OSCAAR Pro Sprint Drivers and Crews Gather to Celebrate 2018 Season

OSCAAR Pro Sprint SeriesWhile everybody has began to shift their focus towards the season ahead, there was still some left over business from last year as the OSCAAR Pro Sprint drivers and crews gathered together on Saturday, January 12 to celebrate everybody’s accomplishments.

Since their inaugural campaign two years ago, the OSCAAR Pro Sprints have seen steady growth on a yearly basis, becoming known for their great side-by-side competition.

The 2018 campaign saw numbers hit some new record-highs, with 24 different competitors running at least one event over the course of the year.

“Entering the year, there were a lot of doubters about the future of OSCAAR,” series president Dave Gainforth said. “However, I was 120% confident that the series would continue to thrive like it has been. So I just want to thank all of the drivers, teams, and sponsors in for once again showing as a group we’re very strong and dedicated, and we can rise above anything and any adversity put in front of us as a group. There was a lot of negativity said about us. We proved them all wrong, and I couldn’t have done that without everyone here, so thank you very much.”

With 10 heat wins and 11 feature victories, Daniel Hawn led the way for his fellow drivers over the year en route to being crowned the series champion. The title was a great follow-up to last year that saw him finish second in the year-end standings, including nine feature runner-ups to Jordan Hanna.

“I work so hard on my car,” Hawn said. “You think if you’re fast, you just leave it; that’s not my motto. There’s always speed left in the car. I think you can tell by the trophies and checkered flags that we worked extremely hard to get our car where it was. We worked every week on this car. Tyler probably got sick of me about it. Oh my Hot Rod this, Hot Rod that, but we worked hard on this car and it showed.

“I want to thank everyone. Dave – it’ll be okay, I promise; I’ll be here next year. We’re going to defend the 2018 championship no doubt. We have a TQ sitting at home; that’s going to be happening, but this is our main priority. I want to thank Iain for being at every race, spotting for me, being my crew man, being my calm down man – just everything.

“The real champion in this room is my brother. I love watching that Hot Rod chase Dan Archibald down at Sunset; that was the greatest race I’ve ever seen. I want to thank my girlfriend for letting me spend the time in the shop. It’s a little car, but if you guys get a stop watch on us, we’re faster than the late models. We run 14.5’s at Sunset; we’re fast cars, little cage, big nuts. So thank you.”

Hawn wasn’t the only driver to visit victory lane, with five different drivers scoring a heat win 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, Jaden Riddell was honored with the Rookie of the Year Award. Riddell ended the year off ranked second in the standings with three feature victories to his credit.

“I just want to say thank you to all my friends, my sponsors, all the drivers,” he said. “I had a fun year. Thank you to OSCAAR for putting everything together.”

Daniel Hawn was honored with the Don Hawn Sportsman of the Year Award for the second straight year.

James Stanley’s rough season would see him honored with the Iron-Man Award from Gary Elliott, which is presented to “the driver that overcame and faced adversity throughout the year to always be at the track.”

“I just want to thank Hawn Motorsports, Brad Holmes, Dad – everybody that helped me this year,” he said. “It was a really tough year with all the problems we had. Won the Iron-Man Award – that was really cool. Third in points – amazing.”

The Best Appearing Car Award would go to Tyler Cullen, who ultimately placed eighth in the year-end standings after missing a couple races due to an injury.

“I would like to thank Image Factor from Strafford for picking this awesome design for my racecar. Personally, I’m a big fan of it, so thank you,” he said. “Everything from car problem to car problem, after more car problems to a cracked knee cap. Oh well. I just want to thank everybody that’s helped us out this season. Hawn brothers – definitely thank you for building this fast racecar. Also, thanks to all my sponsors. This season was definitely one to remember, and not one to forget.”

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

“I would like to thank my boys, Family Funland, Ultra Graphics – couldn’t do it without them,” he said. “I’m looking forward to both mods next year. Not sure who is in the second car yet, but we’ll figure that out shortly.”

On the flip side, Ryan Battilana showed improvement throughout the year with him placing fourth in the year-end standings. As a result, he was given the Most Improved Driver Award.

“For a rookie season, I think things went well,” he said. “I stuffed it in the wall, and got her back on the track, and you know what, without the help of James, Daniel, and Shawn for working on the car when I didn’t have any help. Most of all, I have to thank my girlfriend for spotting for me every race.”

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.

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

By: Ashley McCubbin

1st Mod Cory Horner

2018 OSCAAR Modified Champion – Cory Horner

With a pair of feature and 11 heat wins, Cory Horner had a successful season en route to being crowned the 2018 OSCAAR Modified Champion.

“Winning a championship is something I have wanted to do for a long time, so to finally win one doing it in an OSCAAR Modified is an amazing feeling,” he said. “As a team, we put in a lot of effort and hard work each and every week to try and be the best, so to have that pay off is something I will never forget.”

Right off the drop of the first green flag in 2018, the No. 79h Modified was fast with Horner winning both of his heats at Sunset Speedway, before running in the top-five throughout the feature en route to a fourth. He then backed it up with another top-five when the series headed to Kawartha Speedway a couple weeks later, placing third.

The month of June would see the modifieds make their inaugural trip to Jukasa Motor Speedway, which Horner was able to quickly adapt to for a sixth-place finish. The return back to Sunset, though, was where he began to show his championship caliber material. He once again swept the qualifying heats, before taking the lead on the opening lap of the feature. He then held off fellow series front runners Mike Hearty and John Harper on the ensuing restarts to score the victory.

He was fast once again at Kawartha as well, scoring a heat victory before placing eighth in the feature. He then won another qualifier at Flamboro Speedway, before making his way through the field methodically and avoiding trouble to finish third.

The month of August was probably Horner’s best showing on the OSCAAR tour, beginning with pacing all 40 laps of the feature at Peterborough Speedway for the hat trick. He also proved his ability to fight adversity, rebounding from mid-race incidents in both Sauble Speedway races to finish sixth and fourth, respectively.

The short track playoffs began at Sunset Speedway’s Velocity 250, with Horner once again running up front throughout the feature. While running inside the top-five, he out-battled some of the best to take the last spot on the podium in third. He then ran in the top-three throughout the entire feature at Flamboro Speedway, coming home with a second-place finish.

Even with consistency on a weekly basis, the championship came down to the final event at Autumn Colours Classic with him and fellow competitor John Harper within points of each other. The Classic also didn’t go smoothly for Horner, as he was sent to the back after being involved in a mid-race incident. While the championship was important, Horner said a victory was on the mind as it’s on his career must-win list – even while counting the positions between the pair to make sure he would get the title.

“When I got spun mid-race, I thought I had let it slip away,” he admits. “But in realizing how many laps were left and knowing I still had a fast car, that if I remained calm, there was plenty of laps left to get back to the front. I got a little worried late in the race when I got behind Harper on a restart and seen that he was going to try and take the green on a left rear flat. I came across the radio to my spotter that I was worried that he would spin and take us out. So when he pulled off to change the tire, it was a big relief.

“Once Harper pulled off and I got into second, I felt the championship was secured and wanted to focus more on the win, but in the back of my mind I kept telling myself not to make any mistakes that would send me to the back and risk losing the championship. In the end, we came close to achieving both the win and the championship but were not quite fast enough and settled for second.”

The success this year comes after dedication to the modified season, as Horner has been one of the faces to grace the field every week over the past four years.

On behalf of everyone at OSCAAR, congratulations to Cory Horner and the entire Horner Racing team on a successful championship campaign.

By: Ashley McCubbin

1st Hot Rod Tyler Hawn

2018 OSCAAR Hot Rod Series Champion – Tyler Hawn

With consistency on a weekly basis highlighted by some trips to victory lane, Tyler Hawn put together another spectacular campaign en route to being crowned the 2018 OSCAAR Hot Rod Series Champion. Notably, it marks his first title in a row after taking home the year-end award in the inaugural season.

Right from the drop of the first green flag at Sunset Speedway, he was fast as he swept his qualifying heats, before taking the lead on a late-race restart en route to the victory.

Returning back to the Innisfil, Ontario oval a couple weeks later, he won one of the heat races setting him up to start sixth for the feature. He would methodically work his way forward, tracking down Dan Archibald in the final stages to edge him out for the victory.

“Honestly, I’ve never driven the car this hard,” Hawn said. “No offense to Dan, but my whole goal this weekend was to beat him. We talked each other up in the pits, and we have a good time. He ran me hard. A little bit of tire mark here and there, but that’s part of racing.”

Hawn admitted in victory lane that he was a little worried in making the move on Archibald to the outside, but “the car seemed to work really good on the outside and inside.”

“I’m still learning to trust this car, so I thought, ‘What do I have to lose? I can’t get him on the inside so I might as well try and get on the throttle sooner on the outside,’” Hawn added. “It’s just a crate motor so it was over-reving a little bit, but it is what it is.”

The month of June would take the Hot Rods on the road, with the first stop being at Kawartha Speedway. Unfortunately, a mid-race incident relegated Hawn back to a seventh-place finish. Hawn was able to quickly rebound, taking the lead just past the halfway mark at Jukasa Motor Speedway to make history in scoring the series’ inaugural win there.

A third visit to Sunset Speedway saw the rivalry continue between Archibald and Hawn, with Hawn placing second following a late-race battle for the spot with fellow title contender Billy Alderson Jr. He would then back it up with a seventh-place finish when the series made their second stop at Kawartha.

The first trip to the beach of the year fared out well for the No. 2 Fox’s Bakery and Deli / 400 Transmission / TSS Top Shops / Watson Garage Baumont, as Hawn was able to pick up a runner-up. He then followed it up with a seventh in the series’ lone dirt event of the year at Brighton Speedway. Unfortunately, luck wouldn’t turn around at Sunset, with a mid-race spin resulting in another seventh.

Hawn was able to cap off his season off on top, winning Frostoberfest at Flamboro Speedway to be crowned the 2018 OSCAAR Hot Rod Series Champion.

By: Ashley McCubbin

1st Pro Sprint Daniel Hawn

2018 OSCAAR Pro Sprint Champion – Daniel Hawn

In a season that saw 10 feature victories and 11 heat wins, Daniel Hawn was crowned the 2018 OSCAAR Pro Sprint Champion. After completing the 2017 campaign by winning the last five features, the Golden Boy entered this year as the favorite for the title.

“Looking back on how we ended the 2017 season, we had high expectations coming into this year,” he said post-season. “And to be honest, following my expectations up (which are very high), was incredible. We knew we had the car and equipment to beat, so making sure I didn’t make any mistakes was key. A little lady luck also helped as well. I never thought that racing would come so natural to me until I really think about it. I spent every weekend at the race track since I was young, my dad was a multi-time champion and my brother is a hell of a wheel man as while as a multi-time champ. I guess you could say it’s in my blood; I’ll have to say thanks to the Pops for that!”

He showed the familiar speed right away, winning both qualifying heats before taking the lead on the drop of the green flag in the feature to pace all 25 laps en route to the win.

With the Hawn Motorsports team based in Barrie, the victory meant a lot for the sophomore being the series’ first trip to the Innisfil, Ontario oval.

“It’s been on the calendar since last year,” he said in victory lane. “I only got to run a TQ once here and I fell in love with it, so to come here, I was eager to get here and practice. The rain-outs and that – all that crap sucked, but we got here and now look at where we are.”

Returning back to the 1/3-mile on Canada Day weekend, he’d sweep the night once again, but not without drama. After starting deep in the field, he made his way up to second to challenge Jaden Riddell for the lead on Lap 11; unfortunately, the pair made contact sending them both around. Restarting from the back, he made his way through the field, taking the lead on a late-race restart with two laps to go to score the victory.

A change in scenery would not switch the sight in victory lane, as Hawn’s speed carried forward through the summer. Another sweep of the heats at Flamboro Speedway, followed by taking the lead on Lap 3 allowed him to out-run teenagers Jaden Riddell and Tyler Cullen for the win. He then took the top spot on a mid-race restart from Brody Rickwood, pacing the rest of the way to score the victory at Peterborough Speedway.

You could say he surfed to success in August, sweeping the qualifiers before winning the feature at Sauble Speedway. He’d score his ninth heat win of 2018, followed by a victory in the 25-lap event at Grand Bend Speedway. Returning to the tight confines the next day, though, would produce his first finish off the top step of the podium of the season. He won both his qualifying heats, though faded back to fourth in the feature after leading early.

The final three events on the schedule would see a shift for the Pro Sprints, with the heats being taken off the card in trade of running double features each week. Sunset Speedway worked in his favor, as he held off Ryan Battilana in a late-race battle to win the first feature, before cruising away from the field after taking the top spot on Lap 3 in the second event.

Returning to Flamboro Speedway, he took the victory in the first feature after taking the top spot on Lap 6. As a result, he would have to start tail of the field for the second event. He was able to make his way to the front by Lap 2, but ultimately crossed the finish line in the runner-up spot after being passed by Jaden Riddell six laps later.

The season finale at Peterborough Speedway began with Hawn scoring a runner-up finish to Riddell once again. However in the second event, it’d be role reversal as the No. 2 Pro Sprint led flag-to-flag en route to the victory, and his second straight Autumn Colours Classic victory.

By: Ashley McCubbin

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