It goes without saying that each season at any track is memorable for it’s own reasons as there’s things that will always stand out in the mind of each driver, crew member, official and fan. Sometimes people will share the same moments, and sometimes people won’t. Regardless, there are always reasons to remember a year of racing.
As we look back at the 2015 season, here are some of the most memorable moments from the Dickies OSCAAR Outlaws Presented by London Recreational Racing season.
Kevin Cornelius’ Championship Run
Victories and success – two words that could come up this past season for Kevin Cornelius. That was something that was evident in the by the numbers piece that was posted.
Looking at the seven feature victories, each of them stands out for their reasons as to how they came together. Though, the two Sunset Speedway victories at the beginning of the season definitely go down on the memorable list for the course of events that happened.
The season opener took place at Sunset Speedway with the Lucie Alywin Memorial on May 17. Cornelius started off the event strong, but would have to go to the back of the field after an early race incident. On lap four, Cornelius went for a spin after running three-wide with J.R. Fitzpatrick and Charlie Gallant. Restarting at the tail of the field, he made his way back through, taking the lead at lap 17 and not looking back. Then in June, a late-race battle with Derrick Tiemersma was the talk of the event en route to the checkered flag.
There are many other things that could be said, but that was taken care of back in October with the interview. I’ll just link that here.
While Cornelius had the dream season en route to the championship, Fitzpatrick’s first full OSCAAR campaign with a brand new car was certainly memorable as well. After starting off the year with three finishes outside of the top-10 due to mechanical issues, Fitzpatrick rolled off six straight top-two finishes to complete the season, including a pair of wins at Peterborough Speedway.
Of the two victories, the one that probably means the most – the Autumn Colours Classic. Every racer in Ontario dreams of winning the event in some type of race vehicle as it’s the premiere event across all of Ontario. It’s an event that also produced a solid battle at the front of the field as while Cornelius escaped with the early lead, Fitzpatrick reeled him back in just past the halfway mark, making the pass through lap traffic at lap 33.
“When we got out front, Kevin was pulling us a little but I knew once he burnt his rubber up, we would be right there with him,” Fitzpatrick said back in October. “Sure enough at lap 30 we were all over him and passed him.”
With such a strong second half of the season, Fitzpatrick is certainly a driver that everybody will have their eyes on in 2016.
Fitzpatrick vs Watson – Sunset Speedway Edition
Speaking of Fitzpatrick, there’s another memorable moment that stands out big-time with a look back at the season.
The Bruce Gowland Memorial at Sunset Speedway on August 22 featured an incredible battle between Fitzpatrick and Glenn Watson. While Cornelius had driven away with the dominant lead, the battle between Fitzpatrick and Watson for second took center stage through the middle portion of the feature. The pair would battle back and forth for just over 20 laps for the spot, side-by-side with no contact made between either driver. In the end, Fitzpatrick would get the spot at the checkered flag ahead of Watson.
Surprising to most was the fact that Glenn Watson failed to reach victory lane for the second straight season. Certainly they’ll be a lot of hope that he can make it happen in 2016 as it’d be refreshing to see the veteran capture that former glory.
The Motor Blow-Outs
On a more disappointing note, it seemed that blown motors was a unfortunate reoccurance over the course of the season.
The season opener alone played havoc on a bunch of teams. Shawn Chenoweth, Shane Gowan and Derrick Tiemersma all blew up during practice, while Tyler Hawn would blow his motor during qualifying. Then come the feature, Watson (pictured left, courtesy of Dan Little Jr.) would unfortunately have a motor go up in smoke in turn three. Each of these drivers was able to make it back out at some point during the season, with Gowan pulling the unbelievable move of the year. After blowing the motor on Saturday during practice, he returned on Sunday with his back-up car to run the feature, finishing ninth.
The blown motors continued with Fitzpatrick blowing up during the heats on June 6. Fitzpatrick would run his future father-in-law Roy Passer’s car for the feature, before returning back to the schedule in his familiar ride at Delaware Speedway with a new motor.
Delaware Speedway would mark a blown motor for Charlie Gallant, that would unfortunately have him on the sidelines all the way till the season finale at Peterborough Speedway. He made the most of his return, though, finishing third behind Fitzpatrick and Chenoweth.
Flamboro Speedway also saw an unfortunate turn of events for Tiemersma and Kelly Balson, as they’d both blow up. Tiemersma would unfortunately miss the final three races of the season, while Balson would miss a week but returned for the final two races with finishes of fifth and fourth.
Hopefully the 2016 season is easier on equipment for all of the drivers.
Beyond the moments here, there are certainly many more that I could talk about, including some thrilling battles that we haven’t touched on and other driver successes. If warranted, a part two of memorable moments could be released following the other division articles.
However, beyond this, I want you to have a say as well. Comment with your favourite memorable moments from the season. What is something that perhaps has slipped my mind that you can’t seem to forget?