Ross Bailes may not have had the complete season he was hoping for when the 2018 campaign began but the end result proved to be one that can serve as a source of pride. The Clover, SC pilot scored two feature wins on the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series tour on his way to securing the championship for that series.
Aside from the title and two Clash wins, Bailes added two Ultimate Super Late Model Series triumphs along with a pair of Fastrak Crate Late Model victories and an unsanctioned Super Late Model race win to his list of achievements over the course of the season. At the same time, there were some disappointing results, but the mark of a good team is the ability to overcome such adversity and make the most of whatever situation they face.
“It was up and down for sure,” Bailes recalled in an interview with InsideDirtRacing.com. “Through the last couple of months it was a really good year but midway through the season I was about ready to give up. A lot of it was bad luck. We were just having things go wrong that don’t usually go wrong. Our car wasn’t running that great earlier in the year, but we got it dialed in toward the end of the year.”
The 29-year-old racer didn’t necessarily plan to chase the Carolina Clash championship at the outset of the season. However, he got off to a good start with that circuit so he and his team adjusted their plans midway through. At the same time, though, the No. 87 crew was able to step outside their usual territory from time to time in hopes of improving their overall program.
“We weren’t really planning on running the Clash but it just kind of fell into place to where I was leading and I felt like we had a pretty good shot at winning it,” Bailes explained. “Most of the tracks they run at, we were going to go to anyway. But we want to go and hit some different tracks so I can get a little bit better at places like Tazewell, I still haven’t figured that place out, and places down in Georgia like Dixie and Rome because I need to get better at those places too. It’s just a matter of trying to get better.”
Even though he would love the opportunity to travel to other parts of the region or country to race, Bailes has to be realistic in that endeavor. “If you don’t have the money behind you that you need then you’ve got to stick around the house and go to places where you know you’ll do good,” he said.
While he is most often seen behind the wheel of his No. 87 Barry Wright Race Car, Bailes is always open to other opportunities. And he enjoys the test of driving other cars for other teams.
“It can be difficult but it’s not too bad,” he declared of wheeling somewhat unfamiliar rides. “I look at it as a challenge. Whenever I get an opportunity to drive something, I drive it and I don’t care what it is.”
Bailes says his plans for 2019 aren’t fully developed yet but he hopes clarity will come soon.
“I haven’t developed a plan yet. I am just hitting it on the fly, I guess. Right now we don’t have the sponsorship we’ve been having so we’ve got to try to find more sponsorship to get us to where we could go on the road a little bit more.”