With multiple years involved in sport, Jesse Kennedy has certainly done a bit of everything. It’s why heading into 2021 with the Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rods, he is taking it one race at a time.
“I have raced for a long time and trying to take it easy some, pick and choose which races to do,” he commented. “(I may) possibly start the season and if things go well, maybe I continue on and do full season. If things don’t go so well, back to pick and choose.”
When it comes to which event to run, Kennedy notes he does not get too excited about any tracks in particular.
“I struggled in the past with Sunset (Speedway), but think in this class I would be OK,” he commented. “Delaware (Speedway) would be the place I’m most confident. Glad to go back to Kawartha (Speedway). Brighton (Speedway) would be the most challenging, but I have raced on dirt at Ridgetown at least 4 times and had a blast. I do love the rest of the tracks; they all are unique.”
With eyes on trying to win each race he enters, the allure to the Hot Rods are simple – to have fun.
“The other thing is the nostalgic factor,” he added. “The cars of back in the day are not only cool, but bring back memories of when people first caught the racing bug, to feel a little bit of our youth again, maybe memories of times with family passed.”
Certainly with those goals in mind, though, he knows the competition will be tough in recognizing the amount of “accomplished drivers” registered.
“The guys that do the full series and always run up in the top five most likely are going to be the same,” he continued. “So I’ll say Tyler Hawn, Steve Book, and young Trevor Thompson has shown some speed; if Walters continues, he as well.”
When Kennedy is at the track, the familiar No. 10 will be there, even if hasn’t always been his number. The veteran says he began his career with 96 while his brother utilized 69, and used several numbers before settling on 10 in 2006.
“My Father had used this number on his jersey playing softball,” he explained. “He didn’t start playing softball until he was 32. I’ve got to say he was pretty good at it. He then went on to play Slow pitch and was the pitcher; if the Ball came anywhere within 10 feet he would snag it – such determination. So I figured I’d use the number 10 in his honour with the thought if I can be half as good and determined as he could in racing, I will do alright.”
His father was also the reason he got involved in motorsports to begin with, becoming a fan attending events with him.
“My brother then started racing at 16 in Delaware Street Stocks, which gave me the desire to drive myself,” Kennedy recalled. “My Father then gave me the chance as he did with my brother. I started at age 15 in the same class in 1985. I have taken a year off since racing at least one time during a season, which I believe was only one time.”
With the years of experience under his belt now, Kennedy has learned over the years the biggest thing is ensuring you have the right safety equipment, including a head and neck restraint.
“I had a full neck fusion done in 2017. and glad to say it was successful as the pain and headaches are gone after maybe 2002,” Kennedy explained. “I do have half range of motion and do a lot of therapy and exercise to maintain. The wear and tear of the little and major crashes over the years left me in pinched nerves. I believe if I had access to the Head and Neck restraints when I started, I would not have been in this situation.
“So it could save your life, and or save you from a lot of pain or surgery. How much is that worth??”
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