Special Features

OHSWEKEN SPEEDWAY PR: “TOP 10” WITH THUNDER STOCK CHAMPION MIKE THORNE

By Tommy Goudge (February 22, 2013) – Drivers and teams from Ohsweken Speedway are hard at work getting ready for the 2013 racing season, which is now less than 3 months away. Mike Thorne took a break from those preparations to reflect on his two consecutive Thunder Stock titles, and look ahead to his attempt at a three-peat in 2013.

Mike Thorne will turn 23 years of age next week, but he’s already been racing full-size cars for 7 years, and has won the Thunder Stock championship at Ohsweken in each of the last two seasons. Feature wins are hard to come by in the very competitive Thunder Stock division, but Mike has managed to collect a few of those, while also maintaining an amazing level of consistency. This season, he’s trying to become the first driver at Ohsweken Speedway to win three consecutive Thunder Stock championships.


FAST FACTS – MIKE THORNE
Birthdate: March 3, 1990
Hometown: Caledonia, Ontario
Occupation: Brewers Retail Staff

TG: “Which driver do you most enjoy competing against, and why?”

MT: “As a kid sitting in the stands, I always had my eye on Scott McPhail in the Thunder Stock division, so racing against him was a highlight for me. He has helped me out in many ways on and off the track, including being a co-op teacher, and a sponsor, but most of all as a friend.”

 

TG: “Your girlfriend Laura races at Ohsweken in the Mini Stock division. What would happen if you two were in a match race against each other in identical cars?”

MT: “I think it would be a great race, because I know Laura is as competitive as I am. Once we put on our helmets, I would race her like anyone else, and I know she’d do the same.”

TG: “What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to get involved in racing that you would like to have been given when you started?”

MT: “Don’t give yourself such high expectations. Every driver is different, and starts somewhere, and gains experience at their own pace. Take your time, and don’t let it overwhelm you – fun is supposed to come first. Feel free to approach other drivers – they won’t steer you the wrong way.”

TG: “You have a large and very-hardworking team behind you. What does it mean to have all those people supporting you, pushing for your success?”

MT: “We’re not just a team, we’re a family. We don’t just work on the car together, we do everything together, from holidays to Sunday morning breakfast. It means the world that I have support from my family, and it’s a bonus to have it coming from friends as well. Their encouragement and support makes racing so much more enjoyable.”

TG: “You’re actually the youngest of the four 2012 Ohsweken Speedway champions, all of whom are age 25 or under. We hear all the time that it is hard to draw young people to short track racing, either as fans or racers – How do you think more members of your generation could become interested in racing?”

MT: “A lot of people my age – including myself – grew up with racing and spent the Saturday nights of our childhoods at the race track – it was just what we grew up with. I think that if drivers interacted more with kids during autograph night, or in the pits, it would make them feel more appreciated as fans, and for coming out each week.”

TG: “How did you first get involved in racing as a driver, and what was your first race car?”

MT: “When I was a kid in my first soap box derby at Flamboro Speedway, I won my first trophy, and didn’t want to stop winning them. Eventually, in my teens, I started in Mini Stocks, and soon it escalated to Thunder Stocks. It’s been a 7 year battle along the way, meeting new friends, and learning new things every year, and loving every second of every lap along the way.”

TG: “The Thunder Stock division was competitive in 2011 during your first championship run, but got even more competitive in 2012. How much tougher was it to win the title last season?”

MT: “We went into the 2012 season very open-minded. We knew there was a lot more competition coming, so we experimented a lot to try and better ourselves. We stuck with what worked, and we never gave up, even when we fell behind. Racing to me is fun, and we come out every Friday night to have fun. Whether I blow up a brand new motor or finish last, I have fun and make every night worth it, and make sure my crew and I are back there the next week no matter what happens.”

TG: “You’ll be back in Thunder Stocks this year, and going for a three-peat. Are Thunder Stocks where you would like to stay, or would you eventually like to try another division?”

MT: “If the option arose that we could move up, we’d love to move up, but it’s such a tough decision to leave the Thunder Stock family after all these years. But, I know we’d have everyone’s support in moving up in my racing career.

TG: “You’ve been involved in a number of exciting races over the past few years, including a couple which ended in photo finishes. What’s going on in your head when you’re side-by-side with someone for the lead, lap after lap?”

MT: “I am focused on winning, but at the same time I am extremely focused on finishing a clean race, and making sure that I win because I drove my hardest, and gave it everything. Driving door-to-door for a win makes it so much more exciting for the fans, and makes it feel so much more earned for my crew and myself.”

TG: “Even though it meant you were guaranteed the championship, were you a bit disappointed when Jack Myers wasn’t able to start the feature race on championship night?”

MT: “We were most definitely disappointed. We went over every single nut and bolt, and checked and rechecked the whole week just to make sure we were 100% ready, because we knew Jack Myers was doing the same thing we were. I remember lots of people hoping for rain that week, but we wanted the sun so we could we could try to win it door-to-door, and not due to something as simple as the weather that night.”

Got a question you’ve always wanted to ask your favourite Ohsweken Speedway personality? Got a suggestion for who you would like to see featured in a future edition of “Top 10”? Send it to media@ohswekenspeedway.com and make sure to include your name and hometown! Stay tuned for future editions of “Top 10” on www.OhswekenSpeedway.com

About Ohsweken Speedway: Founded in 1996, Ohsweken Speedway is a motorsports complex which includes a 3/8 (0.375) mile clay oval. The facility is owned by the Styres family, and located in the village of Ohsweken, Ontario, Canada. Ohsweken’s weekly Friday night racing program runs from May to September each year, featuring Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Cars, Thunder Stocks, HRW Automotive Mini Stocks, and Bombers, while the season finishes each year with the annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals. Ohsweken Speedway also hosts weekly Micro Sprint racing on Thursday nights, and has been a yearly stop on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car series schedule since 2007.

Visit the official Ohsweken Speedway website at www.OhswekenSpeedway.com, like us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/OHSWEKENSPEEDWAY, follow us on Twitter @OhswekenSpdway, and subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/user/OhswekenSpdway

Contact:
Tommy Goudge
Ohsweken Speedway Media Relations
media@ohswekenspeedway.com

Special Features

OHSWEKEN SPEEDWAY PR: “TOP 10” WITH MINI STOCK CHAMP KARL SAULT

By Tommy Goudge (February 15, 2013) – Drivers and teams from Ohsweken Speedway are hard at work getting ready for the 2013 racing season, which is now 3 months away. Karl Sault took a break from those preparations to reflect on his past Bomber and Mini Stock championships, and look ahead to his rookie season in the Thunder Stock division in 2013.

Karl Sault is just 23 years of age, and already at the top of the list when it comes to Ohsweken Speedway track championships. He began racing at Ohsweken in what was then the Friday Night Fun Stock division in 2008, winning 4 feature events. Karl has won a championship in each season since then – 2009 and 2010 in the renamed Bomber division, plus 2011 and 2012 in the Mini Stocks. He’s taking the next step in his career this season by moving up to the Thunder Stock division.

KARL SAULT – FAST FACTS
Birthdate: June 20, 1989
Hometown: Dundas, Ontario

TG: “You won the 2011 championship in a front-wheel-drive car, and the 2012 championship in a rear-wheel-drive car. How did you have to change your driving style to make the switch?”

KS: “My driving style pretty much stayed the same. The car setup had to change, which took some time. I just had to keep a smooth and straight line, keep my speed up, and keep the nose clean.”

TG: “Why did you decide now is the right time to move up to Thunder Stocks?”

KS: “We decided to move up to Thunder Stocks because our sponsor Insta-Insulation offered us the opportunity. Thunder Stocks are also easy to work on.”

TG: “Thunder Stocks have become a very tough division at Ohsweken, with large car counts and many competitive drivers. What goals are you setting for yourself this year?”

KS: “Thunder Stocks have grown, and become very competitive over the last few years, with higher car counts, and more cars coming this year. I am looking for Rookie of the Year, with a good points run too.”

TG: “You almost didn’t race at all in 2012. What led to your decision to come back, and where do you think your racing career is heading in the future?”

KS: “With the new rule change for the 2012 season, I couldn’t run the CRX again, but I got a call from Insta-Insulation wanting to sponsor me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have been back. So I went from not being able to race, to building a car in three weeks and making opening night. For where I will be in the future, who knows, but as long as we are having fun it doesn’t matter.”

TG: “You’ve already won more championships than anyone else in the history of Ohsweken Speedway. What do you do with all of the firesuits and trophies you’ve won?”

KS: “I hang the firesuits up in the trailer just in case they are ever needed, and I try to hide the trophies throughout the house.”

TG: “You and your team are building a mid-80’s Firebird, similar to Ryan Beagle’s #84rk Camaro. Why did you decide to use that car, as opposed to the Monte Carlo, older Camaro or Firebird, or another more common car that we would usually see in the Thunder Stock division?”

KS: “We decided to build an ’85 Firebird because they are an easy car to find at any scrap yard. The Monte Carlo and older Camaros and Firebirds are harder to find.”

TG: “Dirt track seems to be a popular form of racing right now in this area. What do you enjoy about racing on dirt tracks?”

KS: “I enjoy the fact that you can run 3, 4, or even 5 or 6 wide some nights, and get away with it.”

TG: “You’ve competed in the two divisions at Ohsweken that are often considered to be good places for new racers to start. What have you learned about racing from your time in the Bombers and Mini Stocks?”

KS: “I have learned that you’ve got to keep the car clean. If you hurt the car, you can’t race, or win a race with a damaged car. It’s a long race and you’ve got time to get to the front.”

TG: “Who have you most enjoyed racing against in your career so far at Ohsweken, and who do you think will be fun to compete with in Thunder Stocks?”

KS: “I can’t really say that there is one person that I have enjoyed racing with, so much as the whole field. Everyone keeps a line, and we race our own race. We try to keep it a fair and clean race because no one wants to go home and fix their car all week and every week. I hope racing in the Thunder Stocks will be the same way.”

TG: “If you could change one thing (a rule, etc…) in racing, what would it be?”

KS: “Be able to run in all three stock car classes in one night.”

 

Got a question you’ve always wanted to ask your favourite Ohsweken Speedway personality? Got a suggestion for who you would like to see featured in a future edition of “Top 10”? Send it to media@ohswekenspeedway.com and make sure to include your name and hometown! Stay tuned for future editions of “Top 10” on www.OhswekenSpeedway.com

About Ohsweken Speedway: Founded in 1996, Ohsweken Speedway is a motorsports complex which includes a 3/8 (0.375) mile clay oval. The facility is owned by the Styres family, and located in the village of Ohsweken, Ontario, Canada. Ohsweken’s weekly Friday night racing program runs from May to September each year, featuring Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Cars, Thunder Stocks, HRW Automotive Mini Stocks, and Bombers, while the season finishes each year with the annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals. Ohsweken Speedway also hosts weekly Micro Sprint racing on Thursday nights, and has also been a yearly stop on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car series schedule since 2007.

Visit the official Ohsweken Speedway website at www.OhswekenSpeedway.com, like us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/OHSWEKENSPEEDWAY, follow us on Twitter @OhswekenSpdway, and subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/user/OhswekenSpdway

Contact:
Tommy Goudge
Ohsweken Speedway Media Relations
media@ohswekenspeedway.com

Special Features

OHSWEKEN SPEEDWAY PR: “TOP 10” WITH SPRINT CAR CHAMP CHRIS STEELE

By Tommy Goudge (February 8, 2013) – Drivers and teams from Ohsweken Speedway are hard at work getting ready for the 2013 racing season, which is now less than 4 months away. Chris Steele took a break from those preparations to reflect on his 2012 Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Car championship, and look ahead to 2013.

Steele’s 2012 Sprint Car championship came in just his third season competing in the division. The 25 year old driver also won the first two Sprint Car features of his career in 2012, while also competing in selected 358 Modified events at other area tracks. This season, he will try to become the first repeat Sprint Car champion at Ohsweken since the division began weekly competition in 2008.

CHRIS STEELE – FAST FACTS
Birthdate: December 25, 1987
Hometown: Fenwick, Ontario
Occupation: Dental Technician
Twitter: @chrissteeler

TG: “What is the origin of your #80?”

CS: “Really there isn’t much meaning behind the number. In my go-karting days my number was 60. When I moved up to Mod Lites, the car we bought came with the number 100 on it. To save on decal costs, we kept the graphics and number on it. I wasn’t too keen on 100, so the following year I switched to 80, half way between 60 and 100.”

TG: “You are the fifth different champion in the five seasons of weekly Sprint Car racing began at Ohsweken. Why do you think we haven’t seen a repeat champion, and what will you need to do to become the first one?”

CS: “It seems that every year the previous year’s champion always has a string of bad luck. Hopefully I can break that trend, and be the first two-time Ohsweken Sprint Car champion. Staying out of the wrecks and being consistent are a must if I want any chance at being the first repeat champion.”

TG: “We hear a lot of clichés in the sports world about ‘learning what it takes’ to win, and become a champion. What did you learn about yourself and your team last season?”

CS: “One thing I learnt about myself last year was that I still have a lot more to learn about Sprint Car racing. I am, however, surrounded by a great group of friends who happen to also be my competitors. Without their help I would not be where I am today, and I am greatly appreciative of everything, even though we were all involved in an intense championship battle.”

TG: “Many drivers in your area are excited about the 358 Modifieds coming back to Ohsweken in July. Will you try to do double duty in both the Modified and Sprint Car that night, and if so, how will you have to adjust your driving style?”

CS: “Everyone is very excited about the addition of not only the Modified show, but the Sportsman show as well. I have yet to talk to Pete Cosco – my Modified car owner – about racing at Ohsweken. If he wants to bring the car I will certainly race it. The Modified takes a lot more finesse with the gas and brake pedal to keep the wheels underneath you at all times, whereas the Sprint Car is more ‘balls to the wall’.”

TG: “The Sprint Car championship at Ohsweken came down to the last lap of the last feature in 2012. What were you thinking about while you and Glenn Styres were racing wheel-to-wheel for the title?”

CS: “To be honest I was quite shocked that I was able to catch Glenn and actually pass him. He was super fast last year, and hard to keep up with. After I got by him, it seemed like the race was never going to end. I could see Dain (Naida) right in front of me, but getting by him didn’t seem like a priority at the time. I was so happy to see those checkered flags.”

TG: “If money were no object and you could race anywhere, what would you choose?”

CS: “To be honest I most likely wouldn’t change a thing. Maybe I would travel some more, but for the most part I am happy with what we have in this area.”

TG: “What is something most fans wouldn’t know about you?”

CS: “Most fans probably wouldn’t know that I make teeth for a living. My parents own Niagara Dental Arts in St. Catharines, and provide service to many dentists in the Niagara Region.”

TG: “You have always been fast at Ohsweken. What is it about the track that suits your style?”

CS: “I don’t know if it’s the track that suits my style, or if it is just the raciness of the track that makes me fast. I think my previous experience with the Modified has really helped me in the Sprint Car. Modified racing teaches you to search the race track from top to bottom to find the most grip. Because Ohsweken is so wide, there is a lot of track to work with, and room to find the best grip possible.”

TG: “Which activities and hobbies occupy your time away from the track?”

CS: “Unfortunately I do work a lot to pay for this addiction called racing, but when I’m not working I can usually be seen with my girlfriend Sami – Movies, traveling, friends…the usual things boyfriends and girlfriends do.”

TG: “You’re one of many younger drivers in the Sprint Car division at Ohsweken. Why do you think there are so many of them, and what do you think it means for the future of the division?”

CS: “Maybe it has to do with how desirable Sprint Cars are to drive? Who wouldn’t want to drive a Sprint Car? I think the future looks good for the division. The younger guys will most likely be around for a long time, which will strengthen the division and Sprint Car racing as a whole.”

Got a question you’ve always wanted to ask your favourite Ohsweken Speedway personality? Got a suggestion for who you would like to see featured in a future edition of “Top 10”? Send it to media@ohswekenspeedway.com and make sure to include your name and hometown! Stay tuned for future editions of “Top 10” on www.OhswekenSpeedway.com

About Ohsweken Speedway: Founded in 1996, Ohsweken Speedway is a 3/8 (0.375) mile clay oval owned by the Styres family, and located in the village of Ohsweken, Ontario, Canada. Ohsweken’s weekly racing program runs from May to September, featuring Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Cars, Thunder Stocks, HRW Automotive Mini Stocks, and Bombers, while the season finishes each year with the annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals. Ohsweken Speedway has also been a yearly stop on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car series schedule since 2007.

Visit the official Ohsweken Speedway website at www.OhswekenSpeedway.com, like us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/OHSWEKENSPEEDWAY, follow us on Twitter @OhswekenSpdway, and subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/user/OhswekenSpdway

Contact:
Tommy Goudge
Ohsweken Speedway Media Relations
media@ohswekenspeedway.com

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