After making her debut in Canada’s top racing series last summer, Prince Albert’s Shantel Kalika will be back behind the wheel in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series this year.
Kalika and her family owned Busch Racing team will compete in a pair of 125-lap races at Wyant Group Raceway in Saskatoon on July 24, take part at an event at Edmonton International Raceway on July 26 and travel to Jukasa Motor Speedway in Hagersville, Ont. for the Pinty’s Fall Brawl on Sept. 28.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” Kalika said. “This is something we’ve kept under our hats for a little bit, but we’re excited to let the news out into the world here and let everyone know that we are expanding our program.”
The process of getting everything set for the four-race schedule has been in the works for a number of months, as the biggest factor was getting the sponsorship that’s needed to compete at a high level.
“We signed a two-year contract with AGI, the makers of Batco, Westfield and Westeel, so they are back with us once again and Jay Summers Service Centre has come on board to be our main sponsor when we go out to Ontario in September,” Kalika said.
“There are so many sponsors that have helped us out, such as PA Auto Body (Ltd) 83, Super 8 by Wyndham and Mayeda Motorsports among others. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we are doing.”
In addition to her returning sponsors, the team is also welcoming Castrol Canada, McMath Controls & Automation Inc. and Great Western Brewing Company Ltd. as sponsors for this season.
Kalika, who won the Pro Truck division title at Wyant Group Raceway in 2016 and the Sportsman division championship last year, made her NASCAR Pinty’s Series debut at her home track last July and earned 15th and 14th place results in two 125-lap affairs.
She then finished in 14th spot three days later at a 300-lap race in Edmonton.
“The experience I had from running those races last year should help us out a lot,” Kalika said. “Saskatoon is my home track but running in those cars and in a competitive series like that is much different from what we do on a weekly basis, while that race in Edmonton was the first time that I had ever been to that track.
“We have a better grasp on things now and what we have to setup wise to improve our performance and get the most of the car.”
The big event on Kalika’s schedule will be the trip to Jukasa, which is located 45 minutes south of Hamilton, as she will take part in the season finale for the tour.
“That’s something that we’ve always wanted to do and we’ve been able to turn that from a pipedream to a reality,” Kalika said.
“At 3,000 kilometers, it’s easily the farthest we’ve ever gone for a race, but we’ve been able to make it happen thanks to our sponsors and we’re excited about it.”
When it comes to her weekly racing at Wyant Group Raceway, Kalika will be returning to the Pro Truck division as she’ll get behind the wheel of #49 OK Tire sponsored machine.
“The Pro Truck division is a great class and one that’s always growing out there, so I’m excited about being back in that and hopefully have the chance to get a third division title,” Kalika said.
Her first race of the season in the Pro Truck class will take place on Saturday, June 1.