Although the season was shortened for the Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modifieds presented by Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd. and The Fyre Place & Patio Shop, it was not without a lot of action. A couple familiar faces found their way to victory lane, while some new blood showed they are going to be part of the conversation for years to come.
The open-wheel stars kicked off their season in a big way, heading to Jukasa Motor Speedway for their first event of 2020. The time trial session had a small surprise with two new faces leading the way as Jeff Walt posted the quickest time ahead of TJ Edwards.
Their reign at the front of the field did not last, though, as Andy Kamrath wasted no time in making his presence known come race time. Taking the lead on Lap 2, he stretched it out to a healthy advantage by the halfway mark en route to the victory. If you’re a regular to modified competition, it’s no surprise given he had won the last four events of the 2019 campaign.
Edwards made good on his qualifying speed, running inside the top-five all day long en route to an impressive runner-up finish in his welcoming to modified competition. The 2019 series champion A.J. Emms also proved he wasn’t slowing down, either, making a climb through the field during the second half of the feature to round out the podium. Kelly Balson and Jason Keen completed the top-five, showcasing the diversity in competition as both of them were part of the equation last season.
Balson showed speed throughout the season, as evident in the second event of the year which brought the series to Sunset Speedway. He was the quickest in time trials, with fellow past winners Chad Strawn and Kamrath joining him in the top-three.
Kamrath would find his way to the front once again, though it took a couple extra laps this time around as the No. 89c was not in the lead till a restart at Lap 28. From there on, a smooth restart led the veteran to victory. Chad Strawn followed him across the finish line, showcasing he hasn’t lost nothing since grabbing a checkered flag at Sunset a couple years ago.
Though again, new faces came to light this event as well, with Craig Downey scoring his first career podium finish with a third in his second year behind the wheel. Cory Horner and Jeff Showler would round out the top-five, as the diversity in competition once again shined through.
More than anything, though, there were several drivers left wondering what if as their days ended early, whether via mechanical issues or contact. Dale Reinhart was one of those, as he led laps through the first half before running into issues. Balson also showed speed to be in the top-three, but a couple incidents relegated him to a seventh.
There wasn’t a lot of time to wonder what if, though, as it was a quick turnaround for the teams in returning back to Sunset Speedway just a week later. It was also a refreshing change of pace, as heats were utilized for qualifying for the first time in 2020.
With division heavyweights Kamrath and Emms each scoring their respective heat wins, it left everybody wondering what would happen come feature time. A restart at Lap 17 set the tone for the event, as Emms took the lead, and stretched it out to a healthy advantage. However, Kamrath was able to reel him in through the second half of the event, finding his nose right on the back of the No. 14 in the closing laps. However, it wasn’t enough, with Emms scoring the victory to break the stranglehold that Kamrath had held on the series.
Reinhart got his redemption from the week prior, running up front all feature long en route to a third. Balson also proved his strength, scoring yet another top-five with a fourth. Norman Newman was able to round out the top-five, showcasing that his 2019 rookie season was not a fluke.
The last event for the series saw them return to the crown jewel, with a trip to Jukasa Motor Speedway. Speaking of familiar faces, multi-time champion Gary McLean showed he is still someone to watch by laying down the quickest time in qualifying. Unfortunately, a blown motor on Lap 15 ended his night early.
Utilizing the notebook built earlier this year, combined with his experience in the weeks that followed, Edwards was able to get by Kamrath for the top spot on Lap 20 and did not look back afterwards as he drove to his first career victory. Balson would score a second, giving him the most consistent season of the drivers to not hold a checkered flag in 2020, while Kamrath rounded out the podium.
Familiar faces came to play once again this time around, with past race winner Brent McLean in fourth ahead of Jason Keen. Although he has yet to reach victory lane, the No. 18 is showing it could very well happen in 2021 with steady runs up front over the past couple years.
As shown through the season, familiar faces were able to find victory lane – however there was also a rookie that was able to accomplish the feat. It just means the competition is getting stronger with each race put in the books.
With 12 drivers scoring at least one top-five this year, it shows the diversity of competition is strong and the fight for the championship in 2021 will definitely be close right from the initial green flag to the final checkered.
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