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 a lot of 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.
5. Kaitlyn Wallace
2021 Ranking: N/A
2022 Ranking: N/A
2023 Thoughts: Entering the season I am just excited to see where everything takes me. I still have lots to learn behind the wheel, and I cannot wait to continuing that learning with those who have really helped me out last season and are continuing to help me this season!
2023 Plans: I currently have no concrete plans for 2023, time will tell!
2023 Goals: I usually never go into a season with big goals, but going into this season I really am aiming to get another feature win, maybe more than one! I also want to try and travel this season, get experience under my belt at different tracks
Drivers to Watch: I think there are a lot of drivers out there, but it’s safe to say Mike Thomson, Mike Gilmour, Dale Millard, Kyle Istead and Shawn Taylor.
After being one of those drivers to slip through the cracks in past season discussions, there is no denying the talent behind the wheel of the No. 45 Mustang after this past season at Flamboro Speedway. It was ultimately a break-out season for Kaitlyn Wallace, as she secured her first career feature victory in September 3. She showed consistency throughout as well with 21 top-five’s and 31 top-10’s.
4. Shawn Taylor
2021 Ranking: 15th
2022 Ranking: 11th
It seemed it was win or bust for Shawn Taylor at times this season at Flamboro Speedway, with several issues taking him out of contention when he should have been holding checkered flags. But relax, he was still able to get the job done on several occasions with 11 wins, 22 top-five’s and 24 top-10’s for an average finish of 2.125.
3. Jeremy Kelly
2021 Ranking: N/A
2022 Ranking: 5th
2022 Thoughts: I felt very proud, for sure; I think about how much joy my Grandpa would have had seeing both my brother and I race. I love seeing how well my brother has done and how this is very much a ‘get-together’ for our family every Saturday night. There was a load of drama this season; friendly fire and close competition, a wild dericho, a wreck at the track and of the track in the same week, I popped out many dings through the 30 top-three finishes, 11 heat wins, 3 feature wins, ‘top-ten in points’ shootout race win and many litres of octane 94 burned up. It was a great season.
2023 Plans / Goals: After my eighth season, and towing my whole family along for the ride by getting my brother and my step-Dad behind the wheel, I am taking a bit of a break from the 14 week racing schedule. It’s been so challenging and exciting through it all. I learned a heap about turning one way and made a bunch of life long friends too. I originally got into racing as a tribute to my late grandfather who raced stock cars locally in the late 1960s in the overhead class. Then I won my first heat race in my first season, got to see my brother race and do it very well, and then win four championships in the time I’ve spent at Peterborough Speedway. It’s been incredible. I’d like to get back into restoring several of the classic cars I have rusting away and spend more time running my 1/10th spec racing club, the PTBO R/C Chump Series that I am having such a time with.
After finding success last season at Peterborough Speedway with a championship, the only way to keep the ball rolling was to do take home another title – which is exactly what Jeremy Kelly did. This time around, it took three wins and five top-five’s with an average finish of 3.0833 to beat out the list of heavy hitters at the patch.
2. Bobby Mercer
2021 Ranking: N/A
2022 Ranking: 31st
A lot of people underrated what Bobby Mercer was capable of entering the season if you go based on where he ranked last season. It certainly did nothing to preview the year he was able to put together at Flamboro Speedway. The 2022 track champion was deadly consistent, scoring 12 victories including seven in a row, 24 top-five’s, and 34 top-10’s for an average finish of 3.57143. With current discussions having him travel to a different track this upcoming season, it will be interesting to see whether the success continues.
1. Thomas Wunsch
2021 Ranking: 22nd
2022 Ranking: 3rd
Thoughts Going into 2023: After winning back to back Championships at Full Throttle, I am ready to try something different. I want to run at different tracks each week to keep it fun. It is good to support all the Ontario Tracks. We are looking at all the schedules trying to put a plan together. I can’t wait to get back in my car. It is a lot of fun.
2023 Plans: I want to travel around more in the 2023 season. I want to improve my times at each track. It is a lot of fun going to different tracks in the Mini Stock Division. I look forward to more Invitationals with high car count.
2023 Goals: My goal is to improve each time I get in the car. I want to be a contender at each track I travel too. I hope to get mentioned in the top 10 at the big events.
Drivers to Watch: I really can’t narrow it down to five. I like to watch all the drivers. I really enjoy following all the Full Throttle Mini Stock Drivers. I am looking forward to seeing how Mitch Wilkens, Jeremy Duguay, Bob Stewart, Scott Schlueter & Dave Dippel do in the points series.
Consistently running up front and winning races certainly will put you into the conversation, and that is what has happened for Thomas Wunsch. After being crowned the 2021 Full Throttle Motor Speedway Champion, he followed it up with another impressive campaign at the half-mile oval with another track title and more feature victories to his name. It would be interesting to see him travel and see how he stacks against the rest of the province as that’s the only thing missing from the resume.
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