Brad Holmes Ready for OSCAAR Pro Sprint Rookie Campaign

As Stanley Motorsports gets ready to enter three cars in the OSCAAR Pro Sprint Series in 2019, one of the drivers behind the wheel will be Brad Holmes.

“I think that 2019 is going to be the year of the Pro Sprint,” he said. “This series has been constantly growing the past 3 years and we now have a good mix of talent. A lot of veterans who are wanting to stay at the top of the hill, and a lot of young guys that want to knock them down. I think you are really going to see some great racing around the entire track all year.”

For Holmes, the decision to enter the series was quite easy, beginning with his ties to team leader James Stanley and series leader Charles Priestly. The three of them, along with others in the series, have worked together in the past through the Hurricane Midgets.

“A lot of the faces are familiar, as well as the cars in general,” he added. “It’s what I know and what I love so when James asked me to join him in a third car, the decision was really easy. I have also had the really distinct experience of watching the series the past three seasons and being a part of it in a couple different capacities.”

Now going into his rookie campaign, he says the dream would be to pressure Daniel Hawn, but realistically will be focusing on consistency.

“You can win 50% of the races in a season but if you DNF the other half, you aren’t going to produce very good results,” he commented. “I just want to be able to show speed all year and be able to put myself in contention.”

With the OSCAAR Pro Sprints, Holmes will be visiting several tracks that he was able to grow familiar with through his Hurricane Midget experience, including Peterborough Speedway.

“It’s a close tie with it and Sunset, but I have always had good runs at Peterborough in the past so looking forward to it,” he said. “I also think Grand Bend is going to be an exciting challenge for me. I never got the chance to run there before but it will be one I have circled for sure.”

With Holmes being one of several rookies expected this season, it seems the class as a whole is trending in the right direction.

“I think it’s going to be interesting,” he said. “Knowing Daniel Hawn he is going to come out even faster than he was last year, which scares me a little bit – but never the less everybody that falls behind him is usually really similar in speed. As a group, all you can really ask for is that drive to be better, and I think Daniel gives us that drive. So expect to see a lot of drivers step it up this year and make that competition stiffer for the top runners.”

Among the front contenders, Holmes expects his teammate James Stanley to be up there with Holmes.

“Although I’m bias, I think James Stanley is really ready to unseed the No. 2 car this year,” he said. “He has spent more hours working on not only his car but his data to improve; keep an eye on the No. 57 this year. I was really impressed by Gary Triska in the No. 58 this past season as well. He made leaps and bounds compared to the year before.

“Although he’s only running a part time schedule this year as far as I know, Norman Newman in the No. 72 should be able to come in and be talked about every night he shows up. The guy really is fearless; he’s got ice in his veins and with his new modified program rolling out, I think Norm is a guy to watch in both series.

“My wildcard, if you can call him that, would probably be the No. 43 of Tyler Cullen. That kid can drive and I expect big things from him.”

For Holmes, he got his start when he was 14-years-old in the Hurricane Midgets, after watching his father race with them for 10 seasons.

“When I finally showed some interest in racing, he went out and got me my first car the following summer,” he said. “I can never thank him for that, It has created a bond between him and I, that I am forever thankful for. He is also pretty much solely to thank for a lot of my favourite memories because without racing, I wouldn’t have had any of them.”

Out of the memorable moments through the years, Holmes says the one that sticks out for him would be watching Stanley win his first feature at Sauble Speedway a couple years ago.

“Just to see the pure joy in his face and being a part of it all was really one of the best moments ever,” he commented. “It probably helps with how awkward he was in his post race interview, but luckily he’s improved on that!”

By: Ashley McCubbin

Kelly Balson Ready to Carry Momentum into 2019 Campaign

Kelly Balson OSCAAR Modified Series

After picking up his first career Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified feature victory in the season finale at Peterborough Speedway’s Autumn Colours Classic, Kelly Balson will once again return to the series in 2019.

Balson recently revealed that he will be running eight of the events, with eyes on running a full-time slate in 2020 with his wife Amanda Balson as the primary driver.

Right from the beginning, Balson has shown speed behind the wheel of the No. 10 Cochrane Automotive, London Recreational Racing, Brighton Speedway, Karbelt Oshawa, Castrol, Bennett Chevrolet, GTA Racing Design, Hampton General Store and GreenSteelRoof.ca Modified.

“Everywhere else we went, in practice and then heat races, almost right from the get go, the car showed a lot of speed,” Balson said. “Because to be honest, I thought we should’ve won the first race at Kawartha. We were getting around 79 of (John) Harper for the lead, and we got tangled up and ended up getting in a wreck and taking us out – but truth of the matter is, we should’ve won that first night out in it. Then it was pretty quick everywhere we went, especially the end of the year.”

Balson was quick to cite the speed shown at Sunset Speedway, as he was able to drive his way through the field to the top-three before an incident with three laps to go. The speed carried over to Flamboro Speedway, though once again Balson saw his chances of winning end up short due to bad luck.

Everything came together at the season finale in the Autumn Colours Classic, as Balson took the lead on the Lap 4 restart, holding off the likes of John Harper, John Baker Jr., and Cory Horner through the 50-lap feature en route to the victory.

“If someone had of said you could only win one race this year, I would obviously say the Classic; I want to win the Classic,” he said. “The way it worked out, maybe it was just a build up to winning a big race that meant a lot to us so I’m glad that the first win happened at Peterborough in the classic. A lot of times I’ll downplay stuff like that, but I’m not going to lie to you – that was big. That was big for us. That was a big win.

“I thought that the Modifieds were at the classic, the best class as in car count and quality of cars. The super stocks and minis were good, but we had a lot of quality mods and to win at our home track and to win the classic, that was big. So while we had the bad luck through the year, winning at Peterborough made the year and made all of disappointments pay off. We won the Classic once before – 20 years ago, like in a limited late model. Then to win it 20 years later in the Modified, it was a big deal.”

Their speed, and success is credited to the hard work by both Graham Annis and Graham Flett, which both will continue to work with Balson in 2019 and beyond. The confidence amongst the three certainly has Balson looking forward to the season, beginning with the season opener at Sunset Speedway on May 19.

However, while the confidence is there, it’s easy to see that it won’t be easy for Balson to score his second career victory due to the level of competition right now within the division.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong in acknowledging the fact that the APC Series is a very strong competitive series,” Balson commented. “But, I would say aside from the APC Series and I’m really only talking last year, I think the OSCAAR Modifieds are really the best series in Canada and right there with the APC Series – except it’s a little more affordable.

“Last year, I thought the competition was – I remember being at Peterborough and looking around and seeing 10 to 12 cars that could win this race. Obviously, you’re talking Cory, Harper, Baker, and I didn’t even say (Gary) McLean yet whose been the most dominant guy in a modified since the dawn of time. But there’s also A.J. Emms, (Dale) Reinhart, and given the right circumstances Gary (Elliott) could pull one off. I remember thinking there’s 10-12 cars that could get this done.

“Now this year, it builds even more. (Shawn) Chenoweth was at the classic and he was quick, and I know he has a new car; I know he’s not running full-time, but when he does show up, it’s going to be quick. Of course, Gary is going to be quick and now (Ian) Bourque is going to do some limited stuff and he’s going to be quick. Jim Bowman is coming, and he’s not going to be slow.”

Balson attributes the success of the modifieds to the affordability for the speeds they are capable of, along with the rules continuing to stay inline.

“Cars are getting older, but they’re not getting older and uncompetitive,” he continued. “None of the cars that are upfront are brand new cars. If the rules stay the same, the cars are not getting obsolete so I know that’s a real attraction for people. While last year was – let’s be honest, we had somewhere between mid 20s to high 20s everywhere we went and that doesn’t happen in a lot of series, and it’s even going to be better this year with more cars and competition. I don’t know how the series could be in any better shape. If someone said what would you change, I would change nothing.

“The series is working – with more cars and more really good drivers coming, so why would you mess with that? Again, that’s taking nothing away from APC and the talent level and great level there. But for what this is, I don’t see how the modified could be any better.”

For Balson, his interest in motorsports came at a young age as his father has always been around motorsports, whether it was drag racing or truck pulling. Despite playing hockey through his youth and adulthood, he was quick to note that they never missed a summer at the track. Ultimately, that time spent would lead to Balson and his dad building a car in 1992, with him racing ever since.

Through the years, he has won multiple features and championships, but was quick to reflect back to the first title at Peterborough Speedway being the most memorable.

“I remember that night like it was yesterday,” he recalled. “We won a Pro Late Model Championship at Mosport and that was pretty cool, and we won six at Peterborough which is all good. But the first one – it was a challenger, but we had a lot of cars and a lot of really good teams, and we won the championship that year. That was a big, big deal.

“But as far as single races go, we won the Classic in ’98, which was a big deal. But honestly, the biggest race I’ve won was the last Classic. It’s the one that meant the most to me. But after that, the biggest race that satisfied me the most was Amanda winning the Tire Craft 100 at Delaware in the OSS Series, and that was a big deal with Steve Robblee in that race. He had won like 12 championships at Delaware or something, and won the Great Canadian 300 four times. There was a bunch of people saying that he would lap the field, and Amanda won that race passing him to do it. That was a big deal. I was wrenching on the car and spotting for Amanda that day, and that was a big deal for me.

“Just a guess – I don’t even know actually, but around 50 features, maybe more as I’ve never counted them, but those two features were a big deal. We won some features in the Super Late, we’ve won at Peterborough and they were big, and we won some features at all the tracks, but this last one – I may have some recent bias if you know what I mean, but I remember thinking it may be the biggest win of my career and the most satisfying.”

By: Ashley McCubbin

Fox’s Bakery and Deli to Present OSCAAR Hot Rod Hard Luck Award

Fox's Bakery & Deli

On top of sponsoring the Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rod Series event at Sunset Speedway in July, Fox’s Bakery and Deli will also present the Hot Rod Hard Luck Award.

Located at 96 Victoria Street in Barrie, Fox’s Bakery and Deli has become the premiere stop for all of your baked goods and deli meats. They carry a variety of breads, buns, meats, and cheeses, as well as a wide selection of treats for your sweet tooth. You can also stop in and pick up one of their jellies, marmalade’s, or sauces to ensure you have the right flavor topping for whatever you’re making. If you’re looking for a quick snack, they can also help out there with their ready to go salads, sandwiches, and soups. Learn more about everything they carry at http://www.foxsbakery.com.

The 2019 campaign marks the third season for the Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rods, and promises to be jam-packed with action as the series continues to grow. With over 20 drivers already pre-registered and working in their garages on their rides, you’re going to want to check out one of the most unique classes of racing in Ontario.

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.

By: Ashley McCubbin

Rodney Rutherford Bringing Back Ol’ School Cool with Hot Rods

Rodney Rutherford

When everyone began hearing about Rodney Rutherford and Mike Westwood Fabrication teaming up to put together a car for the Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rods, it caught everyone’s attention.

Through the entire build, Mike Westwood constantly posted photos of every step of the way, showcasing what they had coming. The car would make its debut last season at Flamboro Speedway’s Frostoberfest, coming out in style with a top-five finish for Rutherford.

Despite everything, nothing could prepare everyone for what they witnessed at the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo in early March when the 1961 Biscayne was unveiled to the public. The combination of keeping the car’s old school patina with the old school lettering quickly became one of the many topics of the weekend.

Rutherford is now hoping to carry that positive momentum into the full OSCAAR campaign in 2019.

“I just want to have some fun and run competitive,” he commented. “I am excited to get to some tracks we don’t normally get to. A few heat wins, or a feature win, of course would be awesome.”

Rutherford stated the idea of building a Biscayne came about easily, after finding out a good friend of his, Crash Myers, was trying to get of the body.

“After some talking, he gave it to us to use,” Rutherford recalled.
With the car built, Rutherford plans to run the full schedule, beginning with the season opener at Sunset Speedway in May to the championship weekend at Peterborough Speedway in October. Though like many drivers, the pair of trips to Jukasa Motor Speedway are certainly circled on his calendar.

“I grew up going there watching my dad and other family friends run there Sundays, and it closed down just as I getting into racing,” he commented. “So I never got to run there – until now.”

Although he only has one start under his belt, he also knows the challenge ahead of him competition-wise is sizable.

“I didn’t get to catch many of the races last year, but from what I saw on YouTube, there was great side-by-side racing,” he said. “We got our work cut out for us, but we’re up for the challenge.”

Rutherford originally got interested in racing by his dad buying his first mini stock from Crash Myers for his 13th weekend. Since then, he says they’ve “been at the track every weekend since,” with success along the way at that.

“I’d have to say my most memorable moment to date would be finally winning a championship at Flamboro  last year in the Pro Four class,” he added. “We had a great season with five feature wins and the championship.” 

By: Ashley McCubbin

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