Story By: ASHLEY MCCUBBIN – ONTARIO, CA – The Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modifieds presented by Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., Touchwood Cabinets, and The Fyre Place & Patio Shop will see growth entering the 2020 campaign, with several new faces vying for Rookie of the Year honors.
After spending the last couple years behind the wheel of a late model, T.J. Edwards is the latest driver to step up into the division. Entering the season, he is hoping to have a good finish each night, while keeping the car in one piece and learning.
“The biggest thing is this is a learning year,” he commented. “We don’t want to wreck each night, right? You gain respect – you have to gain respect as a rookie from the veterans that are in this class.”
Being more specific with his goals, he is hopeful of placing in the top-five in the year-end standings.
“We’ll see how it goes from there,” he said. “If we do better, it’s a plus. If we don’t do as good, I guess next year we work even harder to get better. But we have a lot of good people behind us. We have Brian MacDonald working his butt off to make this car as good as it can be, so I feel confident with a top-five to be honest.”
Running up front, though, he knows will not be an easy task with the competition currently very high.
“You have A.J. (Emms) that did really good last year,” he commented. “You have (Andy) Kamrath – which is pretty much the one to beat all the time when he did one. Then you’ve got Dale Reinhart, Norman Newman, (Kelly) Balson – it’s a tough class and you have a lot of rookies coming up. I want to try and run the Rookie of the Year but we’re going to have to be on our A-game every night to try and win it.”
The 2020 schedule will see him cross the province, visiting a mix of new and familiar tracks along the way.
“Sauble is one of the tracks that we’ve ran and there’s Sunset, which Sunset hasn’t had much luck so it’ll be learning there, too,” he commented. “Jukasa – we ran once, which I’m excited to get back to. Peterborough – we ran once in a mini stock, haven’t ran there in a V8 class yet so I’m excited to learn.”
Out of the tracks on the schedule, the pair of trips to the beach and Canada’s crown jewel are certainly on his mind.
“It’d have to be Jukasa and Sauble,” he noted. “Those are two tracks that I’ve ran, especially Sauble as I’ve ran a lot of laps on that track which I love and I love Jukasa. I haven’t ran as many laps there, but I just love the speed and everything else and the fact that there’s more than one line. Sunset, I’m sure I’ll love; I just have to get on to it eventually.”
Edwards got his first chance behind the wheel of a modified last season, competing in the Rick Woolner Memorial at Full Throttle Motor Speedway.
“I’d have to say it’s like a go-kart on steroids,” he reflected. “Pretty much wherever I wanted to put the car, it’d go, compared to my limited. My limited would be like a heavy Cadillac trying to turn the corner compared to the modified. So I’m kind of excited to get used to it and race more than one race, where we really went into the race blind. We didn’t get to test much or anything to see what it could do. So it’s going to be fun.”
For Edwards, he got his start in racing by helping his cousin for a couple years, before being given an opportunity by his uncle – and current car owner – to jump behind the wheel of a racecar himself.
Through the experience that he has gained, he says for young racers, the biggest thing is follow your dreams and never give up.
“Whenever people say that you can’t do it, always succeed past,” he added.
Be sure to keep up with OSCAAR by staying tuned to the series website at http://www.oscaar.ca. Also, make sure to “like” the official OSCAAR Racing Facebook page, while following both the Twitter and Instagram accounts (@OSCAARRacing) to keep up to date on everything you need to know.