A.J. Emms Scores OSCAAR Modified Feature Victory at Sauble Speedway

There’s no denying this OSCAAR season has been filled with some interesting highlights thus far, and you could add this past weekend’s race at Sauble Speedway to the past. After the race leaders got together battling for the top spot in the closing stages, A.J. Emms got through first, picking up the victory on Saturday.

Luke Gignac won the opening heat for his fourth of 2017 ahead of Chris Milwain, James Horner (filling in for Cory Horner), Tim Tolton, Cliff Hodgkinson, Wally Wilson, and John Harper.

A.J. Emms won the second qualifier for his fourth of the year ahead of Ken Hayward, Matt Barton, Brent McLean (racing for Aaron McLean), Dale Reinhart, Rob Di Venanzo (filling in for Gary Elliott) and Jase Cornell.

Brent McLean won the third heat for his first of 2017 ahead of Barton, Hayward, Milwain, Hodgkinson and Tolton. Notably, Tolton started up front but crossed the line in seventh after motor issues, which would see him fail to start the feature.

Luke Gignac went for the daily double in the last qualifier ahead of Harper, Emms, Di Venanzo, Cornell, Horner, Wilson and Reinhart. The heat didn’t start off smoothly, though, with Horner spinning off of the second corner, collecting four of his other competitors in the aftermath. Horner was the only driver to sustain enough damage to cause him to miss the feature later on that night.

Speaking of the feature, Ken Hayward jumped out to the early lead after starting second ahead of Chris Milwain, Brent McLean, A.J. Emms, Luke Gignac, Rob Di Venanzo, Dave Hodgkinson, Dale Reinhart, Marshall Schrenk, and Jase Cornell. John Harper started up front in the feature, though fell back to 11th in the early stages.

Unfortunately, Milwain’s strong run early up front came to an end when he went for a spin in turns three and four.  Off the drop of the restart, Hayward continued to lead, with McLean moving into second ahead of Emms and Gignac. McLean would find himself all over Hayward’s bumper for the lead, looking for a way by, but unable to make it happen before the second caution flew for Schrenk’s spin in turn two.

The restart, coming around the halfway point, saw Hayward and McLean battle side-by-side for the lead, though Hayward managed to hold the edge to keep the top spot. McLean didn’t let him get away, though, as he continued to look left and right over the course of the run, searching for a way by.

Behind them, Emms continued to run third ahead of Gignac and Reinhart, with Milwain back up to sixth after his spin. Barton ran seventh ahead of Di Venanzo, Harper, Hodgkinson, Cornell, Schrenk, and Wilson. The race held a solid green-flag appearance, with most of the field single-file, till the third caution flew in the late stages as a result of Reinhart going around in turn two.

Restarting with six laps to go, the battle for the lead picked up between Hayward and McLean. The pair ran side-by-side, with contact happening as they came to the flag stand, resulting in both cars crashing. Unfortunately, the pair also collected a couple others – Gignac and Milwain – in the process.

The feature would be called at that point, with A.J. Emms getting credited as the race winner as he was the first driver in the running order not deemed involved in the accident. It marks Emms’ first feature victory of 2017, and his seventh top-five in eight races.

Matt Barton finished second for his first top-five of 2017 in his second start of the year, with Rob Di Venanzo placing third in his first start of the season. John Harper finished fourth for his fourth top-five of 2017, with Jase Cornell in fourth for a career-best finish.

Cliff Hodgkinson finished sixth to tie his career-best finish, with Dale Reinhart in seventh for his eighth top-10. Marshall Schrenk and Wally Wilson finished eighth and ninth, respectively, both earning career-best finishes, with Brent McLean rounding out the top-10.

Ken Hayward finished 11th in his second start of the year, followed by Luke Gignac in 12th with his first finish outside of the top-10 this season. Chris Milwain finished 13th for his second finish outside of the top-10 in 2017, with James Horner and Tim Tolton rounding out the field.

The points remain tightly packed together with three races remaining this season as A.J. Emms takes over the top spot, just four points ahead of Luke Gignac. Cory Horner now sits third, just 16 points back, followed by Chris Milwain and Gary Elliott.

The next race for the OSCAAR Modifieds is at Sunset Speedway on September 23 and 24, as part of the track’s Velocity 250 weekend. Stay tuned to OSCAAR’s website (http://www.oscaar.ca) and Sunset Speedway’s website (http://www.sunsetspeedway.ca) for details surrounding the event.

Be sure to follow OSCAAR on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/OSCAARRacing, along with following the series on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/oscaarracing. Also, be sure to like the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/oscaarracing/.


Race Report by: Ashley McCubbin / Photos Courtesy of T.W. Robarts Photos.

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