Continuing to improve with each passing season of OSCAAR Hot Rod competition, the goals just seem to grow bigger for Ryan Cowan, Scott Pro, and the team.
“We want to legitimately get a checkered flag,” Cowan said. “We’ve been running up front each week, have come close to getting it, but we want to get a checkered flag – heat or feature. We also want to run up front regularly. Above that, we want to chase down the championship, of course. So keep that thing out front as much as possible.
“We’ve got new motors in the works because everything we have is either blown up or burnt out. We’re getting those put back together, too. The body is off of it – we’re trying to get the body straightened out and other stuff, maintenance and things.
“If we can stay in the top-five throughout the season, and try and get some wins, I think we’ll be okay.”
His return to the tour marks no surprise, given his love for the series as a whole, as shown through social media content and at-track conversations.
“It’s a combination of the coolest looking cars in short track racing in Ontario combined with a group of racers that like to race hard, but are respectful on and off the track,” he commented. “I’m not a fan of racing jelly beans.”
If there’s a track where the first checkered flag may come, you have to circle Brighton Speedway or Flamboro Speedway.
“I mean, I got a win at Brighton – a race that we should have won, and Flamboro, we just had a lot of fun that second round,” he shared. “I mean, we ended up getting out ahead of Booky and Tyler so I can’t complain there. I mean, yeah, everybody got caught up in all kinds of stuff, but I was on their tail the whole night, anyway. So I’m looking forward to getting back to those two places, for sure.”
Cowan put together an impressive campaign in 2022, turning an eighth-place points finish in 2021 to fifth this past season with five top-10 finishes. The success meant a lot, with Cowan highlighting the team’s ability to complete all the features except one on the calendar.
“We continually advance,” he added. “I think Scott has gotten the chassis figured out, as well as myself, so we know what we need to change to make the thing work and make that car move and we’re just going to continue building on that and trying to get there this year. Show the fans, show the sponsors what we’re capable of.”
As he looks to find his way to the front in 2023, it will be critical to find more “drive off the corner,” which he says they’re spending the off-season “working on every little thing to make sure that’s not the case this year.”
He knows it won’t be easy, with the competition being steep across the board. It’s why when asked the five drivers he has an eye on, the list included Steve Book, Tyler Hawn, Rob Bromley, Nick Clarke, and Connor Ellis. Some of those drivers are among his racing heroes as he enters his fifth year involved in the sport.
“I look up to guys like Booky, and Tyler Hawn,” he shared. “It was really cool to have good conversations with Bill Zardo, Rob Bromley, Paul Senior – I look up to all the guys in the series because they don’t look down on you. They treat you as an equal. They help you get better and I guess the only motorsports idol – not idol, but someone that helped me get into the sport, and still helps me till this day, is Dan Price. He’s been around circle track racing forever, and he’s always just a phone call away. If something goes wrong or I need help with something.”
With his experience, he says the combination of speaking to people in the sport, as well as reading a book titled Street Stock Chassis Technology as given to him by Dan Price would be his advice for the rookies.
“Without that, you may be asking the right questions, but you don’t have the right amount of information yet to make the information you may be getting about the question work on the car,” he explained. “When Matt Spry came into the series, I handed him my copy of the book and said when you’re done, return it. Not everything in the book will apply, but all of the basics still apply. All your staggers, toe, wedge, all those things still apply. When you’re talking to someone, you’ll actually understand what they’re saying. Like when someone says cross or wedge, if you’ve been in it, you think it’s two different things.
“It was a steep curve but we grabbed onto pretty quick, especially when we got this Bonneville going.”