By Clayton Johns
STROUD, Ont. –Hanover Holidays OSCAAR Modified driver Shane Stickel started his 2014 season off in style on Sunday night at Sunset Speedway. Battling through a caution-filled race, Stickel emerged with a second-place finish to kickoff his sophomore season.
“I’m really happy to come away with a podium finish,” said Stickel. “We were working on the car all night trying to get it better. It wasn’t the best in practice, but we got it where it needed to be.
To come out of here with a second-place (finish) and the car in one piece, can’t be happy enough.”
Stickel battled in the opening laps with Mike Westwood (No.91) for second, and took the spot after a three-lap wheel-to-wheel battle. As the race wore on, Stickel challenged race leader Chad Strawn (No.77) for the top spot despite an ill-handling racecar.
“It was pushing off the corners on the restarts,” explained Stickel, “and getting on the gas when we went green, the carburetor was loading up and bogging down so I had a really hard time keeping up with guys on the starts.”
The Kitchener, Ont. driver overcame the difficulties anyhow, and passed Strawn for the lead on a lap 13 restart. Stickel led for seven laps before Strawn got back underneath the No.39 when it pushed up a lane at the exit of turn four.
On a lap 24 restart, Stickel lined up outside the front row, but ended up facing the inside wall on the frontstretch after contact sent him sprawling.
“I’m not exactly sure what happened,” said Stickel. “I think I got clipped or something and ended up facing the wrong way. Somehow I ended up straight again and was able to bring it home. I’m thankful for that.”
The quest for Stickel’s first win with the OSCAAR tour continues on June 1 when the tour makes the first of two stops at Kawartha Speedway. Stickel will make the trip to the Peterborough-area oval with the help of his 2014 season sponsors.
“We have a lot of great people on board again,” said Stickel. “MSD Machine Tool, Metal Supermarkets, Mac Contracting, Paragon Collision Centres, Sweers Custom Painting, Shelane Properties, and Creative Edge Signs and Graphics. I can’t thank those guys enough.”