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, fellow competitor vote, and success last season.
As always, be sure to comment with your thoughts – whether positive or negative, and enjoy getting to know these competitors a little more.
24. Shawn Solomon
2021 Placing: N/A
2022 Plans: Go out have fun and put on a good show for the fans and sponsors while running the full schedule at Peterborough speedway, and possibly making a run at Frostoberfest and Autumn Colours classic
2022 Goals: Learn the class and hopefully be competitive. It would be nice to win a few heats, maybe a feature and possibly rookie of the year. But with the competition level at Peterborough Speedway and with Chris Tubman making the move to mini stock as well, those are some pretty lofty goals. So my expectation is to learn, have fun and hopefully make my sponsors proud.
Drivers to Watch: Locally – Jeremy Kelly, Chris Tubman, Ember Junkin, Brock Baker, Brad Lavalle. Provincially – Karl Sault, Gillian Hils, Will Gibbons, Eric Yorke, Josh Bullen.
Most Memorable Moment: That’s a really tough one and maybe it’s recency bias, but winning my first feature and the Points championship on the last night of the season last year definitely stands out.
After winning the 2021 Bone Stock Championship at Peterborough Speedway, Shawn Solomon is set to make the natural progression up the racing ladder to the Mini Stock division. It will be interesting to see how the swap goes, as he was a weekly front runner in Bone Stocks with podiums at both Peterborough and Flamboro Speedway.
Cole Burrows utilized his rookie campaign to gain experience at a couple different tracks across the province, running races at Sauble Speedway, Sunset Speedway, and Flamboro Speedway. Despite being young and coming out of Jr Late Models, he showed speed in each of his appearances including a couple checkered flags at Sauble.
22. Rob Crick
2021 Placing: N/A
2022 Plans: Peterborough full-time but also travel
2022 Goals: Get a checkered flag
Drivers to Watch: Chris Tubman, Jeremy Kelly, Ryan Oosterholt, Kevin Strutt and Ember Junkin
Most Memorable Moment: Winning a feature in my rookie year in bone stock and in mini stock was not having a engine blow up on me last season
Rob Crick showed speed last season at Peterborough Speedway, as evident by a pair of feature top-10’s and six heat top-five’s.
2022 Plans: Get behind the wheel of my new car we built, painted in the colours picked out by my 4 year old.
2022 Goals: To be as competitive as we can being a rookie. Lots of learning to do, but we’d like to win a feature and hopefully do well in the points, maybe compete for rookie of the year
Drivers to Watch: Ryan Oosterholt – not sure what his plans are but the boy can drive he’s a threat every week. My teammate Rob Crick is going to have a excellent year; I spent last year working on his stuff making him better so he’s one to watch. Jeremy Kelly is so consistent and he’s a wheel man someone I’ve tried to learn from definitely a threat. If he can calm himself down and take care of his equipment, I think Jeff Laflamme will turn the page and start winning races; he has good equipment so you have to watch old fireball. Karl Sault is bad fast wherever he unloads – he proved that at ACC last year; you got a keep Karl close.
Most Memorable Moment: Finishing second in points two years in a row, multiple feature wins, as well as a second and third at ACC are all huge in my career
Another driver known for his Bone Stock success, Chris Tubman will be hopeful of keeping the tradition of trips to victory lane and consistency rolling up to the Mini Stock class.
No matter when we’re doing these lists, whether drivers to watch or best drivers over a period, the familiar No. 75 Mustang always make an appearance and for good reason. His last season of competition at Full Throttle Motor Speedway saw him park it in victory lane on a couple occasions, alongside past Flamboro Speedway success.
19. Brock Baker
2021 Placing: N/A
2022 Plans: Race at Peterborough speedway full time and hopefully travel.
2022 Goals: Get some feature wins and finish in the top-five in points again. I was very excited with how I ran last year and I think I can do a bit better this year.
Drivers to Watch: Jeremy Kelly. Ryan Edwards kiss. Kevin Strut. Shawn Solomon. Brad Lavalle.
Most Memorable Moment: Winning the Young Guns event in 2021.
As Brock Baker mentioned, his victory in the 2021 YoungGuns Showcase at Peterborough Speedway was huge. It put his name alongside many others in the province, as the event has seen some of the biggest stars of the division visit victory lane. On top of that, though, he had a solid rookie campaign at Peterborough in 2021 with six top-10’s, including a runner-up on August 14.
18. Will Gibbons
2021 Placing: 2nd
2022 Plans: Focus on my son’s debut in the Jr Late Model program and do a bit of traveling with the CRX in Ontario and a few races in the states with the new car.
2022 Goals: Get my son out there and have some fun with his first year racing, (but also) winning the first race with the new car would be pretty sweet and should (not) be a big issue as we do not usually unload junk off our trailer.
Drivers to Watch: The drivers I like to watch are the ones who unload and you can see they are in it to win it and have done their homework all winter. That always shows the first night out and I like to watch and see that kind of attitude. It always amazes me who randomly steps up there game.
Most Memorable Moment: Definitely Jukasa Motor Speedway – the entire experience was amazing in 2019. Oh, and that time I won at Sunset Speedway then got dq’d for an illegal but not illegal part, and then they gave the win to Jeff – then I protested it and the win went to the 15 car (Charlie Smith). That’s was a memorable experience,
There was a time during the 2021 season where Will Gibbons was not beatable, having put together a string of five feature victories in a row. He also did it against heavy competition, with checkered flags at both Sunset Speedway and Flamboro Speedway. A constant threat to win the past couple seasons, he should be fast once again in 2022.
Stay tuned to learn who made the top-17 this time around