By T.J. Buffenbarger
(September 13, 2019) — With the 15th Annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals starting tonight at Ohsweken Speedway here are the top storylines to follow throughout the weekend.
Parker-Price Miller Looking to Join Elite Company
Parker Price-Miller from Kokomo, Indiana has taken well to the 3/8-mile oval at Ohsweken Speedway winning two of the last three Canadian Sprint Car Nationals main events. Both of those victories came after Price-Miller endured a heartbreaking defeat in what was one of the best sprint car races I have ever seen at Ohsweken when Bryan Howland came from nowhere to claim the prize in in a wild three car shootout tin 2015.
Price-Miller is teaming up again with the Six Nations based Hills Racing team attempting to join Shane Stewart and Steve Poirier as the only three time winners of the event. Price-Miller has been fast everywhere he has visited this summer and I would expect that to carry over to Ohsweken this weekend.
Can Poirier continue his late season momentum into the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals?
At the Canadian Nationals it’s easy to focus on drivers such as Parker Price-Miller and Sam Hafertepe Jr. that travel all around North America winning sprint car races as the favorites. Nobody in Canada or the Northeast though is sleeping on three time Canadian Nationals champion Steve Poirier. Several years ago I wrote a story with Poirier’s crew chief Kevin Lovey’s about what makes the St. Mathieu De Beloeil, QC driver so good. Poirier is a handful to race with for even the best of professional drivers that come into the Canadian Nationals.
If you consider Poirier was part of that thrilling race in 2015 and some of his other strong runs he could be a four or even five time champion at this point. Considering Poirier didn’t consider racing sprint cars until seeing the inaugural Nationals in 2004 and won the event one year later, nothing Poirier accomplishes surprises me. That would include Poirier becoming the winningest driver in Nationals history should he win again on Saturday.
Hafertepe looks to become a multiple time winner of the CSCN
When looking at Canadian Sprint Car Nationals history its surprising that Sam Hafertepe Jr. has only won the event on one occasion, in 2011. Hafertepe has been around the front of the field running well on Friday and being near the front on Saturday the past four years, but hasn’t finished in the top position. Hafertepe is the current ASCS National Tour point leader and is the most recent winner with that series over Labor Day weekend at Lake Ozark Speedway. Hafertepe won the final weekly show of the season at Ohsweken last Friday night and is focused on claiming a second Canadian Nationals title.
Can Dustin Daggett add a Canadian Nationals win to go with his perfect starts record?
Dustin Daggett has the distinction of being the only driver to start every Canadian Sprint Car Nationals A-Main since the inaugural event in 2004. Through all of those starts Daggett has yet to win Canada’s biggest sprint car event. After coming close to victory in 2008 being passed by Wayne Johnson after leading for several laps and a podium finish in 2014, Daggett will try to continue his late season resurgence by winning his first Canadian Nationals. If you had asked me if Daggett would be a contender for a Nationals victory earlier in the year I wouldn’t have considered it, but with a solid July and August Daggett appears to be a Nationals contender again in 2019.
Dylan Westbrook leads the Ontario contingent looking for their first victory at the CSCN
One of the recurring themes at the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals is that no driver from Ontario has ever won the Saturday night finale. Dylan Westbrook is the most likely candidate to end the home province losing streak at Ohsweken. Westbrook has been dominant at Ohsweken in 2019 and will need every bit of that speed to hold off the invading contenders coming in to snatch the Canadian Nationals $10,000 top prize.
- The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series point standings were shaken up again on Wednesday after the event at Placerville Speedway. Brad Sweet’s 6th place finish gives him a one point advantage in the overall point standings over Donny Schatz going into the weekend at Stockton Dirt Track. Schatz will try to rebound from a 10th place finish to retake the lead at the more spacious surroundings of the Stockton Dirt Track and Calistoga Speedway.
- After Aaron Reutzel scored the $50,000 payday for winning the Tuscarora 50 and increasing his lead in the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions to 44 points over Dale Blaney the series heads back to Ohio for three nights of racing at Atomic Speedway. Even with Reutzel stretching out his advantage the unusual highs and lows of his 2019 season makes that advantage far from secure. This three day stretch at Atomic is huge for the Baughman/Reutzel Racing team to see if they can string a solid weekend together to further their point lead.
Following mechanical issues at Port Royal Blaney returns to his home turf. Each time Reutzel had stumbled this year Blaney has been in position to take advantage of it. Blaney will need to be in that position again through the three day program.
- With the Attica/Fremont Challenge Series and Attica Raceway Park championships complete Fremont Speedway’s ends their regular season on Saturday. After narrowly missing out on the Attica and AFCS titles Buddy Kofoid will try to maintain a 9 point lead over D.J. Foos going into Saturday’s program. Kofoid recently took a drive in Jim Linder’s vintage sprint car. Asking Mike Linder, Jim’s son, if Jim was nervous about the 17 year old taking the drive Mike let us know his father told Kofoid to, “Drive the shit out of it” before pushing off. Based on the photos circulating on social media, Kofoid did just that.
I was sad to read of Morrie Williams passing away on Wednesday. Seeing Morrie’s car at the Knoxville Nationals every year was anticipated due it being the only time I was often exposed to
- some of the West Coast teams that did not frequently travel away from California. Even from afar it was easy to see what a big part Williams was to the west coast sprint car scene. It was fitting that Bud Kaeding had the Williams car at Placerville on Thursday racing with the World of Outlaws in tribute.
- The Interstate Racing Association, Wisconsin WingLESS Sprint Cars, and Badger Midget Auto Racing Association team up for an open wheel triple header at Beaver Dam Raceway on Saturday.
- Lincoln Park Speedway will feature non-wing and winged sprint cars on Saturday with the ever growing Indiana RaceSaver Series in town.
Hoosier state fans also get their only glimpse of Super Modified racing this season Saturday at the facility formerly known at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Likewise PA Posse fans can check out winged pavement sprint cars with the Must See Racing series competing Saturday at Jennerstown Speedway.
- Saturday will be the final weekly program for the crate sprint cars at Plymouth Speedway. The division never seemed to take hold and car counts have dwindled the past two seasons. Next Saturday Plymouth features a unique event for the Lane Automotive Sprints on Dirt where the 410’s will run the smaller SOD tires and 360 sprint cars will be allowed to run the standard ASCS tires. The race will pay $6,000 to win and $300 to start. Originally slated to be a GLSS/SOD showdown, GLSS is not sanctioning the 360 portion of the event.
- One of the best stories of the 2019 season is the resurgence of Paragon Speedway as a Friday night venue. With Joe Spiker taking over management duties Paragon has drawn solid sprint car fields all season. Bigger plans are in store for Paragon down the road, making us keep watch of what is taking place there for the near future.