In a season that saw 10 feature victories and 11 heat wins, Daniel Hawn was crowned the 2018 OSCAAR Pro Sprint Champion. After completing the 2017 campaign by winning the last five features, the Golden Boy entered this year as the favorite for the title.
“Looking back on how we ended the 2017 season, we had high expectations coming into this year,” he said post-season. “And to be honest, following my expectations up (which are very high), was incredible. We knew we had the car and equipment to beat, so making sure I didn’t make any mistakes was key. A little lady luck also helped as well. I never thought that racing would come so natural to me until I really think about it. I spent every weekend at the race track since I was young, my dad was a multi-time champion and my brother is a hell of a wheel man as while as a multi-time champ. I guess you could say it’s in my blood; I’ll have to say thanks to the Pops for that!”
He showed the familiar speed right away, winning both qualifying heats before taking the lead on the drop of the green flag in the feature to pace all 25 laps en route to the win.
With the Hawn Motorsports team based in Barrie, the victory meant a lot for the sophomore being the series’ first trip to the Innisfil, Ontario oval.
“It’s been on the calendar since last year,” he said in victory lane. “I only got to run a TQ once here and I fell in love with it, so to come here, I was eager to get here and practice. The rain-outs and that – all that crap sucked, but we got here and now look at where we are.”
Returning back to the 1/3-mile on Canada Day weekend, he’d sweep the night once again, but not without drama. After starting deep in the field, he made his way up to second to challenge Jaden Riddell for the lead on Lap 11; unfortunately, the pair made contact sending them both around. Restarting from the back, he made his way through the field, taking the lead on a late-race restart with two laps to go to score the victory.
A change in scenery would not switch the sight in victory lane, as Hawn’s speed carried forward through the summer. Another sweep of the heats at Flamboro Speedway, followed by taking the lead on Lap 3 allowed him to out-run teenagers Jaden Riddell and Tyler Cullen for the win. He then took the top spot on a mid-race restart from Brody Rickwood, pacing the rest of the way to score the victory at Peterborough Speedway.
You could say he surfed to success in August, sweeping the qualifiers before winning the feature at Sauble Speedway. He’d score his ninth heat win of 2018, followed by a victory in the 25-lap event at Grand Bend Speedway. Returning to the tight confines the next day, though, would produce his first finish off the top step of the podium of the season. He won both his qualifying heats, though faded back to fourth in the feature after leading early.
The final three events on the schedule would see a shift for the Pro Sprints, with the heats being taken off the card in trade of running double features each week. Sunset Speedway worked in his favor, as he held off Ryan Battilana in a late-race battle to win the first feature, before cruising away from the field after taking the top spot on Lap 3 in the second event.
Returning to Flamboro Speedway, he took the victory in the first feature after taking the top spot on Lap 6. As a result, he would have to start tail of the field for the second event. He was able to make his way to the front by Lap 2, but ultimately crossed the finish line in the runner-up spot after being passed by Jaden Riddell six laps later.
The season finale at Peterborough Speedway began with Hawn scoring a runner-up finish to Riddell once again. However in the second event, it’d be role reversal as the No. 2 Pro Sprint led flag-to-flag en route to the victory, and his second straight Autumn Colours Classic victory.