After spending the past couple seasons as a crew member, Jim Blackwell is ready to get back behind the wheel and be one of the contenders for the 2020 Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rod Rookie of the Year Award presented by Ohsweken Speedway.
“I am really looking forward to it,” Blackwell said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been actively involved in a constant program. I’ve been away from stock car racing for over 20 years, and got back in it two years ago when I built Dan Rothwell’s car, and I’ve been helping Dan ever since. So I’m really looking forward to being actively involved – not only as a member of a team, but getting behind the wheel again.”
Blackwell has been hard at working building a 1965 Mercury Cougar to debut at Sunset Speedway in May, after the car and body were made available to him by Roger McGlynn.
“Roger and I have known each other for a long, long time, and when I decided that I was going to build a car for myself, I wanted to do a Ford,” Blackwell shared. “I started in Fords long time ago and nobody else was running a full-time Ford in the OSCAAR series and that was something that I wanted to do for myself, and the series. So the body – the ’65 comet body – was something that Roger had and wasn’t going to do anything with, so it was made available to me at a very good price if I was going to turn it into a racecar.”
Going into his rookie campaign, Blackwell is focused on making it each event, while being competitive on a weekly basis and enjoy the experience.
“It seems like a good group of people,” he commented. “In the last couple of seasons, I’ve gotten to know some of the people involved and it seems like a good atmosphere, whereas years ago it was a combative atmosphere. Today, the people involved with OSCAAR seem to be easier to get along with, and helpful. I’ve gotten to know some of the guys pretty well, and I look forward to competing with them.”
Like several drivers on the tour, he has circled the pair of dates at Jukasa Motor Speedway in June and September on the calendar.
“I think that’d be the more exciting place to go for me,” he explained. “I like Sauble Beach; I ran there many years ago, so it’ll be cool to go back to the beach and run – but probably Jukasa would be the most interesting place for me to go since they’ve rebuilt and repaved it; it’s fast.”
For Blackwell, he has been involved in racing, building his first race car back in 1968.
“I’ve been in, out, and around stock car racing for a long time,” he shared. “I’ve helped a lot of guys, built a lot of cars; most of the tracks, I’ve been to and driven on, so it’s been a lifelong hobby – except for the last 20 years. I was away from it totally for over 20 years until Dan and I got involved again two years ago.”
Looking through the years, he admits it’s hard to circle a favourite memory that stands out.
“There were a lot of ups and downs,” he commented. “Racing is a peaks and valleys sport – one minute you’re on a high, next minute you’re in the wall. I don’t know if I have a favourite moment. I just enjoy the experience, the atmosphere, being involved and participating – so I guess that’d be my favourite thing.”
Be sure to keep up with OSCAAR by staying tuned to the series website at http://www.oscaar.ca. Also, make sure to “like” the official OSCAAR Racing Facebook page, while following both the Twitter and Instagram accounts (@OSCAARRacing) to keep up to date on everything you need to know.
OSCAAR’s 2020 racing season was supported by several dedicated partners including Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC, Knightworks Design, Living Lighting Canada, Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., American Racer, and Grisdale Race Products.
By: Ashley McCubbin