by Tommy Goudge (May 15, 2017) – Ohsweken Speedway’s 21st racing season saw record car counts and close competition. An average of 121 drivers signed in for each of the 19 events which made up the season, combining for 225 heat races, 37 B-Mains, 93 A-Features, 44 different A-Feature winners…and five champions.
-Corr/Pak Merchandising 360 Sprint Cars Champion – Mitch Brown (Brantford ON) – A pair of early wins and amazing consistency for the remainder of the season allowed Brown to become the seventh different champion in nine years of weekly Sprint Car racing at Ohsweken. Brown finished in the top ten in all of his 17 feature events at Ohsweken, including four podium finishes and nine top fives. A pair of DNF’s hurt Dylan Westbrook’s championship chances, but his four wins, eight podiums, and 11 top fives were good enough for second in the championship standings, along with the Rookie of the Year award.
-Strickland’s GMC Crate Sprint Cars Champion – Jesse McDonald (Caledonia ON) – McDonald was comfortable right away in his first Crate Sprint Car season, and went to victory lane after just six races. He claimed three wins in total, along with nine podium finishes and 13 top fives. McDonald became the third different Crate Sprint Car champion in as many years, and also claimed the Rookie of the Year award. Holly Porter was in title contention with McDonald throughout the season, and finished just 13 points behind in the runner-up spot. Engine problems kept Mack DeMan from contending for the championship, but he claimed feature wins in half his 14 events, plus ten podium finishes and 12 top fives.
-Ohsweken Speedway Thunder Stocks Champion – Dave Bailey (Hagersville ON) – Bailey and Ryan Dinning dominated the Thunder Stock division in 2016, as each claimed seven feature wins, but Karl Sault’s consistency put him in the title hunt as well. Bailey’s 12 top fives were the difference, as he ended the season 19 points ahead of Sault to claim his second consecutive championship. Jason Lungaro’s move to Thunder Stocks proved successful, as he finished eighth in the championship standings and won the Rookie of the Year award.
-HRW Automotive Mini Stocks Champion – Brandon Janssens (Woodstock ON) – Janssens prevailed in a tight championship chase for the second consecutive season, but this time it was Brandon Crumbie providing the competition. Janssens’ 16 top fives to Crumbie’s 14 ended up being the main reason for Janssens’ final advantage of 19 points. Crumbie’s three wins and 11 podium finishes were more than enough to lock down the Rookie of the Year award.
-Gale’s Auto Aftermarket Bombers Champion – Dustin Longboat (Ohsweken ON) – The first championship on Dustin’s resume did not come easily, as he had to contend with his brother Paul, plus Wayde Thorne and Jake Maas. Dustin finished up 25 points ahead of Maas after the dust settled, while Joey Wilcox finished eighth overall and claimed Rookie of the Year honours.
-Canadian Sprint Car Nationals weekend – Friday, September 16, and Sunday, September 18: The four-wheeled season at Ohsweken finished with the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals for the 12th consecutive season. Rain on Saturday forced the Nationals finale to a Sunday night for the first time. Parker Price-Miller outlasted a pair of former CSCN winners in Steve Poirier and Jessica Friesen – and a barrage of Poirier slide job attempts – to take the $12,000 win and avenge a heartbreaking loss in 2015.
Friday’s Night Before the Nationals event found Jared Horstman and Mark Smith winning the Twin 15 lap features, while Steve Poirier won the Dave McLeod Memorial Shootout, and Yan Bilodeau won the Kevin Ward, Jr. Young Stars Challenge. Friday’s racing began with Paul Kinney winning a thriller over Shawn Donath and Dylan Westbrook in the rescheduled Empire Super Sprints A-Feature which was rained out on August 5.
-World of Outlaws Six Nations Showdown – Tuesday, July 26: The World of Outlaws series brought some of the world’s best Sprint Car drivers to Ohsweken for the 10th year in a row. The A-Feature was a great race yet again, as Donny Schatz prevailed in a three-way joust with Brad Sweet and Jacob Allen. Erick Rudolph went to Ohsweken’s victory lane for the first time after the DIRTcar 358 Modified race.
-Northern Crate Nationals – Monday, July 25: The Northern Summer Nationals switched to the Northern Crate Nationals for 2016, as all drivers competing in the event with a crate engine were eligible for a draw for a brand new crate engine from Strickland’s GMC. NASCAR star Kasey Kahne visited Ohsweken for the first time in his career, and kept a hard-charging Parker Price-Miller at bay to claim victory in the Kool Kidz-Corr/Pak 360 Sprint Car A-Feature. Chad Chevalier was victorious in the first ever Race of Champions Sportsman Modified Series event at Ohsweken, while John Waters took the win in the Go Nuclear! Late Model Series race.
WALL OF FAME
-The second annual Ohsweken Speedway Wall of Fame inductions celebrated the achievements and contributions of those who have helped Ohsweken Speedway to become a premiere racing facility, and inspired generations to come. The Bell family, Abel Castelein, Jay Mallory, and Jim Swing were honoured as 2016 Wall of Fame inductees in a special ceremony at the track on Friday, June 17.
TRACK RECORDS (New records set during 2016 season)
-360 Sprint Cars 5 laps – Parker Price-Miller (September 18) – 1:17.280
-360 Sprint Cars 6 laps – Brandon Kidd (August 5) – 1:29.151
-360 Sprint Cars 13 laps – Yan Bilodeau (September 16) – 3:25.681
-Crate Sprint Cars 1 lap Time Trial – Holly Porter (September 16) – 15.482
-Crate Sprint Cars 12 laps – Mack DeMan (September 18) – 3:15.061
-Crate Sprint Cars 20 laps – Ryan Hunsinger (May 20) – 5:37.963
-Crate Late Models Fastest Recorded Lap – Chris Fleming (July 25 Heat Race) – 16.236
-UMP Modifieds 8 laps – Eugene Hoekstra (September 9) – 2:24.478
-Sportsman Modifieds 1 lap Time Trial – Mark Chiddy (July 25) – 17.264
-Thunder Stocks Fastest Recorded Lap – Dave Bailey (May 13 Hot Laps) – 19.072
-Thunder Stocks 1 lap Time Trial – Dave Bailey (July 25) – 19.455
-Thunder Stocks 6 laps – Logan Shwedyk (August 26) – 2:06.857
-Thunder Stocks 15 laps – Karl Sault (July 25) – 4:58.579
-Thunder Stocks 20 laps – Dave Bailey (August 5) – 6:41.128
-Mini Stocks Fastest Recorded Lap – Mark Bazuin (May 27 Feature) – 20.913
-Mini Stocks 1 lap Time Trial – Jon Janssens (July 26) – 21.059
-Mini Stocks 12 laps – Jon Janssens (September 18) – 4:27.064
-Noah Thomas Memorial Employee of the Year Award:
-Driver of the Year Award:
Dylan Westbrook (360 Sprint Cars), Mack DeMan (Crate Sprint Cars), Dave Bailey (Thunder Stocks), Mark Bazuin (Mini Stocks – Art Hill Memorial Award), Dustin Longboat (Bombers)
-Rookie of the Year Award:
Dylan Westbrook (360 Sprint Cars), Jesse McDonald (Crate Sprint Cars), Jason Lungaro (Thunder Stocks), Brandon Crumbie (Mini Stocks), Joey Wilcox (Bombers)
Jamie Turner (360 Sprint Cars), Aaron Turkey (Crate Sprint Cars), Jim Lampman (Thunder Stocks), Trevor Young (Mini Stocks), Jerry Burnham (Bombers)
-Dedication to Racing Award:
Dain Naida (360 Sprint Cars), Josh Shantz (Crate Sprint Cars), Dave Bailey (Thunder Stocks), Gary Hodgson (Mini Stocks), Wayde Thorne (Bombers)
-ImageFactor.ca Best Appearing Car Award:
Ryan Turner (360 Sprint Cars), Shone Evans (Crate Sprint Cars), Jim Lampman (Thunder Stocks), Chris Ryckman (Mini Stocks), Tristan Da Silva (Bombers)
-Crew of the Year Award:
Team 10 & 1-10 (Brown) (360 Sprint Cars), Team 68 & 88 (Turkey/McDonald) (Crate Sprint Cars), Team 8 & 25 (Dinning/Sargent) (Thunder Stocks), Team 60/66/66x (Janssens/Schroder) (Mini Stocks), Team 155 & 188 (Longboat) (Bombers)
-Hard Charger Award:
Dain Naida (360 Sprint Cars), Jesse McDonald (Crate Sprint Cars), Dave Bailey (Thunder Stocks), Brandon Crumbie (Mini Stocks), Dustin Longboat (Bombers)
-Most Improved Driver Award:
Tyler Hendricks (360 Sprint Cars), Holly Porter (Crate Sprint Cars), Trevor DeBoer (Thunder Stocks), Jonathan Ayrton (Mini Stocks), Ashley Nelson (Bombers)
-Hard Luck Award:
John Burbridge Jr. (360 Sprint Cars), Ryan Hunsinger (Crate Sprint Cars), Mike Klazinga (Thunder Stocks), Rob Twitchett (Mini Stocks), Paul Longboat (Bombers)
2016 FEATURE WINNERS
-360 Sprint Cars
Dylan Westbrook – 4, Mitch Brown – 2, Bryan Howland – 1, Dave Dykstra – 1, Jake Brown – 1, Jared Horstman – 1, Jared Zimbardi – 1, Jim Huppunen – 1, Kasey Kahne – 1, Mark Smith – 1, Mikey Kruchka – 1, Parker Price-Miller – 1, Paul Kinney – 1, Steve Poirier – 1
-Crate Sprint Cars
Mack DeMan – 7, Holly Porter – 3, Jesse McDonald – 3, Ryan Hunsinger – 3, Josh Shantz – 1
Dave Bailey – 7, Ryan Dinning – 7, Jim Lampman – 1, Karl Sault – 1, Wyatt Van Wart – 1
Mark Bazuin – 5, Brandon Crumbie – 3, Chris Ryckman – 2, Jon Janssens – 2, Rob Hoskins – 2, Brandon Janssens – 1, Jake Bazuin – 1
Wayde Thorne – 5, Paul Longboat – 4, Dustin Longboat – 3, Jerry Burnham – 2, Fabio Olivieri – 1, Jake Maas – 1
-410 Sprint Cars
Donny Schatz – 1
Erick Rudolph – 1
Eugene Hoekstra – 1, Ken Schrader – 1
Chad Chevalier – 1
-Crate Late Models
John Waters – 1
Derek Wagner – 1