On Sept. 23, Airdrie’s Roy Wigley proved he still had the skills to be a top racer when he captured his second NASCAR Modifieds Series title in as many years.
At 61, Wigley may be the most experienced driver in the series. He certainly appears to be the fastest, consistantly performing well throughout the six-race series last season and finishing 24 points clear of second-place-finisher Kary Stular.
“It is a pretty special feeling for me at my age, jumping into the fastest car in western Canada,” Wigley said. “There were a lot of different (individual race) winners this year, so to finish that far ahead was pretty good.”
Although he finished as the points leader for the season, a first-place race finish eluded Wigley. However, by consistently finishing second or third in each individual race, he earned crucial points.
“Consistency will win you championships,” Wigley said. “You don’t have to win the races, you just have to be consistent.”
Since he began racing in the mid-1990s, Wigley has raced and had success in many racing classes including NASCAR Super Trucks and Baby Grands.
Wigley ventured into NASCAR Modifieds in 2013 when he travelled to New York and saw the modifieds in action. He said he enjoyed the high level of speed and skill involved in racing modifieds so much, he bought some of the cars and brought them back to Alberta with the intention of creating a series north of the border.
“We bought five cars, brought them back, rebuilt them and are now trying to make the series grow,” Wigley said. “Right now we have nine cars in Western Canada and we’re hoping for about 12 next year.”
Wigley added each season he and his crew are building new cars to be brought into the series in hopes of expanding it into other provinces.
As of the end of the 2017 season, the entire series is raced out of the Edmonton International Raceway in Wetaskwin, Alta.
Wigley said the plan is to keep the NASCAR Modifieds series based in northern Alberta for the next couple of seasons to help expand the roster of racers and cars before making the move to other tracks.
He added with the right guidance he expects the series to continue to grow.
“It’s bad timing for any racing series because of the economy. All the series have gone down in car count,” Wigley said. “If the Alberta economy starts growing I think (the series) would grow quick.
“There are a lot of good racers out there with cars sitting in the garage.”
With Wigley well established behind the wheel, racing has become a family affair. His wife of 35 years, Marianne, travels with him to all his races and his daughter Christine works as a spotter on his crew.
Wigley joked he told Marianne it’s up to her if he continues racing after the age of 65.
“So I’ve got four more years ‘til she makes the decision,” Wigley said. “At 70 I would jump in there if my health is good. (Age is) not that big of a deal to me.”
The Airdronian is already focused on the 2018 racing season, looking to defend his title and continue his dominance on the track with a brand-new car he and his team are currently building.
“We’re looking to go and give it a whirl,” Wigley said. “Next year the boys better watch out, it’s going to be a fast car.”