By Tommy Goudge (May 16, 2014) – Drivers and teams from Ohsweken Speedway are ready to get going with the 2014 racing season. Lee Winger took some time recently to look back at his 2013 Affordable Towing & Recovery Thunder Stock division championship, and ahead to his plans for 2014 and beyond.
Lee Winger has been racing regularly at Ohsweken Speedway for 14 years, and has seen a lot of changes during that time. He started in the HRW Automotive Mini Stock division, before moving to the Affordable Towing & Recovery Thunder Stocks. Lee won several big races during his career, including the 2003 Art Hill Memorial 42, but finally won his first Ohsweken track championship last season. The Season Championship feature began with 4 drivers separated by just 33 points at the top of the standings. Lee was able to overcome a mid-race spin, and take the title in one of the closest title races in the history of the speedway. He will return this season with his #2 Camaro to go for a second championship.
LEE WINGER – FAST FACTS
Car #: 2
Birthdate: April 4, 1986
Hometown: Caledonia, Ontario
Sponsors: Big Moose Fishing, and O’Neil’s Farm Equipment
TG: “How did you get involved in racing, and who were the people who helped you learn the ropes when you were starting out?
LW: “My dad bought me a go-kart when I was 8. I started racing at on a pavement oval when i was 10, and later moved to Hamilton Kart Club. I began racing Mini Stocks at Ohsweken Speedway when I was 13. Some of the people who have helped me include Paul Barton, Scott McPhail, and most recently Dave Bailey.”
TG: “You have been racing for a long time, even though you’re still in your 20’s. What do you remember about your first trip to Ohsweken?”
LW: “My first trip to Ohsweken was a memory-filled night with lots of spin outs. It was the first time I ever really drove a car by myself.”
TG: ‘You sometimes race up to three nights per week at Ohsweken, Merrittville, and Humberstone. How much weekly maintenance work do you have to do when you’re racing that much, and how many changes do you have to make to the car between the different tracks?”
LW: “I found that I got my car to work well at all tracks, including Brighton Speedway. It all depends on the night, and track conditions. Most tracks see the same dry slick conditions, especially in the summer.”
TG: “You had to drive through the field after a spin in the Season Championship feature last season. Sometimes a driver can let frustration take over, but you kept your focus and won the championship. What were you thinking before that restart, with all those cars between you and the title?”
LW: “It was very frustrating, especially being in the top 5 at the time. Anything can happen in the Thunder Stock division at Ohsweken. You can pass 10 cars in one lap, and get caught up in a wreck the next. You just have to tighten your belts, go as hard as you can, and do your best. I definitely have to thank my sponsors – especially Dean and Brenda Richardson – I could not have done it without their support”
TG: “A quick look at the results from Ohsweken every week shows quite a few drivers from Caledonia. Obviously it’s close to Ohsweken, but why do you think we see so many racers from that town?”
LW: “A lot of the drivers from Caledonia grew up around each other. The track is only 10 minutes away, which makes it very accessible, and on a quiet night you can hear the Sprint Cars roaring around the Big O.”
TG: “You’ve been around since the days when we only had 10-12 Thunder Stocks racing on some Friday nights. Why do you think the division has grown so much in the last few years?”
LW: “I would have to say the level of competition, and the division is semi-affordable. Street Stocks are highly competitive at any race track, but nothing like Ohsweken. Going 7 wide can get pretty intense.”
TG: “There is a lot of competition in the Thunder Stock division, with at least 30 cars almost every night last year. Drivers are bound to slip under the radar sometimes, with that many people competing every night. Who do you think is the most underrated driver and/or team in the division?”
LW: “Definitely Dave Bailey. Dave is a good friend of mine, and will always lend a hand, or answer a question. Just ask him about his good friend geometry – You will learn caster and camber in no time!”
TG: “You’ve driven both a ‘metric’ car and a Camaro in the Thunder Stock division. A lot of feature wins were claimed by the Camaros last season. What are the differences between the two in terms of driving style and setup?”
LW: “I didn’t find much difference in setup or driving style. I’ve had success in both cars.”
TG: “Eventually the Thunder Stock/Street Stock type divisions at a lot of tracks are going to have to evolve, as cars become older and harder to find and get parts for. What would you like the Thunder Stock division to look like in 10-20 years?”
LW: “I have no idea. I would think you will see more of late model type body, or maybe an IMCA modified style car. They still use a factory front clip.”
TG: “You’re still a young man, but you’ve been racing for a long time. What keeps you motivated to put in the work every year to keep going, how long do you think you’ll continue to race, and what are your future racing goals?”
LW: “I love racing, and I love being part of Ohsweken Speedway. I plan on racing as long as I can. As far as goals I don’t really have any. I just want to have fun with friends at the track, win races, and do the best I can.”
Do you have a question you’ve always wanted to ask your favourite Ohsweken Speedway personality, or suggestion for someone you’d like to see featured in a future edition of “Top 10″? E-mail us at email@example.com, and 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 track. 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 Sprint Cars, Thunder Stocks, 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
Ohsweken Speedway thanks the following sponsors for their support: Arrow Express, Corr/Pak Merchandising Inc., Renway Energy, O’Neil’s Farm Equipment, McDonald’s Restaurants of Paris & Brantford, Nathan Ackland State Farm Insurance, Strickland’s GMC, Mobil 1, Burger Barn, Affordable Towing & Recovery, HRW Automotive, and Gale’s Auto Aftermarket.