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 Pure Stock class, there were ultimately 61 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.
30. Nic Ramsay
2021 Plans: I will be moving up to the super stock division full time, with hopefully a few of the larger bone stock events in between.
Goals: Run when we can on off weeks of the super stock, hit some of the bigger events and pickup a couple more wins
What makes the Pure Stocks fun? The lack of horsepower and grip these cars have. Makes them a ton of fun to push to the absolute limit
Drivers to Watch: That can be a tough question. There are so many bone stock drivers that can win on any given night. For myself, when I show up to the track and I see Kris or Jo Lawrence, or Kris Khan, I know I’m in for a tough battle
With a runner-up at Flamboro Speedway’s Frostoberbest, Nic Ramsay proved he’s someone to watch in competition as that was the best of the best at once. Combined with a victory at Peterborough Speedway earlier in the year, he also showcased he’s not a one-track jack.
29. Zach Hatch
2021 Plans: Get as much time behind the wheel to get as much practice as possible and get more comfortable in my car as I am new to racing and the bone stock class
Goals: Continue to improve throughout the whole year and end the season as a consistent driver
What makes the Pure Stocks fun? It is an amazing entry level class that is easy to get into, but takes a lot of skill to do well in and offers a lot of room to learn and grow for me
Drivers to Watch: I believe Jordan Morris will be strong once again with his experience he will definitely be a front runner. I also believe Hailey McNicol will be very competitive proving last year she has no issue challenging a lot of experienced pure stock drivers in her first full year in the class so I believe by the end of the year she will be competing for a top spot.
Zach Hatch may have just started in racing, but he’s already catching attention virtue of his performances. Gaining more experience heading into year two, combined with a wealth of knowledge in the shop has all the indications of a breakout year for Hatch, as David Rockwood predicted.
28. Austyn Jennett
2021 Plans: Gain more experience and get more comfortable with my new car at my home track!
Goals: Get a few wins under my belt and get comfortable at Sunset Speedway
What makes the Pure Stocks fun? All the cars can be close in speed so there isn’t really one car that runs away with it every weekend so it creates good competition.
Drivers to Watch: Andrew Shilling will be fast this year and also Matt Boyes will be fast this year for sure!
With each season behind the wheel, Austyn Jennett has continued to show improvement – and that was even the case despite taking a new car for him to a new track in Flamboro Speedway. Now returning back to familiar territory (Sunset) with additional experience, a shift in the tide could be right around the corner.
27. Reece Bourgeois
2021 Plans: Just give it my all, whether we get to run a full season at Flamboro or get out to the tracks that do run events and not be scared to try harder be more confident out there.
Goals: To be successful at becoming Rookie of the Year and to not let the big guys scare me out there.
What makes the Pure Stocks fun? Everyone’s like a big family and we all stick together. If anyone needs anything we all pitch in to help them out and everyone welcomes you and really encourages you. On the track it’s every man/women for him/herself. We get bumped around pretty good out there but after the race it’s back to that track family fun.
Drivers to Watch: For sure Gillian Hils, Leo Labarbera and Kyle Lucas dominate out there.
Reece Bourgeois got her racing career off to a rough note, with a heavy crash at Flamboro Speedway. However, she got the bravery together to back behind the wheel – and showed speed in her return to the oval this past season. A season-best 16th is just the beginning, as it should not be long until she is battling inside the top-10.
26. Leonardo Labarbera
2019 Flamboro Speedway Pure Stock Champion. Does anymore need to be said? To be able to go up against some of the top drivers in the province all year long and win a title, you have to know what you’re doing. It becomes even more paramount when he scored two top-10’s last year, including a third, despite everybody invading Flamboro from across the province.
Now who is he keeping an eye on? His drivers to watch list includes Reece Bourgeois winning Rookie of the Year, with Rick VanKleef “giving everyone a run for there money. Also, RJ Croteau and Michael Kenny will be a fast time to go up against, and hoping double trouble Tyler Mayhew joins us again. Lastly, Machine Gun Megan Mitchell and Chase Mitchell are another pair to watch this year with all the Chevy power; can’t see what they can do.”
25. Jake Kelly
2021 Plans/Goals: Realistically, I plan to finish in the top 5, but my ultimate goal is to win the championship with my new setup.
What makes the Pure Stocks fun? The car counts and the people that are in the class are what make it an exciting and fun class to be apart of.
Drivers to Watch: Out of my peers, the ones that you’re going to want to watch in the upcoming 2021 season will be Steve Finnegan and Sean Kennedy!
24. Ron Parsons
Strong runs at Varney Motor Speedway have seen Ron Parsons become a face on the list – with nine fan votes, and a competitor saying he’s someone to watch. Their comments are back up with statistics, as he scored 20 top-five’s and 27 top-10’s in 2019, including a pair of wins.
23. Steve Finnegan
Any time you can finish in the top-five in your home track points, you are doing something right – and that’s what Steve Finnegan was able to accomplish at Peterborough Speedway in 2019. He then backed it up this past season with a third and a fifth in the two features – but the buck doesn’t stop there. Finnegan proved to be fast outside his home track, finding himself racing alongside Flamboro Speedway’s regulars in his lone appearance, before an incident took him out of contention.
22. Matt Boyes
When a new face comes into the division, it can sometimes take time to adapt and be apart of the conversation. Matt Boyes seemingly skipped that phase, becoming part of the conversation at Sunset Speedway in his rookie campaign. The 2019 season saw him score a pair of feature victories and seven heat wins, becoming a regular front runner. While the Innisfil, Ontario oval did not see Pure Stock action in 2020, Boyes continued to make a name for himself with a seventh-place finish at Flamboro in his lone appearance.
The focus going into 2021 may be on his Mini Stock aspirations – and rightfully so considering everything at play. However, any time he is behind the wheel of the Pure Stock, do not count him out of the equation.
21. Andrew Shilling
2021 Plans: Hopefully run a full program at Sunset Speedway, depending on the COVID-19 Restrictions.
Goals: Improve my driving ability and learn how to make the necessary adjustments on my setup. Also, my expectations is to have a really fun time with my team.
What makes the Pure Stocks fun? It’s a beginner program that allows you to begin your journey into stock car racing. It let’s your dreams of becoming a driver a reality.
Drivers to Watch: First of all, I would have to say my teammates, Karlie, Austyn and Shiann, because they are really improving and learning, just as well as I am. Another is Kris Kahn, a good friend of mine who is a very smart person and really knows his stuff. Other drivers to watch would be: Matt Boyes, Cheyenne Reed, Aundrea Lusk, and many others who are gaining tons of experience.
The 2019 campaign began rocky for Shilling, but shined through with potential as he gained more experience behind the wheel of a stock car at Sunset Speedway – as evident by six top-10 finishes. While this past year was not as flashy, Shilling proved capable of running with the best in the province with an 11th-place finish in his first appearance at Flamboro Speedway. Now returning back home and experience under his belt with the new car, it could be time for his first checkered flag to appear.
Stay tuned to meet our top-20 drivers to watch….