7 CRP Drivers to Watch at the Autumn Colours Classic

Gord ‘The Smoke’ ShepherdGord Shepherd

Sunset Speedway’s Ltd. Late Model champion will, without question, enter this weekend’s 75-lap event as a heavy favourite to win his second career Autumn Colours Classic win. In 2014, the Oro Station, ON veteran captured the Pro Late Model portion of the event, and this Sunday he’ll look to double down with a Ltd. Late Model triumph. With an entry list that already includes a number of Shepherd’s weekly Sunset adversaries, there’s no question ‘The Smoke’ will be in deep against some of Ontario’s best, however with two consecutive Sunset Velocity 250 wins, Shepherd’s extended-distance prowess is undisputable.

‘The Natural’ Dustin JacksonDustin Jackson

In the midst of an impressive freshman Super Late Model season, Sault Ste. Marie, ON product Dustin Jackson will roll into the Autumn Colours Classic with an opportunity to introduce himself as the next big thing in a division starved for young talent. ‘The Natural’ began his career on the provincial stage as a rising star on the OSCAAR Modified Tour, and since switching gears to Super Late Model racing, hasn’t missed a step. Jackson will enter ‘the Classic’ with a healthy number of eyes on him, and if he can find a way to put his No. 61 on the podium could very well walk out of the weekend with a much larger fanbase than he walked in with.

Johnny ParadzinskiJohnny Paradzinski

Sunset Speedway’s MIGHTY Division champion will face the stiffest test of his young career this weekend, as he hopes to qualify for Sunday’s Mini Stock A Main. This event has steadily attracted 50+ of Ontario’s top Mini Stock talent on a yearly basis, and 2016 is certain to be no different. Paradzinski has experience competing in Mini Stock invitationals, with his best outing coming in the form of a top-10 finish during May’s ‘Spring Velocity’ at Sunset. He’s no stranger to top tier competition, and has certainly made a name for himself as a driver to watch at the weekly level. This weekend, Johnny Paradzinski could very well surprise some people.

Roy PasserRoy Passer

One of the foremost veterans of Ontario’s Super Late Model scene, OSCAAR Tour mainstay Roy Passer has had a career year in 2016. Fresh off of a Peterborough Speedway win earlier this season, Passer will head to ‘the Classic’ with hopes of tallying his first ever ‘Crown Jewel’ win. This weekend’s event is likely to attract a ‘who’s who’ of Super Late Model talent, but if Passer can implement his familiar consistency-first style, there stands an excellent chance of him being around late in the going when laps start to truly matter.

Chris AllardChris Allard

Few Sunset Speedway stars have endeared themselves to the Ontario fanbase more than Chris Allard in 2016. The second-generation competitor has carved out a name for himself as a dependable up-and-comer, with a blue-collar work ethic that has thrust him into the upper echelon of Mini Stock racing this season. Fresh off of a top-5 finish during Sunset’s Velocity weekend, Allard could very well be the darkhorse pick entering this weekend’s race. With 50+ competitors expected to converge on Peterborough Speedway, Allard will need to be at his best from start to finish. However, if he does unload ready to work, the rest of the field would be well suited to keep their eyes on the No. 76.

Dan ArchibaldDan Archibald

One of the best Super Stock/Thunder Car racers without a marquee victory to their name, Dan Archibald will have one thing on his mind this weekend – winning his first career Autumn Colours Classic. The Innisfil, ON competitor will start on the front row of Sunday’s feature event by virtue of his ‘Chase for the Colours’ qualifier performance in July, and is already looked at by many in the division as one to beat this weekend. Archibald is a former winner in weekly competition at Peterborough, and unquestionably knows his way around the tougher-than-average facility. With his No. 07 starting the race up front, it might take an army to keep him from victory lane at the end of 50-laps.

Kenny McNicol Jr.Kenny McNicol Jr.

‘The King of Old School’ put the province on notice with his ‘Great Canadian Race’ victory at Delaware Speedway several weeks ago, and he’ll have the ideal chance to follow up that triumph this weekend at Peterborough. The Exeter, ON native has never won the Crown Jewel event, but it’s tough to remember a year in which he participated and was not in the mix at some point during the 50-lap event. ‘The Classic’ has long placed a special emphasis on qualifying and starting position, so if McNicol can fashion a pair of impressive heat race performances, he could very well put himself in a spot to make life difficult for the rest of the talent-heavy field.