Message from OSCAAR President Dave Gainforth

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30th Anniversary of OSCAAR – Cory Horner

Cory Horner OSCAAR Modified Champion

OSCAAR has seen several memorable racing families be a part of the series over the years, including the Horner’s. Known for their success, the family got to engrave their name on the Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified Championship trophy in 2018 when Cory Horner won the series title.

“Being the 30th anniversary, it sucks that we haven’t got any racing in due to the pandemic we are in right now,” he commented. “For me, I had planned on talking some time off anyway, so this season is giving me time to think about my racing and how things will be moving forward in the future.”

For Horner, he was drawn the open-wheel beasts simply for one reason – speed vs. cost.

“It is one of the fastest series in Ontario and you don’t have to spend big dollars to get that feeling of going fast,” he commented. “What makes the modified so special is the variety of different and amazing looking cars with great competitors that make it awesome to watch from the stands.”

Over his seasons of competition, Horner continued to get better as a driver, culminating with two feature victories and 11 heat wins en route to the 2019 championship.

“To be a champion in any sport would mean a lot, but wining one in racing doing something I love is even more special to me and my family,” he reflected. “It was an amazing season in 2018 and I look forward to chasing down more wins.”

Even with several memorable moments over the years, including that title, the one that Horner draws back to as being his favourite is his first career feature victory at Peterborough Speedway.

“If I was to pick one, it would still have to be my first feature win at Peterborough, my home track with all my family and friends there to watch,” he commented. “It was just one of the many wins in 2018 that got me to my championship and I will never forget that race.”

Be sure to keep up with OSCAAR by staying tuned to the series website at http://www.oscaar.ca. Also, make sure to “like” the official OSCAAR Racing Facebook page, while following both the Twitter and Instagram accounts (@OSCAARRacing) to keep up to date on everything you need to know.

OSCAAR’s 2020 racing season was supported by several dedicated partners including Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC, Knightworks Design, Living Lighting Canada, Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., Touchwood Cabinets, Sauble Falls Campground, The Fyre Place & Patio Shop, Ohsweken Speedway, American Racer, and Grisdale Race Products.

By: Ashley McCubbin

30th Anniversary of OSCAAR – A.J. Emms

A.J. Emms

Throughout the past eight years, four different drivers have been able to call themselves a Queenston Chverolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified presented by Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., The Fyre Place & Patio Shop, and Touchwood Cabinets Champion.

One of those being your 2019 title holder, A.J. Emms

“Obviously I wish we were under different circumstances to celebrate such a milestone in OSCAAR’s rich history,” Emms said. “I feel that OSCAAR has done a great job at providing an opportunity for racers in Ontario to showcase their talent, along with providing fans with great entertainment that is very consistent in the show we’re able to put on. I feel even as a kid growing up watching OSCAAR Super Late Model races, the shows were always great and something that I always looked forward to.

“So to be a champion in an OSCAAR division is very important to me, and I feel as though OSCAAR has been able to survive and strive because there’s such great people associated with it. Those people are not only the people that are at the top of the organization, but the people who support week-in-week-out with tech, registration, tires, business management, etc. it also boils down to great fans who are supportive every week. We also have great drivers, great cars – so again, to last 30 years in this sport in a tough environment is a testament to those people.”

Growing up around late models all of his life, the original hope for Emms was to be behind one of those cars on a regular basis. He’d get the opportunity to do that through Mike Westwood, but open-wheel cars ultimately turned out to be the direction he headed.

The open-wheel concept was ingrained at a young age, as he worked his way up through the ranks from go-karts to Hurricane Midgets and Pro 4 Modifieds. The success there turned into an opportunity to get behind the wheel a OSCAAR modified for Allen Adams, ultimately paving the road to where we are now.

“I just really enjoyed the look of the modifieds, but also liked the technology that’s related to modifieds and also love to drive them,” he commented. “They’re without a doubt, they’re a thrill to drive with the speed and the tire, and with the open-wheel concept. So that’s what really drew me to the modifieds.

“I’m also a really big fan of traveling to different tracks. This is something that I’ve done all throughout my career is travel around to different tracks, and I feel as though it takes a real good skill set to see what drivers and teams will prevail throughout one season, instead of mastering one circuit. Now, that provides a different set of challenges, but I very much enjoy the touring type series and I think that makes it stronger and increases the fanbase. So I’m very thankful and happy to be a part of that.”

The competition level that has continued to increase each season hasn’t hurt the fandom behind the modifieds, either. Emms noted the competition has always been there, from the various drivers who have been a part of the series, to the teams continuing to evolve.

“I think that only helps as a brand for OSCAAR, and helps the sport move forward,” he said. “For me, that means I have to be on my best every time that we come to the track to win, but it’s very gratifying to be running against some of the province. It not only increases my skills behind the wheel, but my skills working on cars and making me become a better racer.

“Again, I’m very fortunate to have that opportunity where I’m surrounded by good people on my racing team but also such strong competitors throughout the series.”

After spending the past four seasons behind the wheel, everything came together last year for Emms en route to winning the championship with three trips to victory lane along the way. While recognizing it’s an important accomplishment, he admits not taking a lot of time to reflect at this time on the value of it.
“As a race team, we try to celebrate our successes, but we’re very critical of our performances and we are critical so we can look at ways to improve,” he admitted. “So right now, we’re looking at hopefully racing throughout this season and celebrating OSCAAR’s 30th year. But with that being said, I feel as though years down the road, maybe even in the next few years, I’ll say, ‘Wow, that was a major accomplishment and I’m very happy to do that’.

“Right now, the racer in me says lets go out and do that again because I want to win another one, but I understand how fortunate I am to be in a position to win a championship, and not only how much that means to me but my crew, my family, and my fans, which I’m very appreciative of.”

Combined with the great success, there’s been some great memories, both off and on the track.

“Some of those great memories have happened off the track with my crew, my family, and my fiancée,” he commented. “Others on-track, I would say without a doubt would be my 2016 Autumn Colours win. That was something that was very important to me and I look back at being one of the biggest races of my career. The reason I feel that way is the Autumn Colours Classic has such a rich history within the province of Ontario. it’s a race that we all strive to win every year, whether you’re going for the championship or not, Autumn Colours is an amazing deal and is important to get on anybody’s resume in racing.

“It’s something that means a lot so it was a great experience in that most of my team was there to support to me. Much of my family was there to support me and we had a bit of a roller coaster season that year. So to come out and finish that year on a strong note was something that I was very proud of, and something that helped carry our momentum forward and continue to build our program and improve it.”

Be sure to keep up with OSCAAR by staying tuned to the series website at http://www.oscaar.ca. Also, make sure to “like” the official OSCAAR Racing Facebook page, while following both the Twitter and Instagram accounts (@OSCAARRacing) to keep up to date on everything you need to know.

OSCAAR’s 2020 racing season was supported by several dedicated partners including Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC, Knightworks Design, Living Lighting Canada, Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., Touchwood Cabinets, Sauble Falls Campground, The Fyre Place & Patio Shop, Ohsweken Speedway, American Racer, and Grisdale Race Products.

By: Ashley McCubbin

30th Anniversary of OSCAAR – Stu Robinson Jr.

Stu Robinson Jr.

Through OSCAAR’s 30 years of racing, certain families have been involved in the sport, leaving their mark. One of those being the Robinsons.

“It’s impressive that it’s lasted this long,” Stu Robinson Jr. said. “It’s got to be one of the longest running series in Southern Ontario, and very happy that it’s still going.”

The families involvement in the sport goes through generations, with Stu Robinson Sr. racing himself. Then it was Stu Jr.’s turn to get behind the wheel, beginning with go-karting for five years. After following that with three seasons of late model competition, it was time for the jump up into super late models.

“My dad and I raced late models for three years, but got tired of running every Saturday night at a home track and just doing some traveling series,” he commented. “So you’re running 35 races a year and by the end of the year, you were just wore out. So we looked to go to a traveling series that had anywhere from 10 to 13 dates, which was comfortable and a lot more enjoyable. So we went with the OSCAAR Super Late Model series.”

Stu Robinson Jr.

Once behind the wheel, Robinson learned why they are still one of the coolest cars in the province. As he noted, “they’re their own beast and once you have driven one, nothing else that you drive will compare.”

After winning Rookie of the Year in 1992, he continued to only improve from there and experienced lots of success through the 14 years with a pair of back-to-back championships in 2002 and 2003.

“When I look back on it, it’s very rewarding, humbling considering the fact that as a kid growing up and going to Cayuga, Flamboro, all the short tracks to watch the super late models growing up,” he said. “My idol was Junior Hanley and back in those days, you cheered for Hanley or Biederman as they were the two big days. As a kid, that’s what I dreamed of, not thinking it’d become a reality. When it did become a reality and managed to have some success and win a couple championships, it was a big thrill.”

The years brought forth many moments, including bonfires and fun times spent with his competitors away from the track.

“Back in those days, we all raced together and racing is one big family,” he commented. “But I know weekends that we raced at Sunset, I wound stand up at the driver’s meeting and say when we’re done racing, come back to our place in Holland Landing and we’d have a corn roast. Some years, we’d have two or three teams show up, others we’d have five or six teams show up.”

Although the championships and winning the Don Biederman Memorial were memorable, Robinson Jr. notes a victory while celebrating his parent’s anniversary stands right up there.

“We were having a big family reunion back when they lived in Holland Landing,” he recalled. “So everybody was there, we must have had a crowd of 40 or 50 at Sunset Speedway. So the weekend of the reunion, we celebrated a little at the house and then we all went to the races and managed to pick up a feature win. So that was probably one of the bigger highlights.”

Stu Robinson Jr.

Beyond the success on the track, the family’s involvement with OSCAAR stems further than that as his father partook in decisions with the board for a couple years, and his sister serving as the president for around eight years.

“Our family, as a whole, was a big supporter of super late model racing in Ontario for many years,” he commented.

Once his days behind the wheel of a super late model came to a close, Robinson Jr. stayed involved in motorsports. He introduced his stepson Dillon to JCAR Racing, traveling to Grand Bend Speedway and Sauble Speedway for several weeks. The trips in return allowed to become friends with another racing family in Robert and Connor James.

Robinson Jr. has spent the past couple of years working with the team, helping in Connor’s development as a driver behind the wheel. Though there is an opportunity that may see Robinson Jr. back behind the wheel, this time of a Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified, in the coming seasons.

With his experience earned through the years, the advice from the past champion to aspiring racers is to never give up and always work hard on your craft.

“You only get out what you put in,” he commented. “Myself and my dad, and the guys on the crew back in the super late days, we were in the garage every night and the rewards came. Just to not give up and don’t be afraid to put in the hard work.”

Be sure to keep up with OSCAAR by staying tuned to the series website at http://www.oscaar.ca. Also, make sure to “like” the official OSCAAR Racing Facebook page, while following both the Twitter and Instagram accounts (@OSCAARRacing) to keep up to date on everything you need to know.

OSCAAR’s 2020 racing season was supported by several dedicated partners including Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC, Knightworks Design, Living Lighting Canada, Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., Touchwood Cabinets, Sauble Falls Campground, The Fyre Place & Patio Shop, Ohsweken Speedway, American Racer, and Grisdale Race Products.

By: Ashley McCubbin

30th Anniversary of OSCAAR – Dave Gainforth

dave gainforth

Over the past 30 years, OSCAAR has thrilled fans across the province of Ontario with side-by-side thrilling battles right down to the checkered flag.

Although we’re currently staying at home to stay safe, the anniversary is special to everybody involved in the series, past and present, from originators and the officials, to the drivers and fans.

OSCAAR felt it was the perfect time to pay homage to our beginnings, and catch up with past and current faces to get their thoughts on the occasion.

Through the growth and changes of OSCAAR, there have been different people in charge of righting the ship. Over the past decade, the tough decisions have ultimately fallen on the shoulders of Dave Gainforth as the series president.

“With the 2020 race season being OSCAAR’S 30TH Anniversary, it brings me great pride,” Gainforth said. “I have been able to play a small role in keeping the dream alive that the founding members started in the off season of 1989. I would have been in the grandstands at the first OSCAAR event at the new ½ mile oval Mosport Speedway when the Super Late Models were a weekly division so you could say I been there since the beginning.

oscaar hot rod series

“To see the many struggles and obstacles that OSCAAR has had to overcome to make it to this point is truly amazing. When I stop and look back and reflect on things, it just shows that with hard work, determination that nothing is impossible to accomplish in a very difficult sport.

“The many Presidents, the dedicated staff members, the race teams and sponsors over the past 30 years are all part of the reason OSCAAR is still the providing race fans the best in short track racing each and every week.”

Gainforth wasn’t always making the big decisions, but rather started his journey via writing the payout cheques for the teams each race night. His involvement grew from there, as he developed the original series website, while doing race reports.

As the series headed into the early 2000s with Kim Robinson Mahoney serving as the president, Gainforth’s responsibilities grew and change as he became the race director.

“I would spend time in the flag stand for a few events, did tech and in the tower overseeing the race events,” Gainforth commented. “Kim and I had a great working relationship and I am glad to say our friendship continues to this day. I took a year off before becoming president and I guess you can say the rest is history.

“I have to say this has been a great experience. I know I have made a great many friends, some enemies, made some mistakes, also made some great decisions to help OSCAAR continue. It was actually myself and Kim that brought back the Outlaw body style to the super lates which gives them to this day their own identity which is very important in this business. It’s been a long road lots of different experiences and emotions but looking back, I wouldn’t have changed anything, so I guess that means I have done a pretty decent job and have had fun.”

With Gainforth at the helm, the OSCAAR brand has seen several changes, with the Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modifieds presented by Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., Touchwood Cabinets, and The Fyre Place & Patio Shop brought into the fold in 2012. Gainforth says there were a few reasons for adding the open-wheel class, with the first of those in giving OSCAAR the ability to have standalone shows.

oscaar modified series

“At the time Promoters were starting to give their weekly divisions nights off and I wanted them to be able to book OSCAAR only on those nights I wanted to be able to bring a complete show,” he explained.

There was also the chance to enable the modifieds to be a feeder division for the super late models at the time, but Gainforth says he quickly learned open-wheel drivers are dedicated to their division.

“At the time the decision was made, to start the OSCAAR Mods, there were three groups all of which had some cars,” he added. “I wanted to see if they could be brought together to make one big Modified series. I had always enjoyed the look for the Mods; they were unique like the Outlaw Super Lates and I thought the race fans of Ontario would enjoy seeing all the best in Mod action racing together each week.”

Through the past eight years, Gainforth admits that there were some mistakes made, but he feels the current standing of the series speaks for itself.

“Car counts are great, the cars look amazing, and most importantly, the racing on the tracks for the past couple of years, you would be hard pressed to find anything better,” he commented. “Any Mod driver will tell you that you would be hard pressed to find anything more exciting to drive, for the investment you need to make. I personally think our product is the best, the rules are locked in until the end of the 2023 race season, drivers know their investment is solid, they are not spending money in off season in silly rules changes that don’t need to happen.”

While the modifieds have captured the hearts of many, it seems the Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rods presented by Sauble Falls Tent and Trailer Park having been doing the same since their inception in 2017. Gainforth says he was inspired to create the series having grown up watching his heroes drive 50-70s body style cars.

oscaar pro sprint series

“When a few Ontario racers built Super / Street stocks with older bodies in the years prior to the series, I saw how people including myself were drawn to them. It brought back memories of their childhood at the track,” he explained. “So one night I posted a picture of a old style race car in the states and made a comment. Well it took about five minutes for Darryl Stephenson to contact me to see if I was serious about this, then Josh Watson that same night offered to help put a rule book together with Mike Langley and it just hit the ground running from there.

“The key thing I stressed is that it had to be an economical division of racing, I wanted to bring people back to racing that had been priced out of the sport. If they had older parts I wanted to them to still come and have fun; that is why till this day everyone still gets paid the same at the end of the night.”

It’s no secret the Hot Rods were not opened with open arms, as Gainforth admits it was tough through the first couple years, but he has been determined to watch it be successful.

“I knew the fans would love it if they were given the chance,” he commented. “To be honest, I never expected the series to grow like it has. It is actually very overwhelming to see the excitement behind the series; the dedication from the fans is amazing. When you stop and look back in three short years to build an entirely new division to where we are now in 2020 is something you just don’t see very often in racing. I cannot thank all the teams that believed in my dream and helped bring it to the reality it is today.”

Often overlooked, the Living Lighting OSCAAR Pro Sprints are also a very critical part of the series as a whole, which came about via Charles Priestly who helped build the division from the ground up.

“These cars are super fast and put on some great racing every week,” Gainforth commented. “What I most like about this series, you have young adults 16 years old to men in their 50’s. The cars look amazing with their Sprint Car identity and the division is quickly growing with new drivers coming on board this year. Again, it is not easy to build something from the ground up, but together we did it.”

With successful groundwork laid and DNA, it seems the future is very positive for OSCAAR heading into the next five, 10 years, and even beyond that.

“Unfortunately with Covid 19 virus coming and changing everything so fast, it has presented our sport a temporary setback,” Gainforth commented. “I am very confident that our sport will survive this, but there will be some adjusting to do by everyone. I am not only talking about the guidelines as people we have to live by but the business side of the sport as well.

“This has hurt a lot of businesses, which promoters and teams all rely on for support. Whether it was a $100.00 sponsorship or a $100,000.00 sponsorship businesses either cannot afford to pay or will be revaluating where they do spend their marketing dollars. Race tracks need to open to give us a place to live; they need to make a profit. I know the cost of hosting events; I have done it, and I know the very slim margin they operate within.

OSCAAR President Dave Gainforth with Flagman Bob Finnegan

“It is going to be my job as President going forward to ensure all of the OSCAAR series division continue to be economically feasible for the drivers. By locking all the rules for all classes in till 2023 is a good start. Racers love to spend money and sometimes they need to be protected from themselves.”

Gainforth went on to add that he has spoken with each of the track promoters over the past few weeks, offering his and the series’ support fully in whatever needs to be done to assist them to ensure racing continues for years to come.

“We are all in this together, and I know looking back on 30 years of OSCAAR history we will adjust as need and continue,” he added. “In closing, I would just like to say thank you to OSCAAR for giving me a chance to perhaps make a slight difference in the history of our sport here in Ontario. It’s been a fun ride and I look forward to the next 10 years when we will be celebrating our 40th Anniversary together.”

Be sure to keep up with OSCAAR by staying tuned to the series website at http://www.oscaar.ca. Also, make sure to “like” the official OSCAAR Racing Facebook page, while following both the Twitter and Instagram accounts (@OSCAARRacing) to keep up to date on everything you need to know.

OSCAAR’s 2020 racing season was supported by several dedicated partners including Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC, Knightworks Design, Living Lighting Canada, Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., Touchwood Cabinets, Sauble Falls Campground, The Fyre Place & Patio Shop, Ohsweken Speedway, American Racer, and Grisdale Race Products.

By: Ashley McCubbin

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