MARKHAM, Ontario (January 14, 2019)- — Even though preparations have already began for the 2019 campaign, there was still some left over business from last year as the OSCAAR drivers and crews gathered together on Saturday, January 12 to celebrate everybody’s accomplishments.
All three OSCAAR divisions – the Modifieds, Hot Rods, and Pro Sprints, have seen growth on a yearly basis, making the series as a must-watch for fans across the province.
The 2018 campaign saw numbers hit some record-highs, with 86 different competitors running at least one event over the course of the year across the three classes. The car counts on a weekly basis increased, too, with a b-main required to set the 24-car Modified field at Sunset Speedway’s year-end special.
“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 the Pro Sprints, the Hot Rods, and the Mods 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 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 for the OSCAAR Modifieds.
“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.”
Tyler Hawn would win his second straight OSCAAR Hot Rod Series Championship after scoring nine heat wins and four feature victories.
“All the guys that we race with are great; everybody always has a smile on their face,” he said. “I have to thank my sponsors. Steve Fox couldn’t make it here tonight. If it wasn’t for him; he foot the bill for this car and he just has as much fun as we do. He will come down through the pits with tears in his eyes after that Archibald race – the race of the year. I have to thank Watson’s Garage, Top Shops Auto Body, 400 Transmission.”
His younger brother Daniel Hawn had a spectacular year with 11 feature victories and 10 heat wins en route to being crowned the OSCAAR Pro Sprint Series Champion.
“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.”
The three series champions weren’t the only competitors to visit victory lane, with there being 12 different drivers scoring a feature win across the three divisions in 2018. As a result, there were a lot of awards to hand-out at the banquet for everyone.
Rookie of the Year honors would go to Jason Keen in the Modifieds, and Jaden Riddell in the Pro Sprints. The award would be shared in the Hot Rods, with Steve Book and Billy Alderson Jr. both being honored.
The Don Hawn Sportsman Award would go to Daniel Hawn (Pro Sprint), Tyler Hawn (Hot Rod), and Gary Elliott (Modified) for the second straight year.
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.” Jason Cornell (Modified), Nick Clarke (Hot Rod), and James Stanley (Pro Sprint) were each honored accordingly.
While there were several great cars across the divisions, the best appearing car awards would be accepted by Tyler Cullen (Pro Sprint) and Brad Martin (Hot Rod), with Jase Cornell and Gary Elliott sharing it for the modified class.
Unfortunately, some drivers didn’t have the years they wanted, but were recognized for their perseverance with the Hard Luck Award. The recipients for 2018 were Norman Newman (Pro Sprint), Douglas Fischer (Hot Rod), and Chris Milwain (Modified).
On the flip side, other competitors showed tremendous improvement over past showings en route to placing in the top-five of their respective series standings. As a result, the Most Improved Driver Awards were presented to Ryan Battilana (Pro Sprint), Steve Book (Hot Rod), and Dale Reinhart (Modified).
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 117 drivers registered across the three classes. The schedule has been released by the sanctioning body, and is available for viewing on the series website.
Be sure to stay tuned to http://www.oscaar.ca for details leading into the season. OSCAAR is also very active on social media, so be sure to like the OSCAAR Racing facebook page, while following the series on Twitter and Instagram via @OSCAARRacing.
By: Ashley McCubbin