OSCAAR Modified Drivers and Crews Gather to Celebrate 2018 Season

OSCAAR Modified DriversEven though preparations have already began for the 2019 campaign, there was still some left over business from last year as the OSCAAR Modified drivers and crews gathered together on Saturday, January 12 to celebrate everybody’s accomplishments.

Since their inaugural campaign six years ago, the OSCAAR Modifieds have seen steady growth on a yearly basis, becoming a staple in Ontario’s racing scene.

The 2018 campaign saw numbers hit some new record-highs, with 44 different competitors running at least one event over the course of the year. The car counts on a weekly basis increased, too, with a b-main required at Sunset Speedway to set the 24-car field.

“The competition on the track is getting tougher and tougher every race,” series president Dave Gainforth said at the banquet. “I don’t have to tell you as drivers just how it has changed from year-to-year. From the very first green flag of the year to the final feature event at Autumn Colours for the modifeds where the championship changed hands like three times during that final feature event. I’m up in the tower trying to watch the race, trying to do the math, and trying to tell the announcer what is going on, and it was pretty intense actually.

“Again, the promoters really were shocked at what they saw out of us last year, and the fans have pulled behind us. Even a few haters – they even had to admit that they were wrong, and that’s not easy to get someone on Facebook to admit their wrong, but it did happen.”

With 11 heat wins and a pair of feature victories, it was Cory Horner leading the way for his fellow drivers over the year en route to being crowned the series champion.

“I would like to say thank you to Dave and all the OSCAAR staff for making our series possible,” he said in front of the crowd. “It’s a big honor to be apart of this series. I have a lot of fun racing each and every weekend. I’d like to say congratulations to all the fellow competitors and John for not making it easy on me this year. I’d just like to say thank you to all my friends and family, and my girlfriend here for supporting me. I couldn’t do it without them, especially my cousin Daryl. He’s here with me every week helping me get the car ready in the shop and at the track. If it wasn’t for his help, I wouldn’t be here.”

Horner wasn’t the only driver to visit victory lane, with six different drivers scoring feature wins throughout the course of the season. As a result, there were a lot of awards to hand-out at the banquet for everyone.

As the highest finishing rookie, Jason Keen took home the Rookie of the Year Award. He was quick to assure the crowd that despite selling his car at season’s end, he would be back for 2019 with a new ride.

Known as the gentlemen of the series, Gary Elliott was given the Don Hawn Sportsman of the Year Award for the second straight year in a row.

“I want to thank you very much,” he said before the crowd. “It means so much to win this award. I watched Don Hawn race years and years ago. I remember going up the laneway in Toronto and Don Biederman was there, Don Hawn was there, and Don was always a gracious way. It means a lot to me to win this award because I do try.”

The award capped off a solid campaign for Elliott that saw him win a feature at Sauble Speedway en route to placing fourth in the year-end standings.

“What a great series to race,” he said. “I love racing the OSCAAR Modified. The guys are great; they help each other. It’s a great series. Congratulations Cory and your team on a great year. I’ve been watching and racing with you for the past few years, and I knew it wasn’t long until you were up there so congrats man. To all the OSCAAR guys and teams, you guys keep helping each other and the series will grow. I want to thank Quaker State, and Lincoln, and Grindstone. Three of my sponsors are here tonight so they got a chance to see this awesome series.”

Elliott also took time to present his Ironman Award, which is presented to “the driver that overcame and faced adversity throughout the year to always be at the track,” with a perfect attendance as a requirement to be eligible.

“This guy this year almost quit,” he spoke of the winner. “When he wrecked his car the first week, he said he was done. I’ve done that so many times, and then Sunday night, Monday night I’m working on the car. This guy really had a lot of bad luck, but he wasn’t the most bad luck, but he was definitely the Iron-Man, and that’s Jason Cornell. He never gave up, and had a good year.”

Jase Cornell capped off the year placing sixth in the year-end standings with a heat win, and the victor of the Sunset Speedway Velocity 250 Last Chance Qualifier.

“I came into this gig a couple years ago never expecting it to be as hard as it is,” Cornell said. “I’m totally humbled and I’d never be here without the help of my crew, and thank you to everyone. I love you guys, and I love racing out there with you.”

The Best Appearing Car Award ended up being a tie between Gary Elliott and Jase Cornell as voted by their fellow competitors.

“Thanks to my sponsors for providing enough to me so that I can make my car look really good because when I went to races when I was five years old, I was always cheered for the nicest looking car,” Elliott commented. “That car never won, but it was the nicest looking. I know, you’re saying we do the same thing, but no we win. Anyways, thank you very much.”

Chris Milwain certainly didn’t have the year he was looking for, which led to him being given the Hard Luck Award.

On the flip side, Dale Reinhart’s sophomore campaign impressed everybody en route to finishing third in the year-end standings with a feature victory. As a result, he was given the Most Improved Driver Award.

“I just would like to start by thanking everyone who helped us out this year,” Reinhart said. “Ken Core, my dad – honestly nothing better to do than work on a car every night with one of your best friends. It’s an honor to be able to do that. Of course, my mom for giving us the time; maybe not very happy about it but definitely spend a lot of time in the shop together and it’s great to do that. All of my friends that are here, and my uncle that I think he missed one race this year. There were multiple times where he wasn’t supposed to be there and next thing you know, I remember sitting at Sunset and he’s walking in from the parking lot and we’re right ready to go on the track. As we say our driver Dave drove us here tonight; I’d like to thank him for being here tonight. My cousin Brody, and just everyone that has helped us out this year. Thanks.”

With a solid season in the books, OSCAAR is now putting the full focus forward the upcoming 2019 campaign, which should be filled with great racing, lots of competition, and run across the entire province of Ontario based on early indications. As of right now, there are 43 drivers registered for the Modified division.

Be sure to stay tuned to OSCAAR’s website for details leading into the season.

By: Ashley McCubbin

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