OSCAAR Preview: Midas of Orangeville 50
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - The OSCAAR Super Late Model tour returns to action Saturday night at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) for round two of the 13-race 2013 campaign. The event marks OSCAAR’s only appearance at the Bowmanville, Ont. speedway this season.
CTMP’s ½-mile, low-banked oval is very different from the fast, high-banked 1/3-mile at Sunset Speedway where the season opened. Sunset’s five year-old surface is significantly more tire friendly than the bumpy, rough asphalt that will be on display come race time Saturday night. Fifty laps may not seem long, but tire preservation certainly will play a factor in the closing laps.
After one event, this season looks a lot like the last as Brandon Watson (#9) won on opening night for the second consecutive year. However, Saturday’s Midas of Orangeville 50 brings a completely different challenge on a drastically different race track.
With Watson sitting on top of the standings entering race two, he stands a heavy favourite to win his second race of the season, and fourth in a row dating back to 2012. He finished a narrow second to George Wilson in this event last season, and was the runner-up to Glenn Watson two seasons ago. This may finally be his chance to get an elusive win at CTMP.
At least three drivers will make their OSCAAR season debuts on Saturday night, including. J.R. Fitzpatrick and Don Thomson Jr. who will drive cars #27 and #4, respectively. Fitzpatrick competed in two events last season in the Roy Passer-owned machine, earning a top-five in his first start. Fitzpatrick has completely rebuilt the car over the winter and should be a threat to win.
Thomson has one previous career OSCAAR start, which came at the 2005 Autumn Colours Classic. The former multi-time CASCAR champion won his only race eight years ago.
Brandon Vanderwel (#97) makes his first start in over a calendar year after taking a hiatus in 2012 due to a broken hand. Vanderwel has partnered with Protect the Children for the 2013 campaign and will have special guests from the group with him at each race for the remainder of the year starting with Saturday in Bowmanville, Ont.
Rob Poole and Jesse Kennedy both ran well on opening night to start their sophomore seasons. Poole finished fourth in a revamped #45, his best career OSCAAR finish. He finished ninth at CTMP one year ago, but Poole will be looking for another top-five to maintain his spot near the top of the championship standings.
Meanwhile, Kennedy ran third for most of the evening before a flat tire and oil pressure issue in the final ten laps derailed his efforts for a top-five finish. Kennedy is expected to race in a back-up car this evening. He did the same one year ago as well after a mechanical failure in practice forced him to use his back-up piece.
The rookie race is only going to get tighter as the season wears on, with Andrew Gresel, Kevin Cornelius, and Sean Cronan all vying to be this year’s top newcomer honours. Cornelius was the top rookie in the opening race with a seventh place finish. The Shelburne, Ont. driver tested his McColl Racing Enterprises-built #17 at Delaware Speedway this week in preparation for this event.
Gresel will finally get behind the wheel of his Outlaw-bodied machine Saturday after being forced to pilot his template-body late model on opening night. Expect the #81 to be fast on its first time out of the box.
Cronan looked quick throughout his first night in a Super Late Model, competing for a heat race win early in the night. A mechanical problem, however, handed the team a DNF to start the year. Look for the #8 Terry Snyder-owned team to rebound with at least a top-ten result.
No preview can be complete without factoring veterans Glenn Watson, Derrick Tiemersma, and Rob Clarke in to the mix. Glenn ran the entirety of the season opening race in the top-five, before utilizing a late restart to dance around Tiemersma for the second spot. He won at CTMP two seasons ago and is hoping he can return to victory lane on Saturday for the first time in 14 races.
Tiemersma turned in an impressive performance to start the year, but would settle for third place despite running second most of the night. Tiemersma won at CTMP in 2007 and should be near the front again Saturday. Clarke was also strong in his debut, but surrendered his top-ten spot in the closing laps when the car lost power, ending his night with a DNF. His high-horsepower #49 is always a threat to win and Saturday is no different.
There is no clear favourite entering Saturday’s race, but there certainly is a ton of experience. CTMP is the only ½-mile track on the OSCAAR Super Late Model schedule in 2013, so Saturday is expected to be one of the most hotly contested races of the year.
Racing begins at 6pm on Saturday with the pit gate opening at 2:30pm for competitors (subject to change). Spectator gates are scheduled to open at 5pm.
Early forecasts suggest a threat of thunderstorms on Saturday which could force the event to be cancelled. All efforts will be made to run the show as scheduled. In the event of a cancellation, this race will not be rescheduled.
Directions: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is located at 3233 Concession Road 10, Bowmanville, ON L1C 3K6.
The OSCAAR Super Late Model tour is presented by a number of dedicated sponsors throughout Ontario, including: Knightworks Design, Hoosier Racing Tire, Klotz Synthetics Canada, Race2way.ca, Dave Franks Photos, Dickson Printing, Finishline Fabrication, McColl Racing Enterprises, McGunegill Engine Performance, Stefko Racing Engines, VP Racing Fuels, OntarioOval.com, RaceTime Radio, Inside Track Motorsport News, Jenco Equipment, Midas of Orangeville, Reinhart Trailer Sales, North Toronto Auctions, and South Shore Services.