Nick Clarke Ready to Get Back to Hot Rod Victory Lane

Nick Clarke

After a tough 2018 Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rod season, Nick Clarke is hoping that this year goes much better for him and his team.

“Entering the 2019 season, I’m excited to see the new faces in the series and am expecting some tough competition,” he said.

He will be running a 1969 Ford Mustang Coupe for the 2019 campaign.

“My Crew Member Mitchell found it in a scrap yard while looking for other parts, and the price was right so we jumped on it,” he said.

Clarke is entering the year focused on improving from last year, which he feels “shouldn’t be hard to do with the bad luck we had.” Despite the rough seas at times, he was able to score eight top-10 finishes, including a season-best fifth at Brighton Speedway.

While hoping to be stronger this year, he notes the crew is exactly where they need to be, but perhaps he could give better feedback and “settle into the car a little more.”

Although the 2019 schedule will take Clarke across the province, he notes he is most excited about the new addition with Peterborough Speedway joining the fold.

“That’s a track that I have so much fun driving at,” he commented.

The excitement about the new addition is just the beginning for Clarke entering 2019, though.

“The Hot Rod series for 2019 looks as if it is working its way to be a top series in Ontario with the amount of interest it has sparked,” he commented.

When asked which five drivers he’s keeping an eye on, he was quick to list Tyler Hawn, Steve Book, Jeremy McLean, and Tim Tolton. He also noted Jordan Latimer, as JL Motorsports has toyed with the idea of entering the series in the coming years.

For Clarke, his interest in racing came as a result of growing up at his second home, Full Throttle Motor Speedway. The speedway also played host his most memorable moment in racing, which was winning his first career championship in 2016.

By: Ashley McCubbin

Gary Elliott Focused on Queenston OSCAAR Modified Championship

Gary Elliott

After placing in the top-five in the standings each of the past five years in Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified competition, Gary Elliott is focused on one goal this season – the championship.

Through the winter, his team has been putting in the work necessary to make a run at the title, making several changes and updates to the No. 36 Quaker State Modified.

“Most of my budget this year went into the modified, and it was all suspension,” he revealed. “We changed every front end part that you could change; I replaced them all. The year before that, I powder coated the chassis and put a new fuel cell in it, but then money was tight. This year, I had a little bit more so I decided to invest it in the suspension, and lowered the car down, changed the springs, new shocks – all the things that make the car turn better.

“Then I decided on top of that, I decided to add the new engine, the 604 (crate). I’ll have to add extra weight due to the penalty, but I think the 604 – even though the 602 can do it – for me, I’ve been racing 604 all my life almost since Late Model. So my goal is to win the championship – not top-three, not top-five, but first.”

After coming up short last season placing fourth in the year-end standings, Elliott feels sticking to their game plan will be the key to breaking through for his first OSCAAR Championship.

“It’s up to me to not foolish on the track and it’s up to my crew to be extremely focused on the changes that we do,” he explained. “So if we want to run three inches of stagger on the back, we can’t go out with two and a half. So whatever we have to do, my crew has to be focused.

“The thing is with racing is it is usually consistent, as things don’t change a whole lot with things in the same order to do – tires to set, fuel in the car. But also, you can’t lose focus, and that goes to me as well. So if I’m focused to win the championship, my crew has to be focused the same way because it’s not just going to be me, but a team that will win a championship. It’ll start with the rebuild before the season, to us focused through all the races we have this season to make it work.”

Elliott has proven that he can get the job done across the schedule, as he has visited feature victory lane in OSCAAR competition on two different occasions, with 23 top-five finishes over the past five years. A couple of the tracks that he has circled are Flamboro Speedway (home track), Sunset Speedway (multi-grooves), and Peterborough Speedway.

“Peterborough offers a challenge,” he commented. “It’s a track that you’re either good or not. It’s a track that doesn’t allow for any issue with handling. If your car isn’t handling, you’re done. So I’m looking forward to those tracks.

“But the one I’m really looking forward to Jukasa is because I went there last year with a car that was struggling so bad with oil leaks, that I didn’t even get a chance to set my car up, and now with the new chassis and everything, I’m looking forward to being competitive on the big track.”

Despite having all the confidence in his program, he also knows the height of the challenge that lies before him with the level of competition the OSCAAR Modifieds currently have. Elliott was quick to note based on what we’ve seen the past couple of seasons, it is currently one of the most exciting series in the province.

“We attract a lot of champions,” he commented. “We attract a lot of guys that have been successful in other events and classes. When I race in that series, I know I’m racing against a whole lot of really good drivers. They’re all getting better, and we’re attracting more. I could name 10 to 14 drivers in that series that if they had good luck and things went well with them, they could win a feature any night.

“I think OSCAAR Modifieds are probably next to APC. I think it’s the best series in Ontario. I think it has the most talented drivers, and the most number of drivers. 75% of that field is really good drivers, and if everybody is on the same page and everybody is running by the rules, you should see really competitive racing – and I love that.”

Elliott is also quick to note that he doesn’t have to win to enjoy a race, but rather he is in the sport due to loving the aspect of racing and competition. With OSCAAR boasting such a large roster of drivers, picking just five drivers to keep an eye on can be a challenge. While naming Kelly Balson and Stu Robinson Jr. initially on the list, he was also quick to add the likes of Cory Horner, John Harper, Luke Gignac, Dale Reinhart, and A.J. Emms.

“Those are the ones if they’re running 100%, those are the ones that are going to be in the hunt for a championship,” he commented. “And I’ll tell you the truth. When I start out any series at the beginning of the year, unless I’ve had a really bad season financially and haven’t been able to work on my car, I’m just going out there to have fun. But if I’ve done the work that I’ve done this year on my car, I know that we have a chance to win the championship. So that’s what my plan is, and those are the five guys that if they ran every week they’d be the ones that’d be there to give me a hard time. “

Though while the competition has always been nice, Elliott’s love of open-wheel racing in general, as well as the Modified appearance is what attracted him to the division.

“I’ve always loved the Troyer Modifieds. I’ve always loved the look of the car,” he commented. “That’s always been important to me as my vintage modified was even a good looking car. When it comes to late models, they all look the same – Pro Late Model, Limited Late Model, even Thunder Cars are starting to look like Late Models. There was no big comfort to get in a car that all looked the same.”

Staying behind the wheel, while continuing to stay involved in the community actively with supporting sponsor events, has certainly helped Elliott stay feeling youthful despite being one of the oldest competitors. Notably, this year will mark his 51st season behind the wheel of a racecar.

“I’m at the age already that most people would’ve been retired,” he commented. “I’m 66-years-old when I buy a modified, and now I’m going to compete against guys 20, 30, 40 years younger than me. But I don’t care, because I haven’t lost anything as far as my driving ability. I still have good health and the heart of a 40-year-old so it doesn’t matter. David, my son, is a multi-time Pro Late Model Champion and can’t believe how hard I drive in the Modified. He says I’m really impressed in how I drive in the Modified, but that’s where I feel at home. I’ve ran open-wheel cars and I’ve ran full-bodied cars, but I’m at home in the Modified.”

By: Ashley McCubbin

TXM Motorsports to Sponsor Pair of OSCAAR Pro Sprint Sunset Speedway Events

TXM Motorsports

OSCAAR is proud to announce that TXM Motorsports will be sponsoring the Living Lighting OSCAAR Pro Sprints events at Sunset Speedway on May 19 and June 29.

Located at 1937 Hwy 124 in Dunchurch, Ontario, TXM Motorsports is known for their high-performance engines and competition parts for all forms of recreational vehicles and racing series. In their 7000 square foot building, they rebuild and build engines for snowmobiles, ATV & motocross, snowcross, outboard boats, karting, motorcycles, drag racing, and stock car racing. Recently, they were able to branch into doing hot rod & muscle car, and Harley Davidson bike builds.

In 2019, TXM Motorsports focus has changed towards building customers a “turn-key” performance/race or recreational ride and vehicles, as they are stop shop with welding fabrication, recreational parts & services, machine shop, as well as indoor and outdoor storage.

TXM Motorsports is open weekdays 9 am to 6 pm, and can be reached at 705-440-0500 or by e-mail at tedgreenwood1961@gmail.com.

Sunset Speedway hosted the Living Lighting OSCAAR Pro Sprints for the first time last year, with each event seeing success as drivers used the multiple grooves to battle side-by-side around the Innisfil, Ontario facility. Last year, Daniel Hawn made the track his hometown playground as he swept the events, but it wasn’t easy as he was challenged by the likes of Jaden Riddell and Ryan Battilana.

The Living Lighting OSCAAR Pro Sprints will be entering their third season of competition, with an array of talent as youthful teenagers size themselves up against veterans. With several drivers returning as others join the division, the 12-race schedule should be exciting right through the beginning of the season in May, to championship night at the Autumn Colours Classic in October.

Be sure to keep up with OSCAAR by staying tuned to the series website at http://www.oscaar.ca. Also, make sure to like the official OSCAAR Racing Facebook page, while following both the Twitter and Instagram accounts (@OSCAARRacing) to keep up to date on everything you need to know.

By: Ashley McCubbin

Daniel Hawn Motivated to Back-Up Championship in 2019

Daniel Hawn OSCAAR Pro Sprint Series

After breaking through with his first career Living Lighting OSCAAR Pro Sprint Championship in 2018, Daniel Hawn is hoping to do the same thing this season.

“We’re pretty happy with the piece that we’ve built for the 2019 season,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of upgrades with our Pro Sprint. I think that some people are going to be pretty impressed with the craftsmanship on this car, and we’re pretty excited. We’re going to be gunning for that 2019 championship, again.”

Hawn was at the Motorama Custom Car and Motorsports Expo in March, displaying the freshly wrapped No. 2 Pro Sprint that he will pilot for the season.

“A lot of people have been saying if you don’t win best appearing car, I don’t know what’s going to win it,” he commented on the feedback. “We did a lot of work. This is not the same car as last year. We’ve done a lot of upgrades, a lot of color changes – Knightworks did the wrap and they hoped on board as one of our primary sponsors, and they’re amazing people and you can see the work they did on our car, our clothing, and everything. When he (Don Edwards) showed it to me on Wednesday, my jaw just dropped.

“I’m excited to get in it on the race track. We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback. I’ve been promoting Pro Sprints as hard as I can and trying to get the word out here, and I really think it can be something special if the cars come to the track.”

Although the car caught the attention of many, it also brought forth many misconceptions from fans – especially considering the speed that they’re able to run.

“Everybody calls them cute and small, but this year we will have transponders on them and they can see what kind of lap times we run,” Hawn commented. “At Sunset, we’re in the 14’s and there is no super stock out there that will hit that, no hot rod at that – not even my brother (Tyler Hawn). To be put in on the pedestal close to Can-Am (T.Q. Midgets) and a pro late for the times, it’s not cute. The cars are extremely fast, and they just react a lot different than the big cars. I’m just really excited to get the transponder on so people can see our lap times.”

Last year, Hawn put together one of the most impressive OSCAAR seasons ever, scoring 10 feature victories en route to the championship.

“After coming nine points my rookie year, it really put a lot of motivation in me,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and say I’m the best driver, but I’m probably the most motivated driver and that’s what really makes our team what it is. We don’t have a lot of help. I have a couple of guys that help me in the shop – Ian and Adam are a big part of the crew, and I just do a lot of the work myself.

“On Sunday when my car comes home from the track, my car is ripped apart and I clean and do maintenance on our car, and that’s why you didn’t see a lot of problems on our No. 2 Hawn Motorsports car. Not that I don’t like losing – I don’t like someone having something better to me where if I get out driven, I’m okay, but I want to have the best chance to compete up front.”

While Hawn has proven that he can win anywhere on the schedule last year, the late addition of Sauble Speedway on August 31 has caught his attention for 2019.

“I’m glad that they added a date for us in August,” he commented. “I’m just hoping that everybody in the Pro Sprints is excited to get back there. We really need to make sure that we show these tracks what we can bring. Eight or nine cars isn’t going to cut it anymore. We need to come together as a group and make sure we have 15 to 20 cars to make the series what it should be.

“These are all purpose-built cars that can’t race anywhere else, so if they don’t start bringing them to the track, there won’t be anywhere to race. So the biggest thing is I don’t care where we go, we just need to make sure we have the cars.”

Hawn feels if we can continually see guys bring their cars out to the track every weekend, the series can grow and have a high level of competition.

“I’m hoping that a lot of guys don’t keep their cars in the trailer all week expecting to win,” he added. “You’re not going to be able to compete with our car, the 15 (Jaden Riddel), the 4 (Ryan Battilana), or the 57 (James Stanley). These guys are putting in the time and money into their cars to try and beat me, and try to be a champion. Leaving your car in the trailer all week won’t get you to the front.”

With that in mind, he advises the drivers looking to join the series to make sure to spend the money rightfully the first time, in knowing what a front running car is worth.

“You need to spend the money where you need to spend it, and just ask a lot of questions,” he advised. “I’m always at the race track. There’s not one person that I haven’t helped in our series, and I’ll continue to help anyone that I need to make it what it is. I don’t hide anything from anybody. If people ask, I give them the answers.

“There’s not one single thing on that’s car that’s cheating. I’ve got that a lot – oh you win a lot of races so you must be cheating. No, we’re motivated.”

By: Ashley McCubbin

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