A new year brings a new season for the OSCAAR Modifieds. As the tour enters their fourth year, the goal remains simple – find a way to dethrone Gary McLean. McLean has been consistently fast the first three years of the series, winning multiple races and the championship each year. McLean will return once again in 2015 to look for another championship, but he will have a lot of drivers on his tail each week.
So who will be on the list to watch for 2015? Here is your official list of drivers to watch for 2015.
Max Beyore had a stellar rookie season en route to finishing second in points. He won a pair of races over the course of the season, before capping off the year with a strong second place finish in the Autumn Colors Classic. If he can start the year off as strong as he ended it, he will be one to watch all year.
Gary Elliott also had a strong rookie season last year en route to finishing third in points. While he didn’t visit feature victory lane, he came close on a couple different occasions throughout the year. Many expect Elliott to reach victory lane early in the season, perhaps with the season opener at Sunset Speedway, and be part of the championship conversation all year.
Chad Strawn ran a limited schedule last season, having success as he won a pair of features – Sunset Speedway and Kawartha Speedway. Now set to run the full schedule, Strawn should be a contender to win races all season long, and contend for the championship.
Ryan Dick improved throughout last season, becoming a top-five contender as the year went on. Coming off of a strong finish to the season, he will look to score his first podium finish near the beginning of the season.
Tommy Robb also continued to improve as the year went on, despite some mechanical issues and wrecks that saw him drop out of contention. Robb will hope to have a more consistent season this year with strong runs throughout the year.
Davey Terry competed in the series for the third consecutive full-season last year, and once again came as close as ever to scoring his first career win. He was quick on each of the tracks throughout the year, posting a series of consistent finishes. With hints surrounding a partial schedule, you can expect Terry to be quick at the races he does attend, contending for victories and hopefully, snatching one up.
As with each season in the series, a list of new drivers joins on board with the series to try their hand. Rob Divenanzo leads the list of rookie drivers as he makes the jump up to the Modified division following success in the TQ Midget ranks. He will be driving a car previously driven by Brent McLean. Divenanzo will be joined by a fellow TQ Midget graduate in the form of David Balych. Balych has spent the past 27 years traveling with the Midgets.
Duane Cinnamon will also have an experienced car under his belt, driving the car previously piloted by Branden Bullen. Cinnamon spent the past couple of seasons in the Legends ranks, having some success.
After driving a wide-range of open-wheel cars over the years, highlighted by a championship in the four-cylinder Outlaw Modified Series last year, A.J. Emms will make the jump up to the OSCAAR Modified division. He will be driving the No. 99 for Allen Adams, which was campaigned by rookie Drew Stieler last year to a solid 11th place finish in points. With adjustments made to the car over the off-season to make it faster and Emms’ experience in open-wheel through the years, the team hopes to break into the top-10 this season.
Sault St. Marie native Mike Hearty will make the jump from the super stock ranks to the modified ranks in 2015. Hearty made his debut in the final event of the season, unfortunately suffering a hard crash. Though before he got caught up in the wreck, he had a solid top-five run going in his heat. Hearty will hope that sign of success transfers to season-long success this year.
Thunder car veterans Dan Price and John Baker Jr. will both make the jump up to the Modified ranks in 2015 after both having success, respectively. Baker is a past thunder car champion, while Price secured his first career victory mid-summer last year at Peterborough. Both drivers will be looking to learn quickly at the beginning of the season in hopes of season-long success. One thing for sure, though, is keep an eye on both when the series goes to Peterborough Speedway due to their past experience there.
Cory Horner enters his first full season on the tour after running the final two events of the season. Horner had success, finishing seventh at the Autumn Colors Classic at Peterborough Speedway. The driver of the No. 79H has ran at Peterborough for the past couple of seasons in other divisions, giving him a handle on the track entering that weekend. Depending how he adjusts to the other tracks on the schedule will depend on how well the season goes for him.
With a wide list of contenders, the season promises to be full of excitement. It will all kick off in a couple of weeks with the Spring Velocity at Sunset Speedway on May 16.