Showing speed right from the start of the season opener at Kawartha Speedway, Tyler Hawn was solid right through the entire year en route to being crowned the inaugural Hot Rod Series Champion.
Debuting his 1966 Belmont at Kawartha, Hawn took the series’ first ever checkered flag, winning the first ever heat. He backed it up with a runner-up in the second qualifier. Starting third for the feature, he made his way up to second quickly, before taking the lead at the halfway mark and never looking back en route to winning. The inaugural event for the Hot Rods is something Hawn says is one of the most memorable moments of 2017.
“I would have to say the first time we raced the Hot Rod at Kawartha, and seeing that smile on my dad’s face when that car worked as good as it did,” Hawn said. “That build was his pride and joy.”
He was fast at Flamboro Speedway for the second event of the year, but not quick enough. Despite battling side-by-side with Adam Misener throughout the event, he came up short, crossing the finish line in second.
Giving the teams a new challenge with the first ever appearance for OSCAAR on dirt at Brighton Speedway, you’d think it’d throw a curveball for the season. Instead, it just showcased the strength of Hawn Motorsports that much more. Electing to keep the asphalt tires and drive it like a regular paved oval, Hawn pulled away from the field on the drop of the green after starting pole, and wasn’t caught by the competition from there on out. The victory surprised some, given that it was Hawn’s first ever time racing on dirt.
“Dad always said he wanted to try,” Hawn said. “When we took that trophy to him, he was so happy. That was the last trophy he would ever hold.”
Returning to Kawartha, Hawn showed potential to keep his win streak going. However, after battling back and forth with Dan Archibald through the middle portion of the 20-lap event, he ultimately ended up with a runner-up finish.
The fifth event of the year saw Hawn Motorsports mix things up behind the wheel of the No. 2 Belmont. Rather than Hawn driving, he elected to have one of his sponsors, TSS Top Shops’ owner Darryl Stephenson, take his hand at the controls. For his series debut, Stephenson put together a solid performance, getting more comfortable with each lap, continuing to find speed as he went en route to a third-place finish.
Hawn would be back behind the wheel when the series made their first ever trip to Sunset Speedway for the Velocity 250. Starting mid-pack for the first feature on Saturday night, Hawn made a couple strong mid-race passes to finish third. Then on Sunday, he turned a fifth-place starting spot into a third-place finish, just losing out by a bumper for second to Kenny McNicol.
Stephenson returned to the driver’s seat for the finale at Flamboro Speedway, scoring a sixth-place finish.
On behalf of OSCAAR, congratulations to Tyler Hawn on a great season. We look forward to seeing you back on-track in 2018.