Ken Darch started competing in modfieds at Riverhead Raceway seven years ago. He's still hunting for his first career win. Hearing this from Darch recently, the pain in his voice made the years seem even longer.
"But nothing good comes easy," the 47-year-old Riverhead resident said, his mood suddenly more optimistic. "If it was easy, everyone would be doing it."
Darch will compete Saturday with the hope of turning around what he described as a disappointing season, so far.
"It's been a rough start to this season, a real rough one," Darch said. "We're getting closer, though. There have been a lot of little stupid things that have stopped us, but we're getting there."
Before this season, Darch invested $50,000 on a new car. The payoff was expected to come in the form of a victory or two.
"Trying to figure out a brand-new car isn't easy, especially with tough competition," said Darch, who started his career racing figure eights in 1999. "We went from having the same car for seven years to everything on this car being different. The hardest part is just learning the little things about the car and adjusting to its turns and swerves, which we're getting better at but we're still learning."
Darch is also operating with a limited crew. While many of the modified teams consist of multiple members, Darch's team, for the most part, consists of just him and his wife, Denise. Despite being at somewhat of a disadvantage, Darch, who was attracted to the sport because of the adrenaline it provides, remains positive.
"Every week we try to do better and it puts a lot of pressure on us, which makes it harder," Darch said. "I was hoping it would be easier than what it was or has been, but now that we figured out some things, it's coming along."