Scoring three feature victories over the course of the season, John Harper came up just shy of his first career championship with a runner-up in the 2018 OSCAAR Modified standings.
Starting on pole for the season opener at Sunset Speedway, Harper ran in the top-three throughout the entire event, battling closely with Chris Milwain throughout en route to a third-place finish. The speed of the No. 79 Modified remained a week later at Kawartha Speedway, with Harper out-battling both Kelly Balson and McLean en route to his first victory of the 2018 campaign.
The momentum carried through the month of June, with Harper getting his first heat win of the season at Jukasa Motor Speedway before placing fourth in the feature. He then completed the month with another fourth at Sunset Speedway on Canada Day weekend.
The month of July began at Kawartha Speedway, as Harper set his sights on another victory. He would find his way to the front of the field, but was unable to hold off McLean in the final stages en route to finishing second. The first trip of the year to Flamboro Speedway went his way, though, as he drove away from the field in dominating fashion for his second checkered flag of the season.
The first trip of the year at Peterborough Speedway saw the success continue, as Harper added another heat win to the tally before finishing fourth. Unfortunately, he wasn’t as strong at Sauble Speedway as he picked up a seventh following a mid-race incident.
Returning to the beach a month later, Harper found the groove necessary as he clicked off a heat win before finishing second to Gary Elliott in the feature. The momentum carried into the kick-off of the short track playoffs, with Harper scoring a fourth at Sunset Speedway’s Velocity 250.
Looking to gain some points, the magic of Flamboro Speedway worked in his favor. He won his first qualifying heat, enabling him to start on pole for the 50-lap feature. After jumping out to the early lead, he never looked back despite a couple late-race restarts en route to another dominating victory.
Although he entered the finale with a mathematical shot at the championship, it never materialized as a flat tire mid-race took Harper out of contention for the win and a solid finish. He finished off the season with a 10th at Peterborough Speedway, giving him 12 top-10’s in 12 races and a runner-up finish in points.