Ashton, Start Your Engine!
In conversation with an up-and-coming race car driver.
Maichina Veri, August 24, 2022 // Brantford, OntarioAshton discusses his life as a race car driver. Photo credit Sarah Evans.
Maybe he’s born with it. Maybe it’s the thrill of the sport. Whatever it is, 19-year-old Ashton Dickie is tearing up the track every Friday night at Ohsweken Speedway. BTOWN met with Ashton in his shop on the edge of Brantford and discussed his career as a young race car driver.
With the encouragement and support of his father Chris Dickie, another local race car driver, Ashton began racing when he was 16. Ashton’s shop is an homage to his father’s career with posters and former car doors from Chris’ race cars decorating the shop. The shop, which has the familiar smell of most mechanics – transmission fluid, oil, rubber, gasoline – houses the car Ashton inherited from his father and that he uses to race. Currently, Ashton is running Mini Stock with an Ontario Dirt Competition Committee specs car, but will be moving up divisions next season to Thunder Stock.
“My dad’s always done a good job of involving me and my brother,” says Ashton of his father’s engagement. “He involved us right from a young age. He got us to the track, got us in the shop, started teaching us and I was just hooked right from a young age.” Though Ashton credits his father with igniting his interest in racing and says Chris is his biggest supporter and mentor, Ashton is the one behind the wheel both on the track in the shop. At times, Ashton can spend up to 50 hours a week working on his car with his crew, depending on what needs to be done, for a single Friday night of racing.
Showing off some of the sponsors for Ashton and his team. Photo credit Sarah Evans.
Ashton is a calm and focused driver. Before a race, he approaches the event for what it is: business as usual. He admits to having a “little bit” of pre-race nerves for wanting to do well, but once he’s driving, all he thinks of is racing. “It’s a weird phenomenon – once you’re out there, you forget about it and you just think of the task at hand.” Depending on how he competes, he may crawl out of the car feeling furious or ecstatic as, naturally, there are both good and bad nights of racing. Because he is growing in the sport, Ashton is still looking for his big moment. He measures his success in getting out there and competing. That being said, when asked what his highlights of this past season are, Ashton says, “Just working with the guys in the shop, getting better all together.” He goes on to explain, “We’re kind of waiting on that big moment that we can look back on and realize that it was a stepping stone for the team. We’re growing more and more every week and looking for something big soon.”
A look under the hood of Ashton's #1 car. Photo credit Sarah Evans.
Looking for personal success and fun over leaving a legacy, Ashton works at his own pace and plans to never quit. Even after a “huge wreck” in September 2020, where the nose of his car was crumpled all the way back into the cockpit and he suffered a concussion for a couple of weeks, Ashton went back to racing. This is the nature of racing, however, and Ashton “loves” the sport. He acknowledges that racing can take a toll on the body, which is why drivers are typically mid-teens to folks in their mid-40s and 50s, with some exceptions. “After all, this is a contact sport. Your body doesn’t rebound quite the same after so many years.”
As his white car with the orange number one flies around the track, you’ll notice his vehicle decorated with Shop 31-B, Punt Installations, H2O Racing Supply, Nitroman Media, Malcolm’s Mills Millwrighting, Brantford Apparel and Unite Against Hate! branding. Ashton has a “fantastic” relationship with his sponsors. It’s important to Ashton to support small, local businesses, which is why his sponsors are from the community. Ashton would also like to give a shout out to Brent Cronkwright, Austin Waters, Jody Waters, his father and his grandparents Pam and Ken Dickie.
The work never stops in Ashton's garage. Photo credit Sarah Evans.
With Ohsweken Speedway selling out nearly every week, and the season coming to an end, be sure to get your tickets to see the amazing Ashton take on all of the other formidable race car athletes on Friday night!
For upcoming events at Ohsweken Speedway, CLICK HERE.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maichina Veri is a writer based in Brantford, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Montreal’s Concordia University and has a background in Journalism – Print from Niagara College.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
Born on a frigid winter's night, Sarah Evans knew early on that the only way to warm her soul was through art. During her time studying Film and Video Production at York U, Sarah discovered her love for photography and has been shooting ever since. Other things Sarah has done is worked on film and television sets, painted a terrible mural in high school, opened a floral business and bitten into a paintball (it wasn't a chocolate covered blueberry!).