As we wind down the year in celebrating the 30th Anniversary of OSCAAR competition, it seems only fitting to take a final glance back at some of the most memorable moments. So here are five that stand out in relation to the Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modifieds.
Race No. 1
The history books for the Modifieds began back in May 2012, with their first event taking place at Sunset Speedway as part of the Spring Velocity weekend.
It’d serve as a good starting place for the history books, with Gary McLean scoring the victory after out-battling Barry Newman over a series of restarts throughout the event. Of course, we know McLean’s routes go way beyond this – but more on that later. However, on this night in victory lane, he gave praise to his fellow competitor.
“That guy’s a class act,” McLean spoke of Newman at the time. “He cut me a lot of slack, a lot of times. Realistically, he was faster than me most of the time. Just a class guy. Raced with him a lot of times. He’s the guy to beat.”
The event featured 16 cars in total, as Brent McLean kept it all in the family with a third-place finish ahead of Justin Demelo and Brandon Crumbie. Both McLean and Demelo became regular fixtures in the series in the following years, scoring eight wins between the pair of them.
Race No. 50
It would only take three years to put 50 features in the books, with the monumental event being ran at Delaware Speedway on September 18, 2015. A familiar tale was told as Gary McLean once again found himself in victory lane that night, after taking the lead on the second lap.
Cole Powell placed second, arguably to nobody’s surprise given his amount of experience at the London-based oval. He also became a series feature winner in his own right, accomplishing the feat at Kawartha Speedway.
Seeing the Delaware regulars invade on the nights that OSCAAR ran there has become the norm through the years, and led to feature wins for both Demelo and Jeff Showler. Showler took it a step further in becoming a regular on the tour the past couple of years. Now with the half-mile set to possibly return to the schedule in 2021, history may quite very well repeat itself once again.
Race No. 100
Going through another 50 races took a little longer, with the feat actually being accomplished rightfully so during the 30th anniversary campaign this past year. The second date at Sunset Speedway on September 19 will be etched into the history books as the 100th Modified feature.
If you could have an event be forever remembered, the way this race day played out is quite close to the dream. A close race for the checkered at the end to offer a finish to remember, while having a stout field of competitors to keep things interesting all 50 laps.
With a strong qualifying effort, A.J. Emms was able to get out-front, but it wasn’t one of those simple drive away wins. The closing laps would see Andy Kamrath on his bumper, with a couple close moments as Emms managed to keep the No. 89c behind him to the checkered.
For Emms, the victory allowed him to check off another box in the accomplishments category in continuing the versatility of his six series victories to date coming at five different speedways. Though his place in the record books was solidified a year earlier, courtesy of the 2019 series championship.
5-Time Champion Gary McLean
Speaking of champions, Gary McLean has been discussed to this point, and rightfully so. No matter what page of the series record books you turn to, his name is easily found at the top of the pages. Let’s face it – you don’t become a five-time series champion just overnight.
To put his stamp on the series in perspective, he has scored 38 wins and 57 top-five’s across the 101 features ran to date, and that’s with having not ran every single event himself. He also is the only driver to hold the distinction of winning at every single track that has hosted an event, as well.
Iron Man 72
Through the series’ history, the modifieds have hosted some of the biggest talents in motorsports across the province. One of those was Gary Elliott, with everybody within OSCAAR being allotted the opportunity to give him a big send-off before he moved to Nova Scotia at the end of 2019.
The Iron Man 72 was put together in conjunction with series officials and Sunset Speedway in Elliott’s honor, with many unique aspects. Double features ran 36 laps in length to match his car number, equaling his age at the time in total. The amount of cars inverted from the first day to the second was also only eligible numbers fitting that bill – two, three, six, or seven.
The unique format presented a challenge to all the competitors, with Andy Kamrath rising to the equation as he was able to sweep both events over the course of Fall Velocity weekend at Sunset Speedway. Those pair of wins came during a domination period for the No. 89c which saw Kamrath visit victory lane on six straight occurrences across four different tracks.
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