Ryan Battilana Focused on Chassis Improvements in his Chase of the Championship

Ryan Battilana

After showing progress through the season, Ryan Battilana has asserted himself as one of the early contenders for the Living Lighting OSCAAR Pro Sprint Championship this season.

“I think the championship is up for grabs by anyone,” he said. “It’s going to be an exciting year for both the drivers and the fans of the sport.”

His team will be focused on the chassis of his No. 4 Pro Sprint with the engines all being equal due to the series motor program.

“It’s taken some time, but I think we’re very close to nailing down where the car is happy being,” he said.

Being able to bring his A-game will be important, as the series competition level is right now at “it’s highest” since the inaugural campaign of the series.

“James Stanley and Daniel Hawn were both able to raise their cars to another level,” he reflected. “And the mid field cars are only getting better each race. What Rob Summers was able to do this year was great.”

Battilana in his own right put together a solid season as he was able to place fourth in the year-end standings with 10 top-five and 12 top-10 finishes over the season.

“Last year was a tough one,” he reflected. “I had a good car for most races but things never seemed to go our way. Just couldn’t seem to get over the mechanical gremlins.”

Despite those gremlins as he spoke of, he fought the adversity to score a pair of runner-up performances at Sunset Speedway, with the Fall Velocity in September being his personal favourite.

“(It) was a tough year and that was like getting the monkey off our backs,” he commented.

Battilana hopes there’s good things to come in 2020, as he will not only have the usual suspects ready to do battle, but a host of rookies chasing after him. For the new drivers, Battilana’s advice is they should take it easy at the beginning, and learn how fast these cars are.

“Things happen real quick in these cars,” he explained. “As Daniel Hawn once said, ‘Little cars, big guts,’ or something along those lines.”

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., American Racer, and Grisdale Race Products.

By: Ashley McCubbin

Nick Clarke Looks to Keep Improving in 2020

Nick Clarke

Continuing to improve each season has been a trend for Nick Clarke, and that’s something that he will look to continue as he returns to the Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rods in 2020.

“We are trying to improve on the last three seasons and can hopefully come out this spring stronger than ever with both of our cars,” he commented.

While he has been able to have success himself, it has been fun to watch the family atmosphere around his team. On top of himself racing, he has gotten the opportunity to race against both his dad and Bob Parsons, with Bill Clarke scoring a heat victory at the Autumn Colours Classic at Peterborough Speedway.

“Family is definitely a huge part of our racing,” he commented. “I enjoy racing against my Dad, and Bob. I honestly think it pushes me a little harder to improve every week, and to try and beat them on track.”

The driver of the No. 86 Matteo’s Pizzeria and Café, John’s Towing, P.W. Auto Sales, Moonlight Design, Artic Clear Water, Kenilworth Auto Recyclers entry had his own success in 2019, scoring five top-five’s and eight top-10’s en route to placing third in the year-end standings.

“This season was definitely a step in the right direction from last year,” he said. “A lot less mechanical issues, and much better results on track.”

There were also plenty of memorable moments, including a season-best performance at Jukasa Motor Speedway.

“I think my favourite part of the year would have to be our third-place finish at Jukasa,” he commented. “We were so close to a win.”

The success has not come easy, though, as Clarke notes that his team can spend anywhere from 15 to 20 hours per week in the shop car, and with more time possible “depending on the events that had happened at the last event.”

“The current growth and competition in the Hot Rod Series is amazing,” Clarke said. “It’s absolutely wild to be one of the teams to see how far this has come in such a little amount of time. The teams that keep showing up are getting stronger and stronger every time, and it pushes everyone else to try and be that much better.”

The competition is only expected to grow once again with more rookies on-board.

“I think I would tell the potential rookies not to get discouraged if they have bad luck, and work through it,” he said. “The harder your team works the better your results will be.”

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., American Racer, and Grisdale Race Products.

By: Ashley McCubbin

A.J. Emms Ready to “Continue to Build Our Program” After Championship Campaign

aj emms

After putting together a memorable Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified presented by Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., Touchwood Cabinets, and The Fyre Place & Patio Shop season in 2019, it’s back to business as usual heading into this year.

“My thoughts going into this year are pretty much the same as my thoughts going into every year,” he said. “With the last couple of seasons, we’ve been really fortunate to learn from some of our mistakes and continue to build our program. We’re just going to continue to try and move in the same direction this year in terms of learning, getting better, trying to minimize mistakes.

“Fortunately, I think everybody is in the same boat as to not knowing the next day, or the next race is to bring. But I think with that being the case, we just need to continue to stay positive, continue to prepare, and hope that we can get in as many races as possible this season.”

Looking at the schedule, the No. 14 team has circled Jukasa Motor Speedway as a place that they’re excited to get back to, simply due to the prestige and beauty of the facility.

“That’s a track that we do not want to miss on the schedule – not to try to put down other tracks, because at this point, I’d love to go racing anywhere. But Jukasa is definitely highlighted on our schedule,” he commented. “We had speed there last year; unfortunately, we weren’t able to execute after a rain delay. We didn’t expect the changes that occurred to our racecar and we really dropped the ball. So we’re looking forward to getting back there and having a shot at redemption, and trying to show some speed at that beautiful facility.”

Outside of Jukasa not going as Emms would have hoped, the 2019 season proved to be a great campaign, as he was able to come away with the championship after scoring three feature victories.

“It means a lot to me to look around at the people like my parents, Ryan Ward, Peter Schotanus, Mike Westwood, my fiancé Cassie, you – and all the people that have supported me through the years, it means a lot to me to get that championship to show them that it was worth the investment in me and it was worth supporting me all this time,” he reflected. “I mean, winning championships is something that I’ll look back on years down the road and say, you know what, that was a huge deal. The racer in me looks to this upcoming season and wants to get better, but I also understand that it’s a huge achievement and I’m fortunate to be in the position to win a championship.

“With that being said, we really haven’t taken out foot off the gas pedal looking towards next season. Winning a championship is great, but we focus on winning races – the more races we can win, the better. I think our team has a lot of consistency; we’re just looking to park it into victory lane more often, but a championship is the ultimate goal. Like I said, we’re very fortunate to be in the position that we are to contend championships and hopefully 2019 wasn’t just a one-off.”

Now as we head into 2020, Emms says it’s all about tying up some loose ends and doing their due homework to continually get better.

“There are guys that are going to be getting better this year; the competition in the OSCAAR Modifieds is only going to get better as different teams progress,” he explained. “So it’s important that we are at the top of our game, and go into each race and do the best that we can. Hopefully that’s good enough, and if it’s not, then we learn from our mistakes and get better. If we’re the best that we can be, then the competition takes care of themselves so we’re just going to continue to strive for that and hope for a good season.”

For Emms, racing is something that he has always been exposed to and involved in, with his father Jeff blazing the trail ahead of him. After going to races at a young age, Emms got his chance behind the wheel of a go-kart when he got one for his sixth birthday.

“I didn’t like it at the start, but really grew to love it – obviously,” he recalled. “I raced go-karts up until I was an early teenager, until I started driving for Mike Westwood. My childhood realistically was filled with going to different race tracks all the way through. Many people ask me what it’s like to race, and I really don’t know what it’s like not to race. That’s just the only thing that I’ve only ever done. That’s my passion, and I’m very fortunate to be able to do it at this level.

“Like I said, having my dad race, I was surrounded by people who raced, and I’ve tried to continue that through my life in having people around me that equally as passionate about the sport as I am, and I hope to be in it for a long period of time. Many people look at NASCAR drivers as their heroes, and for me, growing up at different short tracks in Ontario, my heroes are people like Tom Walters, Don Biederman, and drivers from Ontario that really put the definition on being a true racecar driver.”

Through his career, it seems experience surrounding him has been critical to his success, in being able to lean on not only his father for advice, but the experience in Mike Westwood and Peter Schotanus.

“It’s been huge,” he commented. “Like I try to tell my team, we do our best to try and surround ourselves with good people and when we do that, good things happen. I’ve been very fortunate to have my dad right from the start as a guiding force in my life and in racing.

“As I said, Mike Westwood really stepped up to the plate and Mike Westwood will always be one of my best friends. He’s not only been great for me at the race track and navigating races, but also as a friend in life, and I’ve been very fortunate to learn a lot from him; I would say he’s just like family.

“I would say the same goes for Peter Schotanus. Peter has done a lot in the racing world and I’ve been very, very fortunate to have him as almost like a grandfather figure in my life. He’s definitely taught me a lot. I started going to Peter’s because I couldn’t afford to get set-ups done on cars, and I was really lacking a place to learn, and Peter was that driving force in teaching me different things about racecars and really challenging my perspective.

“I’m really fortunate to have him trying to help guide me and between the three – my dad, Mike and Peter, I have a really great base in terms of experience and knowledge. I think Peter is five decades of racing so that’s a long time, and he talks about races that happened long before I was born. Like I said, I’ve been very fortunate to be around good people.”

Now having been racing for 20 years himself from go-karts to modifieds, Emms advice to those getting started in the sport is there’s no substitute for hard work.

“We all work hard on our racecars, but you can’t drive that home enough,” he explained. “You have to work hard and persevere because there will be tough times along the road. And I think the biggest thing is just to focus on your own program. I see so many people on social media today talking and bench racing on social media and there’s obviously a time and a place for that, but I just feel that sometimes different racers get too caught up in that and I think that being surrounded an older generation of racers who have been in my life and continue to help me, that if I was me telling younger racers, it’s important you focus on your own program and how you can get better each week, and focus less on some of the things that people have to say about you and your presence on social media.”

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

Dustin Kellar Ready to Continue Gaining Hot Rod Experience

Dustin Kellar

The 2019 Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rods presented by Sauble Falls Tent and Trailer Park season saw several Ohsweken Speedway Rookie of the Year contenders throughout the field. One of those was Dustin Kellar, showcasing his Camaro through the back half of the schedule.

“I look forward to getting this season going; I hope it happens sooner than later,” he commented. “I’m a bit concerned of when it does get going, but when it does, I’m sure everybody in the series will be gun ho to get out to the track and turn some laps.”

After getting his feet wet last year, Kellar admits that he’s focused on getting some more seat time this season, in hopes of competing for some heat victories and top-five feature finishes. One of the tracks that he is hopeful of being successful at is Sunset Speedway, which is set to be his home track.

“I don’t live far from there and I look forward to getting a lot of seat time and I want to do really well at Sunset,” he expressed. “My goal is to win some races at Sunset this year.”

Last season, Kellar ran the last three races on the schedule, capping off the year with a sixth-place finish in the Autumn Colours Classic at Peterborough Speedway.

“I guess what surprised me the most would be the speed of the cars,” he reflected. “They are substantially faster than what I remember from when I used to race back in the day. They’re definitely really quick cars, especially the guys at the front; they’re lightning fast.”

For Kellar, his interest in racing developed at a young age, when his dad suggested trying his hand at racing.

“I was in-between sports at the time, and I thought it’d be great,” he recalled. “So my dad and I went out and we bought a ’86 Mercury Capri and I ran the four-cylinder class at North Bay Speedway the summer that I turned 13.”

Since then, Kellar has experienced success behind the wheel with trips to victory lane, noting one single memorable moment doesn’t stand above the rest.

“I’d have to say it’s a collection of the success we had when we started at North Bay Speedway – winning a lot of races and having my dad along there by my side was very important to me,” he commented. “When I think about racing, I just think about the time with my dad and my family. There’s not really one moment that stands out.”

Based on his experience through the years, Kellar’s advice to someone getting started is be open to receiving information from your peers.

“Seek out information, try your best to understand what your peers are doing,” he commented. “If you’re just getting started, you don’t have a history to go back on, so you definitely need to lean on those who have the experience to make cars go fast in this class.”

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

Designed for Top Ecig in Collaboration with r4i and cars online and PDF Library - Doculib.org