Even though it was a shortened schedule for the stars of the Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modifieds, the four events that did transpire brought a lot of thoughts to ponder as we look towards the future of the division and what’s possible.
If there was any doubt about the future of the OSCAAR Modifieds, the success of a trio of rookies should put that debate to bed. Each of these young stars who came from other forms of racing to try their form at open-wheel proved quite capable of being competitive.
Actually, one of them was able to get the job done with T.J. Edwards picking up the checkered flag in the season finale at Jukasa Motor Speedway after a heavy-weight battle with some series front runners. The success was no accident, either, as he scored a runner-up in his debut at Canada’s Crown Jewel and scored a sixth at Sunset Speedway in September. The only event he failed to score a top-10 was as a result of being involved in an incident.
Jake Watson does not have the finishes to show for what he did this past year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t count the past Mini Stock standout out of the conversation. In both events at Jukasa, he managed to run up front with the leaders, including leading a lap and sticking around in the top-five in the first event. If they can work out the mechanical gremlins for 2021, he will be someone to watch on a weekly basis.
Coltin Everingham got the dished the same hand as Watson, as mechanical issues saw the past Super Stock Champion have to spend a lot of time in the pits the first two events. He did cap off the year on a decent note, though, scoring a 10th-place finish at Jukasa.
When it comes to Andy Kamrath, you just need to list the statistics to understand how strong he has been since entering OSCAAR competition in 2019. 10 races under his belt with a top-five finish in each outing including seven trips to victory lane to put him second on the all-time win list. If that’s not enough, he had an average finish of 1.75 across the four events in 2020.
While it was proven that the king can be beaten as evident by finishing second and third in the last two events this year, it should not take away from success London Recreational Racing has been able to put together. You also have to know if they put together a full-time effort in 2021 that they will be one of the clear favourites for the championship.
Since his foray began in OSCAAR competition, A.J. Emms has been a consistent front runner, putting together 21 top-10’s in a row before the streak was broken after contact at Sunset Speedway this year. He has also checked a lot of boxes off along the way, highlighted by winning the series championship in 2019.
The Emms Racing team got to strike out another goal in securing their first win at Sunset Speedway in September. While the track hasn’t always been his best on the circuit, recent strides over the past two seasons have proven it was coming with four podium finishes in the last five events. They put it together, holding off Kamrath en route to victory lane.
Looking over his victories, Emms is one of the lone drivers who can say that he has won at almost every track on the tour – Peterborough, Sauble, Flamboro, Delaware, and now Sunset Speedway. The only thing missing now is securing a win at Canada’s Crown Jewel, Jukasa. He has ran well there, including a pair of previous runner-up performances.
While a lot of the conversation in relation to the front of the field and championship contenders as circled around a small group of drivers, that is no longer the case. If the 2021 season comes together as everyone hopes, it could be dog fight for the title amongst a group of competitors.
Although Kelly Balson did not reach victory lane in 2020, he’s no stranger to holding checkered flags in OSCAAR competition as evident with previous wins at Sunset Speedway and Peterborough Speedway. He also showed a ton of speed at Sunset, but a couple incidents saw him having to fight his way back to the front. He also showed he has the consistency to get it done, as evident by no finishes worse than sixth this year including a runner-up at Jukasa.
Each season behind the wheel, Dale Reinhart has steadily grown as a driver and improved his team, as evident by their victory last year at Delaware amongst a breakthrough campaign. He also showed speed this year with a pair of top-sevens, and led laps at Sunset. However, it seems bad luck has followed him more than anything as evident with two results outside the top-10 in 2020. If he can shake that off, or possibly find a lucky horseshoe, it could be a great story in 2021.
It’s always great to see drivers celebrating in victory lane for the first time, and it seems there is a group that are managing to inch closer with each event behind the wheel.
Jason Keen has made himself a regular on the tour, and showed signs of promise with a couple heat wins under his belt thus far. He also showed his diversity behind the wheel, in scoring a top-five at both Jukasa and Sunset this year. Now if he can just pick up the program a little bit, he could possibly hold that feature checkered flag for the first time.
Norman Newman proved his rookie campaign was no fluke, as evident by having speed once again in 2020 with a fifth-place finish at Sunset Speedway. There’s nothing that can replace experience behind the wheel, and continuing to get stronger finishes in each appearance at each track has been the name of the game. It’d be no surprise to see him score a podium finish in 2021, and he should be considered a dark horse to steal a win.
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