After twelve races across a condensed five month season, the TRAK Briggs & Stratton Masters championship would go down to the wire at TRAK Race 13. Championship leader Eli Yanko boasted a 45 point lead. This was Demaras’ first real shot at a championship in his club racing career, and it would come down to a cold day at the races in mid October.
Daniel had enjoyed his most successful racing season by far, with 5 podiums including 2 wins, and was firmly in title contention. In the two weeks between races 12 and 13, the No. 412 New Speed Motorsports kart was rebuilt and and the motors were refreshed. The kart would be at its absolute best for this crucial final round of the championship.
In morning practice, Daniel showed good pace despite running by himself and not in the draft. His lap times were on par with the leaders, and Demaras seemed to feel very comfortable in cold conditions. The Intrepid F4K chassis thrives in low grip scenarios, and the kart was setup to perfection thanks to Leonard D’Arrigo.
Demaras’ championship hunt hinged on qualifying. The 25 points for pole position would be vital to winning the championship. Daniel’s tactics as he exited the grid were to drop behind Dave Miller and Eli Yanko and pick up their draft. Daniel set a fast lap, shooting to the top of the timesheets. After a black and orange flag for Miller due to a loose bumper, Yanko collided with him as Miller pulled to the side of the track, nearly collecting Daniel in the process! Demaras made sure to not give a surging Jeff Conte the draft in his run for pole, and secured the front of the grid, snatching 25 points.
Demaras’ Pre-Final did not start well. Yanko got the jump on him from P2, and although Daniel tucked in behind, he lost a position to Dave Miller and Leavon Beaudin in the process. Miller took the lead from Yanko, and Daniel took advantage of Beaudin running wide in Turn 1 to move into third, where he would finish.
For the Final, Daniel was in a good starting position, right behind the polesitter. All he had to do to win the championship was beat Eli. Master mechanic Leonard decided to change the gear, moving up one tooth. The No. 412 New Speed Motorsports kart was ready for its last run of the season. Waiting on grid, Leonard gave Daniel some final words, then sent him into battle. Daniel was ready!
At the drop of the green flag to start TRAK Race 13 Final, Demaras moved into 2nd place behind Miller, and on lap two Daniel attacked to take control of the race. The overtake did not pan out, and instead Demaras fell to 3rd behind championship rival Yanko. For the next ten laps, Daniel stalked Eli, looking for an opportunity.
On lap twelve, Demaras had a run through the first corner, and out of turn three pulled to the inside of Yanko. Hard on the brakes on the inside of Turn 4, Demaras turned in and got the kart up on two wheels. Daniel used every inch of the circuit to make the pass, then immediately pulled away, focusing his efforts on catching Miller for the win. So much time was spent behind Yanko that Demaras could only close up to Miller, crossing the finish line 0.766 seconds back in second place. As Daniel crossed the line, Chad Webster announced the result and the NSM team exploded with excitement and emotion. Daniel Demaras was the 2020 TRAK Champion!
After the race, Daniel finally got to do a post-race interview with former PRO teammate Chad Webster, celebrating the championship. Teammates and rivals congratulated Daniel and the NSM team; Leonard who had worked all season long on getting Daniel to the front, Anthony who organized the team effort, and of course Chris who made this possible.
“At the beginning of the season, I did not think that a result like this was remotely possible. This accomplishment is a team effort and I give full credit thanks to the great people I have with me. My dad Chris, plus Leonard, Anthony, Cale, Enzo Jr., Trevor, Max, Glen and Liam at New Speed Motorsports. It’s been an amazing season filled with thrilling battles and major firsts for me. My first podium, my first pole, my first win and now my first championship. I’m so grateful for this moment, and I’m so proud to have done it with such an amazing team as New Speed Motorsports!”Daniel Demaras, No. 412 New Speed Motorsports
During the podium celebration, Daniel was surrounded by friends, teammates and his racing rivals. It was his happiest second place finish ever!
Nearing the end of the ceremony, Driver of The Day was announced and Demaras was called back up on the podium to be recognized. Dan Di Leo announced that Demaras’ pass for P2 in the closing laps earned his Driver of the Day recognition and earned the points necessary to clinch the 2020 TRAK Championship in Briggs Masters. It was now official!