Known as the Iron Man, Gary Elliott has become known for putting together action-packed seasons across the Ontario short track scene. This year is no exception as he is set to embark on a 24-race schedule.
“I’m really looking forward to 2017,” he told Short Track Musings. “It’s my 49th year racing. I’m getting excited to get the season going after being inducted into the Flamboro Speedway Hall of Fame. We’re going to have a 24 race schedule, which is okay. I like to run a lot of nights and am excited about my pit crew that I’ve had. They’ve done an awesome job getting the car ready, and I’m looking forward to them coming out as much as they can.
“I thank my sponsors and my crew and my family for being so supportive. I also thank my Lord Jesus Christ for everything that I have, for allowing me to race in the sport that I love so much. It’s not just about the thrill of driving a racecar, but all the people that I meet and am really excited and honored to have met so many great people – wives, husbands, children. I’ve raced with three generations – father, son, grandson – and that’s pretty cool, as well. I got to say that I’m really blessed to have the career that I had – not that it’s over, yet, as I’m excited for our 50th year.”
After spending the past three years running the full OSCAAR Modified schedule, Elliott is set to return to Flamboro Speedway on a full-time basis, running the track’s full Late Model schedule this season.
“I’m really looking forward to this year; I’m pumped,” he said. “I’m really honored to have the sponsors and people working on our car. We’re going to try our best to be competitive at Flamboro Speedway. We’re doing everything we can to get our car right.”
On top of that, he is set to run three Late Model events at Full Throttle Motor Speedway, the APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Tour event at Jukasa Motor Speedway, and the IWK 250 in Riverside, Nova Scotia.
The event at Jukasa Motor Speedway marks a highlight on the schedule as it remarks the re-opening, re-vitalization of what was Cayuga Motor Speedway. It’ll also mark the first time Elliott has competed in an ULMOT event, and will mark the 40th different track in which Elliott has raced at in his career.
There’s also excitement surrounding the second annual trip out to the IWK 250, as he will also be doing three promotional shows for sponsor Quaker State while out there.
“It helps our sport, sponsors, and the event, and I’m glad to be able to do those things,” he said. “We’re also working hard so we’ll be more competitive when we go to Nova Scotia. Last year, we were 19th fastest in time trials, but were cutting a right rear tire and found the reason. Hopefully we get our car really close.”
Despite going with a late model dominated schedule, Elliott will continue to run his modified, slated for eight events this season. Despite not running the full schedule himself, he will have the car at all of the events with Rob Di Venanzo previously announcing he will run three events for Gary Elliott Motorsports. Elliott expressed excitement in having Di Venanzo on the team, and confirmed to Short Track Musings those races will August 5 at Peterborough Speedway, August 19 at Sauble Speedway, and September 30 at Flamboro’s Frostoberfest.
With a full schedule put together, Elliott also confirmed that Quaker State will be back on the car for a 44th season, and has already committed to being on the car for 2018.
“I’m pretty excited about the sponsors that we have on board,” he stated. “That’s pretty cool for all of us on my team. We’re going to paint our car different than last year, and Steve Lyons at Creative Edge will letter it again. The car will be Quaker State green this year, with all the graphics. I know there’s a lot of good looking cars – we’ve won best appearing car many times, so it’s not a big deal to me to win it or not because there’s been guys that inspired me to look good as it’s a spectator sport. Now, I see a lot of guys coming out with good looking cars. So unless a series or track has a fan vote, you’re never going to know who will win.
“I think we had a good car in the modified division last year. The other guy that won it – he had a nice car, and I liked it. He was my pick to win it.”
Also, if everything works out, this year could see Elliott hit a career mile stone with 800 consecutive nights of competition, slated for the 23rd race on the schedule, and his 40th season of racing with perfect attendance. Notably, Elliott hasn’t missed a night on his schedule since June 1987, marking 29 consecutive seasons straight with perfect attendance. Click here to see a breakdown of Elliott’s statistics through the years.
“We’re going to have hats and t-shirts for our fans and supporters, and then whatever I can do. Probably the 800th career night will give away some bikes, and some Frisbees or something like that. That’ll be a milestone for us,” he said. “When you think about it, when I get to 800, that’ll give me 1249 nights racing. It’s been a long journey. My kids raced – my son is a great racer, and been proud to race with him at times. Hopefully next year for my 50th year we will be able to race side-by-side again.”
Of course, a solid season would just add to the excitement that has already happened this year as Elliott was inducted into the Flamboro Speedway Hall of Fame this year.
“Being inducted in the stock car hall of fame at Flamboro Speedway was an honor for me, especially with the guys that I was inducted in with. I raced with three of them,” he said.