This weekend at Sunset Speedway, the OSCAAR Super Late Models will begin their 2013 season with the Lucie Aylwin Memorial Night. Teams have already been out testing in preparation for the event.
Lucie Aylwin was the fiancé of Gary Gendron, a crewmember for driver George Wilson, who was tragically killed in the collapse of the Algo Centre mall in Elliot Lake, Ont. on June 23, 2012.
George Wilson, ‘The Steel City Outlaw’, has stated that he will not be running the full schedule as he is going to focus on his son’s career. However, you may see him at Sunset this weekend.
One of the drivers to watch right off the top will be Brandon Watson. The defending series champion has stated that he will be running some events this year, though may miss some due to racing in the States. Watson is always a threat to win when it comes to Sunset, having won there last year in a Super Late and in an Open Late Model.
Though if you want to look at an early championship favourite, then turn your eyes to Glenn Watson. Watson is always fast in his No. 22 Super Late Model and has been testing at Sunset Speedway, dating back to April. His early laps looked to be fast as always and with being a four-time champion, don’t let doubt set in your mind there.
You may see him out at Sunset, or you may not, but if he is there, you better watch. I am talking about 2012 Velocity 250 winner Jeff Hanley as he always is quick every night he comes out during his part-time schedule and one to watch.
Derrike Tiemersma (pictured above) was out at Sunset on Wednesday testing his Super Late. One of the veterans of the season, Tiemersma had a solid season last year, though struggled to find victory lane. Could this be his year?
A past winner at Sunset Speedway and veteran of the series – Rob Clarke. Who can forget about Magic Shoes’ duel with Glenn Watson a couple years ago? Clarke is one of the most consistent drivers who finds himself up front each week. Look for that to continue.
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series competitor J.R. Fitzpatrick is hoping to pull off the daily double come Sunday. He will be competing in the NCATS race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, though also hopes to run at Sunset on Sunday night in a super late. He will be running Roy Passer’s Super Late, as Fitzpatrick has put in hours during the off-season, working at the car to make it better.
Speaking of the Passers, Gary Passer has been out testing his Super Late as he looks to improve on last season. He will be joined on the Passer Super Late team by Kyle Passer and Quinn Misner.
After missing some races last year, Tyler Hawn looks to be making his return as he was shaking down his car on Wednesday afternoon. A new look will dawn the sides of his super late so look out for something different.
A veteran of the series, Charlie Gallant is back in the roster again this year as he was another driver that was out testing.
Sophomore driver Rob Poole looks to have a much better year this year after struggling with some mechanical issues in his rookie season. Poole was out at Sunset on Wednesday, turning some strong laps as he looks for his first super late model win. As a three-time Thunder Car Champion at Sunset, Poole is one of the drivers who has many laps under his belt –but noted, those championships were under the old configuration.
A past winner of the series, Jesse Kennedy may be a driver that you see out this year. He won at Barrie Speedway and produced a solid rookie campaign last year.
They’ll be joined by fellow sophomore drivers Jim Bowman and Paul Law.
Shifting forward, this year’s rookie class looks even more impressive than last year’s, no offense to Poole, Kennedy, Bowman and Law.
2011 Sunset Speedway Limited Late Model Champion Kevin Cornelius will be campaigning a brand new McColl Racing Enterprises chassis this year. It marks the first M.R.E OSCAAR chassis so there may be some bugs to work out. However, combining a driver with numerous laps around Sunset with an organization known for success looks to be a combo that could bring success.
Another Sunset Speedway Limited Late Model driver is stepping up to the plate in the form of Sean Cronan. Cronan had success at Sunset, finishing top five in points while winning the Velocity 250 and M.R.E Shootout Series Championship in 2011. Cronan will drive a car previously piloted by Jeff Dunford in the OSCAAR Series.
Speaking of late model drivers stepping their game up, another to watch is Andrew Gresel. Gresel will make the move to OSCAAR after having tons of success in the Pro Late Model ranks at Sauble Speedway and Delaware Speedway. Gresel did head south this past winter to attempt to qualify for the ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway, though missed qualifying by mere tenths of a second.
Ethan Cournyea will also be vying for rookie of the year after moving up to OSCAAR from Sunset’s Super Stock ranks. Cournyea had some success in Super Stocks with some solid finishes and has looked decent out in testing so far.
Rob Gibson is the fifth driver joining the ranks as he makes the move from Sunset’s Mini Stock division. Gibson has stated that he is going to run a part-time schedule, though, making his debut mid-summer.
With this being the first of five events for the Super Lates at Sunset Speedway, there’s no doubt that it could preview what to expect for the rest of the season as far as not only who is strong on the 3/8 Innisfil oval, but also who is strong from here on out.
In all fairness, this list could go on and on forever as there are many names that are registered and have been strong in the past, but geez, that’d be a chapter full of writing. Just mentioning a couple that are not listed includes but not limited to – Todd Campbell, Jeff Dunford, Mike Taylor and Rudy Oppersma. All I can say is make sure to be at Sunset Speedway this weekend to see for yourself this great line-up of drivers, as well as a great event.