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.
22. Thomas Wunsch
2021 Plans: To race full time Mini Stock at Full Throttle. I want to try more events at other tracks if I get the opportunity.
Goals: Get out for early testing. I want to be as ready as I can be, when the first green flag drops. I hope to be competitive in the division.
Why do Mini Stock appeal to you? The popularity of it across Ontario makes it fun. You get to drive side by side with some experienced drivers. It is so cool that I get to be out there with top drivers and be part of the division. I love saying I drive a Mini Stock. I always get a big reaction.
Drivers to Watch: Isaac Dippel, Brian Wilson Sr, and Scott Mast.
As one of the youngest drivers in the province, Thomas Wunsch is already making a name for himself at Full Throttle Motor Speedway, including a fourth-place finish in the Dave Wilson Memorial 40 lap Invitational and winning the 20 Lap Dave Wilson Open.
21. Scott McGregor
2021 Plans: As of right now, my plans for 2021 is converting my old CRX Bone Stock into a Mini Stock and hopefully be ready for opening night, but unfortunately Covid is slowing down the process.
Goals: Just learn, learn, and learn. By the end of the season I’m really hoping to run with the big dogs but running just inside the top 10 is a realistic goal I’d think.
What appeals to you about the Mini Stocks? I’m really excited to be part of the mini stocks this year because of how much we can adjust with these cars. With the bone stocks, I was always frustrated with how little I can adjust the car if it wasn’t handling the way I’d like it. Also a bit excited that to race with more experienced drivers so I don’t have to fix the body parts as often.
Drivers to Watch: Everyone is talking about the typical front runners but I think Curtis Stewart will have a really strong year with the changes he’s doing. Matt Boyes bought a top running car and shouldn’t take long to find his way upfront. Johnny Paradzinski has a new car and is always one to watch out for in the past.
Scott McGregor’s time behind the wheel of a Pure Stock has been fun to watch, as he experienced success at Full Throttle Motor Speedway and ran up front at Sunset Speedway. Will that translate over moving forward? Stay tuned.
20. Tyler Junkin
Ranked eighth in the Top 30 Mini Stock Drivers Over the Past 10 Years List, everybody is curious as to how Tyler Junkin will fair when Peterborough Speedway opens their doors in 2021. Taking the words from Jeff Laflamme, the driver of the No. 41 has proven himself to be “one hell of a wheel man; racing him at Peterborough was a lot of fun.”
Although his last champion and Autumn Colours Classic victory came in 2015, it does not mean you can count him out of the recent conversations as he continues to consistently be a threat inside the top-five.
19. Warren Paxton
Despite COVID affecting everyone’s schedules for 2020, Warren Paxton still proved he can get it done behind the wheel in winning the second of two events at Peterborough Speedway. The checkered flag comes off a slew of solid runs throughout the 2019 campaign in the crown jewels, with a runner-up at Jukasa Motor Speedway and a fourth in the Velocity 250 at Sunset Speedway.
With recent success, combined with an experienced resume behind him with the 2013 Sunset Speedway Championship, expect the No. 33 to be a threat in whatever events he chooses to attend.
18. Ryan Oosterholt
2021 Plans: Full season at Peterborough if we’re aloud too.
Goals: To try to run up front and be a championship contender.
What appeals to you about the Mini Stocks? It’s affordable and fun.
Drivers to Watch: I honestly couldn’t tell you; we didn’t have much of a season last year so I’m not sure who’s doing what. Just have to bring our best abs hope it’s enough to compete.
After experiencing considerable success in the Pure Stocks, Ryan Oosterholt made the jump up to Mini Stocks at Peterborough Speedway and it’s been a full throttle ever since. A feature victory last year, combined with winning the Autumn Colours Classic the past two years easily makes him a driver to expect at the front of the field.
17. Cole Burrows
2021 Plans: Racing full time in the Jr late for one last season at Grand Bend Speedway, Sunset Speedway, and Varney Motor Speedway, along with starting his mini stock debut at Sunset and Flamboro Speedway
Goals: Jr late 5th track championship and some solid time in the mini
What appeals to you about Mini Stocks? Mini stock are the most fun, talented drivers and a great place to grow
Drivers to Watch: Will gibbons is the guy to beat in mini stock – clean racer and even cleaner car.
When it comes to looking at rookies everyone is excited about, Cole Burrows’ name quickly comes up in those conversations. His jump into the Mini Stock ranks is one of the most anticipated moves over the off-season, as he has been fast since getting behind the wheel of a Jr. Late Model with multiple victories and championships across the province in a short span.
16. Karl Sault
As Dylan Sharpe easily said, “Karl Sault has proven to be a force at Flamboro,” consistently part of the conversation at the front of the field. Despite last season being a shortened campaign, the No. 81 was up front in each of the races, including a trip to victory lane in July. The success just builds off a stellar 2019 campaign where he won the championship, multiple races, and Frostoberfest all in the same year.
Rich Schwartzenburg was quick to point out Sault had plans of traveling for 2020 before COVID-19 ultimately changed everyone’s game plans. So what will happen this year? It could be interesting if the No. 81 team does elect to do some traveling.
15. Shawn Taylor
2021 Plans: To continue to make gains with the new car. The postponed / reduced schedule in 2020 gave us lots of time to both finish the car and use the weeks between races to get some much needed homework done. A lot depends on things that are out of our control, so a schedule is TBD at this point.
Goals: The goal is always to win. A race car driver that doesn’t think they can win shouldn’t be behind the wheel. As long as we are in contention, anything can happen.
What is so appealing about Mini Stocks? I think the diversity in the field is what makes Mini Stock as competitive as it is. Both in terms of vehicles as well as drivers. If the hours are put in at the shop and the driver behind the wheel can get the job done, I believe any car could be a race winner. “Entry level” doesn’t mean easy by any stretch, the driver talent pool is very deep and the brains behind each car are extremely sharp. Showing up with anything less than 100% could mean not even qualifying for the feature.
Drivers to Watch: There are several. Every season it seems that there are a few guys who make the jump from mid pack to contending for wins and top 5s. Chris Pendleberry impressed quite a bit as a rookie to the division. Will Gibbons emerged as the car to beat every race last year. And you can never count out Andy Kamrath. Who knows, somebody could catch us all by surprise and become the new benchmark.
Despite a setback with a heavy crash to end off the 2020 campaign, Shawn Taylor has not allowed himself to be eliminated from the conversation in showing speed during the brief schedule that was put together in 2021. As we should know, you can never keep a former champion down for long.
14. Scott Mast
When you’re looking at front runners at Varney Motor Speedway, you can never count Scott Mast out of the equation. The veteran has certainly found his niche around the bullring, enough to earn some trips to victory lane – and a respectable ranking on this list. It’s not the first time the familiar No. 75 Mustang has been part of the conversation, either, as noted with his 19th-place ranking on the Top 30 Mini Stock Drivers over the Past 10 Years list.
13. Issac Dippel
Plans for 2021: To run full-time at Varney Motor Speedway, while trying Flamboro and Peterborough Speedway’s Autumn Colours Classic. May also get behind the wheel of a late model
Goals: 2021 Championship at Varney Motor Speedway and a top-five at ACC while hopeful of running some nice clean races, hope everyone goes home feeling like a winner.
What makes Mini Stocks so appealing? That all the cars are competitive. Being able to race at other tracks and all the special races, like the Dave Wilson Memorial which was new last year, before looking forward to competiting in it again
Drivers to Watch: Thomas being 10-years-old and gaining great seat time, Brian Wilson – a great driver with good experience, and Scott Schuleter was getting his car into good shape.
A steady force to deal with weekly at Varney, Dippel has established himself as a front runner with multiple trips to victory lane. He only raised his stock showing speed in the 2019 Autumn Colours Classic.
12. Dylan Sharpe
2021 Plans: Finally rebuild the car from the 2019 damage and run some specials at a bare minimum. I do have some dates to race my motorcycles and help my girlfriend with her drift car a few weekends, so it’s tough.
Goals: Ideally to pick up where we left off with some top spots. I would really like to top 3 at Jukasa as I have a bit of redemption to do.
What makes the Mini Stocks so appealing? I love mini stock because we somehow manage to get 20 different cars, 20 different drivers with 20 different skillsets in and out of the garage and 20 different budgets to go around the track within a second of each other.
Drivers to Watch: Chris Pendlebury has showed speed in a old car , fresh out the gate. Karl Sault has proven to be a force at Flamboro. Brian Wilson always seems to make his way to the front no matter the venue. Jake Watson because we always end up battling it out.
While he was not part of the conversation through 2020, Dylan Sharpe certainly has enough claim to be in the years ahead. He showed speed at Jukasa Motor Speedway against the best in the business before a late mechanical issue took him out of contention. He was also fast at his home track of Flamboro Speedway, putting together a couple trips to victory lane throughout 2019.