With each season that comes up in the Ontario short tracks, there is always a list of drivers that everyone is keeping an eye on with each other division, wondering how they’re going to perform.
When the fans and fellow competitors were asked about the Mini Stock class, there were ultimately 34 names that came up throughout the discussions – bringing us to this point. Each of those drivers have been ranked, with their final position on the list being determined based on a combination of 40% fan vote and 60% expert – the fellow competitors – vote.
As always, be sure to comment with your thoughts – whether positive or negative, and enjoy getting to know these competitors a little more.
34. Ron Jeremy
Ron Jeremy was mentioned courtesy of the fan vote, though remains a mystery to myself with no information to give you a proper reasoning.
33. Chris Allard
Chris Allard may have been out of the seat for a few years, but you cannot count him out as he gets ready to make his return to competition. He has visited victory lane previously at Sunset Speedway, scoring a victory in September 2016 after a pair of Mighty Mini checkered flags.
32. Johnny Paradzinski
Plans for 2021: Learn the new to me car and have fun with my family at the track while racing full time at Sunset Speedway and travels to as many specials as I can.
Goals: I’d like to be competitive during the regular season, as well as a couple top 5’s during specials. If all that can be achieved, I would call that a successful season.
What makes Mini Stock so much fun? The fact that these were once cars that got people to work, took people to soccer practice, and yet here we are driving 20 year old cars around a race track doing things with them that they were never intended to do. Also all the different cars and makes that take the track are pretty cool too
Who are you keeping an eye on? During the off season or almost all of 2021, some decent cars got sold to some bone stock drivers and other mini stock drivers so that will be interesting to see how they adapt. I’m my watch list is mostly the usual top contenders, 51- (Eric) Yorke is fast, and his cars always look good, as well as 23- (Tyler) Seaboyer and 81 (Samantha) Shaw, (Will) Gibbons in the 10 will always has solid runs where ever he goes, and (Warren) Paxton-33 and (Doug) Butler 10 will always be a threat when they enter the gate.
Although he has been out of the seat for a couple years, Johnny Paradzinski knows what it takes to win – as evident by winning the 2016 Mighty Mini Championship at Sunset Speedway, followed by a feature victory in Mini Stocks a year later.
31. Jeff Laflamme
Plans for the 2021 season: Race full time for Rookie of The Year at Sunset Speedway. If we have a covid season, then I will travel to any track that hosts a race.
Goals: Rookie of the Year and maybe even a couple heat races. A feature win would be awesome as well!
What makes Mini Stock fun? It’s always got exciting racing. Weather I’m in the car or watching, I have an awesome time!
Drivers to watch: Eric Yorke is by far my favorite mini stock driver since I started in racing, Ty Seaboyer – always fast at sunset, Chris Lebarron showed speed in 2019 with his Honda before having issues, and Chris Pendlebury showed some speed in 2020 at every track he went to.
Laflamme had some limited success last season, scoring a couple heat victories at Peterborough Speedway – which obviously caught some attention as evident in the fan vote. Though you could have easily ranked him higher when realizing he purchased Kevin Bridge’s Honda Civic, which showed speed at Flamboro all season.
30. Jake Watson
As Dylan Sharpe says, you have to consider Jake Watson as someone to watch because they always end up battling up front against each other. He wasn’t the only fellow competitor to mention the third-generation racer, as the driver of the No. 88 Mustang showcased his ability with a sixth-place finish at Flamboro this past year, despite adversity with carb issues through practice and an incident on-track. There’s also the three trips to victory lane from 2019 to take into consideration.
Perhaps the only thing holding Watson back from being ranked higher is the uncertainty many fans and fellow competitors have about the young driver’s program, and whether the focus will be on the mini stock or his Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified.
29. Nick Clarke
2021 Plans: I would like to attend some races here and there, mostly invitational events.
Goals: As long as I can bring the car home in one piece every week and race competitively, I’ll be happy. Obviously I’d like a few wins in there as well.
What makes Mini Stocks so fun? Having so many fast cars to race with, showing up to an event and seeing a good portion of the field that has a chance at winning makes it fun for me.
Drivers to Watch: I feel Scott Mast, and Bobby Tolton are great runners. Always have a shot at racing near the front.
As Brady Cox pointed out, Nick Clarke is a championship worthy driver and hence the mention on the list. Although his focus is on his Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rod, he usually is in the midst of the top-10 when the Mini Stock comes out of hiding.
28. Cameron McGlashan
Although he has not been part of the Mini Stock scene recently, Cameron McGlashan caught the attention of the fan vote with nine in total (2.5% of total) giving him a nod. Why? Simple – he’s a past Sunset Speedway feature winner and champion, so he knows his way to the front.
McGlashan admitted, though, you may not see him out this coming year as a result of the pandemic, and is rather taking “the time & money to remodel my house right now instead of investing into the car.”
27. Casey Cavanagh
Although initially not on the radar of many, a nomination from fellow list member Mike Nelson brings his name into the conversation – with a car being currently built out of Nelson’s shop. If the specs are anything close to what we have seen before, don’t be surprised when Cavanagh is up front, given his past success. He was ranked 22nd on the Top 10 Mini Stock Drivers Over the Past 10 Years, due to a championship at Capital City Speedway and an Autumn Colours Classic victory.
26. Curtis Stewart
As everyone spoke about the usual guys you see winning races, Scott McGregor decided to offer up a darkhorse – Curtis Stewart. The Pure Stock front runner believes the No. 6 will have a “really strong year” based on the changes he’s seen being implemented into the program.
In the 2019 season at Sunset Speedway, Stewart produced four top-five’s and 10 top-10’s, highlighted by a fourth in late July.
25. Chris LeBarron
As previously mentioned in this article, LeBarron’s nomination comes courtesy of LaFlamme, who noticed the speed in the No. 13 Honda Civic before mechanical issues ended his year early in 2019. Although he only competed in the first two nights, he was able to score finishes of fifth and seventh while winning a heat.
24. Cory McAllister
2021 Plans: Our plans for the mini stock are still up in the air until schedules are released, although our plan so far is to make as many starts at Sunset Speedway as possible and as well as many invitationals as possible.
Goals: Same as always – every night we unload, we want to win. With how hard our crew works and how well prepared the car is , I believe we should be in the mix always. They is always a great group of Mini Stocks out there, so it will be exciting to see where the 71 Mustang stacks up.
What makes Mini Stocks so much fun? Likely the best part of mini stock is the competition level. They are a lot of great cars out there, which makes for some good racing.
Who are you keeping an eye on? The cars I feel ya should watch are as of follows 1- Brian Wilson – Always in the mix, great car to race against and he’s due for a big win. 2 – Sam Shaw – I think her results speak for themselves but another very well prepared car as always I am sure she will be up front. 3 – Ty Seaboyer – You mention sunset mini stock and his name has to come up – great driver – great equipment guaranteed to be fast. 4 Doug Butler – not sure his racing plans but when he pulls that Nissan out its guaranteed to be fast!
Although the super stock has been the main focus of conversation for Cory McAllister, you cannot count him out when the Mini Stock does make an appearance. Ty Seaboyer is looking forward to those opportunities to battle with him, but knows “it won’t be no walk in the park.”
23. Bobby Tolton
2021 plans: Unclear with the uncertainty surrounding COVID, but we intend to dabble in some key events with the mini stock when I am not tied up with the Jr. Late Model
Goals: The same as they have always been – we want to unload a competitive car and have some fun! we don’t have the biggest budget to put towards the mini stock, so we will do the best we can competition wise; but there will be no shortage of excitement!
What makes Mini Stocks so much fun? I love being a part of the mini stocks because of the diversity of the whole division. the pool of cars in the province is represented by pretty well every major auto manufacturer. while their are some clear favourites each car has their pros and cons and that is what makes it great. everyone needs to be on top of their game and they need to find a way to get the most out of the car they have chosen. it’s not quiet as easy to “buy” a fast car as it in in some other divisions.
Who are you keeping an eye on? I feel the division as a whole will be one to watch. It always puts on an exciting show regardless of who is in the field. As far as particular drivers go, you always have the same handful of standouts at the front of the field. But the ones I like to watch are the guys (or gals) who load up and race wherever they can whenever they can. No picking and choosing what tracks they will and wont run at. No backing down from a stacked field. Those are the ones I like to watch. They may not win everywhere they go but they have the kind of dedication to racing that this sport was built on, and they deserve some attention for it.
Although a lot of people are more familiar with Tolton’s dirt outings recently, he does have a long tenure on the asphalt side and knows what it takes to hold checkered flags. As Nick Clarke pointed out, he’s “always has a shot at racing near the front.”