By: Ashley McCubbin
Armed with a newer car for 2017, it’s easy to see why Stefan Woyslaw is looking forward to hitting the race track in a couple weeks.
“I’m really looking forward to 2017 at Sunset Speedway,” he told Short Track Musings. “We sort of changed things around at the track this year. We only have one Mini Stock division as we got rid of the Mighty Mini division. So we’re going to have full fields every Saturday night of 28 cars for an a-main, and the competition is going to be really stiff but I’m looking forward to it.”
Woyslaw is coming off a solid season where he finished eighth in the series standings, after posting a top-15 finish each night except one. Woyslaw felt it was a solid campaign, given the age of his racecar and the fact there was no more room to gain more speed out of the car. In preparation for this year, Woyslaw purchased the No. 17 Mustang which was piloted to a third place points finish by Gerrit Tiemersma and placed 14th at the Velocity 250, despite the car not being totally set-up for him yet.
Knowing his car is capable, Woyslaw says his goal is “to win a couple features this year, hopefully, and be in the top-five in the championship.” He knows it’s going to be tough with the size of fields expected each week this season.
After running the Mini Stocks as two divisions for two years, Sunset Speedway officials have combined them together this season.
“It worked the first year that we did it, when we became NASCAR and the Whelen Series, but the problem that was we faced (is) the turn outs weren’t as big as we ended up expecting over the second season,” Woyslaw explained. “What happened was we were only getting 15 to 18 car count in each class, even though both were running the exact same rules package. So consequently, on a Saturday night, you didn’t have to do really good in your heat races because everybody made the feature so there was no challenge. The features also ended up running green-to-green pretty much because there weren’t enough cars. So the top runners in the class would run away from the class because they could get through the field of 10, 12 cars not a problem from the back.
“So going forward, I think it’s the right thing to do. We’re going to be guaranteed 28 in the feature, and something that the cars that don’t make the feature – they get a b-feature, same length of laps and will get paid out as well with track points, just no NASCAR points. So it gives a chance for the rookies coming up to drive with some better drivers. The field is going to be a bit bigger, but it has a better learning curve for the younger drivers.”
Woyslaw adds the change should add “a new dynamic” this year, rather than having the quick cars “running away with it.”
“With the new spec tire for 3018, it’ll even bring an even more tighter field of racing,” he continued. “It’s an even better package for the fan because that’s ultimately what we have to do. We don’t put the fans in the stands, we don’t have a track to race on.”
For Woyslaw, everything began back in 1975 with a trip out to Family Kartways in Whitby with his brother, and a chance to try some go-karts.
“We did really well,” he recalled. “My dad decided to buy us two new karts and we started racing from that point on. I raced in go-karts till I was 16, even as a teammate to Paul Tracy for five years, and then I left go-kart racing around 16.”
From there, he moved on to motorcycle racing for 15 years, winning a couple different championships as he raced “every form of motorcycle racing that you can do,” before hanging up the helmet in 1994 after his son was born. However, as they say, the racing blood never leaves you as he returned in 2004.
“I then got the bug back and got into back into go-kart racing, did a number of arrive and drives at Goodwood and Centenial Parkways and I won overall championship there – three and four years,” he said. “Then my brother coached me back into Rotax Shifter Kart racing and did that for about four years. Then around the age of 49, I decided it was a little too much load on my old body so I decided to go stock car racing.
“I saw Mini Stock years ago at Pinecrest and CNE, and I used to go to Sunset every other week just to watch anyway and I decided that I wanted to get into it. So I bought the mustang from Doug Butler and Randi Sequin at Barrie Speedway and I started four years ago, and I love it. I’m also a real estate agent so I used it as advertising for my business, which has led to a number of clients. It’s been a great venture and actually, the people at Sunset are really nice. All the racers are amazing at how well they take you in and it’s been a tremendous four years. I’m looking forward to the season coming forth.”
In support of his efforts, Woyslaw would like to thank York National Realty Incorporated, Speedy Auto Machine and Switch European Auto Clinic for their support, as well as crew chief Howard Gallinger, Steve Tiemersma, and Gerrit Tiemersma