With solid finishes in both midgets, you could say the 2016 season was very successful for Wally Wilson in OSCAAR.
“I thought the 2016 racing season was action packed, with close racing right from the drop of the green flag of the first heat race back in May, all the way to the final checkered flag in October,” he told Short Track Musings. “This was the season where each and every week every car in the field had a chance to capture a feature win; we had a first time winner almost every week this season! It was great to see! But of course I wish I was one of them! It was the experience of a life time to be able to be the first driver in OSCAAR history to run for two championships! The best part of the whole season besides spending my Saturdays at the track would have to be watching the Pro Midget’s grow from four cars back at Peterborough for the inaugural race, to about fifteen in the final event at Flamboro!”
Behind the wheel of his OSCAAR Midget, Wilson put together a solid sophomore campaign with top-10s on a weekly basis en route to finishing fourth in points. Starting off the year at Flamboro Speedway in May, he was able to run up front throughout the entire event, crossing the finish line in sixth. Fortunately, the momentum was able to be carried forward easily as he posted a ninth at Peterborough and a seventh at Grand Bend Speedway.
With continued improvement on a weekly basis, interest was high as to how he’d do in the first repeat track of the season. While the day started off rough with mechanical issues, everything sorted itself out by the time racing started. He’d lead the majority of the first heat, before being passed with two laps to go by Ryan Brown to finish second. Starting fifth in the feature, he quickly worked his way up to third and got quicker as the race went on, but ultimately ran out of time to catch the leaders, finishing third.
He looked to carry the momentum to Sauble Speedway, and was able to do that as he’d pilot his No. 69 The Fyre Place & Patio Shop, HAVE1.COM, and D & M Small Engine Repair Midget to his first career heat victory. For Wilson, it was a memorable moment to score his first career heat win at his home track.
“After growing up watching almost every series in Ontario race at Sauble Speedway over the last 18 years of my life, it was awesome to win it at home in front of my friends, family, sponsors and fans,” he said. “It’s too bad we couldn’t finish the feature!”
Unfortunately, the feature didn’t go as well as hoped with a 10th place finish. In the weeks following, Wilson was able to get momentum back on his side as he’d post three straight top-six finishes, including a third at Flamboro Speedway. With no finishes outside of the top-10, Wilson easily qualified for the inaugural OSCAAR Race for the Cup.
The first race at Peterborough Speedway saw Wilson run inside the top-six in the early stages, till he lost ground following a three-wide battle mid-event which caused him to finish ninth. As a result, he was eliminated from the battle. He’d then complete the season with a seventh place finish at Frostoberfest. On top of the solid points finish, Wilson’s ability to make up ground in each of the races paid off as he picked up the RTR – Sirius 167 Hard Charger Award.
Meanwhile, behind the wheel of his Pro Midget, he was able to put together a season without any finishes outside of the top-seven en route to finishing second in the series points. Starting off the year at Peterborough Speedway, Wilson avoided the bugs which caught other competitors off-guard en route to a runner-up finish. The positive finishes kept coming as he’d post a fifth place finish at Flamboro Speedway, followed by a fourth at Grand Bend and a fifth in his return to Peterborough.
Unfortunately, in the second half of the season, it appeared as though things didn’t go as well as hoped as consistency was still there, but the finishes weren’t as strong. He’d finish sixth at Flamboro Speedway, followed by a seventh at Peterborough and a sixth at Flamboro Speedway.
Like he was able to in the Midget, he also took home the OSCAAR Pro Midget RTR – Sirius 167 Hard Charger Award by a single point over series champion Ted Greenwood.
“The debut of the pro Midgets was truly a sight to see, starting off with four cars, and growing to around fifteen in the final race, with more cars being built during the season,” Wilson said. “I believe we had just over twenty ready to go! Charles, Jackie and Dave really worked hard to get the series where it is after last season! I’m very proud to say I was a part of the inaugural season of the OSCAAR Pro Midgets, everyone raced clean all season long, back in the pits it was like one big family! Another thing I liked to see was the amount of Midget drivers that started to run in the Pro Midgets as well. We had JR Fitzpatrick, Roy Passer, Ryan Fraser, Jeff Blackburn, and James Marche run with us! I can’t wait to see what more is to come for this series!
Going back and forth between the cars, Wilson admits it was a challenge by noting the huge difference between the pair of cars.
“The Midget, running without suspension, it’s really about controlling the car over each bump on the track, and with the Pro Midget, it’s a much smoother ride, they’re quicker cars, and have a lot more to them,” he said. “Surprisingly enough between both cars we ran every feature and showed improvements each and every week!”
Wilson has already announced that he will return to both divisions once again in 2017.
“We’ve had a very nice break, but now it’s time to rebuild, and improve on both the cars,” he said. “I’m not sure how busy our schedule is for this season yet, but I know we’ve got a lot of big things to come!”
Going into the season, Wilson hopes to win a feature in both cars, while scoring top-three finishes in every feature for the Midget and top-five finishes in every feature for the Pro Midget.
“My expectation for the 2017 season is to be a championship contender and show everyone consistency is the key to winning a championship,” he said. “You don’t need to win every race!”