After their rookie campaign with the Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rods presented by Sauble Falls Tent and Trailer Park, Robertson and Co. Racing is ready to return, and be even stronger for this upcoming campaign.
Even before the checkered flag had flown at the Autumn Colours Classic in October, the team began rebuilding the Ford Torino that unfortunately got destroyed this past summer at Sunset Speedway. Though on top of the repairs required, they also went to work making chassis and mechanical improvements to the car so it’ll be even quicker when they return to the track.
“I would expect when we do get to the race track, the (No.) 74 will be a whole lot faster and I don’t mean by just a little bit,” Brandon Robertson said.
The changes all have one purpose – being able to run up front against the best, and perhaps be the one to take the top honors from reigning and three-time series champion Tyler Hawn.
“We’re going to see if we can unseat the king of the hill so far, which is Tyler,” Robertson added. “It’s good for them. Three in a row – that’s pretty awesome, not gonna lie. I don’t care if the series started off small, but last year in particular, we saw a lot of guys on a regular basis.”
While the work has been going in the shop, the team has circled a couple dates on the calendar that they are more excited for than others. Most of the field is excited about the series having two events scheduled for Jukasa Motor Speedway this season simply due to the speed that half-mile oval produces. Though for Robertson, it means even more as that’s home.
“I grew up racing there – like, my very first four years of driving a stock car, I had never been to another track,” he recalled. “The first time I went to Flamboro, I couldn’t believe how small it was, because I spent the first four years driving stock cars at Cayuga Speedway. I love that place; it is my home.”
The team showed promise there last season, with Robertson scoring a seventh and a fifth, despite having to borrow a car from Steve Book in the second event of the season.
“Going to Jukasa, I can’t explain how happy I am when I get through the gates there; I love it,” he continued. “I can’t wait to strap in the car every time we go there, beyond explanation. Whenever it is that we do get back there, we will be there and we will be fast. I do believe I learned a couple of things about the new track and the way these big cars run there. I know when we showed with the Torino the first race that we had the wrong gear and exhaust on the car. I also had the car set-up too tight. The car really needs to rotate through the center of the corner because you need to be fast down the straightaways.
“So we know what we need to bring back, and don’t get me wrong – other guys will be showing up stronger than ever when we get back as everybody is learning. But I highly expect when we return to that race track for us to be the car to beat if it doesn’t sound too obnoxious.”
Robertson went on to say that while he has not driven much himself over the past 20 years, rather turning the wrenches for the likes of Marty Monette and Jaeger McMaster in super stock competition, there’s a certain natural comfort he feels immediately at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
“As soon as I climb in the car there, I don’t feel like I’m at an disadvantage like some of the other shorter tracks where guys have 1000s of laps there,” he expressed. “ I feel like I can compete with anybody, and I made some mistakes there a couple times just because of a little bit of lack of seat time, but by the time we left there from the second race, I couldn’t wait to get back. I knew I felt as good as I did there 20 years ago, and that’s a big thing.
“When you come through the gates, and we all know that attitude is a good portion of what it takes to be good at this, besides all the endless hours and equipment it takes. But if you walk through the gate and you feel that you can beat anybody or be in that conversation, it does wonders for your self-confidence in that I’ll make more aggressive moves. Now that I know what to expect from fellow competitors, I’ll race guys harder side-by-side and take a few more chances.”
As noted, last year did not entirely go to plan in the team’s rookie foray in the series, destroying their primary car mid-summer. However, they were able to run the final three of the final four races on the schedule, thanks to Steve Book allowing them to drive his back-up car. Robertson took full advantage of that, placing seventh in the standings.
With one season under his belt, he notes the biggest surprise was how fast some of the cars were. While he knew the caliber of talent behind the wheel, he was surprised how strong some of the equipment was.
“We were really surprised, especially coming from super stock where we got run out of town because we were “too fast” and must have been cheaters,” he commented. “We showed up with the Hot Rod Series and thought most of the field were old tanks, then being a little bit better than a mid-pack car was a big surprise for us. I underestimated the equipment that we were up against, and now I’m not ashamed to say it.
“I knew how fast Tyler was going to be- there’s no mistaking that, and I am friends with Steve Book and for their limited budget, they work hard and there’s a lot of knowledge there. Steve proved it at the Autumn Colours Classic that he’s the best wheelman in the series right now, and that’s no disrespect to Tyler as I think Tyler is the second best wheelman.”
With the experience that he has under his belt not only from last season, but years involved in the sport, the biggest piece of advice he has for fellow racers – be humble, as he says approaching this season with that attitude paid off huge.
“We approached it very differently last year with some expectations on ourselves, but wanting to make sure that we were liked. It paid dividends,” he reflected. “We made friends all season long and I am going to say other than a couple small incidents, we made friends by showing up humble. I think the perception of us from our fellow racers changed last year, as I know when we first said that we were coming, there was some apprehension not just from fellow drivers, but I’m pretty sure the series itself because of the reputation that we have for being troublemakers, obnoxious. I can’t believe how well it worked out for us.”
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., Touchwood Cabinets, Sauble Falls Campground, The Fyre Place & Patio Shop, Ohsweken Speedway, American Racer, and Grisdale Race Products.
By: Ashley McCubbin