As the season nears a close, the stars of the OSCAAR Super Late Model tour prepare for their final trip to Sunset Speedway this season, before wrapping up their season on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend at the Autumn Colors Classic at Peterborough Speedway. This week will be critical as the season looms closer to ending, and the fact that there will be only one practice for the SLMs this weekend for their qualifying heats as a result of the crazy hectic schedule.
One driver that has found a lot of success at Sunset Speedway over the years is Kevin Cornelius. After scoring the Don Biederman Memorial Championship at the end of June with a second place finish in feature one and winning feature two, he came back to Sunset Speedway at the end of August and scored a solid third place feature finish. It doesn’t mark a surprise, though, as Cornelius was strong at Sunset Speedway last year in his rookie season, posting a pair of second place finishes. The KDR Motorsports driver is hoping that pans into success this weekend after fighting back to finish fourth at Peterborough last time out after a mid-race spin.
Andrew Gresel is looking for another win as he has won three races in a row on the tour – Sauble, Peterborough and Kawartha – before finishing second in the Bruce Gowland Memorial (BGM) in August at Sunset Speedway, and fifth at Peterborough to complete August. Heading into the weekend, Gresel leads the points by 47 points with two races left in 2014. Gresel has continued to get stronger at Sunset Speedway with each start, posting a solid fourth place finish in May, before finising fifth and fourth in the DBM features. Following a second place finish last month, if Gresel pulls the victory card this weekend, don’t count yourself as surprised.
Rookies Kelly Balson and Dave Doucette posted top 10s in the season opener in May and have shown speed so expect the consistency for both to continue – especially considering that Balson posted a fifth place finish in the second DBM feature. Both drivers also had solid performance at the BGM, with Doucette finishing seventh and Balson finishing ninth. Following a seventh place finish at Peterborough, Balson is hoping to get solid finish this weekend while Doucette makes his return after missing Peterborough.
Beyore is hoping to have a good run this weekend after finishing 10th at Peterborough last month. 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, finished seventh on DBM feature 2 and finished sixth in his last trip to Sunset.
In each OSCAAR start at Sunset Speedway, Dwayne Baker has posted a finish of sixth or better, including four wins, the inaugural Bruce Gowland Memorial this year 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, scoring the track championship this past season. Expect Baker to be strong this weekend after finishing second overall at the Don Biederman Memorial this year and winning the BGM.
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 and fifth place finish in August. That all may change this year as Kennedy has been strong across the board, including a third place finish at Peterborough.
In his 10 starts at Sunset Speedway, Rob Poole has posted eight top 10 finishes and has continued to get stronger with each lap behind the wheel. After missing Peterborough, expect Poole to get up on the wheel this weekend and try to have a good top-five run.
After having a string of mid-season bad luck, Glenn Watson certainly has the wheels going the right direction this year after posting three of runner-up finishes in the last five races. Watson has been successful at Sunset in the past, posting 10 top 10s in his last 13 Sunset Speedway starts, including three runner-up finishes.
J.R. Fitzpatrick is expected to be in attendance, driving the Roy Passer owned No. 27 this weekend. After finishing second in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series points, Fitzpatrick has gone over the super late and gave it his own personal touch in hopes to post a solid performance this weekend.
Corey Jones has missed some races this year, though could be in attendance this weekend at Sunset Speedway. He’s hoping for some good luck as the past hasn’t worked out as well with mechanical issues or wrecks taking him out of contention. Other drivers who have missed some races this year that we’re hoping to see this weekend include Rudy Oppersma, Shane Gowan, and Scott Field.
When Tyler Hawn started off his season at Barrie Speedway in June, it didn’t start off smoothly as he battled an ill-handling car. Since then, Hawn has continued to improve the handling of his car and work towards posting stronger finishes, including a sixth place finish at Peterborough. In his first couple of starts at Sunset, Hawn struggled, though has gotten better, posting a pair of ninth place finishes last year. After finishing 15th and 10th in the DBM features, Hawn will be hoping to post a front-running finish this weekend following mechanical issues in the GBM.
With two OSCAAR Super Late Model starts under his belt, Mike Westwood is hoping to crack the top-15 this weekend after finishing 17th in the GBM, followed by a 16th at Peterborough.
A full-time competitor on the OSCAAR Hanover Holiday Modified tour, Brent McLean made his 2014 OSCAAR SLM tour debut at Barrie, finishing 11th. McLean made his SLM debut at Sunset Speedway in 2013, posting a 15th place finish. With the DBM not going according to plan, McLean will certainly be hoping for some solid results this weekend.
Beyond those listed, veteran drivers Dave Taylor, Charlie Gallant and Todd Campball are expected to be there. They may be joined by 2013 Sunset Speedway Velocity 250 winner Jeff Hanley, whom hasn’t ran a race since the Bruce Gowland Memorial at Sunset. Hanley has posted two wins and 10 top fives in his last 11 Sunset starts, dating back to September 2011. After posting a victory in the 2014 season opener at Sunset, could Hanley return to victory lane?
The event promises to be a great one so be sure to be in attendance this weekend at Sunset Speedway in Innisfil, Ontario for a great event. Details can be found at http://www.sunsetspeedway.ca and http://www.oscaar.ca.