Keeping with the one word to describe a season theme from last week, the one word for Mike Hearty is dedication.
Each week, Hearty and his team would make the trip to tracks all across the province from Sault St. Marie, with trips ranging anywhere from six to nine hours at a time to any of the tracks. With over 10,000 miles to his credit in travel alone, a lot of people simply applauded Hearty right there for his rookie campaign.
However looking back on his season, he should also be applauded the success that he was able to have along the way.
Hearty would kick off the season with a strong run in the season opener at Sunset Speedway, battling hard throughout the 30-lap event en route to finishing eighth. Unfortunately, the second trip back to Sunset in June wasn’t as successful with a 14th place finish.
Hearty wouldn’t let that finish get his team down, though, as he would rattle off a string of five straight top-10s in the races that followed. He would finish ninth at Full Throttle Motor Speedway, following that up with an eighth place finish at Delaware Speedway. The finishes would continue to improve with a sixth at Sauble Speedway, followed by a seventh at Peterborough Speedway. He would complete the string in the series’ return trip to Sunset, finishing 10th. Though more importantly, that weekend marked the sight of the first heat win.
The next couple of weeks would see the performance fall off a bit, as Hearty and company ran into some troubles on track. He would post a pair of back-to-back 11th place finishes at Flamboro Speedway and Full Throttle, followed by a 12th place finish at Delaware Speedway.
The series would then head to Sunset Speedway for heir final trip of the season to the Innisfil, Ontario based oval. Using his previous experience in super stock competition to his advantage and putting together knowledge from the three previous events, Hearty would his best performance of the season. He would race the No. 20 Millie’s Mini Mart, Let the Fur Fly Pet Salon, Steel City Motorsports and Finding Them Homes James Bay Pawsitive Rescue Modified in the top-five throughout the event, en route to a fourth place finish.
Hearty would then complete the season off with a solid eighth place finish at the Autumn Colours Classic.
With a solid rookie season under his belt, it’ll be interesting to watch Hearty in the seasons to come as he starts battling for more top-fives on a weekly basis.
By Ashley McCubbin for OSCAAR