When Flamboro Speedway announced the idea of doing their “STOCK” Car Nationals, it caught the attention of everybody in Ontario.
If you haven’t heard, the Hamilton, Ontario-based oval stated they’re putting a pair of events together – June 10 and July 8 – with both events featuring triple 50 lap features for the divisions on hand with 30 pure stocks, 30 mini stocks, and 24 super stocks set to start their respective features. The field will be set virtue of time trial qualifying, with a last chance qualifier possibly being held. There’s plenty of dollars on the line, too. As long you qualify for the event, you are guaranteed $60 each for Pure Stock, $100 for Mini Stocks and $200 for Super Stocks; each of the respective overall event winners will each earn atleast $1000. The rest of the payout structure has yet to be announced, but will use a graduated pay scale through the field.
While that alone generated discussion across the province, Rich Schwartzenburg has upped the stakes in a huge way for the Mini Stocks. Since the announcement, he has been rallying the troops together to increase the payout for the mini stocks – from lap sponsors to contingency sponsors, the purse has only continued to climb. When Short Track Musings initially shared his initiative, there was over $6800 available for the Mini Stocks.
Recently, Short Track Musings caught up with Schwartzenburg to find out more behind the initiative and event.
SHORT TRACK MUSINGS: How did you come up with the idea to begin putting together lap sponsors, etc?
RICH SCHWARTZENBURG: When John Casale announced at the meeting he intended to do three big money races at Flamboro this year June 10th, July 8th and Frostoberfest, it was a huge shot in the arm for Pure Stock and Mini Stock divisions. The idea was $20 a lap for Pure Stock and $25 for Mini, but once I posted on social media, it sort of took on a life of its own and within about 10 days all 50 laps had sold out plus an additional $1000 in contingency sponsors.
To answer the question, though, I would say a hybrid of the Frequent Flyer event a few years back and the APC contingency program was the basis of the idea. Now I have my sights set of getting a name sponsor for the event and adding a few more contingency sponsors (best appearing, hard charger, fans choice, hard luck etc.).
STM: What does it mean to you to see the support from everybody almost immediately?
RICH: When the first two guys who reach out to you are Ken Spira and Mike Schimdt, you’re off to a great start as very few guys do more for the sport in southern Ontario than those two. Then it was great to see Flamboro drivers and staff get behind the idea and show support for the event. The part than got me is when the folks from the other tracks started to jump on-board. Clinton Geoffrey Kruchka puts up cash for the top Ohsweken driver, Peterborough Driver Donovan Price sponsors the top female driver, Sunset driver Dave Middel sponsors a lap, Full Throttle you have Brian and Corrie Wilson sponsoring a lap, and the list goes on. I think once you saw that type of support so quickly, I know this has the potential to be something special.
STM: What does it mean for you to have a race of this magnitude to run next season at your home track?
RICH: It’s huge! The energy around Flamboro is the best it’s been in years. John & Frank Casale have put faith in their team with Doug Leonard, Gary Colling and Glen Hils, and it shows they took a few steps forward last year! If putting $1000 to win for Pure Stock and Mini Stock as well as $1,500 for Super Stock isn’t showing faith in your drivers, I don’t what else they could do. The track has put up the money, done their best to schedule around what proves to be action packed summer of short track racing in the province, and opened its doors to showcase the best drivers in Ontario. Now it’s up to the drivers and fans to make these events a success!
STM: It’s early, but who do you feel will be the five biggest guys you will have to contend against for the win?
RICH: It will be interesting to see who shows up when you put an over $8,000 total purse on the line for a single race.
The obvious answer is Andy Kamrath as he was in a different stratosphere at Frostoberfest last year, but my understanding is he will be chasing the thunder car money this year. So my first pick would be Scott Mast; he had that car on rails last year and grabbed a ton of features at Full Throttle. A guy that’s underrated like Shawn Taylor (No. 76, pictured right) had sub 18.0 seconds laps last year at Flamboro, and if he can keep the mechanical gremlins at bay over 50 laps will be thick of things for sure.
I read somewhere that Eric Yorke was intending to do a touring schedule this year; as a NASCAR Points Champion and Defending ACC Champ, he certainly has that Nissan figured out. Russ Aiken has four straight championships at Flamboro, but I can’t remember him getting a crown jewel race yet; maybe he is overdue especially at a track he has been so dominant at.
Who do put at number five? Gilbert, Ditner, Dalla Riva, Tolton, Wilson, Young, Montenari, Bridge, Paxton, Shaw, Strutt, etc. – too tough to call.
If you’re looking to sponsor the biggest Mini Stock race in the province next summer, send me a message on Facebook or contact Ashley for my e-mail. This event has all the eyes of the racing community on it so it will be interesting to see who wants to be part of it all.
Stay tuned for the second part of CATCHING UP WITH…..Rich Schwartzenburg as we discuss his 2017 campaign at Flamboro Speedway.