While everybody has began to shift their focus towards the season ahead, there was still some left over business from last year as the OSCAAR Pro Sprint drivers and crews gathered together on Saturday, January 12 to celebrate everybody’s accomplishments.
Since their inaugural campaign two years ago, the OSCAAR Pro Sprints have seen steady growth on a yearly basis, becoming known for their great side-by-side competition.
The 2018 campaign saw numbers hit some new record-highs, with 24 different competitors running at least one event over the course of the year.
“Entering the year, there were a lot of doubters about the future of OSCAAR,” series president Dave Gainforth said. “However, I was 120% confident that the series would continue to thrive like it has been. So I just want to thank all of the drivers, teams, and sponsors in for once again showing as a group we’re very strong and dedicated, and we can rise above anything and any adversity put in front of us as a group. There was a lot of negativity said about us. We proved them all wrong, and I couldn’t have done that without everyone here, so thank you very much.”
With 10 heat wins and 11 feature victories, Daniel Hawn led the way for his fellow drivers over the year en route to being crowned the series champion. The title was a great follow-up to last year that saw him finish second in the year-end standings, including nine feature runner-ups to Jordan Hanna.
“I work so hard on my car,” Hawn said. “You think if you’re fast, you just leave it; that’s not my motto. There’s always speed left in the car. I think you can tell by the trophies and checkered flags that we worked extremely hard to get our car where it was. We worked every week on this car. Tyler probably got sick of me about it. Oh my Hot Rod this, Hot Rod that, but we worked hard on this car and it showed.
“I want to thank everyone. Dave – it’ll be okay, I promise; I’ll be here next year. We’re going to defend the 2018 championship no doubt. We have a TQ sitting at home; that’s going to be happening, but this is our main priority. I want to thank Iain for being at every race, spotting for me, being my crew man, being my calm down man – just everything.
“The real champion in this room is my brother. I love watching that Hot Rod chase Dan Archibald down at Sunset; that was the greatest race I’ve ever seen. I want to thank my girlfriend for letting me spend the time in the shop. It’s a little car, but if you guys get a stop watch on us, we’re faster than the late models. We run 14.5’s at Sunset; we’re fast cars, little cage, big nuts. So thank you.”
Hawn wasn’t the only driver to visit victory lane, with five different drivers scoring a heat win throughout the course of the season. As a result, there were a lot of awards to hand-out at the banquet for everyone.
As the highest finishing rookie, Jaden Riddell was honored with the Rookie of the Year Award. Riddell ended the year off ranked second in the standings with three feature victories to his credit.
“I just want to say thank you to all my friends, my sponsors, all the drivers,” he said. “I had a fun year. Thank you to OSCAAR for putting everything together.”
Daniel Hawn was honored with the Don Hawn Sportsman of the Year Award for the second straight year.
James Stanley’s rough season would see him honored with the Iron-Man Award from Gary Elliott, which is presented to “the driver that overcame and faced adversity throughout the year to always be at the track.”
“I just want to thank Hawn Motorsports, Brad Holmes, Dad – everybody that helped me this year,” he said. “It was a really tough year with all the problems we had. Won the Iron-Man Award – that was really cool. Third in points – amazing.”
The Best Appearing Car Award would go to Tyler Cullen, who ultimately placed eighth in the year-end standings after missing a couple races due to an injury.
“I would like to thank Image Factor from Strafford for picking this awesome design for my racecar. Personally, I’m a big fan of it, so thank you,” he said. “Everything from car problem to car problem, after more car problems to a cracked knee cap. Oh well. I just want to thank everybody that’s helped us out this season. Hawn brothers – definitely thank you for building this fast racecar. Also, thanks to all my sponsors. This season was definitely one to remember, and not one to forget.”
Norman Newman certainly didn’t have the year he was looking for, which led to him being given the Hard Luck Award.
“I would like to thank my boys, Family Funland, Ultra Graphics – couldn’t do it without them,” he said. “I’m looking forward to both mods next year. Not sure who is in the second car yet, but we’ll figure that out shortly.”
On the flip side, Ryan Battilana showed improvement throughout the year with him placing fourth in the year-end standings. As a result, he was given the Most Improved Driver Award.
“For a rookie season, I think things went well,” he said. “I stuffed it in the wall, and got her back on the track, and you know what, without the help of James, Daniel, and Shawn for working on the car when I didn’t have any help. Most of all, I have to thank my girlfriend for spotting for me every race.”
With a solid season in the books, OSCAAR is now putting the full focus forward the upcoming 2019 campaign, which should be filled with great racing, lots of competition, and run across the entire province of Ontario based on early indications.
Be sure to stay tuned to OSCAAR’s website for details leading into the season.
By: Ashley McCubbin