Eight-time Small Block Super feature winner Chris Proud will pilot a Burke Motorsports entry on select occasions this coming season.
Proud, who has seven full-time and seven additional part-time seasons of Oswego action under his belt, is looking forward to finally being able to get behind the wheel of a Supermodified thanks to a deal put together by his nephew Camden Proud and car owner John Burke.
“This deal was put together by Camden Proud and John Burke, it basically gives me the chance to run a few races at the Oswego Speedway this year,” Proud said. “I am excited about the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a winged 350 Super. I have always wanted to move from the SBS class to a Supermodified, but things just never worked out to make that happen.”
A familiar face to Oswego fans, Chris competed weekly at the speedway from 2000 to 2006 driving the No. 3 machine. The potent homebuilt mount brought the Brewerton, N.Y. driver seven feature wins in five seasons with the car until Proud made the decision to step away from racing and spend more time with family at the conclusion of the '06 season.
Despite backing out of full-time competition, Chris returned to the speedway for part-time stints with Ed Horne and Tom Aaserud in 2008 and 2009 before driving an FFB Chassis for Tim Barbeau and making his way back to Oswego victory lane in 2010.
Proud took another year off in 2011 to acquire and begin completely re-working his original Proud Chassis for action in 2012. Driving to a heat race win and a handful of top ten finishes, 2012 brought Chris moderate success.
The following season, Proud was back in action another time, now driving a brand new car again built by himself and brother Tim. The new Proud Chassis was quick out of the box, and Chris put it on the podium in just a few short weeks while also securing another heat race victory and three top ten finishes.
With Camden stepping in to drive the new car for the 2014 season, Chris held on to the old chassis and eventually brought that ride back to the speedway for a handful of appearances in 2014 and 2015. The old chassis gave Proud one last podium finish to his credit in August of ’14 behind Anthony Losurdo and JJ Andrews.
In each season following his most recent appearance on Bud Classic Weekend of 2015, Proud has had plans to bring the No. 3 back to the race track, but unfortunately has had other factors keeping him out of the driver’s seat until this point in time.
“I have been out of the seat of a race car for the last few years due to complications from a back surgery along with family commitments,” Proud explained. “I have a teenage daughter and two young sons that play sports and have various other activities that keep me pretty busy most of the time. When I do make it to the track, I am focused on helping my nephew with his racing program.”
Camden, who has piloted the newer Proud car in the Small Block Super ranks for the past five seasons, will move to full-time Novelis Supermodified competition in 2019. The big block rookie of the year candidate is happy to see a 350 Super deal come together for Chris.
“I’m glad Chris finally has the chance to drive a Supermodified,” he said. “He has done countless things over the years to support my racing. I've gotten to known John pretty well, so I talked to him this offseason in hopes that he'd be willing to give Chris a shot and everything worked out. Some of my fondest memories growing up were watching my uncle race at Oswego. I look forward to doing so again this summer and have no doubt he will make the most of this opportunity.”
Burke, the race advocate for the 350 SMAC Series which appeared at Oswego this past Classic Weekend, is looking forward to supporting the track’s new division and having the chance to do so with someone that is familiar to the Oswego Speedway community.
“I’m very excited to help support Oswego and have one of the local drivers get in my car to help build the new division out there,” Burke said. “Chris has had a lot of success in the Small Block Super class and should do a great job with the No. 10 car.”
With all parties expected to remain busy with other commitments throughout the summer, Proud’s schedule has not yet been completely ironed out, but it is expected that he will be behind the wheel for at least a handful of shows throughout the season.
Chris’s goal is to simply be competitive. He is aiming for top five finishes and believes his experience in the SBS class will aid in the upcoming transition to a 350 Supermodified.
“I just want to be competitive and shoot for some strong finishes, top fives would be my goal,” Proud stated. “I think that my experience in the SBS division is high and will transfer over to the 350. There is no substitute for racing at Oswego. I was able to win a lot of races in the SBS class and ran up front consistently, so I think I will do well in the 350, but that’s not to say there won’t be a small learning curve in the first few practice sessions. I do think I'll get the hang of it very quickly.”
As for the No. 3 Small Block Super, it still sits inside Chris’s race shop located in Brewerton, but at least for the time being, he has no plans of bringing the car back to the track due to the ongoing changes with the division.
“I have no plans to run the SBS car right now due to the crate motor change. I don’t have the proper engine to do so anymore,” he said. “I think the crate is something the class needed to help get costs down, but I don’t plan on running out and buying one just yet. Car counts may dwindle the first year, but it will come back the next few years. If the track can keep up on tech, the new program will be very successful. The No. 3 will definitely hit the track again someday. My oldest son Colton plans to take over driving duties down the road.”
For this year on the other hand, Proud is looking forward to finally being able to go racing at Oswego Speedway again. He continued by saying, “I want to thank John and Camden for putting this deal together for me. I think we’re going to have a lot of fun this summer and I’m grateful I have the chance to get my feet wet in the new division while driving a winning car. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Chris will join fellow Small Block Super veterans Anthony Losurdo, Dalton Doyle, Greg O’Connor and Barry Kingsley in the 350 Super class this year.
Oswego Speedway’s 69th season of racing is scheduled to begin on Saturday, May 25 with Jim Shampine Memorial Twin 50 features for the Novelis Supermodifieds plus full programs for the Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supers and the 350 Supermodifieds.
An Open Practice session for all 2019 divisions will commence one week earlier on Saturday, May 18.
Those wishing to renew Classic or season ticket packages for the year have until Saturday, May 1 to contact Paul Conzone at [email protected]
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