By: Ashley McCubbin
Each week, I am going to try and put together five thoughts on something in relation to short track racing based on what happened on track. Some of these will be positive, and others will be….well, not as pretty. Hopefully there is lots to talk about this year.
Two weekends ago, Sunset Speedway opened their 2017 season with Andy Kamrath winning the first Signs of Innovation Mini Stock feature of 2017. Based on the 25 laps of feature action, here are some thoughts to consider.
1. Same Face, Familiar Place
Starting in the top-half of the field, it didn’t take long for Andy Kamrath to resume his familiar position out front of the field, putting the No. 35 London Recreational Racing, AM Roofing, Jason Witty Re/Max, Seaton Structures, Brandon’s Landscape, Blue Mountain Honda, JF Kitching and Sons, ImageWraps.ca, and Castrol/Superclean Honda Civic out front on Lap 10.
Surprise? If you were surprised, you obviously haven’t been hanging around for the past couple seasons. He won last year’s Autumn Colours Classic, and capped off last season with a victory in the Velocity 250. On top of that, he had no finishes outside of the top-eight in the seven events ran last year, including a pair of victories. That also matches up beautifully with the three feature victories and 11 top-10’s from 2015.
With it being early in the season, fans are already putting together their list of drivers to contend for the championship trophy. As well as Kamrath runs, do not put him on the list. He is only going to run select events at Sunset Speedway this season while racing in the APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Tour. So when it comes to your title picks, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
2. No Easy Road for Montanari
Last year when Nic Montanari won the championship, it was pure consistency that led him to success. Through the 14 nights of competition, his worst finish was ninth with two wins and 10 top-fives.
The 2017 season hasn’t started out as dreamy as a problem with three laps to go on a restart resulted in a 17th place finish for the second-generation racer.
While it’ll be harder for him to win the title this year, there’s still a long way to go and everybody knows he will be fast on any given night based on last year. It’s just a matter of whether he can top the heavyweights of the division like Eric Yorke, Cory Young, Charlie Smith and more.
3. Magnificent McGlashan
Looking back on opening night, you normally have a surprise or two. Well for some it was Cameron McGlashan this year. After starting up front, he led some laps en route to a runner-up finish. While it may have shocked some, it was simply the continued rebuilding process which began last year after a mid-season crash.
Starting off 2016, he posted a pair of 10th place finishes, before being completed in a Lap 1 crash on June 4 which resulted in heavy damage to his mustang. With a heavy rear-end damage, he’d miss a couple weeks before returning mid-June. The return saw one of his strongest finishes as he led the first eight laps in his return when he was eventually passed for the top spot by Charlie Smith. From there on, he fell back a couple spots into the field, eventually crossing the finish line in fifth. In the four races which followed, there was a sea of up-and-down results as he posted a pair of 14th place finishes to go with a 10th and his first career Mini Stock top-five on July 30. Notably, he was able to run in the top-three that night all the way up until a late-race caution at Lap 19. In the three events which followed, he closed the year with a pair of eighths and another fifth place finish.
After openly stating this could be his last year of competition, it’d be great to see him go out on top.
4. Congratulations Crumbie
After running two separate divisions, Sunset Speedway has gone back to a lone mini stock division – which has proven well, so far. The fans were treated to a great feature full of action, along with a mini feature before intermission to set them up for what they saw.
The victor on the night one? Shout-out to Dave Crumbie as he won the b-main with his Porsche. He was then able to carry that into the main event, posting a respectable 15th. Stefan Woyslaw finished second in the b-main before placing 16th in the main, while Josh Bullen placed third in his first career start in the b-main before a 19th main finish.
It’ll be interesting to see each week who qualifies without running the b-main, who wins and runs the b-main, and then how they make out in the main event. Regardless, the b-main will probably see a variety of winners just like the main event.
5. Robinson Goes Spinning
While Charlie Smith was able to bring home an eighth-place finish, his teammate Mike Robinson Jr. wasn’t able to have the same luck as he spun late in the race before finishing 14th. Look for Lightning McQueen to turn around his luck this weekend at Sunset Speedway after scoring a pair of top-fives last season.