In a year filled with ups and downs, Daniel Hawn was impressive right from the beginning of his rookie OSCAAR Pro Midget campaign.
“2017 was an emotional year for us with the passing of my dad,” Daniel Hawn told Short Track Musings. “It was extremely hard for me and my family and still is. Nevertheless, racing is what we know so that’s what we did. Racing wise, it was an amazing year for me. Coming up nine points short of a championship my first year can pretty much sum that question up for itself.”
Starting off the year at Peterborough Speedway in May, he posted three straight runner-up performances, before running into problems at Flamboro Speedway on July 12. It didn’t hold him back long, though, as he backed it up with another runner-up at Peterborough, before scoring his first career victory in the second event that night. The finishes continued, with two runner-ups and a third in the next three events.
His sixth runner-up of the year, which came at Sauble Speedway in August, is one of the most memorable moments from the year.
“I did what my dad told me to do last time we were there, and that was be patient and smooth when Jordan passes you (cause that’s what always happened),” he said. “So when I went back that next race, I took my Dad’s advice and after Jordan passed me early in the race, I just relaxed. I spent awhile reeling him in, and after I calmed down, I started to catch him. The last three laps of that race was incredible. Lost by a few inches and that went down as the closet race in pro midget history.”
Following Sauble, it seemed everything fell in place as he was able to win the final five features of the season, including the Autumn Colours Classic at Peterborough Speedway.
“I told my brother (Tyler Hawn) and crew that I will win that race (ACC) at the end of the year…… and look what happened,” he said. “Something just clicked the last five to six races. I knew it in my heart that we would win the rest of the year if we could stay out of trouble.”
Hawn said the key to the success was being patient and getting the job done as he knows he is surrounded by “the best equipment and the best crew.”
“For my first year racing I’m pretty happy,” he added. “A championship would have been better, but we are happy with the year.”
With so much success out of the gate, it’s no surprise that the focus for 2018 is winning the championship, and Hawn hasn’t been resting on his loyals either. He said the team has made a few changes to the car, which should pick them up a few more tenths.
Seeing him succeed should not shock anyone, as Hawn has been around racing his entire life, whether watching his father Don Hawn or brother Tyler behind the wheel.
“It has had a lot of ups and down and lack of sleep,” he said. “I love working on the cars and did that up until last year. I never had a drive to get into a car until I seen the look on my Dad’s and brother’s face after I got out of the Pro Midget. I knew then that I had to start. When you’re in a racing family, you grow up learning to do things with your hands. My dad loved racing till the day he passed away. He was the strongest man I have ever meet in my life. Racing is what made him that way. If I can be half the man he was, I will die happy.”
Through the years and the many nights at the track, he says picking a single memory is impossible.
“All the Barrie Speedway years I think were the best,” he said. “Every Saturday up there was awesome. Dad was well known and put on a clinic up there for years. Those are my best memories.”
For his success this year, Daniel Hawn had a series of thanks yous for the support he received.
“I want to thank my dad and brother for being patient with me when I was going crazy always finishing second to that damn red rocket,” he started. “I want to thank Mack DeMan for helping me all year and really believing me. He was there day or night with anything I needed. He was one of the first people I called after every race when we won. Thanks Mack. I can’t forget to give a huge thanks to the girlfriend Brittany for letting me spend all the hours in the shop and all the time away from home! I want to thank Josh Watson for making the best looking Pro Midget. His work speaks for itself. I want to thank TSS for always being part of Hawn Motorsports. You guys are amazing. Last, I want thank Steve fox of Fox’s Bakery and Deli. He does a lot for our team. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart; Dad was also so grateful of you.”