After getting his feet wet in asphalt oval racing, Dylan Sharpe will be making the jump into the ever-competitive Flamboro Speedway Mini Stock division for 2019.
“For the second year in a row, I have had a pretty “easy” off-season as the prep I was used to with drifting was quite more in depth, and also harder on the wallet,” he told SHORT TRACK MHSINGS. “Since selling my drift car, I have been enjoying spending some time with family and friends, and also having two cents to rub together for a change (cost of drifting is comparable to running a front runner latemodel, with none of the prize money and a ton of travel).
“(Also,) really excited to have my Mom out at the track as much as I can, she loves it as much as I do. . . ”
The Mini Stock class has always been on Sharpe’s mind, as he notes the amount of friends that he has racing in the division at the Hamilton, Ontario-based oval. However, he went the Pure Stock route intiially last year due to a good car came up for sale at a good price.
“At the time I had planned to turn one of the Integras I had into a Mini Stock but it was April 2018 and the car hadn’t been touched,” he recalled. “Fast forward to the Fall, a car I liked came up for sale and that was that. I had just taken deposit on my PS and like most racecars, one leaves and another comes. Excited to run with my pals.”
The decision also comes at the right time as the class has been on the rise in recent seasons, with upwards of 20 cars on any given night tackling the pair of features.
“Flamboro’s rules had some changes for 2019 and I think we will see a better mix of makes and models in the top-three, on what was a “mustang track” for some time,” he commented. “Hopefully we will see some people from other tracks come visit to stir things up, now that our rulebook is similar to other tracks. Its pretty incredible from what I have gathered in my research of how much the class has grown in the last five years. Always improving!”
Despite being his rookie Mini Stock campaign, he is hoping to finish top-five in the year-end standings at Flamboro Speedway, while scoring a top-10 in the invitational at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
“Also hope to get my new racing program moving and build some notoriety with the new car and make 2020 even better,” he added. “Expectation wise I think once I get a good preparation process and a good pit crew together, I can achieve my goals. My brief time with the car thus far has shown it works, and that I can make it work! I guess I could say I want to take home best appearing in MS this year. I hope people appreciate how committed to the look I will be!”
Sharpe got his first chance behind the wheel of the car at Frostoberfest, scoring a seventh-place finish overall in the year-end invitational. Notably, it also showed him that everything he learned with the pure stock would not translate the slightest to the new division.
“I had some good confidence in it thanks to some testing the day before with Rino Montanari (original builder of the car) and I felt good,” he commented. “I was a bit unprepared and unfortunately had a low fuel situation that really hosed me in the first heat. I thought I had it in the second, which was a wreck/caution fest; however I unfortunately got into it with Wayde Thorne and we drew the checkered caution and put us to the back as I was the “spinner” and he was the “spinee.”
“We both agreed we “won” and shook hands after. I just over corrected trying to get around some lapped cars that were in the middle of 3/4 and got into Wayde. Luckily neither of us got roughed up from it, I cut my tire and got a nice kiss, Wayde went for a 360! Finished 7th overall, which was awesome.”
The finish was the icing on the cake for a season that saw Sharpe have success in the Bone Stock class, including a dominating performance where he led all 50 laps of an invitational feature.
“Started pole and kept it out front the whole time,” he said. “Andy Wheeler was hard on my tail for a good 30+ laps and it was some of the best cat & mouse I had all year. Unfortunately around Lap 35, a bunch of cars got into a wreck, taking out any front runners that were coming for me. Wheeler lost a rad hose (Headgasket failure) and dumped water coming out of four and took out a bunch of people. Everyone managed to walk away and race again, luckily.”
Sharpe will be unveiling his 2019 ride at the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo in March at the International Center. The opportunity came about for Sharpe after “some great people have asked to have my car in their display. You’ll have to wait and see who!”