By: Ashley McCubbin
As we continue to approach the 2017 season, this series will take a look at some storylines to watch in different series and tracks this season. Feel free to add what you’re hoping to see via commenting on the post, facebook, or twitter.
In 2016, OSCAAR saw a strong season of competition with great storylines across the board, and close racing on track. Different winners, new faces up front, and the growth of a series, anticipation is building towards the upcoming year. With that in mind, here are your five storylines to consider counting down the days to Full Throttle Motor Speedway.
A New Champion?
Over the past four years, a new face has won the championship – Brandon Watson in 2013, Andrew Gresel in 2014, Kevin Cornelius in 2015, and J.R. Fitzpatrick in 2016. With Fitzpatrick focusing on the APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Tour, it brings the opportunity for the fifth straight new face.
So who will that be?
The likely face is Glenn Watson based on the statistics. The veteran knows what it takes, given that he brought home the title in 2011. He made his return to victory lane this past season – Peterborough Speedway in September. He also ran up front throughout the season, and was in contention for the championship in the late stages at Autumn Colours. Based on the speed shown during the second half of last year, he’s right now the early favorite.
However, he isn’t the only possibility. Roy Passer has proven his legitimacy based on a strong run last year, but questions surround plans for the year. Derrick Tiemersma has won the championship before, and could put himself up front if the mechanical issues go away. Tyler Hawn has continued to get stronger with each season, and could very well sneak in as the darkhorse this year.
While the battle for race wins and the championship is always fun to watch, this year there will also be focus on the rookie of the year award. Entering the 2017 season, there are currently seven rookies on the roster for the OSCAAR Modifieds – Tim Tolton, Dave Hodgkinson, Ken Hayward, Jase Cornell, Marty Monette, Wally Wilson, and Mark Hamacher.
The group of drivers enter the year with a variety of different backgrounds as some have been involved in racing for years, while others just for a couple years.
So who holds the advantage? Who will come out on top? That’s something to question as we wait for the season to start, considering it’s hard to choose one or the other with the variables at play.
Near the end of 2015, OSCAAR began discussions surrounding a new series, expanding to five different divisions under their banner.
After a year of hard work behind the scenes, the series is set to tackle its debut season this year with eight races. The series is set to bring the retro steel bodied racecars of the 1949-early 1970s era back to the track in an affordable fashion.
Right now there’s intrigue with the cars drivers are going to choose, as well as how the dirt event will go in July. Though based on the pictures leaked so far, I’d say we’re in for a great ride.
Growth of the Pro Midgets
When OSCAAR introduced the Pro Midgets last year, there were lots skeptical as to whether they were headed in the right direction. The questions even continued after they debuted only four drivers at the first event.
However, the progress was seen with 16 cars showing up at Peterborough Speedway. It continues, with new cars being built and 30 drivers registered to compete this season. Needless to say, it’s going to be quite intriguing to see just how competitive things get.
Return to Kawartha
For the first time since 2014, OSCAAR will be making the trip to Kawartha Speedway this season with three of their divisions. The way both races are being scheduled on Friday nights also makes everybody feel that much better, recalling the familiarity of the oval running Friday nights in its prime.
As one of the biggest tracks in the province, known for speed. the track put on some of the best shows with battles throughout the fields, and close finishes. It became a joy for fans, too, loving the speed and thrills that it brought.