OSCAAR Modifieds Ready for Groundbreaking Season

OSCAAR Modifieds 2017

I think the modified division took off. I think it’s going to be really big in 2018. – Chris Milwain

Since their inaugural campaign five years ago, the OSCAAR Modified have seen steady growth on a yearly basis, becoming a staple in Ontario’s racing scene.

The 2017 campaign saw numbers hit some new record highs, with 44 different competitors running at least one event over the course of the year. The car counts on a weekly basis increased, too, with an average of 17 cars at each of the 11 events. The series saw their most impressive numbers at Kawartha Speedway (23), Sunset Speedway’s Velocity 250 (21), and a full field of 24 entries for Peterborough Speedway’s Autumn Colours Classic.

While the numbers are impressive as they stand right now, it appears that they can only rise higher in the upcoming season.

“I think we have a pretty good division. Going into 2018, it’s gotten a lot more people interested, like the super guys,” Chris Milwain said. “It’s probably one of the more reasonable classes to run, as far as cost. It’s fast, and the cars handle. It’s good racing, I think, all around. We’ve had our few wrecks and crashes, but I think the fans showed a good interest in the modifieds, too. We had good crowds every night, so we’re moving in the right direction.”

Most of the competitors have confirmed that they will return for the 2018 campaign, including your top-seven points finishers.

There have also been new cars purchased from a variety of talent. Peterborough Speedway Late Model regular Mark Gordon has committed to the full campaign, with the 2017 Peterborough Thunder Car Champion Anthony DiBello set for select events. Past Super Late Model Champion Stu Robinson Jr. will be out for all the events, alongside 2017 Chase for the Colours Super Late feature winner Kelly Balson. Then if you throw the likes of Chris Mitchell and Dan McHattie in the mix with a purchase, you are certainly promised to have some of the best talent out in 2018.

The numbers go beyond that, with other recognizable names either buying cars, or repairing modifieds they already own to bring them back out and try again.

The caliber of talent has not only caught fans’ attention, but the drivers as well.

“I feel as though the modified division hosts some of the best teams and racing in the province, if not the country,” A.J. Emms said. “With a variety of drivers joining the series it only builds to this competition level. I am privileged to be a part of this group and am beyond excited to get back on the track in 2018.”

While car counts are nice, the modifieds have also grown the attention of fans for their great side-by-side racing. Although there were a couple events with more yellow flags than everybody wanted, the series was able to run some features during the year green to checkered without a caution in sight.

Drivers are also able to make moves from the back of the field to the front without pushing and shoving, as evident by Chris Milwain’s victory at Frostoberfest in October.

“There was a good outside groove, and A.J. is good to run with. He gives you respect, right? He doesn’t want to bang wheels, he wants to race clean, so you know you can put a wheel inside him,” Milwain said. “The 99 (Luke Gignac) is pretty good, too. There are a few guys that you have to watch, but those guys are pretty clean.”

If you combine the factors together, it is certainly setting up to be a year to remember.

“The state of the division right now is stronger than ever,” Wally Wilson said. “We were all able to put on some of the best shows in Ontario last season, and had some of the highest car counts as well, Modifieds are always a fan favourite because they’re so evenly matched; the close open wheel racing keeps fans on the edge of their seats. Last year alone we had one of Canada’s most recognized and talented drivers come out to run with us, that being J.R. Fitzpatrick! It seems the closer we get to the 2018 season, the more Modifieds seem to be purchased. It’s going to be amazing to have guys like Kelly Balson, Chris Mitchell and many more come out.”

The OSCAAR Modifieds will kick off their 2018 campaign at Sunset Speedway as part of the track’s Spring Velocity on May 19 and 20.

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