|Chad Warner photo|
Consistency was key for “Bad” Chad Layton throughout his championship season and with 3 wins, 13 top 5’s, and 20 top 10’s among twenty-two features, the Harrisburg, PA native was able to secure his spot at the top of the standings by 72 points over Weller – earning his first URC Championship. Going into 2019, the URC championship was not something the Ritter Racing team was chasing, but “it was a race after Bedford that we decided to go to Selinsgrove instead of Delaware, so we were not going to run for points but after [Delaware] rained out everyone came around to maybe we should be doing that” said car owner Kirk Ritter. Ultimately the car owner left the decision up to his driver and it was something that “[Chad] wanted to do so we wanted to make sure we could complete that for him.”
Chad started off the season with a solid 2nd place finish during the season opener at Bridgeport Speedway and backed it up with another 2nd at Selinsgrove the following week. Layton was able to grab his first win of the season at Bedford on May 10 and followed that with wins at Big Diamond on June 21st, and BAPS Motor Speedway on October 21st. Layton said that his wins this season were “all equally special” and with the competition continually growing within the United Racing Club, “it seems that wins are all hard to come by, you never know the next one is going to come so you need to cherish each one when you get them.” Chad led the standings for the majority of the year, but he admits he “never set his sights” on winning the championship, “when you do that, it never works out the way you want it to” said the fourty-four year old. Things worked out in the end for the entire Ritter Racing team as they went into finale weekend with a 92 lead, locking up both the owner and driver championships.
Layton adds his name to the perpetual trophy – that is handed down from champion to champion - and which was handed off at the conclusion of the finale weekend at Bridgeport. The United Racing Club Championship trophy currently consists of thirty-four different driver’s names from the start of the United Racing Club in 1947 – with Layton becoming the 35th series champion. Ritter’s name will also be added as the Owner’s champion amongst 32 others. Reflecting upon what it means to add his name to the trophy, Layton said, “each and every single individual on there, just like we did, had to earn their spot on there… I’m very happy to add my name to it.” As an owner, Ritter says it feels “good, a lot of work was involved, and a lot of sponsors were behind the decision to follow the championship all the way through; it was a team effort as a decision to complete every race and try to make it the championship.”
As far as next year goes, the plans for Ritter Racing are still up in the air. Kirk Ritter said “one of my sponsors did purchase a 410 motor so that we can run some of the 410 expected shows at Selinsgrove that they are planning to run. We obviously still have 360 engines that we plan to run wherever is available.” We hope to see Chad Layton and Ritter Racing return to United Racing Club action, if their schedule permits, and welcome them with open arms as the reigning 2019 champion.
It takes a village to win a championship, and Chad Layton along with Ritter Racing had all the right people in all the right places to make it happen. Layton would like to thank his car owner, the Ritter Family, his crew, family, friends and his sponsors, as he said: “it was a group effort.” Kirk Ritter would like to thank the sponsors that came on board this year, family members that were able to pitch in when he was unable, his wife, father in law, and anyone who could step in during the week to contribute to their team. The sponsors that kept the number 35 on track all year and contributed to his championship winning season include: Selinsgrove Ford, Solutions Aqua, Bud Godek Auto Body, Allen Shaffer Jr & Son Insurance, Trades, Bodmer Family Footcare, Horstcraft Millworks, Maxim Racing, DMY Performance, Slade Shock Technology, AL Driveline and Dave Snook Performance.
On behalf of the Capitol Renegade United Racing Club, Congratulations to Chad Layton, Kirk Ritter and the entire Ritter Racing team on your 2019 Championship! Josh Weller, Curt Michael, Austin Bishop, and Ryan Quackenbush rounded out the top 5 in driver's points this season.
The United Racing Club will hold their end of year banquet celebrating Layton, Ritter, and the rest of the drivers, crews, and officials on December 7, 2019 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Breinigsville, PA. Tickets are $40 and must be paid in advance to Kim Weller. Rooms are available at the hotel for URC guests with a special rate by mentioning “URC Rate”.