OSCAAR Ready to Build on Positive Momentum Entering 2018

OSCAAR Racing at Motorama 2018

Going into the new season, it seems momentum is on OSCAAR’s side as there was success experienced across the board throughout the 2017 campaign.

“We had a really good year last year,” Dave Gainforth spoke on the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo Johnsonville Stage. “As a lot of people saw, we put on a great show at Brighton for their 50th anniversary. We also had two great events at Kawartha – which are back this year. The car counts were up. The Pro Sprints are doing great – we rebranded them this year to avoid confusion. The Hot Rods are finally taking off. We appreciate the promoters for being patient with us, but it’s finally growing. The Modifieds put on great shows all year long.”

With that in mind, excitement continues to build towards the 2018 season as registration continues to grow with drivers signing up to take part in one of the three divisions, whether the Modifieds, Pro Sprints, or the Hot Rod Series.

Obviously with having Brad Martin’s Super Bee predominantly featured in the OSCAAR booth, it created a lot of buzz as it wasn’t expected to be one of the cars this year in the series. However, as Gainforth noted, that’s one of the best parts of the series in allowing the creativity for guys to build what they want within the rules.

“I had somebody tell me today that they’re building an Edsel, which I think will be very cool,” he said. “There’s a guy down in Owen Sound that’s building a Nomad Stationwagon because we’re the only group that allows it to race with us. The wide variety from Dodge to Ford to Chev bodies and cars is amazing.”

The schedule also features many marquee events for all three, as well, with one of the main focuses being the two trips back to Kawartha Speedway. While admitting that it can be difficult to pull off a one-off event at a track without a weekly following, last year’s success brought enough encouragement to go with it once again – but in a bigger way. While both the modifieds and hot rods will be involved again, the second date on July 13 will be the first part of the “Canadian Legends Nationals,” which is expected to draw 50 to 75 cars.

“The Kawartha deal – I’m very proud of myself to be able to pull that off,” Gainforth commented. “It’s not easy, and it really gives you appreciation for what these guys are going through each week to put on a show.”

While on stage, Gainforth also spoke of other schedule highlights, ranging from the season opener at Sunset Speedway for the Hot Rods to help celebrate their 50th anniversary, to being part of each of the year-end specials, to making the trip to Jukasa Speedway twice.

“We’ve also been invited to Jukasa twice this year with the Modifieds and the Hot Rods – as part of the Pinty’s race and the King of the Sprints race,” Gainforth highlighted. “I was talking to Alex today about the sprint cars and he was saying it’s crazy with 900 horsepower on track, so that’ll be something crazy to see in itself. So we have a lot going on.”

There was also a feature discussion in regards to the Hot Rods heading to Brighton Speedway on dirt for the second time.

“I know talking with the asphalt guys that they were nervous going to Brighton for the first time because they hadn’t turned a lap there,” Gainforth said. “When you go to the dirt track, it’s not like an asphalt track where you get hours of practice. You get four to five laps, and it’s time to race. So Mark and I pre-talked about and they kept the track pretty dry so it was almost like asphalt. But the cross promotion – it really worked. It introduced our OSCAAR people to a whole new venue that they didn’t know worked before, and it introduced some fans at Brighton Speedway to our show.

“I know this year guys are really nervous. They’re excited about going. Last year, guys didn’t know what to expect and were scared of ending up in the creek, or getting dirty. But they had a good time. Tyler actually won with pavement tires on his car, so it showed you didn’t have to put dirt cars on. I think it was successful. It wasn’t a great car count, but it turned out good and I think this year we will have 15 to 18 cars.”

Although the future was the focus, it wasn’t lost that the 2017 campaign marked the last year for the Super Late Models under the OSCAAR banner, as they take a new direction for 2018. In hopes of improving the division, the track promoters got together and formed the Ontario Outlaw Super Late Models.

“Quite honestly, the car counts have been an issue for the super lates for the last couple of years,” Gainforth admitted. “I had some preliminary talks with most of the promoters during the off-season before their meeting and at the end of the day, we need to do what’s best to keep super lates racing in Ontario. Fans love those cars whether under OSCAAR or under the new banner – it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to make sure those cars are racing at the track for those fans in Ontario. That’s the most important part.

“I’m a fan of super late model racing, OSCAAR was founded on super late model racing, and I’m just glad that the promoters stepped up and did this. I’m hoping it works for them. OSCAAR is still strong with its three divisions, and we’re still part of the show as we’ll be at the same place as the supers three or four times so I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s a good thing and I hope it works.”

By Ashley McCubbin

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