Even though preparations have already began for the 2020 campaign, there was still some left over business from last year as the Knightworks Design OSCAAR Hot Rod drivers and crews together to celebrate everybody’s accomplishments.
Since their inaugural campaign, the OSCAAR Hot Rods have seen steady growth on a yearly basis, becoming a staple on Ontario’s racing scene.
The 2019 campaign saw numbers hit some new record-highs, with 36 different competitors running at least one event over the course of the year. The car counts on a weekly basis increased, too.
“I had a glance back at what the series, and what the series has become now,” series president Dave Gainforth reflected at the banquet. “I hope the four founding members are proud to see where the series has gone. It started off as a simple super late model class that raced every week at Mosport Raceway, which turned into a touring division for the supers, which turned into having the modifieds join us, which turned into having the (pro) sprint cars join us, which turned into having the hot rods join us.
“So in 30 years, we’ve evolved from having one division to having three thriving divisions. We had 89 drivers last year participate in an OSCAAR event, so again that’s something to be very proud of. I hope you’re very proud of that, as well.”
With nine heat wins and four feature victories, it was Tyler Hawn leading the way for his fellow drivers over the year en route to being crowned the series champion for the third consecutive season.
“Like I’ve said in years past, we were done racing,” Hawn commented. “With the super late running, it was too much time and too much money. Then when the hot rod series took off, it lit a light in my dad’s eye so I said let’s try this with backing of Steve Fox at Fox’s Bakery, and dad worked on that car; all those body panels are still dad. When we painted this car and sat back after it was painted, we had a little tear; we could feel dad there.
“I would like to thank everybody – my brother, for yelling all the time, and Ryan and Alyssa for all you do behind the scenes, at the track. if I need something at the shop, you’re always there – even 3 o’ clock in the morning, bored out of morning, I call Ryan. Thanks Shawna for helping out when she can. Big thanks to all the sponsors, and Bookie and everybody.
“We always have lots of fun. There’s nothing more that I hate than wrecking a car; battling for 50 laps with one tire mark, that’s racing – you know. Thanks everybody, thanks OSCAAR, thanks Dave – I know you work hard. Bring on 2020. I have some things up my sleeve.”
On top of the championship, Hawn also took home Best Appearing Award honors at the banquet.
Hawn wasn’t the only driver to visit victory lane, with seven different drivers scoring feature wins 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 in the Ohsweken Speedway Rookie of the Year standings, Bob Parsons took home the Rookie of the Year Award. Parsons showed speed on a weekly basis, ranking fourth in the year-end standings.
“It’s been a great season with the OSCAAR Hot Rods; it’s like racing with a big family,” Parsons reflected. “Something different for me than racing at one track, traveling around, and having a great time meeting great people everywhere we go. it’s been a great season, and a bunch of great racing everywhere. Thanks Dave for putting it on, and racing on the dirt was a hoot.”
Along with Parsons and Hawn, you could always expect to see Book at the front of the field as he was a constant front runner. His efforts were awarded, earning him the inaugural John Harper Hard Charger Award.
“It’s a new award that we started this year, and it’s a new award that we named in our friend John Harper’s memory this year,” Gainforth said. “If you ever watched John race, he was a hard charger from the green flag to the drop of the checkered flag, doesn’t matter what it was for – he wanted to get to the front. So I thought it was fitting to name this award after him in his memory, because it’s based on passing cars. You earn points for passing cars every week and that’s what the most important thing.”
As a gentleman in the series, and loaning his back-up car to another team for the second half, Book was also awarded the Don Hawn Sportsman of the Year Award. He then was presented the Iron Man Award from Gary Elliott, for showing perfect attendance despite “facing adversity throughout the year.”
“Getting the Iron Man Award – that was just my own stupidity in practice stuffing in there at Peterborough, and we went to work on it,” Book reflected. “The Robertsons were there, the Adams and Hawns are always there, and my crew never stopped. I sometimes have to kick Jimmy out of the way – I think he’d drive the car if I let him. They’re all awesome there and of course the whole family was coming up – my mom and dad were bringing the car. I stuffed this thing in the wall in practice and we looked like we were done, set to put it on the trailer, and with a lot of help we actually got it back together and the car worked pretty good.”
On top of being the awards, Book placed second in the year-end standings.
“First I would like to thank OSCAAR for putting on a great division for us,” Book reflected. “All three divisions are awesome, but no offense, the hot rods are the coolest cars out there.
“We had the Camaro last year and we needed to upgrade because we were getting our ass handed to us, and we got that other chassis. My dad’s first car was a Studebaker and he had this one sitting in the garden and he was going to build a tribute car, something to sit around and look at he said, so he talked me into putting that body on there. So with him and my uncle George, we got that body on there; everybody seemed to like it as it was unique for the class.
“Dave bringing this class out there, it’s brought me back to friends that we had in 20 years ago in the Robertson’s when we raced out there at Cayuga, and it’s been a lot of fun there. A lot of guys helping out.
“The other thing I wanted to do – we’ve got a lot of great guys in the division and the guy we’re striving to beat is Tyler Hawn, whose won the champions three years in a row which is pretty incredible; there’s a lot of talent up here. The guy is so smooth out there, fun to watch, fun to race with, and 40 laps at Peterborough – did not touch me, waiting for a mistake which I knew I made a few up there, but he was just not quite close enough to stick the nose in there. I want to congratulate Tyler on another championship, as well.”
On the flip side, Rodney Rutherford did not have the season that he wanted, destroying the Biscane at Jukasa Motor Speedway. As a result, he was given the Hard Luck Award.
On the flip side, Nick Clarke heavily improved over his results from last season en route to placing third in the standings, earning the Most Improved Driver honors.
With a solid season in the books, OSCAAR is now putting full focus forward on the upcoming 2020 campaign, which should be filled with great racing, lots of competition and racing across the entire province of Ontario, based on early indications.
Be sure to stay tuned to the OSCAAR website for details leading into the season.
Be sure to keep up with OSCAAR by staying tuned to the series website at http://www.oscaar.ca. Also, make sure to “like” the official OSCAAR Racing Facebook page, while following both the Twitter and Instagram accounts (@OSCAARRacing) to keep up to date on everything you need to know.
OSCAAR’s 2020 racing season was supported by several dedicated partners including Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC, Knightworks Design, Living Lighting Canada, Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., American Racer, and Grisdale Race Products.
By: Ashley McCubbin