Ionia, MI (Wednesday, December 30, 2020) - One season after picking up a total of 10 feature wins and the Allstar Performance Late Model Challenge Series Championship, Travis Stemler already has his sights set on the 2021 campaign. The Ionia, Michigan native spoke to Horsepower Happenings’, Zach Hiser Tuesday night to preview what his goals are for next season and confirm a couple of details about what fans can expect along the way.
First and foremost, Stemler confirmed that he would be again working with Chad and Kayla Anklem after the highly successful first season together. Stemler said the atmosphere with Anklem Racing was exactly what he was looking for.
“I mean, words cannot describe the excitement of last year,” Stemler said. “It was so exciting with a new team and a fresh start.”
For 2021, Stemler says their main goal will be to chase the DIRTcar UMP Late Model Track Championship at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH. A 2015 DIRTcar UMP Modified Champion at the famed Tony Stewart owned facility, Stemler says the main reason he and Anklem Racing joined together in 2020 was to win the Eldora Championship; but due to COVID-19, that goal had to be put on hold.
Should Stemler win the Championship in 2021, it would be his first-ever Track Championship despite multiple years of successful seasons behind the wheel. In fact, the Allstar Performance Late Model Challenge Series Championship marks the first Late Model Championship of any kind for Stemler.
“We’ve been close [to winning championships],” Stemler recalls. “[American] Ethanol [Late Model Tour] was our main goal and we were close… Finished second in Tri-City points [this year]. Been close to winning two championships at I-96 Speedway while missing nights.”
Thankfully for Stemler’s Michigan fanbase, a commitment to the Eldora Championship doesn’t mean he won’t be around his home state. Likely points races at Eldora include the Season Opener, the Dirt Late Model Dream, World 100, Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend. The 2021 Eldora Speedway schedule has yet to be released in its entirety to confirm those dates.
As for another run at the Challenge Series Championship, the commitment to Eldora could pose a hindrance to going back-to-back. Series Promoter, Mike Blackmer has already made it known that Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends will be Challenge Series weekends at both Tri-City and Merritt Speedways. Stemler did indicate he plans to race as many Challenge series events as he can in 2021.
The first race of the year though will be a debut for Stemler and many other drivers. He and his Anklem Racing team will be making the trip to Bristol, Tennessee for the Bristol Dirt Track Nationals, featuring Super Late Models Friday and Saturday, March 19-20th. Stemler will battle with nearly 100 other late model drivers from across the country for a $10,000-to-win 50 lap race on Friday, and a marquee $50,000-to-win 50-lap grand finale on Saturday night closing out the event.
For more stories from around the region, be sure to log onto www.horsepowerhappenings.com. Listen to on-demand episodes of the Horsepower Happenings Podcast, with new episodes every Monday night at 9:00 pm.
Story - Zach Hiser, Horsepower Happenings
Photo - Jim DenHamer