It’s no secret that all of the OSCAAR Modified teams have been working hard throughout the winter, and now it’s time for their dedication to shine as the first green flag will drop of the 2018 season at Sunset Speedway as part of the track’s Victoria Day weekend Spring Velocity special.
The man to beat for the past several years at Sunset Speedway needs no introduction as it’s OSCAAR Modified mult-time series champion Gary McLean. Dating back to 2013, he has won the past seven straight feature events, including last year’s Velocity 250.
Gary Elliott will be entering his 50th year of competition, and should be a driver to watch this weekend. He was solid on a weekly basis last year, posting no finishes outside of the top-10, highlighted by a runner-up at Sauble Speedway. Historically, Sunset Speedway has been a good track for him statistically with three top-six finishes in six starts, including a runner-up.
David Balych enters this weekend hoping to redeem himself, as the last three races of 2017 did not treat him well with three finishes outside of the top-15. He has performed well at Sunset Speedway before, posting two top-nines in five appearances.
A.J. Emms enters this weekend with momentum following a runner-up in the season-ending Autumn Colours Classic. Consistency was the name of the game last year for him, with only two finishes outside of the top-eight. The driver of the No. 14 Modified has had success at Sunset previously, scoring a ninth-place finish in August 2015.
Sault St. Marie native Mike Hearty made a couple appearances last year, and plans to do the same once again. The partial schedule has worked in his favor, following three sixth-place finishes in 2017. He’s hoping to avoid trouble this weekend so he can score his fourth straight Sunset top-10, following a track-best fourth in September 2015.
Cory Horner enters this weekend with confidence as he finished the year off with three straight top-five finishes. He knows how to get around Sunset Speedway, posting three podiums in four starts.
Chris Milwain has shown a ton of speed in OSCAAR competition, but also knows how to find bad luck as last season saw him post just eight top-10’s in 12 races. He could get the job done, following a third-place finish last September at Sunset.
Luke Gignac enters this year full of confidence as he won his first series championship last season with just two finishes outside of the top-10 throughout the season. By the way, that streak of success included a runner-up performance at Sunset Speedway.
John Harper will be looking to start off the year on a good note as he wasn’t able to complete the year that well, wrecking in the season finale at Peterborough Speedway. He has been solid in both of his Sunset Speedway appearances, scoring a fifth and a seventh.
Dale Reinhart is hoping to build off last year’s success as he posted just one finish outside of the top-eight throughout the season. Sunset Speedway was one of his highlights, too, courtesy of a fourth-place performance.
After watching Aaron McLean take the reins of the No. 47 Modified last year, it will be veteran Brian McLean back behind the wheel in 2018. That means only one thing for the competition – watch out.
Jase Cornell will be entering this weekend looking for a good run, having scored four top-10’s in the last six OSCAAR events. Notably, his debut at Sunset Speedway didn’t go as hopeful as promised, with a 15th-place finish last year.
After picking up a career-best finish with a ninth at Sauble Speedway last year, Wally Wilson will be hopeful of scoring a second top-10 this weekend. he was solid last year, posting a 16th-place finish in his first Sunset Speedway appearance.
After running a pair of events last year, Ken Hayward will be committing to the full schedule for the 2018 campaign. He was solid last year as he showed speed with a fifth-place finish at Flamboro Speedway.
Marty Monette had a roller coaster season last year, and will hope to see Sunset Speedway be the sight of his second career OSCAAR top-10.
After taking a year off, Chad Strawn will be back behind the wheel of a modified in 2018. Expect him to be a driver to watch, as he is a past OSCAAR feature winner. Notably, he scored a fourth-place finish at Sunset Speedway in 2015.
His teammate Brad Stevenson should be fast as well, following a third-place finish at Peterborough in 2016. Last year he made a pair of OSCAAR starts, but neither of those panned out as well as predicted.
Marshall Schrenk entered the OSCAAR scene last year with four starts, and hopes to improve upon his season-best eighth-place finish.
Mark Gordon is a veteran in racing, and will be someone to keep an eye on despite his best finish last year being a seventh at Peterborough Speedway.
Duane Cinnamon will hope to have some good luck this time around, following a 23rd-place finish in his lone OSCAAR appearance last year at Kawartha Speedway. Notably, he has a career best eighth-place finish in series competition.
The Spring Velocity will also be the sight of four rookies making their debuts – Jason Keen, Jason Bowden, Tyler Di Venenzo and Jeff Showler.
Keen is no stranger to Sunset Speedway, having visited victory lane there multiple times in the Canadian Vintage Modified ranks. Bowden also knows his way around the speedway, given his experience in Vintage Modified competition as well.
For Di Venanzo, it’s a whole different ball game for him as he will be making the jump to modified competition after success in the go-kart ranks. Showler, meanwhile, is no stranger to the modified scene, as he made a couple OSCAAR starts at Delaware Speedway a couple years ago, scoring a top-five along the way.
Beyond those mentioned here, there are other drivers that may show their face at Spring Velocity so be sure to be in attendance to see these cars in action.
The OSCAAR Modifieds will be racing at Sunset Speedway on both Sunday May 20, and Monday May 21. They will qualify on the 20th alongside the OSCAAR Hot Rods, while full shows are completed for the APC Auto Parts United Late Models of Ontario Tour and Outlaw Midgets. The Modifieds will then run their feature on the 20th, as features are also ran for all three divisions of the Great Lakes Concrete Series, Bone Stocks, Ontario Legends Series, OSCAAR Hot Rods, and OSCAAR Pro Sprints. Full details and pre-sale tickets can be found at http://www.sunsetspeedway.ca.
Fans are encouraged to check out the OSCAAR website at http://www.oscaar.ca, while following the series across social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
By Ashley McCubbin