Saturday marks the end of the first half of the 2012 season for the OSCAAR Super Late Models and is the beginning to a busy August that will see teams compete on three of four weekends leading to Labour Day back at Peterborough. The small turnaround time could allow some drivers to make their move in the run for the championship as they thrive on the momentum they have built so far. Other drivers may have to work night and day to prepare the car for each race should an accident or other problems hinder their efforts. Regardless, the 2012 season has been one of the most exciting in OSCAAR history with three different winners through five races, as George Wilson and Brandon Watson have each won twice. Here are some of the story lines to follow so far this season.
George Wilson earned the second of back-to-back wins two weeks ago at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) to move him to fourth in the standings, trailing point leader Brandon Watson by 37 markers. The feat is impressive considering Wilson was disqualified in post-race technical inspection on opening night and received only the 20 ‘show-up’ points. In order for Wilson to have a shot at the championship over the final seven events, he will have to hope some misfortune befalls the current top three of Brandon Watson, Glenn Watson, and Derrick Tiemersma in order to make up the gap. However, if anyone can overcome the deficit the ‘Steel city Outlaw’ is among those determined enough to complete it.
Stayner, ON teenager Brandon Watson has yet to finish off the podium in 2012, with two wins and two runner-up tallies to his name. He sits as the points leader, 32 notches above defending champion and uncle Glenn Watson and will look to close out the first half in the same position. Running at the front of the field will become more and more difficult for the team as the rest of the field chases the target on the rear bumper of the #9 Chevrolet.
After an impressive start to the year, bad luck has imposed itself on rookie Rob Poole’s #45 team. Poole has experienced carburetor, transmission, and tire issues so far this season, but may feel closer to home on the 1/3-mile at Peterborough Speedway which more closely resembles his former home at Sunset. Sitting eighth in the points, Poole certainly has time to crack the top-five but will have to hope all of the bugs are out of the former Mark Gordon chassis. ‘The Professional’ also sits just two points behind Jesse Kennedy for the Rookie-of-the-Year title and could grab hold of the lead under the right circumstances.
After winning at Barrie Speedway on June 16, Kennedy has had nothing but problems with the #10 Chevrolet. A broken rocker arm at Sunset Speedway kept him out of contention and the same problem at Sauble Speedway forced him to compete in his Pro Late Model. Two weeks ago at CTMP, the rear-end let go in practice on the #10 forcing the team to go to the back-up car, which Kennedy knows is not as strong as the primary. Peterborough has been good for Kennedy at times and could be the medicine he needs to maintain control of the Rookie points lead and to move back in to the top-five in the championship standings.
Last season’s championship runner-up Jeff Dunford has not had the start to the season he would have liked. The Callander, ON pilot has been in the wrong place at the wrong time so far this season, but considers Peterborough one of his best tracks. If Dunford can create some momentum following Saturday evening’s event, expect the #7T to be scary fast at Kawartha, just six days following Peterborough.
Charlie Gallant currently sits fifth in the championship standings and has had an impressive string of five consecutive top-tens to start the season. His best result came two weeks ago, a sixth-place finish at CTMP. Gallant’s patience has seen improved results this year, and Saturday may be the best opportunity for the Pefferlaw, ON driver to crack the top-five considering the momentum he has built.
Derrick Tiemersma’s podium finish at CTMP has boosted his morale, as the 2007 champion heads to one of his favourite race tracks looking for a win to start the ball rolling in August.
Saturday is a historical night for OSCAAR, as its two divisions will race at separate tracks on the same night for the first time ever. The Super Late Models take to the track at Peterborough Speedway at 6:00pm Saturday as well, dividing the dedicated OSCAAR crew in half for the first time.
Saturday night’s event is the first of three stops at Peterborough for the OSCAAR tour and racing gets underway at 6pm. The pit gate will open for all competitors on the night at 2pm as Peterborough’s Four Fun, Mini Stock, Renegade Trucks, and Late Models all take to the track in addition to the OSCAAR Outlaws. King of the Hill spectator races are also on the card for the evening. The spectator gate open at 4:00pm and the first green flag of the evening is scheduled to drop at 6:00pm.
By Clayton Johns (@cjohnsmedia)