As people think of the Hoosier OSCAAR Modifieds, there are some quick things that come to their mind – close action, variety of drivers, and Gary McLean. Since the inaugural season, McLean has been a front running contender in the series, and this past season picked up his fourth straight championship.
The driver of the No. 8 McLean Industrial Design and Fabrication Ltd./McLean Farms Modified proved right from the beginning of the season that if you wanted to win, you were going to have to beat him to do so. He came out at Sunset Speedway in May and picked up the victory in the season opener after passing Shane Stickel on lap 13.
He would then return to Sunset a month later, picking up his 10th victory at the Innisfil, Ontario oval after passing Brad Pearsall for the lead on lap eight and surviving a series of late-race restarts.
The streak of victories would end at two, though, as the following two races would not result in victories for the Greg Gibson-led race team. The first half of the Rick Woolner Memorial at Full Throttle Motor Speedway and the summer trip to Delaware Speedway would produce a pair of third place finishes, allowing McLean to hold on to a healthy points lead ahead of the field.
The season wouldn’t go all smoothly for McLean, though, as there was a small hiccup with the summer trip to Sauble Speedway. McLean would be one of the cars involved in a big incident partway through the event. While suffering significant damage to his entry, he’d also suffer a broken hand as a result.
Despite the injury, though, the veteran persevered and returned back to the track a week later set to return to victory lane. He would do just that, picking up the victory at Peterborough Speedway in the Chase for the Colours. He would then return to Sunset, picking up another victory, taking the lead on lap nine ahead of Cory Horner. He would then complete the month of August off with a fifth place finish at Flamboro Speedway.
The month of September would start off with the second trip of the season to Full Throttle Motor Speedway with the second half of the Rick Woolner Memorial. It’s no secret that the race means a lot to McLean and his team, and he has proven that he can get the job done as a past-winner of the event. It’d be a successful outing, resulting in another victory on the season, and the overall Rick Woolner Memorial victory.
The rest of the month would go solidly with a victory at Delaware Speedway, which held some personal meaning for McLean and team with the adage crate-built motor debate in that crates are not supposed to be strong on the half-mile. He would then complete the month with a trip to Sunset Speedway, and a victory in the Velocity 250 despite starting middle of the field. McLean would pace himself throughout the event, reaching the top-five in the final stages, grabbing the lead on a late-race restart.
Unfortunately, the season wouldn’t finish as McLean would’ve hoped as despite having a strong car, contact with another competitor and the wall resulted in a DNF at the Autumn Colours Classic.
With that event aside, though, it was a pretty impressive run once again by a veteran of the tour. Though as McLean reminds us each week, it’s not just about him behind the wheel, but the entire team and the amount of hours that they put in through the season to be as quick as they are.
“If you’re going to have a fast running racecar, every spare moment you have you put into the car and that’s what they do,” he said at Peterborough Speedway. “We’re super privileged having Greg Gibson as the car owner/crew chief on this thing and he knows what he’s doing with it. So he gives direction and the guys work hard at it and it comes together, obviously.”
-Ashley McCubbin Press Release. Photo Credit: Dan Little Photography