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Question Session: Late Model #89C Shawn Chenoweth

Question Session: Late Model #89C Shawn Chenoweth

By Larissa Spencer for OntarioOval.com – If you’re familiar with racing in Southern Ontario, then the name Shawn Chenoweth should ring a bell. Shawn has been racing various classes for the past 14 years, getting wins and making memories. Achieving most of his goals already during his racing career, Shawn has his sights set on more for the future. Come out and see Shawn in the #89 London Recreational Late Model at Flamboro Speedway every Saturday night. You can also see Shawn race the Limited Late Model at various special events at race tracks around Ontario. I had the chance to talk to Shawn in this edition of ‘Question Session’.

The Basics
Birth date: February, 8 1984
Hometown: Plattsville, Ontario
Career: Mechanic
Years in racing: 14

 

How did you get started in racing?
My dads engine builder told me that if I bought a street stock, he would build me a motor for free.

 

What’s your favourite thing about racing?
My favourite thing about racing is the speed.

 

Who is your favourite person to race against and why?
My favourite person to race against would have to be Jason Shaw. Jason is a clean driver, but at the same time he makes you earn it. Plus he is one of Canada’s best drivers.

 

Who are your sponsors & who would you like to thank?
I’d like to thank all my sponsors, London Recreational, Automotive Truck and Tire, KR Communications, Boyder Systems, X-West Carries, Hit Man Hot Rods, Wilson Ponds, Castrol Oil and Transaxel Parts.

 

What are some of your best memories and biggest accomplishments so far during your racing career?
The best memories and biggest accomplishments in racing would be winning everything in a Pro Late Model in 2010 and all the big races in a Thunder Car 2012.

 

What series have you raced in so far, and which has been your favourite and why?
I’ve raced in Street Stock, All-star Late Model Series, Pro Late, OSCAAR Super Late Series and Thunder Cars. OSCAAR has been my favourite because they’re crazy fast cars, and they make you stay up on the wheel every lap.

 

What series haven’t you tried, but you want to and why?
I haven’t tried a Canadian Vintage Modified and I haven’t tried anything on dirt. I’d like to try them just because I like to do new things.

 

What do you like to do away from the track?
Away from the track I like working on race cars.

 

What is your least favourite thing about racing?
Body work would have to be my least favourite thing. It takes a lot of work to keep the cars looking good.

 

What goes through your mind when your sitting in the line up waiting to go out each night?
I’m just always thinking of what’s next, what’s next week that kinda stuff, and I to keep myself relaxed.

 

What is your perspective on Short track racing in Ontario, where do you think it’s at and what would you do to improve it?
I think the racing it self is good, but racers and promoters need to get on the same page before we lose it. The car counts are low due to cost and rules we need to get tracks and drivers to work towards equal rules for all classes and put on more home and home series to give each track a boost.

 

What are your long term racing goals?
I’ve already achieved most of my goals, but would like to race World Series Speedweeks in Florida.

 

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

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Question Session: Truck #39 Brady Smith

Question Session: Truck #39 Brady Smith

By Larissa Spencer for OntarioOval.com – ” I enjoy the rush of going 100+ miles an hour, and the feeling I get every time I step foot in my race car!” If you’ve been to Delaware Speedway this past season, you’ve seen the Demar Aggregates Truck series Rookie of the Year Brady Smith. Trying his luck in various divisions, Brady has been quite successful. Keep an eye out for this up and coming racer in the upcoming seasons.  I had the chance to talk to Brady in this edition of “Question Session”.

The Basics
Birthdate: November 5, 1992
Hometown: Coldstream, Ontario
Career: College student, studying mechanical engineering
Twitter: @bradysmith39

How did you get your start in racing?
I always enjoyed racing when I was younger, and my dad got me into it at the age of 13.

What classes have you raced in?
I started racing in JCAR Junior Late Models at 13 and did so for 3 years winning 5 championships at Delaware Speedway, Grand Bend Speedway and in the JCAR travel series. Next I moved up to JCAR Mini Trucks at the age of 16 and won Rookie of the Year at Grand Bend Speedway. I raced in that series for 2 years winning multiple races. Finally last year I moved up to the Demar Aggregates Truck series at Delaware Speedway winning the Rookie of the Year title. This year I was able to capture my first trucks feature race victory. I also made my first career start in the OSCAAR super late model series at Delaware Speedway, driving the number 10x car for Jesse Kennedy.

What is your perspective on Ontario Short Track racing today and where do you think it’s at and how would you improve it?
Short Track Racing in Ontario has gone through some tough times in the past few years, but car counts have been very prominent at times and things are looking up in the future.  Some improvements I would like too see would be consistency across the board with the rules packages so it would be easy for teams to travel to different tracks and be competitive. Also any cost cutting measures are always helpful to teams running on a tight budget.

Some people don’t eat on race day, others don’t wash their fire suit if they’re having good luck with it, do you have any race day rituals?
I try not to be a superstitious person. I just try to focus on the job at hand and what I need to be successful.

If you could spend the day getting advice, and talking to any racer (famous or otherwise), who would you choose and why?
I have been lucky enough to be mentored by Jesse Kennedy in my early years of racing, he has taught me lots about patience and many other qualities needed to be a good racer.

Who are your sponsors and who would you like to thank?
We couldn’t continue racing if it wasn’t for all of our great sponsors, Farmgate Markets, Fisher Topsoil and Landscape Supplies Hyde Park, Mapleview Farms, Ray Williams Trucking, Lobo Agg Services, R J Fisher Trucking, Browns Enterprises, BASF, Dekalb, Quality Autobody and Collision, Fergusons Fancy Beans, Twilight Acre Farms, Amsoil Elton Creek Farms, Bevs Auto & Smoke Shop and Pastos.

What was your most memorable moment so far in your racing career?
The most memorable moment in my racing career so far would be my first feature race win in the Demar Aggregates truck series this year. This is because of all the hard work put in by my team and the stiff competition with veteran competitors.

What are your plans for the 2013 race season and the future of racing?
I want to continue racing and hopefully race with some of Ontario’s best, we will see where racing takes me.  Our plans for the 2013 racing season are undecided. I hope to continue to progress in my racing career and move up through the ranks, however this all depends on funding. Stay posted on that one everyone!

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Question Session: Can-Am Midget #16 Chris Holman

Question Session: Can-Am Midget #16 Chris Holman

By Larissa Spencer for OntarioOval.com – “My first goal this year is to pick up my first feature win and break that goose egg.”  Chris Holman did just that. He broke the goose egg and finally got his first TQ Midget Feature win at Flamboro Speedway. Not only did he win the feature that night, but his heat too. This young talented racer has a bright future and you’ll be hearing a lot more from him in the upcoming years. Now that Chris has won his first feature race, it will open the door to many more wins in the 2013 season. I had the chance to catch up with Chris in this edition of ‘Question Session’.

The Basics
Hometown: Burlington, Ontario
Birthdate: January 6th, 1988.
Career: Winemaker/Viticulturist (Studying at Brock)
Years in Racing: 12
Twitter: @tqmidget16

How did you get your start in racing?
When I was ten, my dad put me into a karting camp at pro kart in Etobicoke for two weeks each summer.  I was taught the basics of racing and karting by Mike Roth, who ran pro kart with his dad Wrex.  After two summers of that, my dad bought me my first go kart when I was twelve and we went racing with the WRKC at Bingeman’s Park.  After three years with WRKC we decided to switch to the Toronto Kart Club as well as Mosport Kart Club.  Running at these tracks every weekend especially Goodwood really taught me how to be smooth in any kart or race car I got in.  Racing just Honda 4 stroke karts throughout my karting career with Lon Herder also taught me a huge amount about what it takes to be successful in any vehicle you get in.  While racing with TKC, I won the 2005 Senior Light Championship and then the 2006 World Formula Senior Championship the year after in the Sunoco Ron Fellows karting Championship.  This championship earned me a spot in an evaluation day for one of three spots in the Bridgstone FF2000 series at Mosport.  Of the 12 championship drivers aged 16 and over, I was picked to compete for Team Ultra 94 in 2007 where I finished 3rd in points with three wins and 6 podiums. The following year I contested the Jetta TDI Cup series where I first had to be selected from over 700 drivers from North America.  I was one of 30 drivers selected, and ended up finishing 6th in points just 30 points out of third.  This was my last year of road course racing, as I went oval racing for the first time 2008 in the TQ midgets racing for Roger Riberdy. My first year of oval racing was a blast.  I finished 5th in points and was 3rd in points going into the second last race at Sauble Beach before I had a bad wreck in turn three which ended my season and the car.  This left us with a wrecked car that wasn’t ours as we were renting the ride the whole season from Roger Riberdy.  We decided to buy all of their equipment including the wrecked car and rebuild a new one.  We did this with the help of a lot of people in the off season as I was in Australia working.  Just to name a few people who helped build the car, Cliff Walsh, Bobby Slack, Jeff Smith, Don McConnell, John Van Wyngaarden, My dad(Steve), Daniel Bois, and I’m sure there were other helping hands as well.  When I returned from Australia for race season I had a brand new car that I had to learn how to set up, as well as begin to understand how to tune the engines in our TQ midgets.  It took us about 6 races to finally nail a good setup with the help of Cliff Walsh with the chassis and Wayne Gray with the motors.  We ended up finishing 6th in points and was once again knocking on the door for 3rd.  The 2011 season I only ran 5 races because I was working at a winery in Australia until the end of July.  The 2012 season will be our 3rd full season with the Can Am TQ Midgets and I’m sure our #16 team is going to have a very competitive season.

Who do you have helping you with your race car on race day?
During race nights I have my dad helping, as well as Jason Large who is the son in law of the late Roger Riberdy and has been helping me since my rookie season.  I also usually have some help from my cousin and uncle Stacey and Donnie McConnell who have been helping me out since I started karting and sometimes I have buddies who come out and give me a hand as well.

What is your favorite thing about racing?
My favorite thing about racing is how unpredictable it is.  You just never know who will win, what will happen, who will crash, there’s never a dull moment.  I also really enjoy the people who I race against and all the other people I meet from other Ontario Short Track Series.  You just cant beat the feeling of working hard on your car all week and going out and having a good run, it doesn’t get much better than that!

What is your least favorite thing about racing?
My least favorite thing about racing is definitely the cost of it for the most part, especially if you have a bad night and blow up or wreck the car.  There are a lot of young kids out there and even adults who I’m absolutely sure would love to strap into a race car but just cant do it because of the cost and I don’t like seeing that.  But that’s just the way it is.  The other thing I don’t like about racing is seeing people get hurt, its part of the sport but is always a hard pill to swallow.

What is your perspective on Short Track Racing in Ontario, where do you think it’s at, and what would you do to improve it?
My perspective on Short Track Racing in Ontario is that we’re in a bit of rough patch right now in terms of the size of crowds at most tracks as well as car counts.  We are pretty much at the mercy of the economy right now unfortunately, but all we can do is keep working hard and try our best to put on a great show for the crowds.  I also can’t say enough about all the track promoters in Ontario who work their butts off to allow us to race every weekend.  Its really these people who let it all happen! One way I think we could improve Short Track Racing in Ontario is maybe a bit more advertising in the cities because most tracks are out in the country and away from populated areas.  If we were to do a bit more advertising down in the cities I think crowd counts may come up which will bring more people into our sport.

What goes through your mind when you’re sitting in the line up waiting to go out each night?
When I’m sitting on the grid to go out each night, the only thing that is usually going through my mind is if I tightened everything on the car and if I may have forgotten do do something.  Once I go out onto that track I completely forget about that and start thinking about what I might do when the green falls and what lane you will stick to those first few laps. These are things I’m constantly thinking about the entire night but its when I roll out onto the track for the feature that I know exactly what my plan is.

Who is your favorite person to race against and why?
My favorite people to race against in the TQ Midgets is James Gray and Mack Deman.  These guys will always race you real hard but you know you can race them just as hard and they won’t put you in the wall. Mainly because they know exactly where there four tires are at all times.

What is it like racing for a race club that travels from track to track?
I really enjoy running in a series that run at many different tracks because it tests the strengths of all the different drivers and cars in our series.  Some tracks are better suited for certain cars and drivers which really adds an element of excitement to each race night.  I also enjoy running at different tracks because you get to meet people from all the other Short Track Series in Ontario.

What would you say is your most memorable moment so far in your racing career?
My most memorable racing experience so far would have to be finishing second in round two the Jetta TDI Cup on the Mosport big track.  I had my whole family there as well as all my friends from Burlington and it meant a lot to have them all there to celebrate with me.  First would have been even better though! That entire season was really the highlight of my racing career so far, getting to run at some of the most legendary road courses in North America in front of a TV audience.  It was a lot of fun and also a great learning experience in many different ways.

Who are your sponsors and who would you like to thank?
My Sponsors are Flamboro Machine Shop, Gerrie Electric and Jasen Enterprises.  I would really like to thank my parents Steve and Nancy for their ongoing support. If it wasn’t for them there is no way I would even still be racing right now.  My girlfriend Lindsay for letting me share her with my race car throughout the racing season. My Aunt Susan and Uncle Donnie and cousin Stacey McConnell for their ongoing support and for always being my number one fans. John Van Wyngaarden and all the guys at Flamboro Machine shop for all they do to make sure my race car is all ready for the race weekend.  Cliff Walsh for teaching me everything I know about chassis setup and aerodynamics.  Wayne Gray for always giving me one of the strongest motors on the track.  The entire Riberdy Family for believing in me and always being there for me at the track. Last but not least, all the Can-Am TQ midget officials and sponsors who make it possible for us to go racing every weekend.

What are your future plans?
My plans for the future are to continue perusing a career in the wine industry and hopefully at the same time continue racing in the Can-Am TQ Midget series.

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Question Session: Mini Stock #64 Brandon McFerran

Question Session: Mini Stock #64 Brandon McFerran

By Larissa Spencer for OntarioOval.com – “The best thing and the thing I love the most about racing is that you know everybody, so its like you are all a big family.” When you talk with Brandon, you get the impression that he’s a young racer in High School, because of how mature he is for his age. Brandon knows a lot about the sport of Stock Car racing, and you wouldn’t believe he is only 13 years old. At the very young age of 13, Brandon McFerran is already showing a promising career in Stock Car racing. Most people at the age of 13 are still in Go Karts thinking about moving into a Pure Stock or Mini Stock. Not Brandon, he’s dominating the Mini Stock class and already winning Feature races.  I had the chance to talk to Brandon in this edition of “Question Session”.

 

The Basics:
Birthdate: February 27, 1999
Hometown: Acton, Ontario
Career: Student
Twitter: @McFerran64
Facebook: McFerran Motorsports

 

How did you get your start in racing?
I got my start in 2005, racing Go Karts in Batavia New York. In 2006, I started racing JR CASCAR’s at Grand Bend Speedway, where I was voted most sportsmanlike driver of the year. In 2008, I started racing Go Karts at WRKC (Waterloo Regional Kart Club) where I was received the most sportsmanlike driver of the year award. In 2010, I raced two Mini Stock races at the age of 11.

 

What are some of your most memorable moments?
So far in my racing career I’ve had quite a few memorable moments in racing. Winning my first Mini Stock heat, coming in second in a Mini Stock feature, taking Steve Laking’s Late Model out for 20 laps (it was the highlight of my summer last year.) So far though, my most memorable moments would be this year when I won my first feature race at Sunset Speedway, and also winning my second feature race at Flamboro Speedway.

 

Who are your sponsors?
My sponsors include: Absolute Website.com, Meisner Construction, Finish Line Painting & Restoration, Road Ranger, Thring Co Welding and Fabrication, Peter D Laird Transport LTD, East End Car Wash Georgetown and TDI – Transport Depot INC.

 

Who would you like to thank?
I would like to thank my sponsors, my crew chief Bev Thring, my crew: Ron McFerran, Dustin Driscoll, and Robert McFerran. A special thanks to my Papa, Nana and my Mom.

 

What was the first thing that went through your head when you won your first feature race at Sunset Speedway?
The first thing that came in to my mind was “I must be dreaming”. The first feature win, that was the best feeling in the world.

 

Which NASCAR star do you most relate to and why?
I can’t relate to any of the NASCAR drivers,  each driver has their own style of driving and I don’t think  I can relate to any one in particular.

 

What do you like to do away from the race track?
When I’m not at the track I like to work on race cars, and hang out with my friends.

 

What are your future plans in racing?
I started this year off in my old car, and about half way though the season I switched to my new Mini Stock. I’ve raced at both Flamboro Speedway and Sunset Speedway, having a great season competing at both. Looking into the future, I’d like to hopefully get into a Thunder Car, and progress into a Late Model a few years after that. Who knows what the future has in store, we’ll have to see where things take me from there.

 

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

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Question Session: Bomber #18x Davey Boughton

Question Session: Bomber #18x Davey Boughton

By Larissa Spencer for OntarioOval.com – “Meeting up with great friends, racing our cars, helping each other out, cheering each other on and winning of course” is what Davey had to say when I asked him what his favourite thing is about racing. Davey “Wild Thing” Boughton is an up and coming racer that is taking the sport by storm. This is Davey’s first year out in a race car and he’s already a top runner in the Bomber division at Ohsweken Speedway and the Pure Stock division at Flamboro Speedway. His car is raced in loving memory of his dog “Dora” who passed away March 24, 2012. I caught up with Davey in this edition of ‘Question Session’.

 

The Basics
Birthdate: March 26, 1989
Years in Racing: Rookie year – Bombers/Pure Stocks
Career: Heavy Equipment Operator
Twitter: www.twitter.com/@18xmotorsports

 

How did you get your start in racing?
I came to Ohsweken Speedway last season for the first time ever on opening night. As soon as I saw the Bombers come out on the infield oval,  I knew I wanted to build one. It looked like way to much fun to miss out on.

 

Who got you into racing?
I pretty much got myself involved in racing. When I first came to the track last year I didn’t know a single person, but people quickly took me under their wing and helped me a lot.

 

What was going through your mind the very first time you were ever in a race car?
This is what I wanna do, all day, every day!

 

There’s a big question in how to get younger people involved in racing. What would you do to get others around your age (and younger) interested?
In my opinion a class like the Bombers and FWD Purestocks are essential in getting young people into racing. It allows them to learn the ways of racing without having to spend a fortune or have big sponsors.

 

What is something most people don’t know about you, and might be surprised to find out?
I used to competitively show a 6 horse hitch of Percheron Draft Horses with my friend Richard Robertson.

 

You race at both Ohsweken Speedway in the Bomber division and at Flamboro Speedway the FWD Purestocks. Do you prefer to race on Dirt or Asphalt?
I don’t really prefer one over the other. They both have there advantages and disadvantages. In my eyes a real driver can drive on BOTH, just like SMOKE and Kyle Busch!

 

In your short racing career you’re already showing a very promising future in racing. Did you expect to be this good at racing, winning not only heats, but features too?
I definitely didn’t expect to do so well so soon, but I also definitely knew I could win and would win. Although, having fun is the main goal, I still want to win every time I hit the track. I love the competition part of it!

 

At Flamboro you were nicknamed “Wild Thing.” What do you think of the nickname, and do you think it suits your racing style?
The nickname is great and my buddy’s and family get a kick out of it for sure. It definitely fits my driving style, checkers or wreckers! People wanna see a show, not bumper to bumper follow the leader!

 

What is your most memorable moment so far in your brief racing career?
Having all four tires come off the ground after contact with another car landing and coming back to win the race at Ohsweken Speedway for my first career win on dirt!

 

What driver do you most look up to?
Dale Earnhardt Sr., need I say more?

 

Who are your sponsors and who would you like to thank?
My Sponsors are EX-L Excavating and Site Services as well as Redline Racing. I would like to thank the following people each and every one of you have helped me get to were I am today. Glen Hils, Karl Sault, Joe Isaak, Jeremy and Laura Hughes, Rodney, Sarah, Cheryl and Randy Rutherford, Marc Ford, Trevor Roszell, Bates and Greens Garage, FireBall 5 Vinyl Lettering, Freelton Truck Parts, Cambridge Auto Parts, Green Circle Recycling and the rest of my friends and family you ALL know who you are thank you!

 

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
Excavation Supervisor for the company I work for now, and owning my own wingless sprint car!

 

What are your plans for the future in racing?
To own and drive a 350 Non Winged Sprint Car.

 

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

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Question Session: Mini Stock #10 Laura Hughes

Question Session: Mini Stock #10 Laura Hughes

By Larissa Spencer for OntarioOval.com – Laura Hughes comes from a racing family, so it was no secret that she would one day be racing too. With little experience Laura set out for her first Mini stock heat, not expecting to do all that well, but then she ended up winning that race. I had the chance to come out for the second week in a row to watch Laura race. Friday June 8th Laura won her second heat. When I asked Laura the question “How was winning your second heat in a row” she simply replied with “The car is perfect!” Laura’s luck unfortunately didn’t follow her into the feature race, she got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up with a DNF. Laura is an aspiring racer with a lot of talent. She can be found racing Friday night’s in the Mini Stock Division at Ohsweken Speedway. I had the chance to interview Laura in this edition of ‘Question Session’.
 
The Basics
Birthdate: April 25, 1989
Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario
Years in racing: 2012 Rookie season
 
How did you get your start in racing?
My start in racing began last September when Karl Sault let me take an old bomber out one night. When it was over I was all bummed out and wanted to go again, and it started from there. With a lot of encouragement and advice from (my brother) Jeremy, he decided to put me in his Mini Stock and let me try a crack at the big track.
 
Your dad use to race, tell me about his career?
Our dad left us a lot of great memories on and off the track. He had a few Challenger series championships and many enduro wins. He was just the quiet guy that showed up, started last, and won. He was a humble humanitarian and we were very fortunate to have him as a father and also an idol to look up to.
 
You race against your brother Jeremy, what’s that like? Does he take it easier on you since your family or does he race you harder to challenge you?
There’s a 9 year difference between Jeremy and I, so I’ve always been trying to keep up to him since I was a kid. Like a typical big brother he’s always on his toes to challenge me (and usually wins). I haven’t been too close to him on the race track yet, but I’m sure once we’re close together on the racetrack, like a typical little sister, I’m going to try my hardest to keep up to my big brother.
 
What does racing mean to you?
Racing has always been apart of my family, whether it’s drag racing or oval track racing. Between my dad and Jeremy I was surrounded by race cars and classic re-builds, like my dads two 55 Chevys where I spent a good part growing up in the garage watching and helping when I could.
 
You captured your first heat win on opening night at Ohsweken Speedway, how did you feel after you won?
Going onto the track in the last position I was not expecting to even finish top 5. I gained a big advantage on the restart and learned that it’s hard to look forward when you’re in first with traffic behind you. When I came off the track I thought…”that couldn’t have just happened..it was my first mini stock heat!” but as soon as I saw Jeremy running to the pits with a grin I figured I had won it. It was a proud exciting moment.
 
Who makes it possible for you to race each week and who would you like to thank?
Most importantly I owe the biggest thank you to Jeremy. He makes it possible for me to race each week, without him I wouldn’t be on the race track. He’s given me encouragement and advice. I’m a girl that’s not very fluent in speaking “mechanic”, so when I ask a question that makes absolutely no sense, he’s been great giving me an answer… along with a very confused look at first. Haha. Also to Trevor Roszell for towing the car up each week. I’d also like to thank Meghan for always being there when I came off the track with anything I need. Karl Sault for making sure that fun comes first. Davey Boughton for letting me take his car out as well as the Rutherford’s, and everyone there to support my brother and I.
 
What other tracks would you like to race at during your racing career?
I’ve been to Sunset once and thought it such a well taken care of track, it’s beautiful there and I’d love to take a spin on that track one day.
 
What are your feelings about being one of few girls in racing?
I don’t have too many feelings about being one of few girls in racing, but I do think it’s a good thing for the sport and brings in more fans like young girls. I know as a little kid I always thought how it cool was to see a girl out there not afraid to get dirty and put their foot to the floor.
 
You’ve taken Davey Boughton’s Pure Stock out at Flamboro Speedway during practice, do you prefer racing on dirt or asphalt?
Taking Davey’s car out gave me a little more confidence about racing dirt, and I think I’m pretty much all for the tracks. I love sliding around and not touching the breaks.
 
What are your plans for this season and seasons to come?
This season is all about learning for me. I still have so much to take in and learn, and some great people helping me along the way. One day I’d love to be in a Thunder Stock… but that one day is far, far away.
 
Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

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Question Session: Sprint Car #5c Conor Mahoney

Question Session: Sprint Car #5c Conor Mahoney

By Tommy Goudge/OntarioOval.com – Conor Mahoney is one of the youngest drivers in a class filled with young drivers: Ohsweken Speedway’s Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Car division. Conor began racing in go-karts at Cameron Motorsports before moving to Micro Sprints at Chesterman’s in Tillsonburg. He spent three seasons in the Micro Sprint – the last two in a Mike Westwood-owned car, and finished in the top three of the championship standings each season. Conor was ready to go full-size Sprint Car racing in 2011, and spent most of last season getting ready to make the jump. His team acquired a car from regular Ohsweken racer Dain Naida, and brought it to the track in September.  We sat down to learn more about this teenage Sprint Car racer in this edition of “Question Session”.

The Basics

Birth date: May 5, 1995
Hometown: Waterdown, Ontario
Years in racing:  Starting year 6
Career: Currently in high school

Quite a few local drivers have made the jump directly from Micro Sprints to full-size Sprint Cars. What are the biggest differences and similarities between the two, from the driver’s perspective?
“The biggest difference is the power. Sprint Cars have no shortage of power, whereas Micros take a while to get up to speed. In a Micro Sprint, you steer the car a lot more with the steering wheel, but in a full-size Sprint you can control the car more with the throttle than the steering wheel. Micro Sprints do not have suspension and you feel the bumps in the track a lot harder than in a full-size Sprint Car. The biggest similarity is probably the setup. The changes that we would make to Micro Sprints are generally the same on Sprint Cars.”

What was going through your mind just before the green flag dropped on your first hot lap session on the big track at Ohsweken?
“’Hold on and don’t crash!’ It was wild but tons of fun.”

How many times have you gotten the question “Are you related to Dick and Warren?”
“About 6 or 7 times. We are not related.”

There are many different divisions and tracks in Ontario. What led you down this path?
“Racing Micro Sprints, I think everyone wants to eventually move up into the full-size version. Nothing excited me like watching Sprint Cars, so naturally I wanted to try it. Ohsweken Speedway is a great facility, and close to home and that cuts down on traveling costs. We did look at some different divisions like Mod-Lites and Can-Am Midgets, but decided on Sprint Cars.”

Where do you see yourself racing in 10 years?
“I would like to make a career out of racing, but in reality, racing is a hobby and that’s probably all it will ever be. I hope to always race, or be involved in the sport in some way.”

Which racer(s) do you consider as your role models?
“Dain Naida, Chris Durand, and Mike Westwood are probably my biggest role models. They have all taught me a lot about racing, and helped me out a lot, and I thank them for that.”

You qualified ahead of some former feature winners at the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals after only a few races. What did that feel like, and what was it like being a part of that event?
“It surprised me when I saw that. That felt good. I learned a lot in those four races, and became much more comfortable driving the car. The Sprint Car Nationals is probably one of the biggest racing events in Canada, and to be a part of it was really cool. I wasn’t planning on racing on the Saturday night, but I felt comfortable, and we went out and had tons of fun.”

What advice do you have for other young racers looking to move into full-size race cars?
“It’s a lot of work. It’s a lifestyle change, but it’s also a lot more fun than the smaller cars and go-karts. Race cars require a lot of attention and hard work, but it’s worth it when you get to go out and race on Friday or Saturday nights.”

What are your goals for the 2012 season?
“I would like to win Rookie of the Year, and maybe get a couple of Top 10 finishes, but most of all to just get seat time, learn about the car, get more comfortable in the car, and finish races.”

We often hear track promoters and others in the racing community discussing how to get young people involved in racing. What would you do to get others around your age interested?
“I think what Ohsweken is doing with the ‘Little O’ is great. Other tracks like Merrittville have done the same sort of thing, and it worked out really well. Giving young racers a chance to race at the same facilities as their favorite drivers is really cool, and I think it will bring many new racers into the sport.”

Conor would also like to thank the following sponsors and supporters for all their help in getting the #5c on the track each week:
“One Stop Auto Parts, Paint By Roger McDougall, Paint Plus Collision Supplies, Pennzoil, Stenhouse Signs and Graphics, Mike Westwood Fabrication, Full Throttle Marketing, My Dad, James, Barry, Dylan, Ryan, Tim, Rob, and Cole.”

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

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Question Session: Thunder Car #88 Scott Laporte

Question Session: Thunder Car #88 Scott Laporte

By Larissa Spencer / OntarioOval.com – Scott Laporte started his racing career in go karts like most other young racers, then he moved onto Open Wheel cars racing in the F1200 series. Scott started working at Flamboro Speedway with his dad for Ray’s Towing. He hopes to have consistent finishes in 2012 and maybe even a win or two. Recently I had the chance to speak with Scott in this edition of ‘Question Session.’

The Basics
Hometown: Mount Hope, Ontario
Birthdate: July 26, 1992
Years in racing: 10 years
 

After racing go karts, how did your racing career progress to Thunder Cars?
I moved onto open wheel cars racing in the F1200 series and started working at Flamboro with my dad for Ray’s Towing, then ended up building a Thunder Car with my dad for the 2011 season.
 

What are some of your hobbies away from the track?
Away from the track some of my hobbies consist of working on cars and landscaping.
 

What does racing mean to you?
To me racing turned into a hobby at a young age, spending time with my dad preparing the go-kart and now the Thunder Car for each weekend.
 

What is your perspective on Ontario Short track racing today and where do you think it’s at and how would you improve it?
Short track racing in Ontario has a lot of talent and skilled drivers that put on great racing every week, the only thing i would improve on would be to have more opportunities for our talent to be noticed.
 

What is your favourite race track ?
Well since I have only raced at Flamboro in my Thunder Car it would have to be Flamboro Speedway, but my all time favorite track I have raced on is Calabogie Motorsports Park in Ottawa.
 

Who’s your favourite person to race against and why?
I don’t have a favorite person to race against there is a lot of good racers in the Thunder Car division and each week you are surrounded by different competition.
 

If you could race any other track aside from Flamboro which would you pick and why?
If I was to race at another track I would choose Sunset because its a fast track and seems like a nice facility.
 

What are your best memories / biggest accomplishments in racing?
I think my best racing memory would be racing in the Florida winter tour. It was a good racing experience but my biggest accomplishments would be winning the GM winners circle award and my 5 division championships.
 

What’s it like racing against your “team-mates” Dennis Cybalski and Nick Troback?
Racing against Dennis and Nick is no different from racing with everyone else, but when it comes to the pits they are always very helpful and willing to lend a hand when needed.
 

What are your 2012 plans?
My plans for 2012 is to have consistent finishes and be in the top 10 in points at the end of the season, a win or two would be nice as well.
 

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

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Question Session: Thunder Car #21 Desi Walt

Question Session: Thunder Car #21 Desi Walt

By Randy Spencer / OntarioOval.com – The name Walt has been a fixture in racing circles for close to 50 years around the Barrie area. Desi Walt is a third generation racer who is starting her 6th season racing and she said she is planning on “getting my feet wet” in the Limited Late Model while still racing the Thunder Car. 2011, was a season to forget as they blew five engines and never really got on track. Her goal is to race in the NCATS series and her dream is to be the next Danica Patrick. I recently had the chance to catch up with Desi in this edition of ‘Question Session’.
 

The Basics
Birthdate: December 21, 1991
Hometown: Hawkestone, Ontario
Career goal: Estheticians (in school for nursing BScN)
Years in racing: 5
 

How did you get your start in racing?
I was at the track every Saturday night when I was young. I became really interested in racing when I was 13 years old, my first race was a Powder Puff race and rolled the car. The next year I started my racing career and have been ever since, all at Barrie Speedway.
 

Your family has been in racing for over 40 years. please tell me some of those who raced before you.
My grandpa Merv started racing full time in 1965 and raced until 2000, then part time from then on. When he was a child he raced go karts full time.He raced a mini stock in 1965 and moved up divisions from there. The last track he raced at was at Mosport in 2009 in the Limited Late Models. Now I own his Late Model that he raced for many years. My dad Bill started racing in 1989 for two years in the Junk Yard Dogs. He raced on and off for about 16 years and he went back full time in 2005 until 2007. My cousin Rick also races in the Thunder Car Division. We grew up really close and raised almost like brother and sister.
 

2011 was a year you would rather forget. Tell me about your year and what you’re planning on for this season.
We had a bad year last year with the Thunder Car. We blew five motors and at the end of the year we got a new motor built and we were just getting it broken in. Hopefully we will have luck on our side in 2012. With the Late Model we are getting a new motor built and we will be going over the car to figure out everything we need. The Thunder Car was AMAZING in practice it was such a great feeling to get back into the car and it to handle like a dream! So refreshing knowing its set up and ready to go! This year is going to be challenging trying to balance two cars, and racing with a lot of good drivers. My goal in the Late Model is to finish a feature. I’m only racing a couple nights in it and my Thunder Car. I want to be in the top 5, it’s going to be very hard, there are a lot of good competitors out there but we will have a blast!!!
 

If you could race in any other division or series in Ontario, what would it be?
I would LOVE to race in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series and travel all over the place and that could possibly bring me to my dream.
 

What is the highlight of your racing career so far?
When I won the 2008 NASCAR Whelen Championship and won a NASCAR ring and trophy.
 

Who are your sponsors and who would you like to thanks?
I would like to thanks my family for picking up the pieces and supporting me for all these years. My sponsor who has been behind my dreams from day one is Halford’s Tax Service. Thanks to my crew, Bill, Candy, Merv & Trudy Walt, Barry Spencer, Glen McKinnon, Thom Sanford and Chris King.
 

What are your long term racing goals?
My dream is to be the next Danica Patrick. I want to make racing my career and race for NASCAR. It will be hard to get there and will take lots of money, but if I have people and sponsors behind me I will be able to make it to NASCAR and realize my dream.

 

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

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Question Session: Vintage Modified #82 Corey Jones

Question Session: Vintage Modified #82 Corey Jones

By Larissa Spencer / OntarioOval.com –”The thrills that getting behind the wheel and driving the race car to the maximum can give you!” Most racers get their start in racing early in their life. Corey Jones on the other hand, was 15 before he started driving go karts. Prior to racing Corey enjoyed flying model airplanes, but after he got into racing, he switched his priorities and sold his airplane equipment to purchase his first go kart. Looking into this season, Corey would like to try to stay consistent running near the front, and hopefully pick up some wins. In the future, Corey would like to try out a Late Model, but at the current time has no plans in the works for that. He would like to be a figure in the Canadian Vintage Modified club like Phil Shaw, and help the club grow.  I had the chance to speak with Corey about this up coming season, in this edition of ‘Question Session’.
 

The Basics
Birthdate:
January 9, 1989
Hometown: Shakespeare, Ontario
Career: HVAC Mechanic
Website: www.cjonesracing.com
Years In Racing: 8 years racing, 6 in karts and 2 years with the CVM this is will be my 3rd year with the CVM.
 

How did you get your start in racing?
I started my racing career very late, I was 15 before I started driving go karts at an arrive a drive program in Hamilton. Growing up my family instilled the values of appreciation and determination, making it clear that if I want to enjoy these kinds of sports I have to put the time in and work hard and be able to support myself in my endeavors. After getting a taste of the arrive and drive program I knew I wanted more in racing. A good friend by the name of Matt Pleil was currently racing with the Waterloo Kart Club and I ran a few races in one of his karts and loved the thought of owning my own. That next winter I bought my own kart and won rookie of the year in my first full season with the club. I would go on in my 6 years of karting to win 2 Oktoberfest Championships, 2 Brian Stewart Series wins and a close 2nd place battle for a Brian Stewart Series Championship with a well known karter in Jake Collison. I’m the first in my family to join the racing community.
 

What hobbies did you enjoy before you got into racing?
 Prior to racing my hobby was flying model airplanes but the thrill created by racing switched my priorities and to afford my first go kart I sold all my airplane equipment. 
 

Who is your favourite racer to race against and why?
 #39  Shane Stickel to run against, we’ve grown up racing against each other and we produce a good competitive relationship at the race track to push each other.
 

What is your perspective on Ontario Short Track racing today and where do you think it’s at and how would you improve it?
Ontario Short Track racing seems to be in an ok position, moving forward I feel they need to promote local sponsors and driver sponsor more.
 

What is your favourite thing about racing?
Competitiveness of the sport, and the thrills that getting behind the wheel and driving the race car to the maximum can give you!
 

What is your least favourite thing about racing?
Obviously the cost, but I have great sponsors that have come on board to support the 82 dodge this year.
 
You changed your car number this year, why the change, and do you feel the new number and the new look will bring you new luck for this season?
Whole reason for the number change, is my karting number used to be 82 and I had good luck with that number winning a few Brian Stewart races and winning 2 Oktoberfest Championships. After having a season to forget last year, the boys at jstar motorsports are hoping that the new image of the #82 Canadian Vintage Modified, spell of bad luck will turn around and we can pull together a great season in 2012.
 

Who are your sponsors and who would you like to thank?
I need a huge thank you to RBC for supporting the future goals of the Vintage Modified Jones Motorsports team as the number 1 Major sponsor, LaFleche Roofing and MSD Machine and Tool for being a parts of a major sponsor for the past 2 years, Sweers custom painting and 6speed design, Accountable Automotive, Perth Auto Dismantlers, and Creative Edge for their continued support. Hope to make all my sponsors proud in 2012.
 

What are your plans for this 2012 race season?
My plans for 2012 are very simple after having a season to forget last year blowing 2 motors and failing to finish half the races due to mechanical failure, I want to see myself stay consistently running near the front and hopefully grab a few wins this season and get the monkey of my back from last year. 
 

What are your goals for the future?
I’d like to be a figure in the Vintage Modifieds like a Phil Shaw, Steve Lyons, Ray Hughes, and I’d like to see and be a part of helping the CVM club continue to grow. As far as anything else for the future I’d love to get into a late model for some seat time but no current plans are in the works at this time.
 

Photos by Larissa Spencer


 

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

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Question Session: Mini Stock #20 Ryan Edwards

Question Session: Mini Stock #20 Ryan Edwards

By Larissa Spencer / OntarioOval.com – Ryan Edwards had been racing since he was 8 years old and started out in a JCAR at Grand Bend Speedway. He has won at every track in his JCAR including 4 consecutive features at Sauble Speedway in 2010. “I would like to see more driver/fan interaction which I think would bring out more fans.” Ryan plans to race some Street Stock (Thunder Car) races in addition to the Mini Stock and maybe try a Late Model down the road. Away from the track, Ryan loves flying on the flight simulator and hopes to be a pilot for Air Canada one day. Recently I had the chance to speak with Ryan in this edition of ‘Question Session.’
 

The Basics
Hometown: Londesborough Ontario
Birthdate: May 13, 1998
Years Racing: 4
 

How did you get your start in racing?
My parents started watching NASCAR 5 years ago and found out about JCAR racing at Grand Bend Speedway. We visited the track and bought a Junior Late Model Chevy Monte Carlo (JCAR) the following week when I was 8 years old.
 

What are your future plans in racing?
In 2012 I will be racing some street stock races in addition to a full season of mini-stock racing. I’d like to start racing a thunder car within the next few years.
 

What are your educational aspirations?
Professional Air Canada pilot. I am currently working on a scholarship through Air Cadets to get my ground school.
 

If you could race a car, which class would you choose and why?
I’m doing what I like right now but of course racing a Late Model would be a lot of fun.
 

Who is your favorite NASCAR driver?
Tony Stewart
 

What is your perspective on Ontario short track racing today and where do you think it’s at and how would you improve it?
Racing is a lot of fun in the 4 cylinder class. There’s a lot of cars in this class and I think there will be for a long time. I’d like to see more driver / fan interaction which I think would bring out more fans.
 

What is your favorite thing about racing? 
Having a good night on the track is awesome for our whole family. Racing is a lot of work in the shop and it’s great when the hard work is rewarded on the track.
 

Who is your favorite person to race against and why?
I don’t really have a favorite person to race against in 4 cylinder class but generally all the Honda drivers keep tabs on each other.
 

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

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Question Session: Late Model #29 Sean Grosman

Question Session: Late Model #29 Sean Grosman

By Greg Calnan / OntarioOval.com – Heading into his third full season of Late Model competition at Sunset Speedway, Sean Grosman has probably logged more miles getting to the track then actually going around it. The native of Toronto, Ontario has lived in Miami, Florida for the past 16 years and has spent the last three commuting back and forth on weekends to race in Innisfil. In 2012, the ‘Frequent Flyer’ will be behind the wheel of his own SMG Motorsports car for the first time after competing under the Stompin’ Tom Motorsports banner for his first two seasons. We took some time to speak with Sean about his travel schedule, his racing relationship with Stompin’ Tom Walters, his family life and more in this edition of ‘Question Session’.
 

The Basics
Hometown: Grew up in Toronto, Live in Miami for the last 16 years
Birthdate: May 5, 1970
Career: Real Estate Investor/Developer
Years in racing: 21
Website: http://www.smgmotorsports.com/ 
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/SMG-Motorsports/208295745862704
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/SMGMotorsports
 

Having grown up in Toronto, what took you to Florida and what made you decide to race in Canada during the summer months?
Well about 16 years ago I decided to open an office in Florida due to the economy there, and the opportunities available. As far as the racing in Canada my wife and I own a summer home about 10 minutes from Sunset Speedway so after talking to a couple friends about maybe getting back into racing it seemed a perfect fit as far a convenience for me being that close to our vacation house. The racing also becomes great family time for all of us, being together somewhere other than home.  The kids knew I raced for years before, and they all had interest in it so it seemed like a win win situation all around.
 
 
You’ve earned the nickname the ‘Frequent Flyer’ for the amount of miles you accumulate getting to the track from your home in Florida. What does your weekly schedule look like during the race season?
Well the toughest time is May and late August, and September because that time we are home still because the kids have school.  So the commutes are tough.  Usually I fly out of Miami on a Friday very late 9pm and arrive in Toronto by Midnight, and arrive at our house by 1am.  Then I usually leave Sundays to head back to Miami unless we have a Sunday show in which case I leave very early 6am Monday so I am at work for 10am.  It gets to be tough, but I really enjoy this and it’s a great stress reliever.  During the summers it’s  a bit easier as I try to spend extended time in Canada, which eases my schedule up a bit as far as the back and forths.  You know your traveling a lot when the flight crews start to know you as they see you so often.  
 

Looking back over the 2011 season were you pleased with your performance? What did you learn that you intend to build on for 2012?
It did feel like the sophomore blues.  I was pleased with how my driving progressed as we were fast.  We didn’t seem to get the luck we needed to win a feature.  We won three heat races, including one at the invitational, but you always strive for the feature wins and they eluded me last year.  We had multiple chances to win one, but various late race situations arose to keep us from a feature win.  These races are so competitive that when you get away a bit, the last thing you want to see is a late race yellow to bunch up the field which seems to be how it played out for us.  Moving into 2012 I think we take the things we learned as far as strategy, and some setup items and carry them into the new program.  The car is brand new so it has a lot  of new things we need to consider, but the basics remain the same.  
 
 
How valuable is it as a driver to work with and share information with a proven winner and champion like Stompin’ Tom Walters?
Well I always say, I learned in 2 or 3 seasons more than most people might learn in 10.  At the end of the day Tom is a multiple time champion with decades of years of experience.  The biggest asset to me, is when I get out of the car and talk to him, he has an amazing ability to right away pin point a direction to go in because he has seen it multiple times before.  Anytime you have the ability to take guess work out of the equation it can only be good.  The second nice thing, is you always know on the track you have someone who is looking out for your back.  Don’t get me wrong if were fighting for the lead I am sure I may feel a push or two, but its just hard racing, and nothing more than that.  Its happened a couple times already, and afterwards we have a laugh and he will show me where I may have given him too much room or been doing something wrong.  
 
 
The improvements at Sunset over the past couple of years has drawn some of the top talent in the province to the track. How tough is it every week to get to the front?
Its very tough.  I have raced with lots of full time professional drivers over the years, and I have to tell you the talent pool if you look at some of the top runners at Sunset is incredible.  To have won a feature there before you have to consider it a great accomplishment.  There are easily 8 to 10 guys who on any given night could win.  The spectators get their moneys worth I will tell you that.  I tell people if you expect to win at Sunset there is no room for mistakes anymore.
 
 
You recently launched a new website and are a regular user of Twitter and Facebook. In this day and age, how valuable is a strong media presence for a team and its sponsors?
I have seen especially over the last couple years everyone is so tech savvy that its almost critical.  The fans love it they build a rapport with the drivers online during the week, and come race day they carry that over to seeing the driver in person.  We have gotten huge feedback  the instant our site went live.  (www.smgmotorsports.com) As far as sponsors, if you’re looking for sponsors or looking to retain the ones you have you almost have to have a strong tech presence or you are doing them an injustice.  People these days get their first hit of information on a product, driver, event, etc usually from a digital outlet so if you want to have a strong presence you need to have a strong digital profile.
 
 
Looking ahead to 2012, what goals have you set for yourself and your team?
Number one is to have fun. At the end of the day these guys have full time jobs and do this in their off time mostly, so the fun factor has to be there.  We also have a lot of money invested so I look at goals for our team as constant progression forward.  I would like to see some feature wins this year, I know we can do it.  I also push consistency because championships are won based on putting steady numbers up.
 
 
As a father of three children, have any of them shown an interest in racing or being involved in the sport?
My older son shows interest right now, he did some Kart racing before and likes it, and due to various other commitments we didn’t follow up on it. I think I will have to knuckle under shortly and put him in a car.   My middle boy is a great baseball player, and athlete all around so he focuses on that mostly, but has a wild streak in him so I am sure the prodding will start soon.  My little one we will have to wait right now. He just likes hanging out with his Mom and Dad, uncle and Aunt and cousins at the track.

Photos by Eric Uprichard / www.SpeedwayPhoto.ca 


 

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

 

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Question Session: Vintage #39 Shane Stickel

Question Session: Vintage #39 Shane Stickel

By Larissa Spencer / OntarioOval.com –”I think Ontario Short Track racing is some of the most exciting racing around.” Shane Stickel was introduced to racing when he was just a baby. His father would take him to various short tracks around Ontario, and there was no doubt that the passion for racing would be passed down to Shane. At the age of 7, Shane started racing with the Waterloo Regional Kart Club and won the championship in his very first year. Shane and his dad would race karts in the morning then head to Flamboro Speedway for the stock cars at night. To Shane, racing is the most thrilling and intense sport around, “it almost becomes a life style, but it’s worth it.” This season Shane is continuing to race with the Canadian Vintage Modifieds. He hopes to win more races, and hopefully win his first championship with the club. I had the chance to speak with Shane about his racing career in this edition of Question Session.
 

The Basics:
Hometown: Kitchener, ON
Birthdate: July 13,1989
Career: Manufacturing Manager
Years in racing: 8 Karts/2 Vintage Modifieds
Website: www.shanestickel.com 
 

How did you get your start in racing?
My Dad got me started in racing. He has always been an avid race fan, so even as a baby I was already hanging out at all the Ontario short tracks. It was obvious that his passion would become mine at a young age.
 

How, when and where did you get into karting?
I started racing go karts when I was 7 with the Waterloo Regional Kart Club. My dad made sure to have me in a kart as soon as I was old enough. I won the championship my first year racing.
 

You grew up around racing as your dad raced here at Flamboro. What division did he run and when?
My dad raced Thunder cars at Flamboro for a few years when I first started racing karts in 1997. He couldn’t let me have all the fun, so we raced karts in the morning in Kitchener, and then went right to Flamboro for the Thunder cars. It wore us both out after a few seasons.
 

Who is your favourite racer to race against and why?
Corey Jones – Corey and I started out by racing Karts against each other, and then went on to race Vintage Modifieds at the same time. It was a learning curve for both of us so we definitely helped each other out. No matter where or what we are racing it always seems like we cannot get away from each other on the track. This has made for some great racing between the two of us, but also some quiet rides home. It’s always a lot of fun competing against one of you buddies.
 

What is your perspective on Ontario Short Track racing today and where do you think it’s at and how would you improve it?
I think Ontario Short Track racing is some of the most exciting racing around. It doesn’t matter if I’m racing myself or there as a spectator its always a great night out. Some things that would help improve the whole short track racing scene would be higher car and fan counts. Those two things have really been affected over that past few years. I think tracks and drivers need to really promote there tracks and clubs so the word spreads and the younger generations can slowly become more interested.
 

What’s your favourite thing about racing?
The butterflies you get in your stomach right before a race starts. I’ve been racing for a long time and I still get them every time. Its the most thrilling and intense sport around.
 

What is your least favourite thing about racing?
The amount of work and time invested can be overwhelming. It almost becomes a life style, but its worth it.
 

If you could race any other class of cars which would you choose and why?
I would love to have a shot at running a late model or OSCAAR. I grew up following the OSCAAR series and its always been a dream of mine.
 

Who are your sponsors and who would you like to thank?
MSD Machine Tool, Shelane Properties, Huron Fasteners, Abtech CAD/CAM, Paragon Collision Center, Creative Edge Signs & Graphics, BkReinhart.com, Speedway Photos
 

What are your plans for the 2012 season, and what are your future plans in racing?
I will be running a full Vintage Modified schedule. I hope to win some more races and hopefully win my first Vintage Modified Championship.

Photos by Randy Spencer and the Shane Stickel Collection.

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

 

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Question Session: Sprint Car #67 Chris Durand

Question Session: Sprint Car #67 Chris Durand

By Tommy Goudge/OntarioOval.com – Chris Durand is one of many young drivers who have found a home in the Sprint Car division. Like many others from his area, Micro Sprints served as his introduction to racing before moving to the full-size version. Chris and his family-owned team don’t have a large budget by any stretch, but they make the most of what they have, and they always have fun at the track. Chris has a unique lifestyle, spending winters on snowy slopes in Alberta and BC, and summers on Ontario dirt. We sat down with Chris to discuss his past, present, and future in this edition of “Question Session”.

The Basics
Birthdate: November 8, 1989
Hometown: Port Stanley, Ontario
Years in racing: Going into year 7.
Career: Ski/Snowboard Industry
Website: www.durandracing.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sprintcar67
Twitter: www.twitter.com/67DurandRacing 
 

Everyone has a unique story about how they became a race driver. When did you first become interested in racing, and how did you end up as a driver?
“Growing up, life in my family just revolved around racing. When I was a year old, I was at Lonestar Speedway where my brother was racing go-karts. Most of my childhood memories are in the pits or grandstands at tracks like Lonestar, Grand Bend, Wilton Grove, and Wonderland, so it was almost guaranteed that I would be racing at some point. I got my first taste of being behind the wheel as a 7 year old, and I was pretty much just terrible, so that didn’t last long…but when I was 16 I took over the driving duties in the Micro Sprint for 3 seasons once my brother and Dad both finished racing, then got behind the wheel of a 360 Sprint Car at (age) 19.”
 

You’re a Sprint Car racer, accomplished skier and snowboarder, and you tried out for the Red Bull Crashed Ice competition over the winter. How many other crazy things are you going to try?
“Honestly I get way too bored in life when I have too much downtime, so I pretty much always have to find something thrilling to be doing – that’s just how I work. There’s still so many sports I have an interest in getting into recreationally: Skier Cross and Boarder Cross are close to the top of my list. At the end of the day Sprint Car racing is always a priority, so I have to remember to be careful and think of the big picture.”
 

You surprised a lot of people – perhaps even yourself – with a 3rd place at Brockville last season. How did it feel knowing you had finished ahead of several very experienced and competitive racers?
“That night at Brockville was definitely one of the the best nights of my life, and a major learning experience racing-wise. To be able to pull off a 3rd place finish in the field we were in was almost like a win itself to us, and it felt that set-up and driving as a team helped us finally step our game up another level in Sprint Cars. I think that result came from our approach, advice from some teams, taking some set-up risks, patience, and luck.”
 

What is is the biggest thing you’ve learned during your first 3 seasons in the full-size Sprint Car that you didn’t know before you started?
“I’ve definitely gained a lot more respect for Sprint Cars, money, and the sport in general. The main things I’ve really worked hard on learning would be how to adapt to different tracks and track conditions, and learning more about how setups work. I’d say the biggest thing that I’ve learned is: If you want to be a good successful Sprint Car driver, it’s a major life commitment, on and off the track. You have to be on your game with working on the car, knowing what setups to throw at it, and working your butt off behind the wheel.”
 

Number 67 isn’t all that common on race cars. Where did that originate?
“When my brother started racing he used #76, then when my Dad started racing and Durand Racing became a two car team, he went for #67. After my brother and Dad finished racing at the same time, I was the next in line. So I decided to use #67 to follow my Dad.”
 

Like most Sprint Car racers, you’re a member of the upside-down club. What does it feel like to be inside a flipping race car?
“I’m not sure if that’s always the best club to be a part of, but I guess it’s bound to happen eventually with Sprint Cars, and it just means more experience. The first few flips I had in Micros and in the Sprint Car always seemed just hectic and intense, but now they just feel like everything goes into slow motion and you have time to turn off the fuel and engine, brace yourself, and think: ‘oh crap, here we go again’. It generally never feels awesome.”
 

Wonderland Speedway has helped to further the career of many local racers. What did you learn racing there, and what is your favourite memory from that track?
“Wonderland Speedway was where I spent almost every Friday night in the summer when I was a little kid until I was 18. As a track, it meant a lot to my family and me, from watching my brother and dad race there to driving there myself. It was the track that I first learned to race at, and drive a car in general. I even spent some of my high school prom night in the pit area. Some of my best Wonderland and childhood memories were the late nights at the track after all the racing was over, wandering the pits with my dad and just socializing with all the teams. Wonderland always felt like a big family in a way.”

* Editors Note: Although originally reported that Wonderland Speedway would be closed for the coming season it has been brought to our attention that they will indeed be open with a full slate of Micros and Outlaws.
 

Your family is very supportive of your racing career, and even help to work on the car and promote your team while you’re away working out west each winter. Talk about how much they mean to your racing efforts.
“Racing has always been a major part of my family – every summer for the past 20 years, one or two Durand boys have been racing. Without my parents major effort, passion and funding behind the scenes, we wouldn’t be racing at all. From my Dad working on the cars in the shop almost every spare minute he has, to my Mom not only being one of our major sponsors (Joy Durand at Elgin Realty) but she also meets us at the tracks with the trailer and car on those days when we don’t travel with the car. Usually at all the races we have a Car Owners/Driver relationship, but before and after we still always have the family thing going. I definitely appreciate everything they have done to help my racing career.”
 
What are your long-term goals in racing? Are Sprint Cars your thing, or do new challenges await?
“For me racing 410 Sprint Cars is always my number one goal for a career eventually, either with the World Of Outlaws or the Sam Hafertepe, Jr/true outlaw style. If for whatever reason racing doesn’t work out for me, my plan B would be to coach disabled ski racing full time, hopefully at a Provincial or National level. 
 

What is something most people don’t know about you, and might be surprised to find out?
“I think with racing people generally see the more intense, focused, and serious side of me, but anywhere away from the track I’m generally ridiculously mellow and relaxed. Besides being in a Sprint Car, the next best place I’d rather be hanging out would be somewhere cold in the middle of nowhere, with great friends, and a ton of snow. If I were not racing in the summer months, I would most likely just be following winter around the world.”
 

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us

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Question Session: Sportsman #63 Chris Herbison

Question Session: Sportsman #63 Chris Herbison

By Dale Calnan / OntarioOval.com - For most drivers the thought of winning one championship in their racing career would be dream come true. With that being said, the 2011 season for Chris Herbison must have exceeded his wildest imaginations. Not only did he manage to capture the Brockville championship by 1 point in the ultra-competitve DIRTcar Sportsman division, he also claimed the track title at Cornwall as well. We sat down and talked to Chris about his starting in racing, his exciting and close championship battle at Brockville and the teams preparations for 2012 in this edition of ‘Question Session’.

The Basics
Hometown: Mallorytown, ON
Birthdate: Feb 73
Career: Hydro One
Years in racing: 18
 

Chris tell us where and how you got involved in racing?
My Dad had raced for years and always being around it seemed like the natural thing to do.
 

Is there any one person who helped you get to where you are today in racing?
I’ll have to say that my Dad and my brother were a big influence because I was always younger and just tagging around, but I was always involved. Eventhough there was a lot of great race car drivers at the time my hero was my Dad and I always wanted to be him! My brother really worked with me trying too make sure the racecars were always right and helping with the little things that make a big difference. Paul Pekkonen was a huge help early on as well. There are so many people that make a difference in a career in racing it would be almost impossible to mention them all! My wife Tammy and kids Jarrett and Jacob have really helped me to be a complete racecar driver. They support me 100% and that makes me be able to be more focused.
 

A career in racing has many highs and lows. Was there ever  event that occured or time when you questioned being involved with racing?  
I think the biggest one is when your running a modified and don’t have the money too run with everyone else, but you know if you had the resources you could run up front, that was probably the most frustrating!
 

The DIRTcar Sportsman division since instituting crate engines is one of the most even and difficult classes in all racing to win in.( 1st and 2nd in points were separted by just 1 point in 2011) What is the most important area(s) you concentrate on to put you in a position to be near to or at the front each week?
Well I’m lucky because I’m just a driver and Chris Stewart brings a great car every week for me to drive and that lets me be more focused when I get to the track. On the track I try to not put myself into a bad spot and maybe have to wait longer to try and make a pass and  just try and pass as many as you can without putting yourself in a bad position. The crate motor is a great thing that’s happened to our sport. It lets a lot more people get involved in racing, but the car better be the best that it can be every night or you won’t be competitive and there is alot of very good racecar drivers in our class as well.
 

Winning the track championship at Brockville by 1 point over Dylan Evoy must have made the title feel really good. How did that last points race of the season play out on the track? Did you know right away that you had won the title?
It did make it feel really good because we lost it the year before because we got into a crash in hot laps and we couldn’t fix it properly for the feature. So to come back the next year and win it,  that was really special.  We went into the night trailing by 8 points so we had to have a lot of good things happen for us to succeed. In the heat race we gained 3 points so the margin was down to 5  points going into the feature, we started 13th and Dylan started 15th. We both had some work to do so I ran as hard as I could the whole race and I was up to third and knew Dylan was behind me somewhere. A caution came out with 2 laps to go and I knew the only shot a had to win was to try and make into second on the restart. I thought a had a chance coming for the white flag because I was gaining on second place Steve Barber and as we got to 3 I was up beside Barber and didnt let off and beat him by about 3 feet so it was really tight. I wasnt quite sure if I had won or not because it just happened, but realized if I just got by Barber there was no way Dylan could have got him so then I knew we had it by 1 point! The Cornwall track Championship was pretty special to win also, its the other place that I always wanted to win as well.
 

Take us through the off season and how you are preparing for 2012.
The offseason has been long, but we’ve kept busy with our kids playing hockey. Chris has the car pretty much ready to go. Just a few updates and were ready to get at it.
 

What are your plans for your 2012 racing campaign?
Were going back both to Brockville and Cornwall for the year if everything goes well of course. We are also going to run a few special races if we can. We always look forward to going to Brighton Speedway, its one of those places are whole team enjoys racing at.
 

Do you have aspirations of moving up to 358’s at any time? 
No, I don’t think so. We’re happy where were at right now. We have a good Sportsman program going on. Anything can change, but we’ll stick where we’re at for this year anyways.
 

If you had a chance to drive any other type of race car what would it be?
If I had a chance I would really like to drive a Late Model. They’re pretty cool. The other one would have to be a Supermodified at Oswego. My Dad raced them there and I would love to give them a try for sure.
 

Stay tuned for the next edition of “Question Session”. If you are a driver, team member or track official and would like to be considered for an upcoming edition of “Question Session” please CLICK HERE to contact us.

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