With a pair of feature and 11 heat wins, Cory Horner had a successful season en route to being crowned the 2018 OSCAAR Modified Champion.
“Winning a championship is something I have wanted to do for a long time, so to finally win one doing it in an OSCAAR Modified is an amazing feeling,” he said. “As a team, we put in a lot of effort and hard work each and every week to try and be the best, so to have that pay off is something I will never forget.”
Right off the drop of the first green flag in 2018, the No. 79h Modified was fast with Horner winning both of his heats at Sunset Speedway, before running in the top-five throughout the feature en route to a fourth. He then backed it up with another top-five when the series headed to Kawartha Speedway a couple weeks later, placing third.
The month of June would see the modifieds make their inaugural trip to Jukasa Motor Speedway, which Horner was able to quickly adapt to for a sixth-place finish. The return back to Sunset, though, was where he began to show his championship caliber material. He once again swept the qualifying heats, before taking the lead on the opening lap of the feature. He then held off fellow series front runners Mike Hearty and John Harper on the ensuing restarts to score the victory.
He was fast once again at Kawartha as well, scoring a heat victory before placing eighth in the feature. He then won another qualifier at Flamboro Speedway, before making his way through the field methodically and avoiding trouble to finish third.
The month of August was probably Horner’s best showing on the OSCAAR tour, beginning with pacing all 40 laps of the feature at Peterborough Speedway for the hat trick. He also proved his ability to fight adversity, rebounding from mid-race incidents in both Sauble Speedway races to finish sixth and fourth, respectively.
The short track playoffs began at Sunset Speedway’s Velocity 250, with Horner once again running up front throughout the feature. While running inside the top-five, he out-battled some of the best to take the last spot on the podium in third. He then ran in the top-three throughout the entire feature at Flamboro Speedway, coming home with a second-place finish.
Even with consistency on a weekly basis, the championship came down to the final event at Autumn Colours Classic with him and fellow competitor John Harper within points of each other. The Classic also didn’t go smoothly for Horner, as he was sent to the back after being involved in a mid-race incident. While the championship was important, Horner said a victory was on the mind as it’s on his career must-win list – even while counting the positions between the pair to make sure he would get the title.
“When I got spun mid-race, I thought I had let it slip away,” he admits. “But in realizing how many laps were left and knowing I still had a fast car, that if I remained calm, there was plenty of laps left to get back to the front. I got a little worried late in the race when I got behind Harper on a restart and seen that he was going to try and take the green on a left rear flat. I came across the radio to my spotter that I was worried that he would spin and take us out. So when he pulled off to change the tire, it was a big relief.
“Once Harper pulled off and I got into second, I felt the championship was secured and wanted to focus more on the win, but in the back of my mind I kept telling myself not to make any mistakes that would send me to the back and risk losing the championship. In the end, we came close to achieving both the win and the championship but were not quite fast enough and settled for second.”
The success this year comes after dedication to the modified season, as Horner has been one of the faces to grace the field every week over the past four years.
On behalf of everyone at OSCAAR, congratulations to Cory Horner and the entire Horner Racing team on a successful championship campaign.