Sometimes when you stick a microphone in front of a driver’s face, you have no clue what they may say and a couple of times you’ll hear something that surprises you or gives you a bit of a perspective.
Throughout the 2021 season, I had the opportunity to speak to a bunch of different competitors. During those interviews, there were some quotes that stood out. So it seems only fitting we take a glance back through the year at what was said.
Amanda Balson shared her racing beginnings, which began through racing Bob Phinnemore’s car in 1998. That led to buying her own car, and flash forward 22 years, battling in the OSCAAR Hot Rods with her familiar No. 16 on the door. The reason goes back to her father as she said, “My dad started racing in the late 70’s,” she recalled. “when he was faced with choosing a number, he chose his address – 16 Murray Drive in Aurora. Since then, it’s been our family number. I’ve worn it on all my sports jerseys and race cars.”
“Why? Because we can. Nobody else has one and it’s unique. I don’t know if we’re going for fan favourite, but we’re going recognizable. There’s a few cars out there that look like late models with an old style roof on it, but we’re going for identifiable from five feet or two feet away. We want people to look at it and say, ‘That’s an El Camino; that’s cool’. From what we can tell in the research we’ve done, there isn’t another El Camino running circle track anywhere in Canada – I don’t want to say anywhere in North America as we found one that used to run in the States somewhere a while back but that’s the only one that we can find. If we’re the first – that’s amazing.” – Bill Brekelmans on the decision to run an El Camino
“The caliber of drivers is excellent – I’ve seen that. There’s guys that have raced everything throughout the province in the series and have beautiful cars, great equipment. I think (series president) Dave (Gainforth) and all of his people at OSCAAR have done a really good job of keeping the drivers motivated even all the hurdles. You always hear from Dave all the time – the e-mails, always in constant with all of us. I am always in contact with Dave all the time. He followed our build really close – he was seeing a lot of pictures before anybody else was seeing them. His interest in each and every one of us as drivers and car owners is what has driven the success, because it feels different than any other racing I’ve done when it comes from the feedback from Dave as a racecar driver and car owner. It’s nice to have the interest, and he’s not just the guy that gives you your payout at the end of the night or gives you shit when you’ve done something. He’s involved in all of it from top to bottom and it makes a big difference. It’s made this deal what it is – it’s huge.” – Brandon Robertson
“I think people appreciate what people bring out and what they want to show off in the different body styles. There are so many different vehicles that can be put in the series, and they’re neat to see. The cars are much like the old late models of the late 60s, early 70s. It almost offers a rebirth with some of these guys, and a good example is Peter Schotanus. I work pretty closely with Peter – he gives me a lot of help and direction. He really, really enjoys the series, too. He’s always enjoyed the sport and been really creative, but I think this is kind of a showcase for him, as it is for a lot of other guys, too.” – Dan Rothwell
“Well, we’re looking at and going and having some fun. It’s pretty much a family deal, in having my two sons on the crew, and my brother and his sons, and a couple buddies if they can get some time off work to come out and help out. We’re just looking forward to getting out and having fun with the new project and going and playing. Been looking forward to this for a while. I like the traveling part of it, as I learned with the super late model with my brother a few years back. So it’s not the same track all the time; that makes it fun. It’s also a new group of guys, as there’s a couple of guys I’ve raced before – Rob Starr, Jesse Kennedy, so we’re looking to have some fun.” – Dave Evison Sr.
“I’ve run a lot of different divisions, been good competition in all of them. You always have to bring your A-Game – that’s the bottom line. The only thing you worry about going in with a bunch of new faces is what is going to happen on the track, what type of driving style the other guys have. With the top-eight with the way they were today, I wasn’t worried about that group, that area so it kind of worked out.” – Jesse Kennedy after winning at Sunset Speedway in July
Jeremy Taggert recalled his first career win at Delaware Speedway, in saying, “It took me 17 years. We were always a very low budget team and we were finally able to get a little extra money and put it into the car. We ran two years in a row to where we finished second in points with no wins and then finally the third year, we were able to get a win. That was probably the highlight of my career so far. Then we raced Late Models at Delaware and were able to get a win – just a heat win but it was still a big moment for us.”
“I have been wanting to get into the OSCAAR Hot Rod series since 2018. I love the idea of touring to different tracks. I haven’t had a chance to run most of the tracks currently on the schedule, and this series is a great way to do that.” = Kyle Fetterly
Stay tuned for part two with even more quotes