BRIGHTON, Ont. – Veteran Eastern Ontario driver Doug O’Blenis will return to Brighton Speedway clay this season. After spending the last five seasons racing in Brockville Speedway’s sportsman division, O’Blenis will rejoin the OilGARD Canadian Modified division at Brighton for 2014.
Racing at Brockville required O’Blenis to make a weekly four-hour round-trip. The long, Saturday night haul from Napanee, Ont. took its toll on O’Blenis.
“It was getting to be a bit of a grind running that far away every week,” said O’Blenis. “We ran at Brighton for 15 years. We thought it’d be nice to take a step back and have some fun again.
O’Blenis will return to Brighton in his familiar No.32. Jamie Marshall last drove the Pierce Racecars chassis O’Blenis has acquired to an eighth overall finish in the Canadian Modified championship standings in 2013. Vanderlaan Building Supplies Pro Late Model driver Charlie Sandercock was the original owner.
O’Blenis hopes to improve on Marshall’s mark, but is more focused on earning checkered flags.
“A top-five in points and two or three feature wins (would make a successful season),” said O’Blenis. “If you win, the points will take care of themselves.”
A Canadian Modified track championship in 2007 and three Danny Reid Memorial wins were the highlights of O’Blenis six years in the division. O’Blenis raced at Brockville starting in 2009.
Five years at Brockville have improved O’Blenis’ driving style. The level of parity in the sportsman division forced him to remain patient and pick his spots.
“I feel I’m calculated, but I’m aggressive when I need to be,” said O’Blenis. “I learned I had to ramp up my driving style to run with those guys as far as how hard you drive the car, compared with what I was used to with open motors and open rule packages.”
Brighton poses a different set of challenges than the high-banks at Brockville, said O’Blenis. He hopes an improved skill arsenal will give him an edge.
“Brighton has always been and always will be a drivers track and a setup track,” said O’Blenis. “If you’re setup is off and you can’t keep the speed through the turns, then you’re always going to be behind.”
Improvements aside, O’Blenis knows the division is more competitive than when he left.
Former champions Ryan Scott and Dan Ferguson, as well as perennial contender Andrew Hennessy are among those that will do battle with O’Blenis on Saturday nights. Winning will be a challenge for every driver on any given week, O’Blenis said.
“They’ve done their homework and their research,” said O’Blenis. “They’ve definitely improved their skills so I guess I have to rely on my skills to keep up with them. I’ll have to catch up with the technology and the way it’s changed since I left. But I’m confident we’ll be up with them in a few weeks.”
The biggest change from O’Blenis’ 2008 modified will be under the hood. The No.32 modified will compete with a crate engine for the first time.
Sponsorship support for O’Blenis 2014 campaign comes from John’s Car Care, TI Flooring, Drain All Ltd., Wagar and Myatt, Grant & Lola Clark, Atomic, JC’s Cleaning Services, Skinny Fiber, Bob’s Portable Toilet Rentals, and O’Blenis Racing Products.
O’Blenis’ season will kick-off on Saturday, May 3 with the Monster Energy and Kellogg Belleville Brighton Speedway season opener.
Brighton Speedway’s 2014 season is proudly supported by the following corporate sponsors: Lucas Oil, Vanderlaan Building Supplies, Quinte Septic, OilGARD Anti-Rust (a division of Bainer’s), Brighton Automotive, Bill’s Johns, Sanderson’s Tire & Automotive Centre, Mystical Distributing Company Ltd., ROCK 107, T.R.S. Communication, Campbellford Chrysler, Cool 100.1, Hotch’s Auto Parts, Dibbits Excavating, ImageFactor.ca, Workman’s OK Tire Quinte West, Star 93.3, VP Racing Fuels, Hoosier Racing Tires, Ultramar CST, Benson Auto Parts, Brighton Recycling and Excel Tower Services.
About Brighton Speedway: Brighton Speedway is a 1/3-mile clay stock car racing oval located on the shores of Lake Ontario in Brighton, Ont. The speedway hosts five weekly stock car divisions on Saturday nights from May to September. The weekly Pro Late Model division competes under UMP DIRTcar. The track’s flagship Applefest Shootout Weekend attracts drivers, fans, and sponsors from across the NorthEast every September.
Media Contact: Clayton Johns