COREY McCullagh says his perfectionist traits are getting worse with age.
The Warrnambool driver is spending the off-season refurbishing his shed and feels "more prepared than ever" as he plots another South West Conveyancing Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic tilt.
McCullagh and his father, Bryan, have toiled away through the autumn to ensure the team's headquarters is in working order leading into summer.
"I'm definitely getting worse as the years go on," he laughed.
"While it's been a bad time through COVID-19, it's probably let us get a few things done we wouldn't normally have the time to do.
I think being smart in this off-season means we'll be fast enough to have a crack.Corey McCullagh
"We've really set up the workshop so it's easy to find things, so it's clean and so it's professional. We literally haven't stopped since last season finished."
Mentally, he's dialled in. A hunger for success is driving his endeavours.
"I think I'm nowhere near my full potential as a driver yet," he told The Standard.
"I'm a driver slash crew chief because we don't have the budget to have both so you have to work twice as hard.
"It's a blessing in disguise because I'm mentally a lot clearer and I think being smart in this off-season means we'll be fast enough to have a crack."
McCullagh, who came from the clouds to win the 2018 classic at Premier Speedway, said his looming season would again be geared around the historic race.
He planned to tackle at least 20 race meetings - mostly divided between Warrnambool, Avalon and Mount Gambier - in the summer.
McCullagh revealed races at Simpson and South Australia's Murray Bridge were also in contention but would depend on coronavirus restrictions.
"(The grand annual) is the biggest race of the year and as soon as you finish one, you're thinking about the next one the day after," McCullagh said.
"I think it's the one race where nobody forgets who wins it. You really put yourself on the map.
"As a driver you're always striving to win it. I've been lucky enough to do that but if I could do it a second time, I think I'd appreciate it more in the moment.
"When you first win, you're in such a feeling of shock. You can't explain it.
"You're essentially chasing that feeling. It's just the biggest race of our year by far."
McCullagh started last season driving for Geelong-based Dickson Motorsport but parted ways mid-season.
The prospect of driving for his family team once again is exciting the 30-year-old.
"It's going to be good to focus on ourselves," he said.
"We have a lot of loyal sponsors and there are a few more coming on board that we'll announce as the season gets a little closer.
"Unfortunately James (McFadden) couldn't get over to America to race so he's rebuilt my engine.
"I think over the past 18 months I've been a little behind the eight ball but we've figured out what we need to do now.
"I really think this is the most organised I've been in my life. I've never been more prepared."
McCullagh pinpointed adaptability as a key improvement ahead of next season.
"(Improvement) will come from being able to adapt to different types of tyres and whatnot as things are always changing and developing," he said.
"I think I might have been a bit lazy in that - figuring out why things go wrong or why you struggle here and there.
"I'm certainly a different style of driver to anyone and just taking the time to stop and think about why I like something a certain way (is valuable)."
Belief is also paramount.
McCullagh's productive off-season has the former karter primed for glory.
"You've just got to have that confidence in yourself when you're out there racing," he said.
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