Posted on 03 May 2013.
Ontario Oval Exclusive
By Clayton Johns (@cjohnsmedia)
The Ontario Late Model season will open this weekend with three of eight tracks hosting their marquee divisions.
Barrie Speedway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) Speedway, Delaware Speedway, Flamboro Speedway, Peterborough Speedway, Sauble Speedway, Sunset International Speedway, and Varney Speedway Motorplex will all host late model racing in 2013.
Additionally, two Late Model touring series, the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup and OSCAAR Super Late Models, will make stops throughout Southern Ontario for much of 2013.
We break down each track and series’ championship contenders in this Late Model season preview.
The top contenders at each facility are likely to do battle multiple times throughout the summer at various invitational events. Check out our master schedule below to see when the track nearest you will host the province’s best.
Most major Late Model events throughout the province will return once again in 2013. Those include Flamboro’s Grisdale Triple Crown and Gold Rush events, Sauble’s Beat the Heat 150 and Dash for Cash, Delaware’s Great Canadian Race, Sunset’s Velocity Weekend, and the famed Autumn Colours Classic at Peterborough Speedway.
There will be no shortage of action or cars around the province this summer, in what is largely considered to be one the most talent-laden asphalt racing division in the province.
Barrie Speedway – Wahta Springs Limited Late Models
First Race: Saturday May 4
Defending Champion: Dwayne Baker
Subtractions: Dwayne Baker (Sunset)
Additions: Leonard Johnston
Drivers to Watch: Ron Quesnell, Al Inglis, Gord Shepherd, Keith McLeod, Randy Bull
Barrie Speedway’s top division will crown a new champion in 2013 as the current crown holder, Dwayne Baker, has decided to make Sunset Speedway his home. There are no shortage of drivers waiting to take over in 2013.
After dominating at Barrie in 2011 to win the track championship and provincial NASCAR Whelen All-American Weekly Series championship, Ron Quesnelle struggled throughout the 2012 campaign. Quesnelle only managed two trips to victory lane, which were below the veteran’s expectations, despite a second place overall finish in the championship standings. Look for ‘RQ’ to be a more dominant force in 2013.
The division’s 2010 champion, Al Inglis, earned a trio of victories in 2012 which means the ‘Red Rocket’ will be hungry to take back the title come opening night.
Gord Shepherd earned four feature victories in 2012, but fell to fourth in the final standings. Shepherd, the 2009 track champion, ran well at the Autumn Colours Classic last October in a stacked field and will look to build on his success to retake the speedway’s highest honours.
Keith McLeod is the only driver besides Baker to earn more than five feature wins in 2012, totalling seven at season’s end. McLeod, however, missed a few points nights and finish seventh overall. Should he return to full-time competition this season, he’s sure to be a championship threat.
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Speedway – Limited Late Models
First Race: Saturday May 18
Defending Champion: Kyle Donaldson
Drivers to Watch: Kyle Donaldson, Darren Kearnan, Dan Kimmerly, Mark Gordon, John Baker Jr.
Defending champion Kyle Donaldson dominated the Bowmanville, Ont. half-mile last season, earning six feature wins over the course of the summer. Donaldson’s #53 was routinely tested by Darren Kearnan, who also earned a feature win in 2012. Add Mark ‘Flash’ Gordon in to the mix as a weekly threat to win. Gordon, however, only ran a partial schedule last summer, but did have a solid showing at Peterborough’s Chase for the Colours (6th). Veteran Dan Kimmerly split time aboard his familiar #01 with daughter Shannon last summer. When the former ALSTAR veteran is in the field, he is sure to contend for a victory.
Delaware Speedway – FT Garage Pro Late Models
First Race: Friday May 17
Defending Champion: Mark Watson
Subtractions: Andrew Gresel (OSCAAR), Marc Jacobs (Jegs CRA), Jaxson Jacobs (Jegs CRA)
Additions: Justin Demelo
Drivers to Watch: Mark Watson, Matt Pritiko, David Elliott, Kirk Hooker, Matt Hendricks, Matt Box, Stephen Richmond
Delaware’s marquee division is often home to the most talented drivers anywhere in the province and this season is no exception. Defending track champion and 2012 Great Canadian Race winner Mark Watson will be back with a vengeance to defend his title in 2013.
Matt Pritiko fell just 25 points shy of the track championship last season and will be as hungry as ever. Pritiko also turned in an impressive performance at the Autumn Colours Classic and will look to ride that wave in to the May 18 season opener.
The ‘Waterdown Warrior’ David Elliott is always in contention for a win at the London, Ont. ½-mile. Elliott turned in impressive results at Flamboro’s Grisdale Triple Crown as well as Sunset’s MRE Pro Series in 2012, so more of the same should put him in championship contention.
Former ALSTAR Series regular Kirk Hooker has flown under the radar for the past season, but should provide some flare to the dramatic again this season. Don’t be surprised if the #38H is in victory multiple times this year.
Matt Hendricks and Stephen Richmond will both be in their sophomore years in the speedway’s top division after graduating from the weekly modified division. A steady and consistent improvement on last year’s efforts will go a long way.
Flamboro Speedway – Grisdale Pro Late Models
First Race: Saturday May 4
Defending Champion: Jason Shaw
Subtractions: Brad Corcoran (Jegs CRA), Shane Gowan (OSCAAR)
Additions: Shawn Chenoweth
Drivers to Watch: Jason Shaw, Steve Laking, Paul Howse, Jeff Stewart, Dale Shaw
It’s become awfully tough not to select Jason Shaw as the championship favourite in Flamboro’s Pro Late Model division. Shaw has been Mr. Consistent for a number of seasons and has proven his talent and equipment against the province’s best talent at invitational shows as well. Preparing a second car for his son Dale doesn’t seem to have slowed the veteran down as he notched four victories last season.
Steve Laking finished second in the championship standings despite just one trip to victory lane. Laking has stepped up his game for 2013, and has already competed in a PASS South event on the other side of the 49th. This year could be Laking’s best chance for victory if all goes well.
Paul Howse seemingly dominated the Millgrove, Ont. speedway last year with five weekly victories as well as a victory in the 100-lap Gold Rush. He’ll need to bring a consistent program to earn a championship ring.
Dale Shaw earned 2012 rookie honours and will feature a new paint scheme on his #83 to start the season. With a season under his belt and father wrenching on the car, Dale is in good hands to improve again in his sophomore year.
Shawn Chenoweth returns to the division after a one-year hiatus with the OSCAAR Super Late Model tour.
Peterborough Speedway – Vanguard Self-Storage Limited Late Models
First Race: Saturday May 18
Defending Champion: Bryan Sudsbury
Subtractions: None Confirmed
Additions: Chris Mitchell
Drivers to Watch: Bryan Sudsbury, Chris Mitchell, Todd Delisle, Tyler Liscum
It will be no small task for Bryan Sudsbury to defend his title at Peterborough Speedway. In order to do so, Sudsbury will have to battle with Todd Delisle, Chris Mitchell, and Tyler Liscum on a weekly basis. And that list has yet to factor in Jack Horner. The track will host at least a half-dozen drivers who are capable of winning each week.
The hometown drivers may have an advantage for the track’s June 30th running of the Chase for the Colours. The 75-lap event will lock the top two finishers in to the Limited Late Model front row for the 21st Autumn Colours Classic on Thanksgiving weekend.
Chris Mitchell found himself in Autumn Colours victory lane two seasons ago and knows his way around the storied facility. If Mitchell can turn out a couple of victories and consistent top-five, he could be a champion come September.
Todd Delisle adds another layer of talent to the division. Having committed to a full-season, the 2011 Autumn Colours runner-up will have high expectations for the year.
Sauble Speedway – Limited Late Models
First Race: Saturday May 18
Defending Champion: Scott McTeer
Subtractions: Andy Kamrath
Additions: Brittney Gresel, Matt Mullholland
Drivers to Watch: Scott McTeer, Jason Parker, Marvin Freiburger, Tom Gibbons, Josh Stade, Matt Mullholland
The 2013 late model season at ‘The Beach’ is shaping up to be one of the most competitive yet. Defending champion Scott McTeer will have a tough time repeating in 2013 with a stout field in pursuit. The #49 team will need their weekly performance to resemble that which earned them a 2nd-place finish at Peterborough last October.
A rejuvenated Jason Parker will be intent on winning as many races as possible throughout the upcoming campaign. Parker had impressive showings away from Sauble, including Sunset, and Peterborough. Parker will have to find a balance for his aggressive style in order to remain at the top of the championship standings.
Veterans Marvin Freiburger and Tom Gibbons will be tough to beat once again. Freiburger had a successful 2012 campaign and the former thunder car wheelman will hope to take checkers again this year. The perennially competitive Gibbons will also be a weekly threat to take checkers.
Matt Mullholland will make his limited late model debut at Sauble after several seasons in the tracks tightly contested thunder car division. Mullholland will have help from teammate Parker and will compete against Brittney Gresel for the rookie-of-the-year title.
Sunset Speedway – Limited Late Models
First Race: Saturday May 4
Defending Champion: Tom Walters
Subtractions: Kevin Cornelius (OSCAAR), Sean Cronan (OSCAAR)
Additions: Dwayne Baker, Andy Kamrath, Herb Walters, Brian Wilson Jr., Anthony Simone
Drivers to Watch: Tom Walters, Mike Bentley, Andy Kamrath, Dwayne Baker, Taylor Holdaway, Gary Elliot, Jason Witty, Bruce Rankin, Chris Morrow, Sean Grosman, Anthony Simone
Sunset Speedway may be home to the province’s most competitive and talent-laden late model division in 2013. Defending and 30-time champion Tom Walters will be hard pressed to repeat his spectacular 2012 campaign with the influx of new drivers this year. Not to mention the Bradford, Ont. pilot’s weekly rivalry with Mike Bentley, who finished second in the championship standings.
The return of Dwayne Baker to the division, who had a career year at Barrie in 2012 with 13 feature wins, only increases the level of competition. Baker is joined by Andy Kamrath as late model veterans joining the series.
Sunset staples Taylor Holdaway, Chris Morrow, Jason Witty, Bruce Rankin, and Scott Beatty are also threats to win on any given week. Holdaway took the final feature of 2012 and brings one of the most complete programs on weekly basis. Morrow has yet to commit to a full season, but the seven-time Sunset champ is usually in the mix for a checkered flag.
Golden Beach, FL native Sean Grosman has improved his Tom Walters-prepared ride over the off-season. The #29 team will feature a new paint scheme for a new campaign and is determined to improve on his ninth-place points finish.
Former NASCAR Canadian Tire Series regular Anthony Simone is expected to compete at the Innisfil, Ont. oval on a regular basis this summer, adding yet another victory lane candidate.
Herb Walters and Brian Wilson Jr. have both graduated from the speedway’s thunder car division and will battle one another for rookie honours. Herb dominated the first-half of 2012 before a surge by Nick Roth knocked him from the top championship spot. Herb will not face the transition alone and will have support from a host of drivers, as will Wilson.
Varney Speedway Motorplex – Limited Late Models
First Race: Saturday May 18
Defending Champion: Cole Weber
Drivers to Watch: Cole Weber, Tommy Robb, Jeff Lotspeich, Dan Wright
The tight and high-bank confines of Varney Speedway will once again feature a competitive late model division. Cole Weber and Tommy Robb dueled side-by-side many nights with Weber eventually emerging as the 2012 track champion.
Robb, however, is one of the most competitive drivers in the province and will look to reclaim the track championship this season.
Jeff Lotspeich was also competitive last season, finishing third in the championship standings. Lotspeich’s #85 is capable of winning and should be considered a threat for the track title.
Former Sauble champion Dan Wright ran a partial schedule at Varney in 2012 and was increasingly dangerous throughout the year. When Wright does make appearances, look for him to challenge for the win.
Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup
First Race: Saturday May 18 (Varney Speedway Motorplex)
Defending Champion: Shawn McGlynn
Drivers to Watch: Shawn McGlynn, Josh Wood, Jay Doerr, Amanda Conolly, Tim Tolton, Jake Ott
The 2013 Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup tour will take the series to six different tracks for eight races. Each of the eight events will feature a 100-lap feature, including the series finale at Flamboro’s Oktoberfest Classic.
Shawn McGlynn dominated the 2012 edition of the Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup, but not without being tightly contested by Josh Wood and Jay Doerr. McGlynn and Wood each won twice, while Doerr took the checkers once.
Amanda Connolly stole the show and surprised many with an early season win at Delaware. If the sophomore driver can once again earn a spot in victory lane, she is likely to improve on her fourth place finish in the championship standings.
Tim Tolton, Mike Nelson, and Jake Ott will also look to improve on their rookie seasons and move up the standings from their seventh, eighth, and ninth-place finishes in the championship standings.
OSCAAR Super Late Models
First Race: Sunday May 19 (Sunset Speedway)
Defending Champion: Brandon Watson
Subtractions: Shawn Chenoweth, George Wilson
Additions: Kevin Cornelius, Andrew Gresel, Sean Cronan, Rob Gibson, Shane Gowan, J.R. Ftizpatrick, Ethan Courneyea
Drivers to Watch: Glenn Watson, Brandon Watson, Rob Poole, Derrick Tiemersma, Mike Beyore, Rob Clark, Jesse Kennedy, Jeff Hanley.
The 2013 OSCAAR Super Late Model tour will be the most competitive edition of the tour in years. After Brandon Watson dueled ferociously with George Wilson last season, it seems neither will be in championship contention this season. Brandon has said he is likely to miss some races, while Wilson takes a hiatus to focus on his son’s racing career.
Glenn Watson failed to earn a win in 2012 after seven trips to victory lane in 2011. The ‘Red Rocket’ is beyond determined to win again this year and reclaim the championship crown.
Derrick Tiemersma had a successful season last year after a one-year hiatus, but the Newmarket, Ont. driver is more interested in winning than his third-place points finish.
After a pair on engine failures a year ago, Mike Beyore is preparing for a big season. Beyore has returned to a spec motor for 2013, which he feels will be more consistent.
Five-time series champion Rob Clark is expected to compete full-time in 2013. ‘Magic Shoes’ earned his only win of 2012 at his home track Delaware Speedway. With a chassis that is just one year old, Clark should be able to find victory lane again this year.
Sophomores Jesse Kennedy, Rob Poole, and Jim Bowman have all upgraded their Outlaws for the upcoming campaign. Kennedy won at Barrie last year, Poole has already been testing at Sunset, and Bowman is likely to benefit from a series return to his former home at Flamboro.
This year’s rookie class is definitively the most competitive of the millennium. Kevin Cornelius holds the 2011 Sunset Limited Late Model track championship to his name and will pilot the first ever Super Late Model from McColl Racing Enterprises. The talented Andrew Gresel has ARCA experience under his belt this season and a brand new ride under him. Meanwhile, Sean Cronan was the 2011 Sunset Shootout champion and Rob Gibson will fulfill a childhood dream driving a Super Late Model.
Master Schedule (Late Model Special Events)
Date – Track/Facility – Series/Event (Laps) (Start Time)
Sat. May 18 – Varney Speedway Motorplex – Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup (100) (7pm)
Sun. May 19 – Sunset Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (50) (6pm)
Sat. June 1 – Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (50) (6pm)
Sat. June 8 – Flamboro Speedway – Grisdale Triple Crown Round #1 – (75) (6pm)
Sat. June 8 – Sauble Speedway – Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup (100) (TBA)
Sat. June 15 – Barrie Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (50) (6:30pm)
Sun. June 16 – Sunset Speedway – Invitational Event (75) (3pm)
Fri. June 21 – Delaware Speedway – Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup (100) (7:30pm)
Fri. June 28 – Delaware Speedway – Canada Day 100 (100) (7:30pm)
Sat. June 29 – Sauble Speedway – Sauble to Sunset Home & Home – (TBA) (TBA)
Sat. June 29 – CTMP Speedway – Invitational Event (50) (6pm)
Sat. June 29 – Sunset Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (Don Biderman Memorial) (50) (6:30pm)
Sat. June 30 – Sunset Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (Don Biderman Memorial) (50) (6:30pm)
Sat. July 6 – Flamboro Speedway – Grisdale Triple Crown Round #2 (75) (6pm)
Sat. July 13 – Sauble Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (50) (TBA)
Sat. July 13 – CTMP Speedway – Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup (100) (6pm)
Sat. July 13 – Sunset Speedway – Sauble to Sunset Home & Home – (TBA) (6:30pm)
Sat. July 20 – Flamboro Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (50) (6pm)
Sat. July 27 – Sunset Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (50) (6:45pm)
Wed. July 31 – Sauble Speedway – Dash for Cash Round 1 (TBA) (TBA)
Sat. Aug. 3 – Peterborough Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (50) (6pm)
Sun. Aug. 4 – Sauble Speedway – Beat the Heat 150 (150) (TBA)
Sun. Aug. 4 – Sunset Speedway – Invitational Event (75) (6:30pm)
Sat. Aug. 10 – Peterborough Speedway – Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup (100) (6pm)
Sun. Aug. 11 – Kawartha Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (50) (4pm)
Wed. Aug. 14 – Sauble Speedway – Dash for Cash Round 2 (TBA) (TBA)
Mon. Aug. 19 – Flamboro Speedway – Gold Rush ft. Kenny Wallace (100) (6pm)
Sat. Aug. 24 – Peterborough Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (50) (6pm)
Sat. Aug. 24 – Flamboro Speedway – Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup (100) (6:30pm)
Sat. Aug. 31 – Delaware Speedway – Great Canadian 200 (200) (2pm)
Sat. Sept. 21 – Barrie Speedway – Garry Reynolds Memorial (100) (3pm)
Sat./Sun. Sept. 28-29 – Sunset Speedway – Velocity Weekend (75) (1:30pm)
Sun. Sept. 29 – Sunset Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (50) (1:30pm)
Sat./Sun. Oct. 5-6 – Flamboro Speedway – Oktoberfest Classic (Triple 50s) (3pm)
Sat. Oct. 5 – Flamboro Speedway – Lucas Oil Sportsman Cup (100) (3pm)
Fri.-Sun. Oct. 11-13 – Peterborough Speedway – 21st Annual Autumn Colours Classic (TBA) (TBA)
Sat./Sun. Oct. 12-13 – Peterborough Speedway – OSCAAR Super Late Models (50) (TBA)