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Randy Ritskes Joins Locke Racing for Oswego Speedway Championship Bid

Randy Ritskes Joins Locke Racing for Oswego Speedway Championship Bid

OSWEGO, NY (November 25, 2013) – Randy Ritskes announced last week that he has finalized plans to drive the Locke Crane Services No. 37 Novelis Supermodified at Oswego Speedway full-time in 2014.

Ritskes, a winner of nine Supermodified main events at Oswego Speedway, most recently piloted the Daratt Racing No. 88 to two consecutive top five finishes in championship points in 2011 and 2012.

Out of a weekly ride in 2013, Ritskes drove the Locke Crane Services No. 37 Hawk Supermodified in two main events last season at Oswego with finishes of 17th and 8th, setting the stage for a full-time move to the team in 2014.

“I wanted one more competitive year in a good car, and I’d love that (Oswego Speedway) championship,” said Ritskes, in a statement provided last week.  “The rumors have been flying, but the deal was actually finalized on Sunday.  This is going to be my retirement year.”

The Locke Crane Services No. 37 team is owned by Ken Locke and typically driven by his son Jeff Locke, a multiple feature winner on the ISMA Supermodified trail.

The machine Ritskes will pilot is a former Nicotra Racing Supermodified, purchased in 2012 and driven sparingly by Locke the last two seasons.  With original intentions of competing weekly with Oswego and ISMA in 2013, Locke decided to turn his focus to their wing program and the ISMA trail weekly, with one feature victory and a finish of 9th in the season-long driver standings.

That frame of mind will continue to be the model this coming season, with Ritskes manning the non-wing racecar weekly at Oswego and Locke behind the wheel of the winged racer on the traveling series.

The team will be housed jointly in the Locke Racing shop in Raymond, NH as well as at Ritskes’ home in Oswego.

“If we have a good night, we’ll just keep the car here (in Oswego) and I will do the maintenance, clean the filters, etc. with some help,” said Ritskes.  “This way Ken (Locke) doesn’t have to haul the car back to New Hampshire.  If the car needs repairs or major changes it will go back to New Hampshire where Brian Allegresso will handle a lot of the repairs.”

Known forever as an Oswego hard charger, 48-year old Ritskes has five career top five finishes in the Budweiser International Classic with main event victories in both wing and non-wing competition at the ‘Steel Palace.’

The Canadian transplant will no doubt be a welcome addition to the Novelis Supermodified field at Oswego joining recent additions Joey Payne and Jessica Zemken as weekly competitors in search of Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane.

For more information on Oswego Speedway be sure to visit www.oswegospeedway.com. You can also LIKE the (Official) Oswego Speedway page on facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway, or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway. To purchase tickets or to order merchandise please call the Speedway box office at (315) 342-0646.

About Oswego Speedway: Oswego Speedway, a sports entertainment company, is a 5/8 mile semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. Oswego Speedway has been a continuously run weekly racing venue since August, 1951. The premier open-wheel pavement short track cars in the world, Supermodifieds, run weekly at Oswego Speedway making Oswego the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block Supermodifieds accompany the full blown Supers on a weekly Saturday night schedule which runs from May through September. Oswego Speedway is mentioned in racing circles as the “Indy of the East,” as no fewer than a dozen past and present competitors have competed at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway including Mario Andretti, arguably the greatest driver of all time, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, along with former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.

Contact: Oswego Speedway

Danny Kapuscinski

315-342-0646 | dkapuscinski@oswegospeedway.com

Posted in Open Wheel Report, Team Releases0 Comments

Open Wheel Report: ISMA Title Returns To Canada

Open Wheel Report: ISMA Title Returns To Canada

By Tommy Goudge (October 15, 2012) – The International Supermodified Association championship has been claimed by a Canadian for just the second time in its 37-year history. Mike Lichty of Innerkip, Ontario locked up the title with a 7th place finish in the ISMA Portion of the World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson (Connecticut) International Speedway on Sunday afternoon.

Though just 25 years old, Mike is a Supermodified veteran with 9 seasons under his belt. He has been on the ISMA tour since winning the Rookie of the Year title and finishing 6th in the overall standings in 2004. Mike has finished 6th or better in the ISMA standings each year, and he knows all too well what it’s like to have a championship slip away – He led the ISMA standings heading into the finale at Thompson two years ago, but a blown engine in the heat race and broken wing in the feature allowed Russ Wood to steal that title.

Lichty was running in the third spot on Sunday at Thompson, but he was a bit too eager on a lap 39 restart, prompting ISMA officials to move him to the tail end of the lead lap in the finishing order. It was an anti-climactic end to what had been a close championship chase, as Lichty’s closest challenger Tim Jedrzejek crashed hard in practice on Saturday and scratched for the weekend. In a typical display of Supermodified sportsmanship, Lichty’s Patco Transportation team offered Jedrzejek and the Soule team the use of a spare car to finish the weekend, but they declined. Lou Cicconi also had a mathematical chance to catch Lichty, and did his best to make things interesting with a 2nd place finish, but his effort wasn’t enough to keep Lichty from the taking the championship.

Lichty’s title is the first for a Canadian since former teammate Dave McKnight, Jr. won it in 2001. Mike claimed just one ISMA feature win this season, but ran up front all year, and took the title on consistency. He finished second 4 times, recorded 9 top fives, and finished 26 points ahead of Cicconi in the driver standings, while the Patco team also won the owner championship.

All 4 Canadian entrants in the World Series event finished in the top 10 on Sunday, with Ryan Coniam 4th, Mark Sammut 6th, Lichty 7th, and Craig Rayvals 8th.

ELSWHERE…
– The Ontario Sprint Car season finished on Saturday at Brockville with 31 entries, and a familiar face in victory lane. Steve Poirier has only competed in 10 races this year due to a knee injury, but the Quebec driver led all 25 laps in the Patriot Sprint Tour event to take his third win of the season. His most recent win prior to last weekend came in the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals last month, a race we will cover in more detail later this week. Jamie Collard was the best of the Ontario contingent at Brockville with a 7th place finish, and took 2nd in the PST Canada championship standings behind Justin Barger, who also took the Northern Summer Nationals series championship at South Buxton in August. Ohsweken Speedway Sprint Car champion Chris Steele competed at Brockville in a DIRTcar 358 Modified, and finished 16th in a talented 42 car field.

– Ryan Litt had a shot at the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Super Sprints title earlier this month at Sandusky, Ohio, but engine problems, a flat tire, and contact with eventual champion Bill Tyler kept the London, driver from winning his first championship. Litt twice made his way through the field in the final AVSS feature of 2012, but settled for 6th, right behind Tyler. Litt wound up second in the final standings, a more than decent result considering the up and down nature of his season. Mount Brydges driver Mike Ling took a third place finish, while Delaware’s Scott O’Connor was caught up in an early crash.

– The Ontario open wheel community lost a longtime supporter recently when Bob Stanley passed away on October 2. Bob, father-in-law of former SOS champ Warren Mahoney, volunteered his time as a push truck driver and with the Can-Am Midgets and Southern Ontario Sprints for many years.

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com’s Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer at Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributor to Inside Track Motorsport News.  The Open Wheel Report covers Sprint Car, Midget, and Supermodified events and news from Ontario’s series, tracks, and teams. You can talk to Tommy by e-mail at tommygoudge@ontariooval.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tommygoudge and friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/tommy.goudge

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Open Wheel Report: Canadian Sprint Car Nationals “Who’s Who”

Open Wheel Report: Canadian Sprint Car Nationals “Who’s Who”

By Tommy Goudge (September 15, 2012) – The much-anticipated eighth annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals take centre stage at Ohsweken Speedway tonight, with close to eighty Sprint Car drivers from all over North America expected to compete for the top prize of $12,000. It’s not easy to pick who will make the feature field, let alone who might win it. That said, I’ll still give it my best shot, and try to outline some of the names I think you’ll hear when it’s time to introduce the thirty starters of the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals A-Feature.

FAVOURITES

0 Glenn Styres (Ohsweken, Ontario)…The all-time leader on the Ohsweken Speedway feature win list missed last year’s CSCN with a broken wrist. It didn’t take him long to find his game when he got back behind the wheel, as he took the $10,000 King of the 360’s win at Florida’s East Bay Raceway in February. Styres won three features at Ohsweken this year, and tied for second in Corr/Pak points, despite missing a race in August to attend the Knoxille 360 Nationals.

2m Dustin Daggett (Grand Ledge, Michigan)… Daggett is the only driver to qualify for all seven Nationals features, and has finished fourth on Saturday three times. He has shown even more urgency at Ohsweken lately, and simply dominated the Northern Summer Nationals series feature in August to put him back alone in second place on the all-time Ohsweken win list.

3g Shane Stewart (Bixby, Oklahoma)…Stewart finally appeared human last year in the Saturday night CSCN feature. He won the 2009 and 2010 editions of the event, and Thursday and Friday night features at last year’s Nationals, but actually lost a spot in Saturday’s feature, finishing fifth after starting fourth. He must still be considered a prohibitive favourite to win this year though.

5b Justin Barger (Montrose, New York)…The 2012 Northern Summer Nationals series champion is guaranteed a starting spot in Saturday night’s feature, but Barger will be trying to race his way in to improve his starting position.  He started ninth and finished a career-best sixth in the 2011 CSCN feature, following up a ninth place finish in 2010.

21k Lou Kennedy, Jr. (Winnipeg, Manitoba)…This year marks Lou’s third CSCN visit, following attempts in 2009 and 2010. The veteran driver raced his way to a top six starting position in 2010, but last just one lap in the feature after contact with another car on the start.

22h Randy Hannagan (San Jose, California)…Hannagan improved to a seventh place finish in his second attempt at the Nationals last season, and first driving for Ohio’s Dennis Yoakam. “Hurricane” Hannagan has the NRA Invaders series championship for the second year in a row, and served notice that he’s here to win after some impressive lap times during Thursday’s practice session.

28fm Steve Poirier (Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, Quebec)… One of the most successful drivers in Nationals history, and definitely the most successful Canadian, Poirier has entered the Nationals six times, and never finished worse than seventh. He won in his 2006 Nationals debut, and again the following season. The three time Empire Super Sprints series champ missed part of this season after knee surgery. Last year’s CSCN saw Steve barely miss the top six redraw for feature starting spots when he lost an exciting heat race to eventual feature winner Sam Hafertepe, Jr.

39c Travis Rilat (Forney, Texas)…A decorated racer south of the border in the American Sprint Car Series, Rilat will try his first Canadian Nationals this weekend driving for Alberta-based car owner Richard Samure. Rilat and Samure have teamed up several times before, and the 39c has been fast in past Nationals events with Paul McMahan and Jason Solwold at the controls. Rilat has three feature wins and eleven top five finishes in limited action in the south and Pacific Northwest this year.

45 Chuck Hebing (Ontario, New York)…“Cobra” finally did what we thought he needed to do to get his first Nationals win last year by getting into the top six redraw for feature starting positions. Once there, he slid backwards though, eventually ending up thirteenth. Chuck has started the feature in all of his six Nationals attempts, and finished second in both 2009 and 2010. He’s currently second in the Empire Super Sprints series standings, just three points behind Lance Yonge, and has four feature wins.

77x Jessica Zemken (Sprakers, New York)…The weekend got off to a rough start for Jessica when the engine blew up in her Miles Hill-owned car during Thursday night practice, and the engine in her own car also went south when she switched to that car for the remainder of the session. She and her team have an uphill climb now, but she is driving for the team which collected second and third in last year’s CSCN with Wayne Johnson and Jamie Collard.

CONTENDERS

2s Kyle Sauder (Archbold, Ohio)…Sauder competed in the Nationals for the first time last season driving a Glenn Styres-owned machine, and looked fast before trouble in his heat race. He qualified well enough in time trials to receive a feature starting spot, and advanced into the top twenty from row fourteen. Sauder returns this year with his own car, fresh off a second place finish in the NRA Invaders series championship behind Randy Hannagan.

7x Jamie Collard (Burford, Ontario)…It hasn’t been quite the season many expected from Collard at Ohsweken, considering the hot streak he was on at the end of 2011, but he has been to victory lane at other tracks this year. Jamie led briefly in last year’s Nationals feature, and ran second for much of the race until teammate Wayne Johnson nipped him at the finish line.

8b Alain Bergeron (Saint-Pie, Quebec)…Bergeron has led 18 laps at the Nationals, including the first 9 in last year’s feature, but has yet to record a top 10 finish. The former Empire Super Sprints champ has qualified for the feature in four of six Nationals attempts, and has twice won heat races on Saturday night at the Nationals.

13 Kevin Ward, Jr. (Port Leyden, New York)…Ward improved from a surprising 14th in his first attempt in 2010 to an impressive 8th in last year’s Nationals feature. He has a feature win on the Empire Super Sprints tour this year, along with four top ten finishes.

27h Tom Huppunen (Fenwick, Ontario)…“The Fenwick Flyer” was back full time in weekly Corr/Pak competition at Ohsweken this season, and narrowly missed taking his second career track championship. Huppunen has attempted to qualify for all seven editions of the Nationals, and now has a year of full-time racing under his belt with the one-of-a-kind Five Star chassis.

51 Bryan Howland (Auburn, New York)…The four-time Patriot Sprint Tour champion almost took a fifth PST crown this year, but lost that on the final night. Howland hasn’t had great luck at the Nationals, and even had to miss Saturday night in 2010 due to an injury suffered in a crash the night before. His best career finish in the Nationals came in 2008 when he finished third, and he has failed to qualify for the feature only once in six attempts.

80 Chris Steele (Fenwick, Ontario)…Steele proved why his nickname is “The Real Deal” by taking a thrilling Corr/Pak division championship at Ohsweken last Friday. He took his first two career Sprint Car feature wins this season on the way to the title, and finished third in the Northern Summer Nationals feature at Ohsweken in August.

87 Jason Barney (Constantia, New York)…Jason’s luck at Ohsweken is not what it used to be, but anyone who has qualified for all six features they’ve attempted has to be a part of this list. Barney claimed runner-up finishes at the Nationals in both 2006, and 2007, and took a sixth place finish in 2009.

DARKHORSES

07x Dain Naida (Tecumseh, Michigan)…Naida is another driver who has qualified for all six Nationals features that he has attempted. He had a quiet but consistent season at Ohsweken in weekly Corr/Pak division racing, but won last Friday’s season championship feature, and finished fourth in the overall standings. His best career Nationals finish came in 2007 when he finished fifth.

17 Jared Horstman (Cloverdale, Ohio)…Horstman was impressive in his first trip to Ohsweken last year, qualifying 11th overall, and eventually finishing 19th in the feature. A regular competitor with the NRA Invaders and ASCS Sprints on Dirt series, Horstman is always around the top five.

17j Lance Yonge (Penn Yan, New York)…Yonge is enjoying a very good season in 2012, as he currently leads the Empire Super Sprints standings with two wins, and ten top five finishes. The veteran driver slipped back to 23rd in last year’s Nationals feature, after top ten finishes in each of the two preceding events.

33 Shawn Donath (South Onondaga, New York)…Shawn’s first Nationals foray was relatively successful last year, as the Empire Super Sprints regular qualified for the feature through his heat race, and finished 15th. Donath is currently fourth in the ESS tour standings, and has won three times with that group this year.

49 Scott Kreutter (Alden, New York)…“The Straight Shooter” joined the weekly Corr/Pak contingent at Ohsweken on many Friday nights this season, and ended up 14th in the overall standings, despite not competing in all the events. His season south of the border was even more successful, as he claimed the Patriot Sprint Tour American championship, and won two features along the way. Kreutter has qualified for the feature in two of the three Nationals he has attempted.

49t Gregg Dalman (Bellvue, Michigan)…Dalman’s feature finishes at the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals give no indication of how much work he has done to get them. He’s finished sixth twice, seventh once, and twelfth twice, but came from the B-Main in four of those races. Gregg has a solid lead in the ASCS Sprints on Dirt series standings, and is almost a lock to win that championship this year.

71 Travis Cunningham (Grimsby, Ontario)…Cunningham could be included in the “contenders” category, but has had a rough end to the season, and he seems to like being considered a bit of an underdog. His numbers this year say otherwise though, as he won his first career Sprint Car feature at Ohsweken on July 6, and then won twice more on his way to a fourth place finish in the points standings. Cunningham is a talented engine builder, and has shown versatility with a variety of track conditions this year at Ohsweken.

89 Robbie Stillwaggon (Burlington, New Jersey)…Robbie’s first trip to Ohsweken looked promising last year until he ran into heat race trouble. His time trial lap was good enough to get him into the feature, and with any luck he can improve upon his 25th place finish. Stillwaggon currently leads the URC series standings, and won his most recent race at Delaware International Speedway two weeks ago.

WILD CARDS

00 Ryan Grubaugh (St. Johns, Michigan)…Grubaugh has qualified for all five Nationals features that he’s attempted, including a third place finish in 2006. He didn’t compete on Saturday night last year, and returns this year in his family-owned car currently second in the ASCS Sprints on Dirt series points standings with a feature win and ten top five finishes.

14h Jim Huppunen (Fenwick, Ontario)…The 2011 Ohsweken Speedway track champion wasn’t able to recapture the magic he found last season, but he is still 6th in the Corr/Pak division standings in 2012. Jim reached the CSCN A-Main for the first time last year, and drove to a top 10 finish from an 11th row starting spot.

19 Mike Woodring (Hamburg, New York)…The 8-time Empire Super Sprints champion will return to the driver’s seat in a Sprint Car race for the first time since 2005 this weekend. Woodring won the inaugural CSCN as a car owner with Kenny Jacobs behind the wheel, and originally planned to have Brooke Tatnell drive for him this weekend, but those plans fell through. Woodring spends most of his time wrenching on Sprint Cars now, but has 4 career feature wins as a driver at Ohsweken, and could be heard from this weekend.

53 Joe Beaver (Knoxville, Iowa)…A regular racer at the famed Knoxville Raceway, Beaver is making his first Nationals appearance this weekend. He finished fifth in the very tough weekly 360 Sprint Car standings at Knoxville this year, and has two career feature wins there.

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com’s Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer at Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributor to Inside Track Motorsport News.  The Open Wheel Report covers Sprint Car, Midget, and Supermodified events and news from Ontario’s series, tracks, and teams. You can talk to Tommy by e-mail at tommygoudge@ontariooval.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tommygoudge and friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/tommy.goudge

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Open Wheel Report: 2012 Open Wheel Preview

Open Wheel Report: 2012 Open Wheel Preview

By Tommy Goudge (May 12, 2012) London, Ontario – The open wheel racing season in Ontario starts today with the Can-Am Midgets and Hurricane Midgets kicking off their respective seasons at Flamboro Speedway. Open wheel racers will hit the track at 15 different Ontario venues this year, on dirt and pavement, with wings and without.

Sprint Cars
This season will be a busy one for Sprint Cars in Ontario. The 360 division has 32 dates at 6 different speedways in 2012, while the winged 410’s have 2 dates, and Sprints without wings will race twice as well.

Ohsweken Speedway will be the main hub of Sprint Car activity in the province once again, with weekly Friday night racing for the Corr/Pak Merchandising division, and specials including the World of Outlaws, a return visit by Tony Stewart, and the 8th annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals paying $12,000-to-win in 2012.

Ohsweken’s expanded Northern Summer Nationals is back for another 4-race miniseries with 2 events at Ohsweken, and 2 more at South Buxton.  The events will be co-sanctioned by the Corr/Pak Merchandising division, Southern Ontario Sprints, and Patriot Sprint Tour, while the Empire Super Sprints tour also joins the fold for the first 2 races in June.

Brighton Speedway again serves as the home track for the Southern Ontario Sprints, with 6 events on the schedule. The 10th annual SOS Labour Day Classic is one of the highlights of the season for Brighton and the SOS club, and new this year is the “SOS Summer Showdown” in July at Brighton, which will pay the feature winner $2,500.

Several Ontario teams are beginning their 2012 seasons this weekend at Quebec’s Autodrome Granby, competing in the first annual Can-Am Sprint Challenge, which includes the Corr/Pak Sprints and Southern Ontario Sprints as affiliate sanctions.

Eastern Ontario fans should have July 29 circled on their calendars, as the World of Outlaws Sprint Car series will visit Cornwall Motor Speedway for the first time in the tour’s history that night. Some of the world’s best short track racers dicing on the racy 1/4 mile at Cornwall will be a sight to behold. Cornwall also has a Patriot Sprint Tour date scheduled for July 15.

Brockville Ontario Speedway will host the Patriot Sprint Tour for 3 events again this season, including the tour’s Canada Championship event on October 13.

Merrittville Speedway’s lone Sprint Car event of 2012 will switch back to Empire Super Sprints series sanctioning, with the Gary Cunningham Memorial set for June 30.

The Ontario Topless Sprints series returns to Humberstone Speedway on July 20, and will make it a doubleheader weekend with a trip to South Buxton the following night. The OTS series is also co-sanctioning several events in the US in conjunction with the Ohio-based BOSS club, and Michigan-based MTS series.

Midgets
The Can-Am club’s 47th season of TQ Midget racing begins this Saturday at Flamboro Speedway, along with the 19th season opener for the Hurricane Midgets.

The Can-Am series is comprised of 17 dates at 8 tracks this year, including familiar haunts such as Flamboro, Sauble, Grand Bend, Peterborough, Sunset, and Barrie, plus a return to Varney Motor Speedway.  The Can-Am teams will also travel to Lake Erie Speedway in Pennsylvania for a special event on June 9. The event is in conjunction with the Buffalo, NY-based Casey’s Midget series, which will travel to Sunset in August for another Can-Am/Casey’s doubleheader.

The Hurricane Midgets tour will race 14 times at 6 different tracks this year with their unique snowmobile-engine powered machines, including 4 doubleheaders with the Can-Am Midgets. Peterborough, Flamboro, Grand Bend, Varney, Barrie, and Sauble will all host Hurricane events in 2012.

Supermodifieds
The radically-offset big block roadsters will visit Ontario for just one weekend again this season, as Delaware Speedway hosts a doubleheader weekend for the ISMA Supermodified tour in August.

This year marks the 7th season in a row that the ISMA tour will race at Delaware.  The half-mile oval, once a weekly Supermodified venue, underwent renovation in turns 3 and 4 this spring, which should make for more side-by-side racing for the Supers.

2012 Ontario Open Wheel Schedule
May 12 – Can-Am Midgets & Hurricane Midgets @ Flamboro Speedway

May 19 – Southern Ontario Sprints @ Brighton Speedway
May 20 – Can-Am Midgets @ Sunset Speedway

May 25 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
May 26 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway

June 1 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway

June 8 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
June 9 – Hurricane Midgets @ Varney Motor Speedway

June 15 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
June 16 – Southern Ontario Sprints @ Brighton Speedway
June 16 – Can-Am Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway

June 22 – Northern Summer Nationals @ Ohsweken Speedway
June 23 – Northern Summer Nationals @ South Buxton Raceway
June 23 – Hurricane Midgets @ Grand Bend Speedway

June 29 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
June 30 – Can-Am Midgets & Hurricane Midgets @ Sauble Speedway
June 30 – Empire Super Sprints “Gary Cunningham Memorial” @ Merrittville Speedway
July 1 – Can-Am Midgets @ Varney Motor Speedway

July 6 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
July 7 – Can-Am Midgets @ Grand Bend Speedway

July 13 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
July 14 – Southern Ontario Sprints “Summer Showdown” @ Brighton Speedway
July 14 – Can-Am Midgets & Hurricane Midgets @ Flamboro Speedway
July 14 – Patriot Sprint Tour @ Brockville Ontario Speedway
July 15 – Patriot Sprint Tour @ Cornwall Motor Speedway

July 20 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
July 20 – Ontario Topless Sprints @ Humberstone Speedway
July 21 – Ontario Topless Sprints @ South Buxton Raceway
July 21 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway

July 27 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
July 28 – Can-Am Midgets @ Barrie Speedway
July 29 – World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series @ Cornwall Motor Speedway

July 30 – Corr/Pak Sprints (feat. Tony Stewart) @ Ohsweken Speedway
July 31 – World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series @ Ohsweken Speedway

August 3 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
August 3 – ISMA Supermodifieds @ Delaware Speedway
August 4 – Southern Ontario Sprints @ Brighton Speedway
August 4 – ISMA Supermodifieds @ Delaware Speedway
August 4 – Can-Am Midgets & Hurricane Midgets @ Sauble Speedway
August 5 – Can-Am Midgets @ Sauble Speedway

August 10 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
August 11 – Can-Am Midgets & Casey’s Midget Series @ Sunset Speedway
August 11 – Hurricane Midgets @ Grand Bend Speedway

August 17 – Northern Summer Nationals @ Ohsweken Speedway
August 18 – Northern Summer Nationals @ South Buxton Raceway
August 18 – Can-Am Midgets @ Flamboro Speedway
August 18 – Hurricane Midgets @ Barrie Speedway
August 19 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway

August 24 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
August 25 – Can-Am Midgets @ Grand Bend Speedway
August 25 – Patriot Sprint Tour @ Brockville Ontario Speedway

August 31 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
September 1 – Southern Ontario Sprints “Labour Day Classic” @ Brighton Speedway
September 1 – Can-Am Midgets @ Sauble Speedway
September 2 – Southern Ontario Sprints “Labour Day Classic” @ Brighton Speedway
September 2 – Can-Am Midgets @ Sauble Speedway

September 7 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
September 8 – Hurricane Midgets @ Varney Motor Speedway

September 14 – Night Before the Nationals @ Ohsweken Speedway
September 15 – Canadian Sprint Car Nationals @ Ohsweken Speedway

September 22 – Can-Am Midgets @ Flamboro Speedway

September 29 – Hurricane Midgets @ Flamboro Speedway

October 6 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway

October 13 – Patriot Sprint Tour @ Brockville Ontario Speedway

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com’s Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer at Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributor to Inside Track Motorsport News.  The Open Wheel Report covers Sprint Car, Midget, and Supermodified events and news from Ontario’s series, tracks, and teams. You can talk to Tommy by e-mail at tommygoudge@ontariooval.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tommygoudge and friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/tommy.goudge

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Open Wheel Report: Canadian Nationals “Who’s Who”

Open Wheel Report: Canadian Nationals “Who’s Who”

The following is a special edition of the Open Wheel Report. Our Open Wheel Columnist, Tommy Goudge, takes a look at some of the top names that will be in contention for the 7th Annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals win on Saturday, September 17th at Ohsweken Speedway.

By Tommy Goudge (September 15, 2010) – The much-anticipated seventh annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals take centre stage at Ohsweken Speedway starting tonight and finishing up on Saturday. With seventy or more of the best Sprint Car teams in North America expected to compete for the top prize of $11,000, it’s not easy to pick who will make the feature field on Saturday night, let alone who might win it. That said, I’ll still give it my best shot and try to outline some of the names I think you’ll hear when it’s time to introduce the thirty starters of the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals A-Feature on Saturday, September 17.

FAVOURITES

#1z Jessica Zemken (Sprakers, New York)…“JZ” looked to be one of the drivers to beat in last year’s Nationals after she dominated much of the Friday portion of the event, and set fast time on Saturday. Her luck ran out in a tough Saturday heat race when she drew the number six pill for heat race inversion, and couldn’t make up enough ground to gain a transfer spot. Jessica then won her B-Main and charged from row ten to salvage fourth place in the Nationals feature. She also had a strong run going in 2009 before a flat tire took her out of contention.

#2m Dustin Daggett (Grand Ledge, Michigan)…Daggett is the only driver to qualify for all six Nationals features, and has finished fourth on Saturday three times. He started in row twelve last year after trouble in his heat race, and finished fifth. He’s well on his way to another ASCS Sprints on Dirt championship, and has seven feature wins on that tour’s trail this season. He was on his way to a possible Northern Summer Nationals win in August before spinning, restarting at the tail, and putting on a show to recover for a podium finish. Daggett is currently tied for second all-time in Ohsweken feature wins, with nine.

#3g Shane Stewart (Brownsburg, Indiana)…Stewart must be considered the prohibitive favourite to win on Saturday night. He’s held the big cheque in the winner’s circle at Ohsweken in each of the last two years, and returns this year with the same Gaerte/Norman team. The Oklahoma-born racer is enjoying another great season in his regular Silva #57 ride on the ASCS National tour as he leads the points standings, and has three feature wins, including another triumph in the Knoxville 360 Nationals. He also stole the show in the (410) Knoxville Nationals when he finished runner-up to Donny Schatz in the Saturday finale after starting in the ninth row.

#7x Jamie Collard (Burford, Ontario)…Collard broke into the Engine Pro Racing Winner’s Circle at Ohsweken in a big way last month, scoring three consecutive feature wins. His streak began with an impressive charge from twenty-first to get the Northern Summer Nationals win on August 19. Since qualifying eighth and finishing eleventh with his 360 engine against the World of Outlaws at Ohsweken in July, Collard has claimed four feature wins and a runner-up in nine races at assorted tracks. His quest for four feature wins in a row at Ohsweken was derailed by a hard crash on the opening lap last Friday, and the Hill’s Racing team worked hard this week to get the car back together.

#15h Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (Sunnyvale, Texas)…Sam returned to Ohsweken in July and scored the feature win over a talented field on Tony Stewart night. Hafertepe and Canadian crew chief Daryl Turford have been running a “true Outlaw” schedule this year, racing where and when they choose instead of chasing points with one series. The result has been seven feature wins for Sam this season, including his first ever World of Outlaws series triumph, along with 23 finishes in the top 5 while racing all over North America.

#22h Randy Hannagan (Pittsboro, Indiana)…Like Stewart and Hafertepe, “The Hurricane” is a former World of Outlaws series regular. Hannagan has been racing on the NRA Invaders series trail this season, and is officially the champion of that series for 2011 with four feature wins. The California-born driver competed in his first Nationals last year and finished 13th after starting 30th on the grid. Hannagan and car owner Dennis Yoakam have formed a solid team this season, which should lead to good results on Saturday night.

#28fm Steve Poirier (Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloiel, Quebec)…One of the most successful drivers in Nationals history, and definitely the most successful Canadian, Poirier has entered the Nationals five times, and never finished worse than seventh. He won in his 2006 Nationals debut, and again the following season. The three time Empire Super Sprints series champ gave Shane Stewart all he could handle last year at the Nationals before fading to third and Top Canadian honours. Poirier has seven Empire Super Sprints feature wins this season, and currently sits second in the ESS standings.

#45 Chuck Hebing (Ontario, New York)…“The Cobra” has been the Nationals runner-up in each of the last two years, and has finished in the top ten in four out of five Nationals attempts. He currently leads the Empire Super Sprints championship chase, and has won six ESS features this season, including last Saturday’s special event at Can/Am Motorsports Park. He’s been to Ohsweken’s winner’s circle twice before in his career.

#51 Bryan Howland (Auburn, New York)…Howland may have the worst luck of any Nationals driver. A perennial favourite to win, Howland’s most recent Nationals misfortune came when he suffered injuries in last year’s Night Before the Nationals and wasn’t able to race on Saturday night. He scored third at the Nationals in 2008, and recovered from a heat race crash to charge from twenty-eighth to eleventh in 2009. Bryan is a four time Patriot Sprint Tour champion, and has three career feature wins at Ohsweken.

#77x Wayne Johnson (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)…The 2008 Nationals winner had to sit out last year’s event, and much of last season in fact, while rehabbing from a serious leg injury. Wayne finished third in the 2009 Nationals, and returned to Ohsweken this year on August 26, finishing second to teammate Jamie Collard in a Corr/Pak event. He also traveled with the Hill’s Racing team to Brockville the following night and dominated the Patriot Sprint Tour event there.

CONTENDERS

#0 Dave Dykstra (Port Colborne, Ontario)…The 2010 Ohsweken Sprint Car champ has had a tough season with blown engines and crashes. Dykstra has been filling in for the injured Glenn Styres over the past few weeks, and had a strong run from the fifth row to finish fourth in last week’s Season Championship feature. Styres drove the #0 to eighth last year at the Nationals, and set fast time in 2009. Dykstra scored his fourth career feature win at Ohsweken in July, and sits tied for sixth on the all-time feature win list.

#07x Dain Naida (Tecumseh, Michigan)…Naida was a name mentioned among potential track champions before this season began, but his Ohsweken luck has not been great this year. He scored a feature win at Owendale, Michigan against the ASCS Sprints on Dirt series last month, and has finished in the top ten at the Nationals twice in five attempts. A top six starting spot in last year’s Nationals was derailed after early contact damaged his car.

#7 Kyle Moffit (South Dayton, New York)…Moffit has shown flashes of dominance while racing weekly at Ohsweken over the past couple of seasons, and was in his own time zone when he won on opening night this year. A crash and some mechanical problems prevented him from contending for the title, but he did get a top five finish in the points chase for a second consecutive season. Moffit finished eleventh in last year’s Nationals feature after starting in row eleven.

#14h Jim Huppunen (Fenwick, Ontario)…Consistency and two consecutive feature wins in July propelled Huppunen to the 2011 championship at Ohsweken. He finished outside the top ten just once all year in fourteen Corr/Pak division races. Jim qualified for the Nationals feature in his second attempt last season, and it’s a good bet he’ll improve on that twenty-first place finish this time around.

#21k Lou Kennedy, Jr. (Winnipeg, Manitoba)…Kennedy’s second attempt at the Nationals last year was going very well until he suffered damage early in the feature and did not finish. Prior to that, he won his heat race, and started third in the feature. He has three feature wins and ten finishes in the top ten this season racing in the upper Midwest and Canadian prairies.

#35 Jared Zimbardi (Salamanca, New York)…”The Juice” is the 2011 Patriot Sprint Tour champion, and scored three feature wins with that series this year. He also competed at Ohsweken five times this year, and scored a win and four finishes in the top five. The only blemish on his Ohsweken record this season is a crash during the Northern Summer Nationals that kept him out of that feature. Surprisingly, Jared hasn’t been in the top ten at the Nationals yet, but it’s only a matter of time before he breaks through.

#42w Rick Wilson (Joyceville, Ontario)…”The Joyceville Jet” is fifth on the all-time Ohsweken Speedway feature win list, and leads the all-time SOS tour win list. He collected four Southern Ontario Sprints feature wins this year, including a sweep in the Brighton Speedway Labour Day Classic. Rick has finished in the top ten twice at the Nationals, including a charge from twenty-fifth to tenth last year.

DARKHORSES

#0 Kyle Sauder (Archbold, Ohio)…Kyle is a hired gun for car owner Glenn Styres this weekend, after spending the season racing all over the midwest with the #7k team. He finished second to Randy Hannagan in the NRA Invaders series standings, and scored four feature wins so far this year, including an Ohio Sprint Speedweek victory against the All Star Circuit of Champions at Limaland in June. He’ll make his first Nationals attempt this weekend, but has tons of team experience to draw from, with track owner Styres in his corner.

#5 Keith Dempster (Alton, Ontario)…The 2008 Ohsweken track champ and two time SOS champ has not had luck go his way this season, and he’s never had particularly good fortune at the Nationals either. He finally qualified for his first Nationals feature last year after five previous attempts, and has the experience, talent, and good equipment, and he’s overdue for a good showing. Dempster is tied for second all-time on the Ohsweken Sprint Car win list with nine victories, including the 2003 Canadian Sprint Car Championship.

#17j Lance Yonge (Penn Yan, New York)…A former Empire Super Sprints champion, Yonge’s best Nationals finish came in 2005, when he finished third. The veteran driver has been in the top ten at the Nationals in each of the last two seasons, including sixth last year. He has a feature win and sixteen finishes in the top ten on the ESS trail this year.

#32 Justin Barger (Montrose, New York)…Barger finally broke into the top ten at the Nationals last year with a ninth place finish on Saturday night. He recorded an ESS feature win in May’s Earl Halaquist Memorial at Fonda, New York, and a Patriot Sprint Tour win at Little Valley Speedway in July.

#33k Kyle Patrick (Tilbury, Ontario)…The “Tilbury Tornado” was in contention for the Ohsweken championship this season right up to the final race, until an opening lap crash last week ended his title hopes. He scored a feature win at Ohsweken in August, and recorded eight finishes in the top five. His best career Nationals finish was ninth, back in 2005.

#49t Gregg Dalman (Bellvue, Michigan)…Dalman’s Nationals record may come as a surprise to some. In five Nationals attempts, he’s finished sixth twice, and seventh last season after starting twenty-first. He scored a feature win and finished tenth in the NRA Invaders standings this year, and had six top five finishes in seven ASCS Sprints on Dirt events too.

#87 Jason Barney (Constantia, New York)…Barney and fellow New Yorker Chuck Hebing are the only drivers with two runner-up finishes in the Nationals on their resume. He is one of only seven drivers to finish in the top ten in the Nationals three or more times. He scored an Empire Super Sprints win two weeks ago at Canandaigua Speedway.

SURPRISES

#6s Ben Rutan (Jerome, Michigan)…Rutan hasn’t competed at the Nationals since 2008, but he’ll be back this year in a potent ride – the Ron Hammons-owned #6 normally driven by J.R. Stewart, who is unavailable to race this weekend. Rutan has raced only sporadically this season, but does have a couple of top five finishes against the ASCS Sprints on Dirt series in 2011. Stewart finished third in the NRA Invaders series standings this year with the Hammons team.

#13 Kevin Ward, Jr. (Port Leyden, New York)…Kevin is currently fourth in the ESS tour standings and has a feature win and eleven top five finishes this season on that tour. He finished fourteenth in his first Nationals appearance last season, and was one of the fastest cars on the track in the later stages of the race, which gave the leaders fits when trying to lap him.

#17 Jared Horstman (Cloverdale, Ohio)…Horstman will make his first Nationals start this weekend. He’s a consistent driver, and split time with the NRA Invaders series and ASCS Sprints on Dirt. He scored top ten finishes in six of seven SOD events, and eight of ten NRA events.

#33 Shawn Donath (South Onondaga, New York)…Shawn Donath isn’t a household name at Ohsweken, but he’s become one in New York state with the ESS tour. Donath has two feature wins and eleven top five finishes on the ESS trail this season, and is currently third in the ESS points standings. He’s driving for Doug Emery, who has prior Nationals experience, including a top ten in 2008.

#51 Lee Ladouceur (Alexandria, Ontario)…”General Lee” focused on winning the Southern Ontario Sprints title this year, and accomplished his goal, finishing out of the top ten only once all season. He didn’t make the feature at last year’s Nationals, but he did qualify for it in 2008 and 2009, and drove from twenty-fourth to thirteenth in 2009.

#80 Chris Steele (Fenwick, Ontario)…Ohsweken fans saw why Chris was tagged with the nickname “The Real Deal”, as the young driver was in contention for a handful of Corr/Pak division feature wins this year. He was runner-up to Jamie Collard two weeks ago, finished third last week, and seems to be getting faster at the right time.

NEXT UP AT OHSWEKEN:
Please visit www.OhswekenSpeedway.com for more information on the Seventh Annual Arrow Express Canadian Sprint Car Nationals.

Friday’s Night Before the Nationals has a full slate of racing, with Twin 15 lap features for Sprint Cars, plus the Ohsweken Shootout, and Dave McLeod Memorial Mr. Sprint Car Challenge, and Vintage Cars.

The weekend finishes with the big $11,000-to-win Arrow Express Canadian Sprint Car Nationals on Saturday night, September 17!

Ticket information, gate times, special Nationals coverage including past results and much more is all available on www.OhswekenSpeedway.com.

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Open Wheel Report: Collard Hot At The Right Time

Open Wheel Report: Collard Hot At The Right Time

By Tommy Goudge (September 8, 2011) – Jamie Collard is the newest hope for a local winner in next week’s Canadian Sprint Car Nationals. The Burford, Ontario resident interrupted Ohsweken Speedway’s season of parity by winning the last three Sprint Car features held there.

Collard’s hot streak really began at the end of July when he qualified 8th and finished 11th against the World of Outlaws at Ohsweken with his Miles Hill-owned 360. Since that night, Collard has rattled off four feature wins along with a runner-up and a third place in eight races. As if all that isn’t enough, he also went on a Vegas vacation and got engaged recently.

Collard still has a chance to claim the 2011 track championship at Ohsweken heading into Friday’s final event. He’s third in the standings, thirty points behind leader Jim Huppunen, and two points behind second place Kyle Patrick.

Huppunen can claim the title with a top ten finish in Friday’s feature, something he’s done a lot this season. In thirteen Corr/Pak division features, Jim has finished worse than seventh just three times, and outside the top ten just once.

READY FOR NATIONALS
The 7th annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals begin one week from today with “Fan Appreciation Night” at Ohsweken. The Nationals entry list currently has 49 names on it, but a little bit of research reveals another 15-20 drivers who are fairly certain to attend. The car count for Saturday at the Nationals has averaged 71 over the past six years, and it’s a good bet we’ll see approximately that same amount on September 17.

Two very big names not yet on the list are Sam Hafertepe, Jr., and Bryan Howland. Both intend to compete for the $11,000 winner’s cheque next week, and both are good bets to claim it. Sam, Bryan, and the rest of a very talented field will try to knock Shane Stewart off the top step of the podium, where he’s stood for each of the past two years.

The driver with the best chance of dethroning Stewart? That may be Hafertepe, who recently claimed his first ever World of Outlaws series win, and won a Corr/Pak race at Ohsweken in July. Stewart is just as hot though. He stole the show at the Knoxville Nationals – Sprint Car racing’s biggest event – last month, where he finished 2nd in the feature after starting deep in the field.

Names like Daggett, Poirier, and Hannagan are sure to be thrown around this week as well, but Chuck Hebing has to be considered right there at the top of the favourites list too. “The Cobra” will be in contention for the win on Saturday if he can figure out a way to get into the top 6 inversion for feature starting spots.  Hebing currently leads the Empire Super Sprints points chase, and has gone 13th to 5th, 11th to 2nd, and 8th to 2nd in his last three Nationals starts. A top six starting spot could very well put him over the top.

MIKE’S NEAR MISS
Mike Lichty led the 199th lap of Sunday’s International Classic at Oswego Speedway… and most of the 200th one as well, but teammate Otto Sitterly got by in the last corner for the $15,000 win. Lichty’s disappointment could be tempered with the knowledge that he didn’t even have a ride in the marquee Supermodified event until just a few days before the race.

Lichty was tabbed to drive the Nicotra Racing #6 when IndyCar driver and broadcaster Davey Hamilton couldn’t make the trip, and promptly put himself on the front row next to fellow Canadian Randy Ritskes. Lichty also had some help in the pits from Delaware Speedway ISMA winner Lou Cicconi, who was sitting out due to back problems.

It was the first all-Canadian front row for the Classic since 1971, when Kenny Andrews, Norm Mackereth, John Clapham, and Andy Brown made up the first two rows for the 200. Unfortunately, the 1971 Classic is also remembered as the last race for another Canadian – Gary Witter – who perished in a terrible crash that afternoon at just 32 years of age.

Fortunately it was a safe race this year as some fans looked on from the Gary Witter Memorial grandstands, and they saw both Ritskes and Lichty in contention all afternoon. Lichty took the lead with less than 15 laps to go but settled for 2nd in his first complete 200, with Ritskes 3rd after fighting an ill-handling car for almost half the race.

“We were just so tight at the end,” said Lichty afterwards. “I had to back the corner up huge, and our corner speed was just so slow compared to Otto’s. I just didn’t want to give up the bottom because I knew that’s where he was going to try to go. I slowed up so much in three, I had a feeling he was going to try the outside. If it was somebody else I would have got on the throttle and run them up to the wall.”

Ritskes admitted he knew early in the race he didn’t have the car to win.

“You try to make it tight early, but not too tight that you might lose it,” said the former Brockville Speedway champ. “It just never came around, so I decided early I’d try to catch some lap money because I didn’t think we’d have too good of a car at the end, but it stuck around a lot better than I thought it would.”

Johnny Benson drove the Brad Lichty-owned #74 to 13th, while Dave McKnight, Gary Morton, Craig Rayvals, and Rod Sauder also flew the maple leaf at Oswego on Sunday. Morton actually turned the fastest lap of the entire race, but fell out before the halfway mark.

Winged Supermodifieds took to the Oswego track on Friday night, and Mike Lichty was front and centre in that event too as he ran 15.386 for fast time. Chris Perley won that feature though, with Lichty settling for 4th. London’s Mark Sammut was 8th, and Brockville driver Craig Rayvals took 10th.

The ISMA Supermodified tour gets back on track this weekend at New Hampshire’s Star Speedway for the traditional Star Classic. It’s the first of three races left on the ISMA schedule, with Lichty and Sammut currently third and fourth in the tour standings. Just getting there could be difficult for many teams, as flooding has sections of interstate closed in the Northeast.

GENERAL LEE TAKES TITLE
Lee Ladouceur decided to focus on the Southern Ontario Sprints tour this season, and it paid off as he clinched the SOS championship with third and sixth place finishes during the Labour Day Classic weekend at Brighton Speedway. Ladouceur is the 11th different driver to win an SOS championship since the club’s inception in 1996. Lots of shiny hardware will be in Alexandria, Ontario this winter as Lee’s brother Joey is set to become Pro Stock champion at Cornwall Motor Speedway, along with several miniseries titles.

Rick Wilson swept both ends of the doubleheader weekend, and won four of the five Sprint Car events held at Brighton this year. The “Joyceville Jet” appears to be on his game this year after – by his standards – several mediocre seasons. He’s one of only seven drivers to attempt qualifying for all six Canadian Sprint Car Nationals events, and he’s missed the feature there just once – way back in 2005.

Wilson leads the all-time SOS feature win list, and has a record four Labour Day Classic feature wins.

GOING TOPLESS
The Ontario Topless Sprints series held its first race at Humberstone Speedway on August 26, with drivers from as far away as West Virginia taking the wings off. New York driver Robbie Shuttleworth took the win, with April Wilson a pleasant surprise in the runner-up spot ahead of several drivers with wingless experience.

The Southern Ontario Sprints tour also held a special wingless dash race as part of their Labour Day Classic festivities last weekend, with almost half the field choosing to give it a try. The race was cut short by weather, unfortunately.

“Wingless actually was pretty cool with Keith (Dempster), Warren (Mahoney), and (Rick) Wilson going three-wide through the corners,” SOS president Mike Ferrell said this week.

It’s not clear yet what the future holds for traditional Sprint Cars in Ontario, but the two events have piqued the curiosities of drivers and fans alike. April Wilson is one of the drivers who enjoyed her first wingless action.

“I loved it,” April told Ontario Oval this week. “It was a blast. I’d consider doing it more.”

NOTES ‘N QUOTES
– Mikey Kruchka is one driver we won’t see competing next week at Ohsweken, unless it’s in someone else’s car. Kruchka and the Big Moose team have parked the #01 for the season, choosing not to spend part of next season’s budget to finish out this year. Kruchka intends to travel further afield next year, including opening the season in Florida, and decided to sit out the remaining 2011 races.

– Scott O’Connor ended up flying the Canadian flag on his own at Berlin Raceway last Saturday, recording an 8th place finish against the Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Super Sprints series. Ryan Litt would have raced there as well, but he recently suffered a broken hand in a non-racing related incident. Litt assures Ontario Oval he’ll be ready for the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint series finale at Bristol Motor Speedway October 1. Ryan is currently just 2 points out of the Xtreme series points lead.

– Speaking of broken bones, Glenn Styres suffered a badly broken wrist on August 19 at Ohsweken’s Northern Summer Nationals. A wild flip in his Sprint Car didn’t cause the injury, but an accident later that night on his daughter’s “Razor” ATV did. The Ohsweken Flyer is most likely grounded for the rest of the season, following surgery. Styres has been a spectator for the last two weeks while Dave Dykstra has filled his seat, and he’s reminding everyone to buckle up at all times.

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com’s Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer for Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributer to Inside Track Motorsport News.  You can contact him by e-mail at tommygoudge@hotmail.com and connect with him via twitter.com/tommygoudge and facebook.com/tommy.goudge

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Open Wheel Report: Where Has The Time Gone?

Open Wheel Report: Where Has The Time Gone?

By Tommy Goudge (July 13, 2011) – Somehow half the season has already slipped past. Here’s a brief look at the first half, and what to look for over the next few months.

SPRINT CARS

Ontario’s Sprint Car season has been interesting and unpredictable so far. One of the biggest stories so far this year has to be the parity in the local Sprint Car ranks. Ohsweken has yet to see a repeat winner in the weekly Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Car division, and 21 different drivers have recorded at least one top 10 finish there this season. The mulligan rule will also throw a wrench into the mix.

Rick Wilson won both stand-alone SOS events this year at Brighton, but there’s three more left on the schedule there, and the 1/3 mile oval saw four different winners last year. Lee Ladouceur is following the whole SOS tour this year, and leads the points standings thus far.

It’s been a tough season so far for more than a few drivers – perhaps none more so than Adam West. “Batman” had engine problems during the Northern Summer Nationals at South Buxton, went to Ohsweken the following week – partly to get those problems sorted out – and took a large mud clod right in the head while running in the top 5. He suffered a broken nose but went to Brighton for the Southern Ontario Sprints race last Saturday anyway, where more engine problems surfaced. Hopefully the second half of the season will bring Adam better luck, as he’s set to run a few dirt Late Model races too.

Dave Dykstra has had a tough year so far too. The Port Colborne driver is attempting to defend his 2010 Ohsweken Speedway Sprint Car title, but his engine blew up last Friday night. There wasn’t a lot of optimism coming from the Dykstra camp earlier this week, but word has it we’ll see them back tonight.

Shane Butler has had his share of troubles, but everything finally came together for the St. Thomas racer on Friday night at Ohsweken. He started 20th, avoided an opening lap crash, and scored his first career top 10 finish. He also had to think cool thoughts, with a seized rear brake caliper making his seat feel a bit warm.

Tom Huppunen is almost ready to debut the chassis he and the Five Star Racing Products folks designed and built. The “Fenwick Flyer” says they’re targeting the Tony Stewart night at Ohsweken on July 26 for the debut of the new car.

Kyle Moffit rebounded with a 4th place finish at Ohsweken on Friday after a couple of tough outings. A crash on June 17 was followed by engine problems on Canada Day. Fortunately for Kyle, those problems were not as bad as he thought at first, but that’s not much consolation for a driver who was dominating the race at the time.

Mitch Brown has ventured away from home quite a few times this season. The sophomore driver is 6th in the Patriot Sprint Tour standings, and 9th at Ohsweken. He might be higher in both, but flipped after locking up a rear end at Eriez, PA. The team put a brand new car together for Friday at Ohsweken, but fought electrical problems and didn’t finish.

Ryan Litt made his first career dirt Sprint Car start on Friday, driving a Glenn Styres-owned car. It took a few laps for the London resident to shake the rust off – it’s been 6 years since he last raced on a dirt track – but he got things figured out and emerged with a 12th place finish. He’s chomping at the bit for another turn on the dirt, but it won’t be this week. Following Friday night action at Ohsweken, the Styres team will head east for Patriot Sprint Tour events at Brockville and Cornwall. Litt will be racing in the Must See Racing series event at Kalamazoo, Michigan on Saturday. He’s currently 2nd in the standings with that tour, and looking forward to racing for a $10,000 top prize at Bristol Motor Speedway on October 1.

Chris Durand is also heading east this weekend after racing at Ohsweken tonight. The Port Stanley-based team does a lot with a little, and could be in the top 10 in Ohsweken points with a bit of luck. They’ll run Brockville on Saturday for sure, but are undecided about Cornwall on Sunday as Chris starts a new job bright and early on Monday morning.

MIDGETS

The Can-Am Midget tour has run 6 races this year and seen two more rained out. Daniel Bois got a very special win on Saturday in the Dan May Memorial, but Todd Cresswell has been Mr. Consistent this year, and leads Bois by 50 points. Defending champ Rob Neely is lurking in third despite going up in smoke on opening night, with Darren McLennan close behind in 4th.

There are still 9 races left on the schedule, and Bois has a chance to gain points with another good run next weekend at Grand Bend, where he won on June 25. Sauble Speedway may very well decide the Can-Am title though, with 4 races still left to run there this year. Todd Cresswell swept both ends of the doubleheader there on Canada Day weekend, while Bois finished 9th and 10th.

Brian Woodland leads the Hurricane Midgets series standings, and has had opportunities to do double duty with Can-Am Midget races on the same card at several events this season. Woodland has won three in a row on the Hurricane tour, which will head to Peterborough on Saturday.

SUPERMODIFIEDS

Without doubt, Dave McKnight is one of the biggest stories of the season. Ten years after winning the ISMA tour championship, McKnight leads the Oswego Speedway Supermodified standings. The “Steel Palace” has experienced a rebirth this year under new owners John and Eric Torrese, and car counts are much higher this season. McKnight has remained consistent despite the increased competition, and won a feature in June. He’s trying to become the first Canadian track champion at Oswego since Doug Didero in 1996. He’s also looking for his first win in the International Classic 200, and may have his best shot ever at that race.

McKnight’s former teammate Mike Lichty hasn’t had the greatest start to his ISMA season, but he’s sitting 4th in points and still has 12 events left on the schedule, including Saturday at Audodrome Chaudiere in Quebec. His season began at Bristol Motor Speedway where he narrowly missed setting the world 1/2 mile record. Saturday night found him in Oswego Speedway’s victory lane for the first time, after he won the third annual King of Wings event. Lichty was driving for the Ohio-based Reed’s Salvage team at Oswego, but he’ll run his family-owned #84 in ISMA events.

Randy Ritskes has enjoyed a good first half at Oswego, including a feature win. He sits 4th in the standings, but could probably be higher if not for a controversial crash with Joey Payne last month. They’ve since smoothed things over, but it was a rough few days for the two veterans and their fans.

Mark Sammut has not had much fun so far this year. The London driver had shown steady improvement over the past few seasons, and got a big win in the Hy-Miler Nationals last year. He’s taken a bit of a step back this year though, fighting an ill-handling car at many events. He’s 6th in ISMA points heading to Quebec this weekend, and salvaged a 17th place finish on Saturday at Oswego after coming from the B-Main.

T.J. Woolsey is almost ready to make his Supermodified debut. He’s had several delays in getting his car ready, and has decided to retain his rookie status for next season at Oswego. He’s hoping to make his first start there early next month.

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com’s Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer for Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributer to Inside Track Motorsport News.  You can contact him by e-mail at tommygoudge@hotmail.com and connect with him via twitter.com/tommygoudge and facebook.com/tommy.goudge

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Open Wheel Report: Finally Sunny

Open Wheel Report: Finally Sunny

By Tommy Goudge (June 3, 2011) London, Ontario – Hopefully we can stop talking about the weather for awhile now. It’s been a rough start to the season for many racers, especially those who call Ohsweken Speedway home. Including test and tune nights, an entire month was rained out at the Styres-owned facility. The sun has been a welcome sight this week, and another season of weekly Sprint Car racing is finally set to begin at Ohsweken tonight.

The racers will be greeted with a slightly different track surface when the gates swing open tonight. Glenn and Curt Styres enlisted the help of 2009 Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Car division champion Tom Huppunen and his company – Wainfleet, Ontario-based CRL Campbell Construction & Drainage – to grade the entire racing surface using GPS technology.  The main goal was to alleviate a problem with ruts developing in turn 1, but other high and low spots around the track were also addressed.

“We did a survey using Trimble GPS Equipment, and redesigned the track surface using CAD software,” says Huppunen. “The regrading was completed using a D6R Caterpillar bulldozer equipped with Trimble GPS controls. A new swale was also created in the infield to eliminate flooding in turn 1.”

Fans will also see changes at Ohsweken, as the frontstretch grandstand is being reconfigured, and seating for fans will be added on the backstretch. Fans should also be happy with the two-for-one admission deal in place for this week’s races.

A healthy field of Sprint Cars is registered for weekly competition at Ohsweken this year. They’ve had some extra time to get ready, and should be raring to go. Expect to see a few out-of-town visitors tonight at Ohsweken too, as the Michigan-based ASCS Sprints on Dirt tour is off until June 17.

NOTES N’ QUOTES
– The rain-delayed Little 500 at Anderson, Indiana concluded Sunday night with Ryan Litt finishing in 5th position. The London resident was up front all night, and could have contended for the win had a few breaks gone his way. Mount Brydges driver Mike Ling was set to run the event too, but his team could not stay for Sunday’s rain date, leaving Litt as the lone Canadian. Litt will be back in action this Saturday night at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway for another round of the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Car Series.

– Former Brockville resident Randy Ritskes is at the top of the standings in Oswego (NY) Speedway’s Supermodified division, following his feature win in the opener last Saturday. Brampton driver Dave McKnight (9th), Rod Sauder (11th) of Port Perry, and Brockville’s Craig Rayvals (15th) also scored points in the Jim Shampine Memorial feature. Freelton’s T.J. Woolsey still has his sights set on late-June debut for his Supermodified career.

– The Can-Am Midget series will make a rare appearance south of the border this weekend with a trip to Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie Speedway. It’ll be a Saturday night TQ Midget doubleheader with the Casey’s Midget series. London driver Darren McLennan leads the Can-Am standings by virtue of his opening night win at Sunset Speedway.

– The Empire Super Sprints series will visit popular stops in Quebec this weekend at Autodromes Granby and Drummond. Consecon’s Tyler Rand is following the whole ESS tour this year, but he won’t be the only Ontarian in the field. Points for the Canadian and Quebec mini-series will also on the line, along with ESS championship points.

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com’s Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer for Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributer to Inside Track Motorsport News.  You can contact him by e-mail at tommygoudge@hotmail.com and connect with him via twitter.com/tommygoudge and facebook.com/tommy.goudge

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Open Wheel Report: From The Road

Open Wheel Report: From The Road

By Tommy Goudge (May 29, 2011) Gas City, Indiana: Bad weather has been the main theme of the 2011 racing season so far in Ontario, and that’s the case here in Indiana too. Two storms passed over Anderson Speedway last night, forcing postponement of the 63rd annual Little 500.

Following a two hour delay, Ontario drivers Ryan Litt and Mike Ling were getting ready for a 10pm green flag at Anderson when rain and lightning forced track officials to move the event to Sunday evening.

Litt is set to start 14th tonight, while Ling will start 31st. They’re both part of the fastest field in Little 500 history, as several 15 year old track records fell during “Pole Day” qualifying on Thursday.

Litt was fast in practice on Thursday, but missed the setup in time trials. He’s confident heading into tonight’s race though.

“We should have been better”, said Ryan of his time trial run. “(The) car was really tight and we didn’t want to call off the attempt, because the rain was coming. We’ll be good in the race though.”

Litt’s best finish to date in the Little 500 is 4th, which he accomplished in 2008 after leading 135 laps.

Ling is happy to qualify this time after missing the show last year. He’ll also start his 7th Little 500 tonight, and try to improve on his career-best finish of 6th, recorded in 2002.

Wednesday’s Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Car series event was postponed when rain hit just as the feature was set to start. Litt is scheduled to start outside the front row for that 60 lap event, but a makeup date has not been announced.

ELSEWHERE…

– The Supermodified season kicked into high gear on two fronts last night, as the ISMA Supermodified series was at Waterford, Connecticut, and Oswego Speedway opened its season with the Jim Shampine Memorial.

Innerkip, Ontario driver Mike Lichty led part of the Waterford event before fading to 5th at the end. Russ Wood won the event, followed by Chris Perley, Lichty teammate Johnny Benson, London driver Mark Sammut, and Lichty. Drivers fought tough conditions during the second half of the 50 lapper as fog rolled in, affecting their vision.

Former Brockville Ontario Speedway champion Randy Ritskes began his pursuit of the 2011 Oswego title on the right foot with a victory in the Jim Shampine Memorial 75 lap feature. Ritskes took the lead with 16 laps to go when race leader Ray Graham got into trouble and spun in traffic. Brampton’s Dave McKnight was involved in an early incident but returned to the race and charged into the top 5 before spinning with 25 laps left. Ontario drivers Rod Sauder and Craig Rayvals were also in action, but full results are not yet available.

– The Empire Super Sprints season continued Saturday night at Fonda, NY. Consecon, Ontario driver Tyler Rand had to run the B-Main, but salvaged his night by winning that race and charging to an 8th place feature finish. Justin Barger won the feature, and he’ll try to make it two in a row tonight at Utica-Rome Speedway against the rest of the ESS regulars.

– Ohsweken Speedway’s rescheduled season opener was again postponed Friday night due to rain. Nearby Ransomville (NY) Speedway also cancelled their Patriot Sprint Tour event, leaving many Ontario drivers again stuck at home on Friday. The Patriot tour visited Stateline (NY) last night, and will race at Eriez (PA) tonight. Jared Zimbardi won the Stateline event, but full results are not yet available.

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com’s Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer for Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributer to Inside Track Motorsport News.  You can contact him by e-mail at tommygoudge@hotmail.com and connect with him via twitter.com/tommygoudge and facebook.com/tommy.goudge

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Open Wheel Report: Long Overdue

Open Wheel Report: Long Overdue

By Tommy Goudge (May 20, 2011) – Perhaps it’s fitting that Harvey Lennox, long-time driver of the “Tammy Ten” Supermodified, will be an inductee of the London Sports Hall of Fame in the hall’s 10th annual induction ceremony. Many in the racing community would say that the honour is long-overdue though, since he was recognized nationally by the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame more than 15 years ago.

Timing aside, the honour is well deserved for the 82-year-old Lennox, winner of at least 182 feature races, track champion at Toronto CNE, Delaware, Nilestown, and Bridgeport, and competitor at tracks across New York, Michigan, and Ohio too.  During his heyday, Lennox was a driver fans loved to hate, mostly because he and the Jerry Kernohan-owned team won so often. The passage of time has softened that contempt, and Harvey is still known today as one of the best from the London area to get behind the wheel of a race car.

The London Sports Hall of Fame induction gala is set for November 3 in the Carousel room at Western Fairgrounds. Ontario Oval will have more in-depth looks into the racing careers of Harvey Lennox and his contemporaries in the future. Stay tuned, and please feel free to send along questions for Harvey!

SOS SUNSHINE?
It seems almost miraculous, but the weather forecast for Saturday’s Southern Ontario Sprints opener at Brighton Speedway looks quite good right now. We won’t put too much stock in it since forecasts are known to change frequently, but at this point any positive news is a step in the right direction. Sunday is scheduled as a rain date, but let’s hope it’s not needed.

Many local Sprint Car drivers haven’t turned a lap anywhere this year because of the cold, wet weather, and many have had their seasons delayed due to cancellation of Ohsweken’s Friday night season opener.  Those who choose to make the trip to Brighton this weekend may get a bit of a leg up on their competition, getting comfortable with new teams, new equipment, or both.

The Wilsons – Rick and April – are both expected at Brighton this weekend. They got early starts to their seasons racing in Pennsylvania, but didn’t have much fun. Their first trip began on a sour note when track preparation equipment broke down at Clinton County Raceway and forced cancellation of the races. Rick was later involved in a crash at Mercer Raceway Park which tweaked his previously injured wrist, but daughter April says they’re both ready to go this weekend.

Glenn Styres is looking to add a fifth SOS championship to his resume, but he would like to get back to the winner’s circle too. He won the title last year with consistency, and didn’t win a feature. This year the Ohsweken-based driver and track owner has sweetened the pot for all SOS feature winners, adding a bonus to the first place prize money, and contributing towards a new championship trophy as well.

Although Rick Wilson and Glenn Styres have generated headlines at Brighton for many years, local driver Chris Jones may be the man to beat on Saturday.. The former Modified racer has won 2 of the last 3 Sprint Car events at the Rinaldi-family owned oval.

NOTES N’ QUOTES
– Season-opening events for the Can-Am Midgets and Hurricane Midgets were both rained out last weekend at Flamboro Speedway. The Can-Am racers will try again at Sunset this Sunday in a big show which includes OSCAAR Super Late Models and Canadian Vintage Modifieds, while the Hurricane tour is scheduled for Saturday at Peterborough.

– London-area Sprint Car drivers Mike Ling and Ryan Litt are ready for a huge week of racing at Anderson, Indiana, with 2 races including the Little 500 on May 28. Both were set to compete in Winchester’s “King of Wings” last Sunday, but saw that event postponed. Ling salvaged the weekend with a 2nd place Saturday night against HOSS at Baer Field Speedway. Track officials there rearranged the schedule in an effort to beat impending weather (sound familiar?), and completed the Sprint Car portion of the show before the skies opened.

– Both of Ohsweken’s test & tune sessions were cancelled, but a handful of drivers did attend a Humberstone Speedway practice earlier this month. Among those testing was James “PeeWee” Evans, who was back in the saddle after suffering a broken kneecap late last season. Mikey Kruchka, Jamie Turner, and Stevin Goldner also turned laps at the Port Colborne oval.

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com’s Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer for Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributer to Inside Track Motorsport News.  You can contact him by e-mail at tommygoudge@hotmail.com and connect with him via twitter.com/tommygoudge and facebook.com/tommy.goudge

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Open Wheel Report: Open Wheel Season Preview

Open Wheel Report: Open Wheel Season Preview

By Tommy Goudge (May 11, 2011) – The open wheel racing season in Ontario starts on Saturday with the Can-Am Midgets and Hurricane Midgets kicking off their respective seasons at Flamboro Speedway. Open wheel racers will hit the track at 15 different Ontario venues this year, on dirt and pavement, with wings and without.This season will be a busy one for Sprint Cars in Ontario. The 360 division has 34 dates at 6 different speedways in 2011, while the 410’s have 2 dates, and Sprints without wings will make a rare appearance too.

Sprint Cars
Ohsweken Speedway will be the main hub of Sprint Car activity in the province once again, with weekly Friday night racing for the Corr/Pak Merchandising division, and specials including the World of Outlaws, a visit by Tony Stewart, and the 7th annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals.

Ohsweken has also expanded the North Summer Nationals this year, making it a 4-race miniseries with 2 events at Ohsweken, and 2 more at South Buxton.  The events will be co-sanctioned by the Corr/Pak Merchandising division, Southern Ontario Sprints, Patriot Sprint Tour, and ASCS Sprints on Dirt, while the Empire Super Sprints tour also joins the fold for the first 2 races in June.

The Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Car championship will be up for grabs at Ohsweken again this season, with most of the same drivers as last year ready to go for the title. 2010 champ Dave Dykstra had a great season, and will try to be the first repeat Corr/Pak champ, but he’ll have to deal with the likes of Glenn Styres, Travis Cunningham, Keith Dempster, Mikey Kruchka, Jamie Collard, Dain Naida, Kyle Moffit, and others.  Look for 2010 rookies such as Mitch Brown, Jamie Turner, and Chris Steele to contend for feature wins too.

Brighton Speedway again serves as the home track for the Southern Ontario Sprints, with 6 events on the schedule. The 9th annual SOS Labour Day Classic is one of the highlights of the season for Brighton and the SOS club, and the doubleheader weekend will decide the series championship this year. 

Glenn Styres claimed an unprecedented fourth SOS championship in 2010, and he’ll try to win a second consecutive title this year. Five different drivers claimed wins on the SOS trail last year, including Chris Jones, who got his first ever Sprint Car feature win at Brighton in July. The SOS title should be hotly contested this year, as the 4 Northern Summer Nationals events in which SOS is an affiliate sanction could really jumble up the points.

Brockville Ontario Speedway will host one of the biggest Sprint Car events of this season when the World of Outlaws tour visits for the first time. “The BOS” also has 3 visits from the Patriot Sprint Tour on the schedule, making it another regular destination for Sprint Car drivers and fans in Eastern Ontario.

Cornwall Motor Speedway and Merrittville Speedway each have a Patriot Sprint Tour event on their schedules this season. The Patriot tour parted ways with the American Sprint Car Series over the offseason, but remains essentially the same otherwise. The Brockville and Cornwall dates make up a 4 race “King of the St. Lawrence” miniseries for the Patriots. Merrittville’s June date is part of a 5 race Western swing miniseries which also includes Eriez (PA), and Stateline (NY).

The Ontario Topless Sprints series will run its inaugural race in August at Humberstone Speedway. The event will mark the first time Sprint Cars without wings have been to Ontario since the Michigan Traditional Sprints were rained out at South Buxton in 2008. Michigan driver Joe Irwin is one of a few drivers who already have the event circled on their calendars.

Midgets
The Can-Am club’s 46th season of TQ Midget racing begins this Saturday at Flamboro Speedway, along with the 18th season opener for the Hurricane Midgets.

The Can-Am series is comprised of 17 dates at 7 tracks this year, including familiar haunts such as Flamboro and Sauble, and a much-anticipated return to the reconfigured Sunset Speedway.  The Can-Am teams will also travel to Lake Erie Speedway in Pennsylvania for a special event on June 4. The event is in conjunction with the Buffalo, NY-based Casey’s Midget series, and drew more than 5,500 fans to last year’s inaugural running.

Rob Neely won the Can-Am title last season, and 5 features along the way. He’ll face challenges from Darren McLennan, Barry Dunn, Chris Holman, Daniel Bois, Mike Westwood, and others this year, while James Gray and Greg Smulders have indicated that they’ll run partial schedules.

Jeff Blackburn won the Hurricane Midget championship in 2010, but he’ll face increased competition this year with increased registration numbers reported.  The tour will race 17 times at 5 different tracks this year with their unique snowmobile-engine powered machines, including 3 doubleheaders with the Can-Am Midgets.  The Hurricane series has produced several Can-Am contenders, including Greg Smulders who finished 5th in the Can-Am point standings last season.

Supermodifieds
The radically-offset big block roadsters will visit Ontario for just one weekend this season, as Delaware Speedway hosts a doubleheader weekend for the ISMA Supermodified tour on August 5 and 6. This year marks the 6th season in a row that the ISMA tour will race at Delaware, following an absence of over 20 years.  The half-mile oval, once a weekly Supermodified venue, is celebrating it’s 60th season in 2011.

Somewhat surprisingly, considering their strength at other ISMA venues, Canadians have largely been shut out of the winner’s circle at Delaware. Dave McKnight won 2 features at the London-area oval in 2007 and 2008, but the other 5 events have been won by Americans.

Hometown driver Mark Sammut hopes to have better results at Delaware this year, after a wild, upside-down crash on the backstretch last season.
May 14 – Can-Am Midgets & Hurricane Midgets @ Flamboro Speedway

2011 Ontario Open Wheel Schedule

May 20 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
May 21 – Southern Ontario Sprints @ Brighton Speedway
May 21 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway
May 22 – Can-Am Midgets @ Sunset Speedway

May 27 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway

June 3 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
June 4 – Hurricane Midgets @ Varney Motor Speedway

June 10 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
June 11 – Southern Ontario Sprints @ Brighton Speedway
June 11 – Can-Am Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway

June 17 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
June 18 – Patriot Sprint Tour @ Merrittville Speedway
June 18 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway

June 24 – Northern Summer Nationals @ Ohsweken Speedway
June 25 – Northern Summer Nationals @ South Buxton Raceway
June 25 – Can-Am Midgets @ Grand Bend Speedway

July 1 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
July 1 – Can-Am Midgets @ Sauble Speedway
July 2 – Can-Am Midgets & Hurricane Midgets @ Sauble Speedway

July 8 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
July 9 – Southern Ontario Sprints @ Brighton Speedway
July 9 – Can-Am Midgets “Dan May Memorial” @ Flamboro Speedway
July 9 – Hurricane Midgets @ Grand Bend Speedway

July 15 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
July 16 – Patriot Sprint Tour @ Brockville Ontario Speedway
July 16 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway
July 17 – Patriot Sprint Tour @ Cornwall Motor Speedway

July 22 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
July 23 – Can-Am Midgets @ Grand Bend Speedway
July 23 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway

July 26 – Corr/Pak Sprints (feat. Tony Stewart) @ Ohsweken Speedway
July 27 – World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series @ Ohsweken Speedway

July 29 – World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series @ Brockville Ontario Speedway
July 29 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
July 30 – Can-Am Midgets @ Sauble Speedway
July 30 – Hurricane Midgets @ Varney Motor Speedway
July 31 – Can-Am Midgets @ Sauble Speedway

August 5 – ISMA Supermodifieds @ Delaware Speedway
August 5 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
August 6 – ISMA Supermodifieds @ Delaware Speedway
August 6 – Southern Ontario Sprints @ Brighton Speedway
August 6 – Hurricane Midgets @ Sauble Speedway

August 12 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
August 13 – Can-Am Midgets @ Flamboro Speedway
August 13 – Hurricane Midgets @ Grand Bend Speedway

August 19 – Northern Summer Nationals @ Ohsweken Speedway
August 20 – Northern Summer Nationals @ South Buxton Raceway
August 20 – Can-Am Midgets & Hurricane Midgets @ Barrie Speedway
August 21 – Can-Am Midgets @ Sunset Speedway

August 26 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
August 26 – Ontario Topless Sprints @ Humberstone Speedway
August 27 – Patriot Sprint Tour @ Brockville Ontario Speedway
August 27 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway

September 2 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
September 3 – Southern Ontario Sprints @ Brighton Speedway
September 3 – Can-Am Midgets @ Sauble Speedway
September 3 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway
September 4 – Southern Ontario Sprints @ Brighton Speedway
September 5 – Can-Am Midgets @ Sauble Speedway

September 9 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
September 10 – Hurricane Midgets @ Varney Motor Speedway

September 15 – Corr/Pak Sprints @ Ohsweken Speedway
September 16 – Night Before the Nationals @ Ohsweken Speedway
September 17 – Canadian Sprint Car Nationals @ Ohsweken Speedway

September 24 – Can-Am Midgets @ Flamboro Speedway
September 24 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway

October 1 – Hurricane Midgets @ Flamboro Speedway

October 8 – Hurricane Midgets @ Peterborough Speedway

October 15 – Patriot Sprint Tour @ Brockville Ontario Speedway

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer for Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributer to Inside Track Motorsport News.  You can talk back to him by e-mail attommygoudge@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tommygoudge, and Facebook atfacebook.com/tommy.goudge

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Open Wheel Report: Sale Of The Steel Palace

Open Wheel Report: Sale Of The Steel Palace

By Tommy Goudge (May 6, 2011) – Many fans and racers in Ontario were paying close attention to news from a meeting in a bowling alley in Oswego, NY last Tuesday evening.  Of course, sitting in the shadow of Oswego Speedway, Lighthouse Lanes is no ordinary bowling alley. The long-awaited sale of the speedway to John and Eric Toresse was completed earlier that day, ending the uncertainty over the track’s future.

Oswego has long been a destination for Ontario’s racers and fans alike, and racers from this province have amassed large fan followings, and a long list of achievements at the lakeside oval.

Drivers Kenny Andrews, Norm Mackereth, Warren Coniam, car owners Doug Duncan, and Dave McKnight, Sr., and announcer Norris McDonald are all inductees of Oswego’s hall of fame, while 3-time track champion Doug Didero is a shoe-in to be inducted as well. Oswego’s backstretch grandstand is named in honour of Gary Witter, the Kitchener driver who was killed in the 1971 International Classic.

Several Ontarians will continue the tradition of Canadians competing weekly in Oswego’s Supermodified  division this year:

Brampton’s Dave McKnight, Jr. has driven Supermodifieds for more than a quarter century, and he’ll be back behind the wheel of the Syrell Racing #08 this year. The Brampton resident has 8 eight career feature wins at Oswego. He finished 5th in Supermodified points last season, and he’s a legitimate threat to win the track championship.

Former Brockville Ontario Speedway Modified division champ, and 6-time Oswego feature winner Randy Ritskes should be a strong contender this year driving the Xtreme Chassis #88 for Randy Daratt Motorsports. Ritskes resides in Oswego, and spent many seasons on the ISMA trail before tiring of travelling. He and the #88 team got together at the end of last season, and ran well almost right away, finishing 5th in the International Classic 200.

T.J. Woolsey is busy getting ready for his rookie year in the Supermodified division. The former OSCAAR Super Late Model driver, and cousin of Doug Didero purchased a car mainly used for winged racing from Scott Martel late in the winter.  T.J. and his crew may not be ready for opening day, but he’ll get on track sometime this season, and he’s excited about what the future holds.

Many improvement projects are already underway at the track, and the mood in the racing community is upbeat.

“We are working hard on the car, but likely not going to be ready until end of June I’d say,” Woolsey told Ontario Oval this week. “I think the new owners are going to make a lot of changes for the betterment of the speedway for sure. I’m excited – (John and Eric) just have a passion for that track like you and I.”

Stouffville veteran Gary Morton and Port Perry’s Rod Sauder could also make appearances at Oswego this season, while ISMA tour drivers Mark Sammut of London, and Innerkip’s Mike Lichty could take their wings off for the International Classic 200 on Labour Day weekend.

Craig Rayvals is another driver from Brockville who spends a lot of time in Oswego. His first career feature win came in the 2004 Jim Shampine Memorial at Oswego, and he also scored a feature win there in 2008. The 44 year old split time between ISMA and Oswego last season, finishing 18th in the Oswego standings, and 21st with ISMA. Rayvals, who suffered a badly broken leg at Lee, New Hampshire in August 2009, doesn’t have his 2011 plans set in stone yet. Look for talented young New Yorker Jeff Abold to get some starts in a Rayvals-owned machine as well.

A delay in the sale of the track forced postponement of the ISMA Supermodified series opener, originally scheduled for this Saturday. A new date for that event is still to be announced. Opening day at the Speedway is scheduled for May 28.

EMPIRE STATE STRUGGLES
Ontario was represented well at the Empire Super Sprints series opening round at Can-Am Motorsports Park, an hour and a half northeast of Oswego.  Eight drivers from Ontario were in the field – Brian McDonald, Devin Caron, Lee Ladouceur, Paul Pekkonen, Dave Dykstra, Tyler Rand, Kyle Fraser, and Chris Jones – while New York modified star Billy Dunn drove Ottawa resident Mike Cushman’s car.

Quebec drivers Alain Bergeron and Steve Poirier finished 1-2, followed by young New York hotshoe Kevin Ward, Jr.  Cornwall driver Brian McDonald in 10th was the best of the Ontario contingent.  Bergeron was contemplating retirement at the end of last season, but new sponsors and a new car owner came along and helped him to stay in the game.

Several Ontarians had rough starts to their season, including Jones who crashed hard in his heat race after something broke on his car in turn 4.  The driver from Demorestville was briefly unconscious after a hard hit at the high-speed half-mile, but later walked away.  Chris already has another car almost ready to go, and should be back in action soon.

Rand and new teammate Dykstra also had a tough weekend.  Rand’s torque ball came undone and he didn’t finish the feature, while his backup car with Dykstra at the controls had fuel injection problems.  Both should be back in action this weekend at Black Rock Speedway’s Spring Sprint Nationals, a co-sanctioned event with the Empire Super Sprints, Patriot Sprint Tour, and United Racing Company. Black Rock is just a few miles from Watkins Glen.

NOTES N’ QUOTES
– Ohsweken Speedway’s season is off to a rough start, with both test and tune sessions already cancelled due to the very cold and wet spring weather.. Opening day is still scheduled for Friday, May 20, but some better weather is needed in order for staff to get the track in proper race condition. Meanwhile, improvements to the grandstands and other items originally scheduled to be completed this spring may need to be done during the season instead.

– Steve Arpin of Fort Frances has secured sponsor Mike’s Hard Lemonade for 5 races this season with Turner Motorsports in the NASCAR Truck series, and is working hard to expand the program next season. Arpin made his name mainly in IMCA/UMP-type modifieds, and was voted most popular driver in the ARCA series in 2009, but he also won the USAC Silver Crown series rookie of the year award in 2008.

– Fenwick driver Chris Steele is getting ready for his sophomore Sprint Car season at Ohsweken Speedway, but has gotten an early start in his Mod-Lite.. “The Real Deal” won his feature Saturday night at Merrittville Speedway, a race which also featured TQ Midget racer Jared Turnbull.

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer for Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributer to Inside Track Motorsport News.  You can talk back to him by e-mail at tommygoudge@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tommygoudge, and Facebook at facebook.com/tommy.goudge

PHOTO CREDIT: Mike Johnson/GoSupers.com

 

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Open Wheel Report: Ready To Race

Open Wheel Report: Ready To Race

By Tommy Goudge (April 26, 2011) – While Ontario’s open wheel season is still a few weeks away, several local drivers are heading to the US to get an early start this weekend.  While some are using the weekend as a bit of a tune-up, others are looking to get up to speed right away.

The ASCS Sprints on Dirt series opener is set for Saturday at Crystal Motor Speedway in Michigan, where the field is likely to include the Styres team, along with Dain Naida and Jamie Collard – team drivers for owner Miles Hill this season.

The Empire Super Sprints tour also gets underway this Saturday at Can-Am Motorsports Park in upstate New York. The sprawling half-mile is just 15 miles from the 1000 Islands Bridge, and a large contingent of Ontario teams is expected there, including Lee Ladouceur, Brian McDonald, Tyler Rand, and Dave Dykstra.

Rand plans to run the entire ESS tour in this, his third season in a Sprint Car.  He’ll also field a car for Dykstra, the 2010 Ohsweken Speedway champ, in selected events. Dykstra of course will also be back at Ohsweken weekly running his familiar #5d.

While you might expect Rick Wilson and daughter April to be at Can-Am, they’re actually heading for Pennsylvania this weekend, and hoping for clear skies over Clinton County and Mercer. A previous trip for the team was already scrubbed due to weather.

CORR/PAK COUNTDOWN
The Corr/Pak Sprint Cars are set for a fourth season of weekly racing at Ohsweken Speedway, and it’s shaping up to be another good year. Most of the familiar faces from the last few seasons are returning, with a rookie or two thrown in for good measure.  Everyone is looking forward to the two test and tune dates set for Ohsweken ahead of the season opener on May 20.

– Jamie Turner will be back at Ohsweken this year, and looking to challenge for feature wins. The 2010 Rookie of the Year has a new website, and will field a Thunder Stock at Ohsweken for son Cory as well.

– Tom Huppunen and his new Five Star team probably won’t be ready for opening day. Huppunen and Adam Murphy decided to build their own chassis from scratch, and have had some delays with getting parts delivered. The Fenwick Flyer says he’s likely to be a spectator for awhile.

– Ray Ballantyne’s #27 was on display at Ohsweken’s recent mall show in Brantford, but it’s not just a show car. Ballantyne is preparing to have the car on track this year, and he’s looking for a driver.

– Mikey Kruchka has been active on the show circuit this year with new graphics on the #01, and his team also has a new website. This season will be Mikey’s fourth in the Sprint Car division, and he should contend for wins. He was 6th or better in all but one race he finished last season at Ohsweken.

– Kevin Job is one driver we probably won’t see much this year – at least behind the wheel – as his entire racing operation is for sale. Anyone looking to get into Sprint Car racing with some good equipment would be wise to contact Kevin, runner-up for the Corr/Pak title in each of the past two seasons.

– One driver who previously had his equipment for sale will be back this year.  Former Hurricane Midget racer and Southern Ontario Sprints rookie of the year James Whittaker is geared up to run weekly at Ohsweken.

– A strong contingent from New York state will be at Ohsweken each week as Kyle Moffit and Todd Hoddick have indicated they’ll run weekly again this year, as has Derek Jonathan, winner of the best appearing car award last season.

POUNDING THE PAVEMENT
While the dirt track side of things is just getting started, Ontario’s asphalt racers got an early start down south.  Ryan Litt contested the Must See Racing Xtreme Sprint Series opener at Salem, Indiana on April 10, while Mark Sammut made the long tow to race in the Midwest Supermodified Association opener at Ace Speedway in North Carolina on April 15. 

Litt overcame a heat race incident to finish second in the feature at Salem, and Sammut led the first 8 laps of the feature at Ace before settling for third.  Mike Ling – twice a winner on the Must See tour last year – didn’t compete at Salem, but we should see him back in Jim Brown’s #55 later this spring.

Dave McKnight, TJ Woolsey, and a host of other Ontarians will be paying close attention on Tuesday as a meeting for Oswego Speedway’s car owners and drivers has been called. It is expected that the long-awaited announcement regarding the sale of the speedway will be made. The delay in the sale closing resulted in the postponement of the ISMA Supermodified tour’s season opener, originally scheduled for May 7 at Oswego.

NOTES N’ QUOTES
– ISMA Supermodified standout Mike Lichty was one of a handful of drivers invited to Bristol Motor Speedway last month to attempt a world half-mile track record. The event was taped for Speed Channel and will be shown again this Saturday at 1:00p.m. and Sunday at 3:30p.m.

– The World of Outlaws Sprint Car series will be back on Speed Channel this season, with a familiar voice. Ralph Sheheen reported on his Twitter account last week that he will be the play-by-play voice of the Outlaws this year.  The full schedule of TV dates is yet to be announced, but will start May 27 in Charlotte, NC. The WoO tour will make two Ontario stops this year – July 27 at Ohsweken, and July 29 at Brockville.

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer for Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributer to Inside Track Motorsport News.  You can talk back to him by e-mail at tommygoudge@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tommygoudge, and Facebook at facebook.com/tommy.goudge

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Open Wheel Report: Home Grown

Open Wheel Report: Home Grown

By Tommy Goudge (January 18, 2010) – The growth of Sprint Car racing in Ontario over the past 15 years is well-documented, and the division will see something entirely new in 2011 when a chassis designed and built in Ontario makes its debut.

Adam Murphy and Mark Brighton combined their knowledge and passion for racing to create Five Star Racing Products in 2006, and have spent their time since then building a successful business producing and selling chassis and components for the Modified-Lite division.  Now, with the addition of Fred Cade and “The Fenwick Flyer” Tom Huppunen to the fold, Five Star is set to take on Sprint Car racing.  Huppunen will race a Five Star house car in 2011, while Cade is the team’s research and development driver.

Huppunen tends to be modest, but he’s something of a trendsetter. He was one of the first area drivers to switch from Modifieds to Sprint Cars in the mid-90’s, and has experimented with Sprint Car chassis design in the past.  His innovative nature matches up well with Murphy and Brighton, who’ve made significant changes to their Mod-Lite chassis design over the past 5 years.

“The first chassis will be quite different in some areas, but have basic suspension and components,” says Huppunen. “I have had some input into the basic chassis design, but all of Adam’s own ideas l’ve liked a lot and have approved of.  Fred’s car will be a little ‘out there’ – Mostly his own ideas, other than a few of mine in the left rear suspension area.”

Huppunen took over behind the wheel of Cade’s #12c in 2009 when Cade stepped away from driving.  The combination clicked instantly, scoring 6 feature wins and the Ohsweken Speedway Sprint Car title.  2010 didn’t go as well due to some crashes and other issues, but the team was a threat to win each night.

Five Star will also remain active in the Mod-Lite division.  Paul Klager will drive a Five Star Mod-Lite in traveling series and special events.  Though he’s expressed interest in Sprint Car racing, Klager announced he’ll jump to 358 Modifieds this season, driving for the Brian’s Tire Repair team.

OUTLAWS IN ONTARIO
Although Ohsweken Speedway is down to a single World of Outlaws Sprint Car series event in 2011, Ontario fans will still see two WoO shows on home tracks next season.  The Outlaw tour will make a historic first visit to the Brockville Ontario Speedway on Friday, July 29. 

The news has created buzz in Brockville, even outside traditional racing circles.  The city of 21,000 has hosted significant events in the past – including the 2010 Fred Page Cup junior hockey tournament – but the World of Outlaws event will receive top billing in the area.

Ohsweken’s event is slated for Wednesday, July 27, while the Eastern Canadian swing ends at Autodrome Drummond in Quebec on Saturday, July 30.  The 3 races in Canada end a busy stretch for the Outlaws, during which they’ll visit 6 different tracks for 7 races in 9 nights.  Donny Schatz and Jason Sides won the World of Outlaws events at Ohsweken last season.

OHSWEKEN’S FULL SLATE
Ohsweken Speedway’s 2010 schedule was released in late December and features a full slate with racing every weekend from mid-May to mid-September.  The regular racing season begins with the “Frostbite 75” on May 20 and ends with the 7th annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals on September 17.

Changes to the schedule this year include the World of Outlaws moving back to a single weeknight, and the Northern Summer Nationals event expanding to a 4 night series, with 2 races at Ohsweken and 2 at South Buxton Raceway.

The headlining Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Cars have 16 full-points events in 2011, while the 2 Summer Nationals events at Ohsweken will award show-up points.  The Southern Ontario Sprints, ASCS Sprints on Dirt, and Patriot Sprint Tour have all signed on as affiliates for the Summer Nationals along with the Corr/Pak division.  Buxton’s Sprint Car events are always well-attended by fans, but car counts have been spotty at best.  That should change this year.

One event at the track is still to be announced – The night before the World of Outlaws visit on July 27.  Stay tuned.

CAN-AM CONFIRMATION
The Can-Am Midget series released its 2011 schedule last week, and also confirmed that Lucas Oil will be back again as the club’s title sponsor. 

Ontario’s 46th consecutive season of TQ Midget racing kicks off May 14 at Flamboro with the first of 4 dates at that venue, along with 6 races at Sauble, 2 each at Grand Bend and Sunset, and single stops at Barrie, Peterborough, and Lake Erie (PA).

Sunset’s dates mark the first visits to Mark Dilley’s revamped facility.  High banks and new pavement should equal high speeds for the winged roadsters at the 1/3 mile in Stroud.

Flamboro’s July 9th event will serve as the first annual Dan May Memorial race, honouring the longtime TQ Midget racer who was killed in a car accident last fall.

BOWL BASH
Glenn Styres didn’t drive in this year’s Chili Bowl, but the Ohsweken Speedway logo was still visible at what has become arguably the world’s biggest dirt track race.  Arizona racers Jerry Coons, Jr., and J.J. Yeley, and Scotty Weir of Indiana sported Ohsweken colours on their Scott Benic-prepared rides in Tulsa. 

Following a second place finish in his preliminary feature, Coons had the best shot at victory lane Saturday night.  The Midget Driver of the Decade again missed his first Chili Bowl win though.  A mishap while running 5th dropped him to 11th in the final rundown.

Ontario’s (indeed Canada’s) most prominent Chili Bowl representation each year?  That has to be flagman extraordinaire Roger Slack, who was once again front and centre last week during the 25th running of the event.

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com’s Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer at Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing, and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributer to Inside Track Motorsport News.  You can talk back to him by e-mail at tommygoudge@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tommygoudge, and Facebook at facebook.com/tommy.goudge

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Open Wheel Report: Sad News

Open Wheel Report: Sad News

By Tommy Goudge (December 10, 2010) – Ontario’s racing off season is generally a time for celebrating, with awards banquets and racing team parties, followed closely by the holiday season.  This offseason, however, has been difficult due to the untimely deaths of two important members of the local racing community – Dan May and Gary Cunningham.

Longtime TQ Midget racer Dan May was fatally injured in a car accident near Hamilton on October 29.  The 1989 Can-Am Midget series Rookie of the Year was just 39 years old, and leaves behind a wife and two sons.  Donations in his memory can be made to the Caledonia  Minor Hockey Association.

The FOAR Score club is also holding their annual holiday party on Saturday, December 11 at the Elks club in Lancaster, NY, and the 50/50 draw at that event will be a benefit for the May family.  More information is available on the Can-Am Midget series website at www.CanAmMidgets.com.

Gary Cunningham passed away due to illness on December 2 at the age of 61.  A noted engine builder, he was also father to Sprint Car racer Travis Cunningham.  Travis has always been quick to point out his father’s part in his racing success, a statement that is echoed by many in the local racing community, including good friend James “Pee Wee” Evans.   Memorial contributions in Gary’s name can be made to McNally House Hospice in Grimsby.

BANQUET BOUNTY
November was awards banquet season for local racers, and the month included events for Ohsweken Speedway, the Southern Ontario Sprints, and Can-Am Midget club.

The SOS club celebrated its 15th anniversary season on October 30 in Markham, and Glenn Styres was awarded the championship trophy for an unprecedented 4th time.  Jim Munsie was awarded the Founders Rookie of the Year award, and Adam West saw his name added to the Marie White Memorial Award list for competing in 100 career SOS events.

The Can-Am Midget club gala took place November 6 in Niagara Falls, where Rob Neely was officially crowned 2010 champion.  The championship was the first in the 45-year history of the club to be shared by a Canadian driver and American car owners, making it the first ‘true’ Can-Am title according to club officials.

Ohsweken’s banquet was held in Ancaster on November 13, and the big winner was obviously Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Car champion Dave Dykstra.  Jamie Turner was honoured as Rookie of the Year, and will be back next season, along with son Cory in the Thunder Stocks.  James Evans was given the “Hard Luck” award due to his season-ending crash, but has since recovered from that shattered kneecap and should be back on track next year.

The ISMA Supermodified banquet also took place on November 13 in Verona, NY, where Innerkip, Ontario driver Mike Lichty was honoured for his runner-up finish in the series championship.  Mike’s father Brad was voted by the membership as Mechanic of the Year, while the team was also honoured as Crew of the Year, and Mike received an Achievement Award.

“JOYCEVILLE JET” GROUNDED
The “Joyceville Jet” Rick Wilson has escaped injury in several racing accidents, but wasn’t so lucky at work last week.  An accident with a drill broke Rick’s wrist and dislocated his thumb, injuries he was reportedly lucky to escape with.

Luckily for Rick, the accident also happened during the offseason, meaning he shouldn’t miss any track time in his recovery.  According to daughter April, Rick will be wearing a cast for at least 3 weeks, and probably longer.

“There’s no way he could go 3 weeks without racing,” she laughed.

TERRIBLE TED, 50 YEARS LATER
As noted by Toronto Star columnist Norris McDonald recently, it has been 50 years since the death of legendary racer Ted Hogan.  He was killed along with friend Bruce Tanner in a small plane crash in Lake Ontario on November 23, 1960.  At the time Hogan was a household name, and his death was front-page news in Toronto.  Hogan has since faded from the local racing landscape, along with the names of most of his contemporaries.

While many racers are memorialized with events named in their honour in the U.S., recognition of fallen racers and the history of racing in this province in general seems to be largely ignored.  If you feel so inclined, perhaps a polite phone call or e-mail to your local race track promoter this winter would help.

Norris McDonald will be the subject of an OntarioOval.com “Question Session” in the near future, so keep an eye out for what should be an interesting look at Ontario’s racing scene through the eyes of a man who has really done it all as a fan, racer, car owner, announcer, and journalist.

NOTES ‘N QUOTES

– Ohsweken Speedway Sprint Car regular Mitch Brown is a busy guy, no matter what the season.  Fresh off his first year in the Corr/Pak Sprint Car division, the 17 year old strapped on his skates back on.  He began the hockey season with the Junior C Caledonia Corvairs, but was called up to the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (Junior B) Brantford Golden Eagles in mid-October.  The 3rd generation racer has 5 goals and 4 assists in 15 games with the Eagles, who have won 13 of their last 14 games.

– Ryan Coniam’s occasional forays into Supermodifieds may become more frequent in the future.  Ryan, a former NASCAR crew chief and son of legendary racer Warren Coniam, has acquired a chassis from noted builder Clyde Booth.  Stay tuned.

– Delaware Speedway and Sunset Speedway both have their 2011 schedules finished and posted, and both have dates of significance for open wheel fans.  The ISMA Supermodified tour will return to Delaware on Friday, August 5, and Saturday, August 6.  Sunset will have TQ Midgets on Sunday, May 22, and Sunday, August 21.

– Merrittville Speedway’s schedule won’t be released for awhile yet, but General Manager Erica Bicknell told OntarioOval.com in a recent interview that 2 Sprint Car events are planned for the Niagara-area track next season.  One of those events is slated to be a special, featuring only Sprint Cars, Modifieds, and the track’s Hoosier Stock division.

Tommy Goudge is OntarioOval.com Open Wheel Editor. He’s also an announcer and media officer for Ohsweken Speedway, PR Manager for Ryan Litt Racing and The Fenwick Flyer Tom Huppunen, and a contributer to Inside Track Motorsport News.  You can talk back to him by e-mail at tommygoudge@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/tommygoudge, and Facebook at facebook.com/tommy.goudge

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