Derek Henderson hadn’t been behind the wheel of a racecar for 15 years, but a phone call from Dan Price to run his Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rod at Kawartha Speedway two years ago changed that.
“After three nights in his car, my girlfriend said we should own one of these,” Henderson recalled. “We met each other around at the race track, and got together 20 years later. But this time she said that she wanted to be an owner. Three weeks later, I bought one.”
Now entering the 2019 campaign, Henderson is ready for his second year with the division behind the wheel of his own entry.
“We feel much better about it than last year,” he said of 2019. “Last year was a learning curve for us again, because I hadn’t raced in 15 years or so when I returned last year. So it was a learning year. We made some changes over the winter and hopefully the car handles a little better.”
While stating that he won’t be running the full schedule, he is hoping to have fun and be competitive in the events that he is able to run this season.
“No matter where we finish, I want to feel like we were doing well – not out there struggling,” he explained. “So with the possible increased car count, if we finish 10th in a feature with 25 cars and I have to fight to get into 10th, we’ll be real happy with that.
“We’re also looking to have some fun this year, while making friends. Years ago, we enjoyed the racing circle when I raced – husbands, wives, everybody’s kids; it was fun years ago. So we’re hoping to get that rolling again.”
It is unclear at this moment exactly how many races Henderson will be attending this year, but you most certainly will probably see him at a least a couple of the Sunset Speedway events.
“I had never even seen the re-do of the track until last year; I never even went before then as a spectator,” he commented. “When I got there, I thought it was a neat looking place. Then when I raced it, and I thought it was amazing. Looking forward to going there again.”
Henderson’s excitement continues into the series in general, with all of the discussion that has taken place over the winter months.
“I’m pretty excited about the car count and the buzz on Facebook with people asking how many cars are registered and then saying they can’t wait to see them back at their favourite track,” he said. “It really looks like there could be a lot of cars out there if everybody manages to get them assembled. It should be good and if we could keep the rules even for everybody, it should be an awesome series.”
In looking at the field of contenders, he notes that five guys to keep an eye on including Tyler Hawn, Dan Archibald, Billy Alderson Jr., Rodney Rutherford, and Brad Martin.
“The other thing is we don’t know with so many new cars coming, either – along with piles of new cars being built for new guys,” he added. “Like, there’s 17 confirmed rookies and who knows who will be fast as they’re not necessarily new to racing.”
For Henderson, his interest in racing developed at a young age, as he spent every weekend at Westgate Speedway (now Peterborough Speedway) from the time he was a month old.
“In the 70’s, it used to be very cheap Saturday night entertainment for the family – so we just went every Saturday year after year,” he recalled. “Then my brother, he built an Enduro car and ran that for a summer. Then into the second summer, he ran thunder car at Peterborough – it wasn’t Westgate anymore. Then he quit, and I took his car and went to Mosport (Raceway). I ran one night at Peterborough, and then the following week, Mosport opened for their season and we went there as it was closer to home and never looked back.”
Over the years, Henderson has been able to make several memories at the track, noting his street stock championship was his most memorable to date.
By Ashley McCubbin