In this edition of the Inside Track Ontario Short Track Notebook, Presented by McColl Racing Enterprises, Spencer Lewis offers updates on several racers as they prepare to kick off their 2013 season, including Mike Bentley, Derek Frohlich, J.R. Fitzpatrick, Don Thomson Jr., Donny Munce, Shawn Murray, Shawn Chenoweth, Jason Witty, Kerry Micks, Kevin Albers, Leonard Johnston, Ben Melenhorst and others.
Above is our first glimpse at 2-time Barrie Speedway Garry Reynolds Memorial winner and 2012 Autumn Colours Classic champion Mike ‘Lights Out’ Bentley’s new look for the 2013 season. Bentley, a top contender for Sunset’s Limited Late Model championship, is coming off of a spectacular 2012 season that saw him go toe-to-toe with eventual track champion Stompin’ Tom Walters for an entire summer, before ultimately settling for runner-up in the points standings.
The Guelph, ON driver’s efforts will be supported in 2013 by new sponsor Latitude Land Effects (www.latitudelandeffects.com). ‘Lights Out’ will debut his new ride on May 4th, when Sunset Speedway hosts their first event of the 2013 season. Fans can keep up with Bentley all season long via his twitter account, @MikeBentley51. The team also wants to credit Steve Lyons at Creative Edge Graphics for the Bentley wrap job.
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Former INEX Legends Series National Champion Derek Frohlich will see his Sunset Speedway Limited Late Model debut delayed a week, after the Toronto, ON driver suffered heavy front-end damage in a recent practice crash at the Innisfil-area facility.
Frohlich was shaking down his new ride, a McColl Racing Enterprises chassis piloted to a pair of championships by Stompin’ Tom Walters and Kevin Cornelius, when a hung throttle sent him into the turn-2 wall. Repairs have already commenced, and Frohlich plans to be back practicing on May 8th before making his official Limited Late Model debut on May 11th.
2013 Barrie Speedway Limited Late Model Rookie of the Year contender Leonard Johnston has sent along these sneak peek shots, as he prepares for his first career LLM start. The Bracebridge, ON driver will compete for ROTY honours alongside former Mini Stock standout Mike Meyer.
Sponsorship for Johnston’s freshman season will come from longtime supporter XCOPPER Legal Services, Orillia Fast Freight, AKN Automotive, Greavette Auto Body, Sublime Graphics, Wally’s Garage, Mister Transmission of Orillia, Krown Rust Control, McLaren Press Graphics Ltd and The Engine Works.
After weeks of speculation, JR Fitzpatrick has announced he will field a ride for 5-time CASCAR Super Series champion Don Thomson Jr. in several OSCAAR Super Late Model events this season. The Fitzpatrick Motorsports ride will debut at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park on June 1st, with Sunset’s Don Biederman Memorial and Peterborough’s Autumn Colours Classic also tabbed as potential events for the tandem.
Prior to his venture with Fitzpatrick, Thomson’s sole OSCAAR appearance came during the Autumn Colours Classic in 2005. In addition to playing the role of partial car owner for Thomson, Fitzpatrick will still campaign a Roy Passer-owned Super Late Model in 10 events this season.
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series star Kerry Micks has announced via his @MicksMotorsport twitter account that he will be in action at Sunset Speedway this Saturday, driving a Kyle Baker-owned Limited Late Model. The Baker Performance entry, a Port City chassis making its first ever start, will race as a teammate to Kyle’s father – and 2012 Barrie Speedway track champion – Dwayne Baker. Micks is rumored to have planned several appearances at the Innisfil, ON oval throughout the race season.
Kickboxer turned stock car driver Donny Munce has announced he will compete for the 2013 Sunset Speedway Super Stock championship. ‘The Munster’ has not raced fulltime since 2010, and has purchased the chassis of 2-time Sauble Speedway champion Matt Mulholland.
Munce will debut his new ride at Sunset’s season opener on May 4th, and has announced that he expects his team to have an element of star power to it throughout the season, with former UFC Heavyweight championship contender Gary Goodridge helping out in the pit area throughout the summer.
Former Barrie Speedway Pure Stock champion Shawn Murray will return to Limited Late Model competition in 2013. The Alliston, ON driver will debut a John Fletcher-built chassis purchased from former Canadian Tire Motorsports Park competitor Rich Boucher over the offseason, as part of Murray’s new family-run operation, after racing for Kyle Baker’s Baker Performance Parts team in 2012.
Murray will welcome back Lake Simcoe Heating & Air Conditioning as primary sponsor, and has announced that in addition to a fulltime schedule at Barrie, he will race in several Sunset Speedway invitationals throughout the season.
2010 Flamboro Speedway Late Model champion Shawn Chenoweth will return to fulltime competition at the Hamilton-area speedplant this summer. Initially, Chenoweth’s 2013 plans had included a run at Sunset Speedway’s Limited Late Model title, but after consulting London Recreational Racing boss Mike Schmidt, the decision was made for Chenoweth to return to Flamboro with hopes of unseating reigning champion Jason Shaw.
The Ayr, ON veteran will pilot the same chassis fellow Flamboro veteran Shane Gowan piloted through the 2012 season. When Chenoweth is not in Pro Late Model competition at Flamboro, the former Autumn Colours Classic champion has confirmed he will moonlight in the Limited Late Model division at Sunset.
Chenoweth’s 2013 efforts will be supported by London Recreational, Automotive Truck & Tire, KR Communications, XWest Carriers, Boyder Systems, Benett GM, Ideal Brakes and Castrol Oil.
Here is the official debut of multi-time Sunset Speedway feature winner Jason Witty’s ride for the 2013 season. The Queensville, ON driver picked up a brand new McColl Racing Enterprises chassis over the off-season, and will compete alongside Limited Late Model standouts Andy Kamrath, Dwayne Baker, Mike Bentley, Taylor Holdaway, Chris Morrow and reigning Sunset titlist Stompin’ Tom Walters, in search of the 2013 division championship. ‘Bam Bam’ will debut his new mount at Sunset’s season opener this Saturday May 4th, with action getting underway at 6:00pm.
2012 Flamboro Speedway Thunder Car champion ‘Killer’ Kevin Albers will join the Sunset Speedway Super Stock roster this season. Here’s our first look at Albers’ new paint scheme, with primary sponsorship from Wasteco.
The Rockton, ON driver will enjoy additional marketing support from Assante Financial Management, Sebarras Professional Services, Focus First, Henry’s Automotive and Transaxle Truck Parts. Albers will be in action, alongside fellow Super Stock standouts Randy Rusnell, Lane Zardo, Paul Maltese and Cayden Lapcevich, when Sunset kicks-off its season on May 4th.
Longtime Mini Stock frontrunner Ben Melenhorst will race fulltime at Sunset Speedway in 2013. The Stayner, ON driver has competed for several seasons at Barrie Speedway, and will return to Sunset for his first fulltime effort since 2010. Melenhorst has sent along ‘work in progress’ shots of his Nissan 240sx, that will carry sponsorship through the season from Top Shop Autobody and The Automotive Business School of Canada.
Follow Spencer Lewis on Twitter at: @itsspencerlewis