhaps the defining moment for Jordan in 2020 was his win in the 102-lap Potter Memorial, a race in which he went toe-to-toe with all-time Speedbowl winner Keith Rocco lap after lap.
“It was a pretty good night,” Jordan said. “Being a Speedbowl third generation driver and knowing the history of the track, I know how significant Bob Potter was. He was the man. Before Dennis Gada and before Keith Rocco, Bob Potter set the precedent of winning. It’s a race I’ll always remember. And I think it’s a race everyone else will remember too.”
Jordan said the battle between Rocco and him was an old-fashioned Saturday night shootout.
“”It was a throwback to old school racing,” Jordan said. “It was two guys slugging out, but never wrecking. We trusted each other’s talent to run as hard as we could.
“I knew I had a better car — I just had to be smart and to wait as long as I could. I knew what I had to do, and I did it.”
Then he did it again the following week, finishing ahead of Andrew Molleur.
‘We have been consistent, that’s been the big thing,” Jordan said. “Our main goal is to run up front and wind up in tech after every race. I want to see the tech officials, I don’t want to see the wrecker guys.”
So far the hard work is paying off.
“This is basically a full-time job for me and my dad to maintain the car,” Jordan said. “People don’t realize how much work you have to put in. There’s no magic bullet. It just boils down to working hard, being crafty and being on top of your game on and off the track.
“We’ve been on the other end of it. I’ve struggled up to this point and I know people have expected a lot from me. But that’s the beauty of this year. This is the season I knew I could have and it’s finally happening.
Helping to make it happen is a crew consisting of Chris Burton, Jim Hugh, Chris Mullin, his dad Pat Jordan, spotter Cam Robinson and Jim Combs.
His sponsors include the Brynes Agency, LFR, Magnus Performance Products, SKM and Concrete Express. His engine builder is Larry’s Auto Machine.
Jordan said his focus for the final races is not going to change.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” Jordan said. “We’re not going to change our mindset.”
A title would give Jordan championships in three Speedbowl divisions, the SK Modifieds, the Late Models and the Mini Stocks.
“I’m working so hard in the Sks, sometimes I forget I’ve raced in the other two divisions,” Jordan said. “Maybe when my career is over, I’ll sit back and reflect on it, but not now.”
His attention is exclusively on the SK Modifieds. The money he earned in the Potter race should get him through the season.
“The money is all going back into the race car,” Jordan said. “There will be no vacations, no gifts and no treats. It’s all about racing.”
After all, Jordan has big plans every Saturday for the rest of the season.