Sometimes when you stick a microphone in front of a driver’s face, you have no clue what they may say and a couple of times you’ll hear something that surprises you or gives you a bit of a perspective.
Throughout the 2019 season, I had the opportunity to speak to a bunch of different competitors. During those interviews, there were some quotes that stood out. So it seems only fitting we take a glance back through the year at what was said.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong in acknowledging the fact that the APC Series is a very strong competitive series. But, I would say aside from the APC Series and I’m really only talking last year, I think the OSCAAR Modifieds are really the best series in Canada and right there with the APC Series – except it’s a little more affordable.
“Last year, I thought the competition was – I remember being at Peterborough and looking around and seeing 10 to 12 cars that could win this race. Obviously, you’re talking Cory, Harper, Baker, and I didn’t even say (Gary) McLean yet whose been the most dominant guy in a modified since the dawn of time. But there’s also A.J. Emms, (Dale) Reinhart, and given the right circumstances Gary (Elliott) could pull one off. I remember thinking there’s 10-12 cars that could get this done.
“Now this year, it builds even more. (Shawn) Chenoweth was at the classic and he was quick, and I know he has a new car; I know he’s not running full-time, but when he does show up, it’s going to be quick. Of course, Gary is going to be quick and now (Ian) Bourque is going to do some limited stuff and he’s going to be quick. Jim Bowman is coming, and he’s not going to be slow.”
“It means a lot – not only to me, but my entire crew, and my family. My dad, myself, Ryan, and Peter Schotanus have put in a ridiculous amount of work so many years to get in this position and I was just very fortunate to have those people around me and capitalize on the opportunity that was given to me. So I mean, for me, it’s a big deal.
“Being in racing my whole life, you see guys winning championships. One of my heroes as a kid was Tom Walters, and to see the amount of championships that he’s won, that’s something that I’d obviously strive to me and elevate myself to that level. So starting off with an OSCAAR Modified Championship and it’s a great way to cap off a year where we didn’t expect to have these things happen.”
A.J. Emms on the 2019 series championship
“Some guys say one or two that they don’t like for various reasons, but realistically there is one sentient part of the equation in racing- and it is not the car or the race track. So the real problem with a given race track not being a favorite is the driver’s attitude towards it. We go to every track with the intention of loving racing so they are all my favorite.
“I really enjoyed Jukasa last year for the first time. I went there with my grandpa when I was a kid and it was larger than life. I would never have dreamt that one day we would have the opportunity to race on that hallowed asphalt.”
Gary McLean on his favourite race track.
“I’m at the age already that most people would’ve been retired. I’m 66-years-old when I buy a modified, and now I’m going to compete against guys 20, 30, 40 years younger than me. But I don’t care, because I haven’t lost anything as far as my driving ability. I still have good health and the heart of a 40-year-old so it doesn’t matter. David, my son, is a multi-time Pro Late Model Champion and can’t believe how hard I drive in the Modified. He says I’m really impressed in how I drive in the Modified, but that’s where I feel at home. I’ve ran open-wheel cars and I’ve ran full-bodied cars, but I’m at home in the Modified.”
“I feel this class has a lot potential, if not already, to be one of the top divisions in Ontario. The modifieds are so much fun and the group of people that surround our drivers and teams are simply awesome. I am thankful for our racing community that makes our racing family. We all help each other and welcome racers to grow while in the competitive environment.”
“There was a lot of really close and hard racing back then with all those guys. They were all hard racers and we raced night after night wheel-to-wheel, and we just had a great time. A lot of memorable moments there, even, outside of winning championships – just good hard racing.
“It sometimes can be a bit disappointing, but it’s a good feeling sometimes after a hard battle and finishing second to someone.”
Bob Franks on reflecting back to the hard racing through the years
“The track has a lot of history and has played an integral role in building racing as we know it in Ontario. I’m looking forward to having an opportunity to trying my hand at mastering it’s unique surface. Being there with the ISMA Super Modifieds is also a huge bonus.”
Jase Cornell on Delaware Speedway being the track he was most look forward to running
“It was definitely fun. At the start of the season, it’s never something that I’m thinking about. It seems about halfway through the year we’re always in the points, and then I realize this year that I might actually do it. Then coming down to the last race with the crazy battle between me and Harper, it was definitely pretty cool. It’s something that I’ve never got to experience so it was a lot of fun.”
Cory Horner on winning the 2018 championship
“We were so close to the front at a few races so we just need to bring that back with us to the races. We just need to have little more luck and not get spun out by others when we are in a top 3 spot.”
Mike Hearty on the key to a successful season
“It’s definitely a growing series with a lot of big names. A lot of competition where anyone can win.”
Chad Strawn on the competition level of the series.