By Greg Calnan (June 10, 2010) – Now that OntarioOval.com has officially launched and is becoming a regular destination for Ontario short track fans, it is time to introduce my column called On The Road. It will be a chance for me to review different tracks and events that we travel to as we spread the word about our website.
The first journey I would like to document took place on Friday, June 4th. My normal destination on a Friday night is Ohsweken Speedway where I am a track announcer and web designer. Unfortunately due to poor weather during the week the evening’s races were cancelled early that morning. This opened a rare opportunity to visit one of the other two Friday night facilities in Ontario… either Delaware or Kawartha. Knowing I would be at Delaware the following night for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race and seeing that OSCAAR was on the schedule at Kawartha I very quickly decided to make the trip to Fraserville.
I had been to Kawartha Speedway a few times in the past, but had only seen one race there. It was during the opening season as they hosted the CASCAR Super Series on Canada Day of 2001. Very quickly I could tell that the aging of the track’s surface had created many more grooves of racing compared to my first trip there. Myself, along with Tommy Goudge and our photographer Dale Calnan arrived early enough to see the last few practice sessions before the drivers meeting and were immediately impressed.
This would be my first chance to see the high horse-powered OSCAAR Super Late Models. The moment we got parked and opened the doors all we could hear was the roar of these mean sounding machines. It didn’t take very long to grab our things and make our way up towards the fence to catch a glimpse.
Those who haven’t had the chance to visit Kawartha Speedway really need to make the trip. The stock car track is located inside the 1-mile horse track, making a very unique setting on race night. Portable grandstands are moved into place for each event. There is seating available in the large glassed-in grandstand, but the real hardcore fans bring their camp chairs and sit right up by the fence. Talk about getting a sense of the speed!
When we arrived we made our way up to the corner three fence and watched most of the racing from there. We did unfortunately move down to corner two later on in the evening, but more on that later.
Once practice was over we roamed the pit area for a chance to hand out some stickers and promotional material to spread the word about OntarioOval.com. The teams and drivers were very friendly and receptive to our visit. We were able to meet a number of new people and make some new connections.
The drivers meeting was filled with smiling faces and a few rounds of applause, which told me right away that this was obviously opening night… no one had the chance to be upset about anything yet. One of the claps for approval came when Track Promoter Derek Lynch announced that new seating was being brought in for 2010. He wasn’t confident it would be ready for the next show on June 18th, but he did say it would be ready for use later this season. Once the meeting was over it was time to hit the track for some racing action.
Things started off with a roar as the OSCAAR Super Late Models took to the track first for their qualifying heats. As we stood in turn three we watched them climb the banking in turn two before rocketing down the backstretch, it was quite the sight. These cars truly are fast and can whip around the surface with amazing control.
The evening moved along very quickly as qualifiers and semi-features were completed with only one uncontrollable hiccup. OSCAAR was first up for feature time and the sparks would fly by the end of the race. Glenn Watson won the event, but the main story was a late race incident. Contact between Brandon Watson and Wayne Isaacs sent Isaacs hard into the turn three wall. Unfortunately, we had decided to watch the features from corner two for a different perspective and missed the incident in turn three. Talk about bad timing. We decided to return to our corner three spot, and checked out the action at the Watson trailer after the wreck. There was quite a crowd, but that was about all we could see.
From there on out we watched the regular divisions do battle in their feature events. All three classes had exciting races right down to the end. Chris Morrow held on for the win in the Late Models over a hard charging Dan McHattie who made his way through the entire field after early race problems. The Thunder Car win went to Norm Mayhew while the Mini Stock race went to Kelly Wood. And let me say this, if you want to see Talladega type action without the trip to Alabama, go to Kawartha to see one of their Mini Stock races. It was wild and woolly to say the least. My ‘tip of the cap’ for the night goes to the #2 of Too Moroney who was the class of the field this night, but crashed into the front stretch wall in a three-way battle for the win.
As the final feature drew to a close the skies opened up, just in time for the drive home. Needless to say the decision to visit Kawartha Speedway was an excellent one. Team OntarioOval.com was impressed by the facility, the staff and the racing.
THANK YOU: Thanks go out to Derek Lynch and Jessica Moya-Brown who treated us like royalty that evening. Considering our website was less than a week old and we had just called for media access earlier that afternoon they bent over backwards to accommodate us. You won’t meet a better-organized or nicer bunch in all of racing.
WHO WE MET: It was nice to finally meet Spencer Lewis who is one of the main voices of asphalt racing in this province. We were able to hear him loud and clear from the pits all night and he made it entertaining and informative. We also were able to meet up with Don McLeod who does a great job with Public Relations and Web design for OSCAAR. He writes some really interesting articles on the teams that follow the tour at their website www.oscaar.ca.
WHO WAS THERE: Laura Lamb from Inside Track Motorsports News was on-hand with their bright red tent on display. It’s hard to miss that tent so make sure you stop by and support the Official Publication of Canadian Motorsports when they are at your home track. You can also check them out online at www.insidetracknews.com. Also in attendance was my friend Doug Andrews from Have Bus Racing Tours. They have a good thing going with their race tours. I had a chance to check out one of their busses and it is like a hotel on wheels. When they are at the track stop by and say hi, you won’t be disappointed. For upcoming tour dates visit www.havebus.com.
WHO WE MISSED: Unfortunately Kawartha Speedway PR Director and Announcer Jim Clarke was not in attendance. A nagging back injury has him sidelined at the moment. We wish him the best in recovery and hope that he gets to a racetrack soon before they have to put him in a rubber room. Get well Jim!
Overall my return to Kawartha Speedway was a great one. It’s unfortunate that I am not able to make it there more often, but if the stars align again I will surely be returning. Everything about the experience was a positive one from the way were treated, to the very clean washrooms to the excellent food. Most of all though was the racing action. If you like side-by-side, down-to-the-wire racing then Kawartha Speedway is high on my suggestion list.
Hopefully you enjoyed this first instalment of my column, I plan to be travelling many kilometres in 2010 so there is much more to come. So until next time I will see you “On The Road!”
For more information on Kawartha Speedway visit http://www.kawarthaspeedway.com
Greg Calnan – Editor / Columnist for OntarioOval.com. Contact Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org