Cory McKay admittedly lacks a “great winter spot” to store and maintain the Chevy Caprice he races in Sycamore Speedway’s Late Models series.
That hardly fazes the 24-year-old from the Valley View area of St. Charles, who prefers to keep his focus away from stock cars for most of the offseason.
McKay placed third in Saturday’s feature as the Speedway opened its 51st season of racing, and he hopes to keep climbing as the sights and sounds of the track infuse him anew.
“The last month or so, you start getting antsy about getting back into it and start thinking about it,” McKay said, “making sure you’ve got all the stuff that you need.”
McKay replaced his motor from the end of the 2013 season, his first in Late Models after dabbling in other classes in recent years.
He wants a new carburetor, too, but is using a familiar piece of equipment in the interim.
Tim Ludke of St. Charles donated his carburetor as he takes stock of his next move. By rule, Ludke is ineligible to race in Late Models after winning the points title for two consecutive seasons. He did not enter any Super Late Models races Saturday, but watched the races and powwowed on pit row.
The buzz around McKay’s camp wasn’t as high as it could have been, but the season is just revving up.
“Only the first night,” McKay said. “Not too worried about it. We’ll get it dialed in.”
K-zone: Marmion baseball coach Dave Rakow texted former ace right-hander Matt Milroy shortly after current phenom Alex Troop struck out 16 Aurora Christian batters in Wednesday’s 1-hitter.
Rakow was about as succinct as Troop, a Michigan State-bound lefty from Batavia: He wondered whether Milroy ever had that many Ks in one game.
Milroy – another Batavian now pitching for Class-A Greensboro (N.C.) in the Miami Marlins organization – responded that he thought 16 was his career high, too.
Rakow joked that left him to research “about 50 years of Marmion baseball before me” in the search for the school record.
As for Troop, he more than settled in after allowing a leadoff double.
“Obviously, it was a little chilly out with the weather, but it was a great day. Everything seemed to be working for me,” Troop said. “It was just one of those perfect days that you dream about, and I’m really happy about it.”
Wakey, wakey: Buy me some peanuts and … Apple Jacks?
Cougars players see each other before midday – and take stock of breakfast cereal as part of the pregame spread – whenever the club hosts Ozzie’s Reading Club matinees.
Through their first two homestands, the Cougars have played five weekday games beginning at 11 a.m. or noon.
Two more are scheduled this month.
For as much as they joke about the quota of “SpongeBob Square Pants” PA clips or other schoolkid-centric fare, players easily adapt.
“For spring training, we’re up at the crack of dawn, so we’re used to that for that full month. And then coming here,” third baseman David Bote said. “So it’s not too big of a transition, for sure.”
The sentiment is similar elsewhere around the horn.
“Baseball, like they always say, is a game of adjustments, and waking up early, I mean, it’s not that bad, in my opinion,” catcher Ben Carhart said. “We get home early, so you get to go to bed early. There’s no difference in my eyes. Some people don’t like it, but I personally don’t mind.”
• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.