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PREVIEW: OSCAAR Super Late Model Don Biederman Memorial at Sunset Speedway

This weekend, the OSCAAR Super Late Models get set for their fourth event of the 2014 season in the form of a return trip to Sunset Speedway. The OSCAAR SLMs put on a solid show in May on the 1/3 mile oval that saw Jeff Hanley pick up the victory to kick off the 2014 season. Though unlike the previous events this year, this isn’t an ordinary weekend.

This weekend at Sunset Speedway marks the 16th Annual Don Biederman Memorial, an event meant to honor one of Canada’s most successful drivers behind the wheel who experienced success across North America. Biederman is a driver that many look up to and stories of his talented past can be heard from many.

In celebration, OSCAAR has developed a unique format that will see a pair of 50 laps features run on Canada Day weekend – one on Saturday, one on Sunday – with both counting for the same amount of points towards the championship. The driver who has the best average finish between the two features will be crowned the Don Biederman Memorial Champion.

The inaugural edition of this format last year was very memorable as it ended with in a three-way tie between Dwayne Baker (1st and 3rd), Kevin Cornelius (2nd and 2nd) and Brandon Watson (3rd and 1st). As a result, Baker was crowned the champion virtue of posting the quickest time in time trials and winning the first of two feature features.

 

The format that will be used is as follows:

SATURDAY

Each Super Late Model driver get two laps during time trials to post the quickest time that they can mange. At the end of the session, the top-two qualifiers will be locked into the front row of Saturday night’s feature event. The rest of the drivers will have to qualify their way into the event virtue of the heats.

Based on the fact that there are approximately 20 cars or more usually in attendance, three qualifying heats will be run. They will be lined up based on the time trial results as follow:

  • Heat 1: 1st, 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, etc
  • Heat 2: 2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, etc
  • Heat 3: 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th, etc

The top six from each heat race will lock themselves into the top 18 spots for the feature, while the rest of the drivers will go the b-main. The top six from the b-main will make up the final six spots for the feature to make up the 24 car field.

Those who qualified will get to run the 50 lap feature for night #1.

SUNDAY

The top-two finishes from Saturday night’s feature know going into Sunday that they will start on the front row for Sunday night’s feature event. The rest of the drivers will have to qualify their way into the event virtue of the heats.

Based on the fact that there are approximately 20 cars or more usually in attendance, three qualifying heats will be run. They will be lined up based on the Saturday night feature results as follow:

  • Heat 1: 1st, 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, etc
  • Heat 2: 2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, etc
  • Heat 3: 3rd, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th, etc

The top six from each heat race will lock themselves into the top 18 spots for the feature, while the rest of the drivers will go the b-main. The top six from the b-main will make up the final six spots for the feature to make up the 24 car field.

Those who qualified will get to run the 50 lap feature for night #2.

 

The unique format that this event offers brings forth some of the most entertaining racing that is seen all season long as each lap on track matters towards starting position and affects your whole season due to the points that are on the line. With that said, here are some drivers that you should keep an eye on this weekend.

corneliusComing off of his career OSCAAR Super Late Model victory, Kevin Cornelius is looking to have a solid run on both nights. Cornelius was strong at Sunset Speedway last year in his rookie season, posting a pair of second place finishes. The KDR Motorsports driver didn’t get to show the speed his team truly has at Sunset in May as Cornelius was forced to run a pro late model due to blowing a motor in pre-season testing.

Andrew Gresel is also looking to have a good run this weekend after leading a bunch of laps at Barrie Speedway two weeks ago on his way to finishing second. Gresel has continued to get stronger at Sunset Speedway with each start, posting a solid fourth place finish in May. Gresel has been flawless so far this year as the fourth at Sunset and second at Barrie sandwiched his win at Kawartha Speedway. If Gresel pulls off his first Sunset victory, don’t count yourself as surprised.

Rookies Kelly Balson and Dave Doucette are coming off great success at Barrie after finishing third and fourth, respectively. Both drivers posted top 10s in the season opener in May and have shown speed so expect the consistency for both to continue.

After a seventh at Kawartha and a fifth at Barrie to start his 2014 campaign, Mike Beyore is hoping the consistency continues. Beyore hasn’t always been strong at Sunset Speedway as there’s been a couple poor showings over the years, however he did have a sixth place finish in May 2012.

In each OSCAAR start at Sunset Speedway, Dwayne Baker has posted a finish of sixth or better, including a pair of wins and the Don Biederman Memorial Championship last year. It’s no surprise as Baker is always a front runner in Sunset Speedway’s Limited Late Model division and currently ranks second in points to Jason Witty. Expect Baker to be strong this weekend after finishing second at Sunset in May and sixth at Kawartha earlier this month.

Another driver who has been strong in each start at Sunset Speedway is Jeff Hanley, posting two wins and seven top fives in his lasthanley eight Sunset starts dating back to September 2011. Hanley started this year off as the strongest driver with the points lead by winning Sunset and finishing third at Kawartha. While surprising that Hanley missed Barrie, expect the No. 70 to be back this weekend and strong.

Jesse Kennedy hasn’t been lucky at Sunset Speedway through the years, though has still had some strong runs, including a third place finish in September 2012. Kennedy has started off the year strong, too, posting three top-six finishes.

In his seven starts at Sunset Speedway, Rob Poole has posted six top 10 finishes and has continued to get stronger with each lap behind the wheel. Following a seventh place finish at Barrie in a race that fell apart for the No. 45 in the second half, expect Poole to bounce back with a top-five run this weekend.

The previous attempts for Corey Jones at Sunset Speedway haven’t gone well as mechanical issues or wrecks have taken him out of contention. Jones will be looking to post a strong finish this weekend after finishing eighth two weeks ago at Barrie.

Not known as one of the OSCAAR’s strongest competitors, Rudy Oppersma has shown some strength this year, posting back-t0-back ninth place finishes. Another solid top 10 run for the driver of the No. 04 would go a long way.

Tyler Hawn made his 2014 season debut two weeks ago at Barrie Speedway and unfortunately, it didn’t go as smoothly as he hoped as he would finish 10th after battling ill-handling conditions. In his first couple of starts at Sunset, Hawn struggled, though has gotten better, posting a pair of ninth place finishes last year. A top 10 finish or even better a top-five would result in big smiles for the Hawn Motorsports team for sure.

A full-time competitor on the OSCAAR Hanover Holiday Modified tour, Brent McLean made his 2014 OSCAAR SLM tour debut at Barrie two weeks ago, finishing 11th. McLean made his SLM debut at Sunset Speedway in 2013, posting a 15th place finish. With some tweaking and more laps behind the wheel, McLean could very well finish in the top-10 this weekend.

Following mechanical issues at Barrie Speedway and a wreck at Kawartha Speedway, Glenn Watson is hoping to get his season back on track this weekend at Sunset Speedway. Watson has been successful at Sunset in the past, posting eight top 10s in his last 10 Sunset Speedway starts, including a couple runner-ups.

Rookie Scott Field got his first view of Sunset Speedway in May, finishing outside of the top 10 multiple laps down. With some more laps behind the wheel and hopefully the bugs worked out of his new ride, Field will be looking for his first OSCAAR top 10 this weekend.

Roy Passer is supposed to make his 2014 tour debut this weekend. The veteran took last season off, allowing NASCAR Canadian Tire Series driver J.R. Fitzpatrick to pilot his ride. Passer could be one to watch this weekend as he has been fast in past OSCAAR races.

Shane Gowan missed Barrie Speedway due to having to redo the rear clip on his ride after heavy contact with the inside backstretch retaining wall at Kawartha Speedway. If Gowan has his ride ready, expect the veteran to contend for a top-10 finish following an 11th place finish in May.

With this being the crown jewel event, there is great possibility of more drivers than those mentioned attending to make it an entertaining show. Be sure to head out to Sunset Speedway for both days of racing. More details about the show can be found at http://www.sunsetspeedway.ca or http://www.oscaar.ca.

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