After a long off-season, the OSCAAR Modifieds are ready to get their 2017 season underway this Sunday, May 21 at the 1/4 mile bowl-shaped oval known as Full Throttle Motor Speedway.
Last year produced a bunch of notable thrills for the open-wheel beasts, with a battle for the championship right to the end as Gary McLean picked up another crown. But who will get to call to hold the title this year? It all begins with this weekend.
Luke Gignac enters 2017 after a great rookie campaign that featured nine top-10’s, including a runner-up at Flamboro Speedway in July. With both events rained out last year at FTMS, this will mark his first trip to the bullring.
Gary Elliott has always been solid in modified contention, and last year was no exception with eight top-10’s, highlighted by a victory at Flamboro in August. In his last two trips to FTMS, he posted a pair of top-five finishes.
Dan Price endured some struggles last year en route to posting six top-10’s, highlighted by a fifth at Flamboro in August. He has had success at FTMS, finishing sixth in the spring of 2015.
AJ Emms capped off his sophomore season by winning the Autumn Colours Classic at Peterborough, which was just the icing on a year featuring seven top-five finishes. He had success in 2015 at FTMS, posting a pair of top-five finishes.
Cory Horner was solid last year with seven top-10’s, including a runner-up at Flamboro in August. He was strong in the fall of 2015 at FTMS, posting a runner-up finish.
John Harper visited victory lane once last year at Flamboro, along with scoring an additional five top-10’s for a solid campaign. Notably, FTMS didn’t treat him well in 2015 with a 13th place finish.
David Balych hopes to compete full-time after missing some events on the 2016 schedule. In the events he got to run, he posted four top-10s, including a third at Flamboro last May. While he has scored a heat victory at Full Throttle, the features hasn’t quite treated him well in the past.
Brian McLean could be the driver to watch this weekend after posting a pair of podiums in his last three FTMS starts. He scored only one top-five last year, though, finishing second at Flamboro in June.
Dale Reinhart hopes to score his first career top-five this year after putting together a pair of top-10’s last season in a limited schedule.
As the series’ regulars get prepared for the bullring, there are also a slew of rookies – with six drivers intending to run the full campaign this season.
Tim Tolton may be one of the most experienced rookies, having driven a variety of cars throughout the years prior to this season as his team looks “forward to a new challenge in a new series” as they try something a little different. Notably, he expressed hopefulness surrounding a positive start as FTMS is his home track.
Dave Hodgkinson makes the move to eight-cylinder open-wheel cars from four-cylinder modifieds, set fr the next chapter of his career that saw him start back in 1975.
Ken Hayward makes his return to racing competition for the first time in nine years, using a past super late model chassis from 2005 to build his modified.
Another driver returning back behind the wheel after time spent away is Jase Cornell, who hasn’t raced in the past 10 years. He made the decision to join the modified ranks as the open-wheel cars have always held a “soft spot” in his heart.
Marty Monette will begin his endeavor with OSCAAR driving a Craig Ellis-owned entry after having success in a thunder car at both Barrie Speedway and Sunset Speedway.
OSCAAR fans will recognize the name Wally Wilson, as he has spent the past two years racing as part of the OSCAAR Midget tours. After a pair of top-five points finishes with both the OSCAAR Midgets and OSCAAR Pro Midgets, he purchased a modified for 2017.
Beyond those mentioned here, there are other drivers that may show their face on Sunday so be sure to be in attendance to see these cars in action. Details about the event can be found at http://www.fullthrottlemotorspeedway.com.