Sometimes a racer has to slow down in order to go faster. Over the past few months, that has been true for Union, SC native Trent Ivey. Like many Dirt Late Model competitors, the 28-year-old driver and his crew found themselves racing week after week but not attaining the results they hoped for. But since the latter part of the 2022 season, things have begun to turn around for the No. 88 Longhorn Chassis team.
Two very strong third-place runs in an Ultimate Super Late Model Series event at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC last October then against a star-studded field in the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Late Model Series-sanctioned World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte served as proof that Ivey’s plan was working out in his favor.
Although not in his regular No. 88 car, Ivey also picked up a win and a runner-up finish in a 604 Late Model during the World Short Track Championship in Charlotte near the end of last year.
“What we did is we scaled back a little bit,” Ivey explained in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “We stopped racing so much and started really fine tuning everything when we did get to go and we stopped messing with a lot of stuff because when you get in a rush while you’re racing, you’re always trying stuff then you end up backing yourself in a hole and you don’t know where you’re at. We decided to slow down and really start taking notes by the month instead of by the weekend. We seemed to get a lot better that way.”
The second generation driver nicknamed “The Little Headknocker” in reference to his father Petey Ivey who was known as “The Headknocker” says that the recent approach has been to simplify their ways of doing things.
“Me and daddy just kind of got back to the basics of how it used to be when we were running really good,” Ivey said. “Honestly, technology is so tempting to want to try because everything is the new best thing but sometimes it don’t work. When you ain’t got a lot of the resources that some of these guys have got, you just get lost. We just stopped getting lost and started taking it back a little bit, figuring it out, and doing stuff we know that works.”
Racers like to race but Ivey believes that the number of events they were entering was proving to be counterproductive. Also, he felt as if his team had fallen into a bit of a rut by hitting the same tracks over and over again.
In his first two starts of 2023, Ivey has logged results of 4th in the Southern All Stars-sanctioned Winter Freeze at Georgia’s Screven Motor Speedway and another top-10 in the March Madness event at Cherokee which was also conducted by SAS.
“We actually stopped running so many of these local races and started doing stuff like the World Finals, we went to Eldora twice,” he pointed out. “We traveled more, we went to Boyd’s, we went to all kinds of places we hadn’t ever been to. That helped us to race in different places and getting out of our same old routine. It’s a different kind of racing we’re doing right now but we enjoy it because we aren’t killing ourselves.”
Although he steers one of Dirt Late Model racing’s hot brands in the Longhorn, he and his crew came to realize that just because a particular set up might work well for one doesn’t mean it works well for all.
“That was another thing, when we were doing this and we weren’t running real good, we were leaning on a lot of people,” Ivey stated. “A lot of people like a lot of different things and they might be on a little different program. We swapped shocks and went through all that stuff then we just said ‘Screw all that, we’ll just figure it out ourselves’. We went back to Penske(Shocks) and we’re staying with Longhorn and now we’re doing it on our terms. I think it’s working out better for us.”
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