By Clayton Johns (@cjohnsmedia) - Veteran Ontario Pro Late Model driver Andrew Gresel has announced he will field a car for a full season with the OSCAAR (Ontario Stock Car Association of Asphalt Racers) Super Late Model tour in 2013.
Gresel, who has previously called Delaware and Sauble Speedway home throughout his racing career, will pilot a brand new Hamke Race Cars chassis from the Mooresville, NC company.
Gresel, a native of Sauble Beach, Ont., says he has wanted to make the jump to OSCAAR for the past two seasons.
“I’ve always liked the idea of OSCAAR,” said Gresel. “I like the way the series has been run the last few years.”
Gresel will enjoy sponsorship from Sauble Falls Tent and Trailer Park, London Recreational, the Canadian Union of Skilled Workers, Overland Heating and Cooling, McRobert Fuels, Spira Fire Protection, and Shoreline Property Management for his 2013 campaign and is in the process of securing more support.
A large influx of new talent has bolstered OSCAAR’s driver roster over the past three seasons, with Gresel the latest to throw his name in for the championship chase. The increase in driver talent in OSCAAR was a big reason for Gresel’s move to OSCAAR, he said.
As a veteran of Ontario short-track racing, Gresel has raced at each track on the 2013 OSCAAR schedule, with the exception of Barrie Speedway since it reconfiguration in 2004. However, Gresel isn’t sure he will be able to use any of his existing track notes as an advantage.
“It’s not going to play in a lot. Our setup will be totally different (from the Pro Late Model),” said Gresel. “The big concern with this car is they’re quite a bit more horsepower and actually lighter than what we’re used to running.
In terms of driving and getting the car on to the racetrack and performing, I should be alright that way.”
Regardless, Gresel won’t settle for a mediocre performance on the track and nobody would expect anything less from a proven winner.
“Hopefully we’ll have some top-five finishes right off the bat,” said Gresel. “It’s going to be hard to do. We’re kind of late starting to build the car so we might not get a whole lot of practice time.”
“We’re putting a lot of effort in to the way this car is going together, so I think it should perform well,” he said.
Gresel does have one advantage over the rest of the OSCAAR field: he’s already been behind the wheel of a stock car this calendar year. In February, Gresel raced at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL with the ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) tour as part of Florida’s Speedweeks.
Unfortunately for Gresel the trip didn’t go as planned as he failed to qualify for the main event, but says he gained valuable experience on the famed superspeedway against some tough competition.
“The competition down there is crazy. You’re up against some major teams with some major (sponsorship) support,” explained Gresel. “It’s a great experience. I would never have learned anything about the superspeedways if I didn’t do that Daytona deal. If I get another chance I know it’ll be different.”
Now that he is back on home soil, Gresel and his crew are focused 100 per cent on the OSCAAR tour.
“We are putting every effort in to being championship contenders out of the gate,” said Joe Chisholm Jr., one of Gresel’s crew members.
When the 2013 OSCAAR schedule was released in early January, Gresel circled August 11 on his calendar, the series’ only stop at Kawartha Speedway in Fraserville, Ont.
“I’m really looking forward to the Kawartha deal. I’ve raced there a few times, but never in a late model series,” explained Gresel of the high-banked 3/8-mile oval. “I like the size of the track. It’s going to be fast, and that’s what I’m in to.”
Gresel’s announcement has only increased the buzz around Ontario’s fastest touring series. With less than two months until opening day, time is of the essence for Gresel who will make his OSCAAR debut on May 19 at Sunset International Speedway in Innisfil, Ont.