Micks opts for the old

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

BOWMANVILLE -- Kerry Micks had a choice yesterday morning when he took his No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford Fusion out for first practice for today's NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Dickies 200 at Mosport International Raceway.

He could walk a few hundred feet and lay out slightly more than $1,000 for a new set of Goodyear racing slicks, or go with a used set he had in the back of his Cathcart Trucking hauler.

As a racer Micks undoubtedly wanted new tires. But as co-owner of Micks Motorsports with his wife Susan Micks, he knew that for a few extra miles per hour for one practice he would be throwing his budget out of whack and maybe even cost him a win on race day.

As it was, Micks posted the third fastest time around Mosport's road course while Andrew Ranger's lap on new tires set the pace in the No. 27 Dave Jacombs Racing Wal Mart/Tide Ford.

"Everybody went out with new tires," Micks said. "Now I saved a thousands bucks, plus I can use an extra new set if I have to (tomorrow)."

Micks said that considering the state of today's economy he is luckier than most in the top rungs of Canadian stock car racing in that his sponsors -- starting with Digital Imaging -- have not cut back.

"We've even had some new sponsors come on board this season," he said.

But even with that kind of solid backing Micks has to be careful to maintain a balance between his natural urge to win at all costs and staying within a pretty tight budget.

"I have always worked hard at watching how much we spend on the team," he said. "Some might even call me cheap."

That kind of management, however, has set Micks up well to deal with the tough times that racing teams -- from the giants like NASCAR Sprint Cup's Richard Petty Motorsports to local Saturday night racers -- are feeling as sponsors and the major auto manufacturers all make major cuts in their racing commitments.

SAVE MONEY

This season, for example, Micks has switched from building his own race motors -- an expensive proposition -- to buying spec engines to save money. The difference is tens of thousands of dollars a season. And he finds himself more aware of those costs when he's out on the track.

"If I'm racing and I start to feel the engine going (ready to blow up), I'll shut it down right then and there," he said. "Lots of guys would go full out until the rods flew out. When that happens you are looking at $40,000 for a new motor."

Micks will start third today behind Ranger. Defending series champion Scott Steckly was second fastest yesterday in the No. 22 Canadian Tire/Tow Truck in a Box Dodge.

The flag drops for the Dickies 200 at Mosport at 1:30 p.m.

DEAN.MCNULTY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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