From the very beginning to the last checkered flag of the year, it’s safe to say that Dan Price had a whirlwind of a 2017 campaign, with the craziness dating back to 2016/2017 winter time.
The original intention was to put his 1957 Chevrolet together after having it in the garage for two-years, using a drivetrain owned by Kelly Balson.
“(There were) no real plans for it other than the car deserved better than to keep sitting under a tarp in my back yard,” he told Short Track Musings. “I was hoping the hot rod series would get some traction and I’d have the car for that, some Saturday night Thunder car action at Peterborough or possibly some dirt racing were all possibilities. But things changed and Kelly needed the parts back and a tarp went back on it.”
Though in February when OSCAAR revealed that they would be making their dirt debut at Brighton Speedway, it threw a wrench in the plans as Price’s “best laid plans” were thrown out the window in hopes of making that event.
“I was now begging, borrowing, stealing and re-appropriating spares for my Modified to put it together for that race,” he said. “I wasn’t going to have it ready for the opener at Kawartha – the time and parts just weren’t there (or so I thought). Then Dave Gainforth called less than a week before that race asking for a personal favor to have that car there. Again new plan, doing double duty just wasn’t in the cards as that modified in itself is a big enough chore for our tiny crew so Derek (Henderson) was talked out of retirement and the thrash was on. That had now set the tone for the rest of the season.”
Price ran some of the OSCAAR modified events, while fielding the Hot Rod in every single of the series’ events in the inaugural schedule, with a season-best third by Derek Henderson in June at Flamboro Speedway. He was also out at some of the super stock events at Peterborough Speedway, too.
“It was a lot of fun and a TON of work to field two cars (sometimes both at the track at the same night) with a total of five different drivers taking turns at the wheels – Kelly took a turn in the Modified, Derek and Logan in the Hot Rod and Casey Cavanagh in a Super Stock race,” Price summarized. “I enjoy being a car owner almost as much as I enjoy being a driver so it really was a very exciting time. Seeing Derek back behind the wheel especially in one of my cars was pretty special after looking up to him when I first got into racing back in the 90’s, I feel responsible for getting him hooked again and I like it. Logan Shwedyk is a young man who races a Thunder Stock on the dirt and I figured why not give him a task of the pavement; he was incredibly excited and thankful being able to try something new.
“This community has brought me such joy, and made me so, so many great friends it’s nice to be able to do something to give back to it. The excitement and gratitude I saw in these guys (along with Casey) was the highlight of my season. Crashing and bending the Modified at Kalamazoo was the low point but it did allow the drivetrain to be sent to New York where Andy Jankowiak swapped it into his tour type/ROC modified to come race Autumn Colours so it wasn’t totally negative.”
Seeing Price out with the Hot Rods was no surprise as the car just fits naturally with the intention of the series from day one, and the inaugural campaign left Price “very pleased but not surprised” with how it turned out.
“As with anything new there was widespread apprehension at first,” he commented. “Once a couple of guys committed, went out on a limb and built cars along with those of us with existing cars that fit the rules got a handful of cars together and started this ball rolling those on the fences could see the direction things where headed and they could now build cars with confidence it wasn’t going away. It was good to see new cars showing up at every race as the season went along and catching glimpses of cars being built on social media, I expect big things in 2018 and beyond.”
With both the modified and 1957 Chevrolet in the inventory, as well as a new build on deck for Derek Henderson, Price’s schedule is always interesting for any fan to see where he will be each week of the summer. Currently – while admitting it is subject to change, he is planning to race full-time in the OSCAAR Hot Rod Series behind the wheel himself.
“I’ve repaired my modified chassis and sold it along with a large portion of the part to Rob Di Venanzo and purchased a more up to date chassis out of up state New York,” he added. “The off-season thus far has been dedicated to getting my own 57’ Chevy re skinned and race ready than fabricating a 1955 Chevy body for Derek and helping prepare his car for the season. I’m going to take my time and build this new Modified and it’s not going to be ready for the 2018 season.
“Kalamazoo being my favourite track is always on my radar. I’d like to give the Super Shoe Nationals a try this September with the ‘57 along with some Super Stock races I’m sure.”