The way Kyle Koretsky sees it, the best way to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss is to have success at your home NHRA track.
Koretsky will get that chance at this weekend’s Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil, which takes place at Maple Grove Raceway. It’s close to home for the Pro Stock rising star and Koretsky estimates he’ll have close to 200 family, friends and sponsors on hand to watch him race at the facility for the first time in Pro Stock.
Coming off a tough final round at last weekend’s U.S. Nationals, where Koretsky lost in the final round on a holeshot to defending world champ Erica Enders, that might just be the best medicine.
“Last week was a little tough, but we'll get through that and our hometown race is where we're going to make it count,” Koretsky said. “(Last week) is definitely going to motivate me. Every race we go to and go rounds it's good confidence for me, but I hold it on my shoulders. The team gave me a car and the driver didn't do his job. That’s the truth of it. It was my fault.
“But now we have good motivation and good momentum from Indy and the last few races we've been going rounds, and we're just waiting to get our lucky break. We'll make it happen, but it was a heartbreaker, I’m not going to lie.”
Koretsky said he was ready to get back in the car on Monday, but he’s eager to make amends from the holeshot loss and continue the momentum his team has built over the past two months. He’s advanced to back-to-back final rounds and has been to at least the semifinals in four of the past five races in his Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro.
It’s put him fourth in Pro Stock points heading to Maple Grove Raceway, which is also the first of six Countdown to the Championship playoff races. That’s meaningful for Koretsky as well since it’s his first time racing in the playoffs.
Qualifying for the Countdown to the Championship was his first goal entering 2021, but now that the playoffs are here, Koretsky is shooting for wins and competing for a championship.
“Obviously we want to get off to a good start here, but we proved we’re here to stay and I’m looking forward to it,” Koretsky said. “I definitely think they got the car working great as always, but we kind of got the car working good to me. Every weekend we’ve been making fine-tune adjustments and it's starting to pay off now. So you can see a little bit of consistency and racing back-to-back-to-back like this makes me so much better.”
Getting to race in front of family and friends is exciting, but it’s also motivating for Koretsky, who is excited to put on a show for them.
But he’s also quick to note his main objective is performing on the track and that’s his first priority.
“There’s tons of people coming out to support me and a lot of my friends and people who been supporting me my whole life and my sponsors,” Koretsky said. “It’s a hometown race and it's definitely crazy. It's a great experience to be here and Maple Grove the first time with my friends and family, but at the end of the day I’ve got to stay focused. I'm here to do a job and that's what you have to focus on.”