Even though preparations have already began for the 2020 campaign, there was still some left over business from last year as the Living Lighting OSCAAR Pro Sprint drivers and crews together to celebrate everybody’s accomplishments.
Since their inaugural campaign seven years ago, the OSCAAR Pro Sprints 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 20 different competitors running at least one event over the course of the year.
“I’m very lucky that you’ve believed in the vision that I’ve had for OSCAAR,” series president Dave Gainforth said at the banquet. “You spent your hard earned money to build these cars, to come to the race track each week, and support the vision that I have for racing here in Ontario. That’s something that I take great pride in doing this for you each and every week, being there to give you a chance to race in the division that you love each week.”
With 17 heat wins and 11 feature victories, it was Daniel Hawn leading the way for his fellow drivers over the year en route to being crowned the series champion for the second year in a row.
“Last year was a good year for us,” Hawn reflected. “The biggest compliment that I can get is getting called a cheater, and I got called that quite a bit. You never think it’s the driver and hard work that wins a championship. I’d like to thank all of my sponsors, and I’d like to thank my brother for putting up with me and all the bullshit I put up with, and thank James Stanley for all the battles and running over my car on the restarts – that was pretty fun. Next year, there will be a new champion as it’s sad to see this one. I’m going to miss it. I have a lot of good friends here and stuff, so thanks.”
On top of the championship, Hawn’s quick ability to drive through the field was rewarded, with 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.”
Hawn capped off his achievements for the season by being awarded the Don Hawn Most Sportsmanlike Driver of the Year by his fellow competitors.
Hawn wasn’t the only driver to visit victory lane, as James Stanley took away his shot at a perfect season.
“I just want to thank OSCAAR and all my guys back there – Brad, Tanner, Norm, Dan, Sam – especially Sam,” Stanley commented. “He’s been in the garage a lot with me; I bug him a lot. Thanks Kevin and Living Lighting, Queenston, Scott Reinhart – everybody in the Pro Sprints for sticking it out with me this year. It was a heavy year, with a lot of ups and downs. Busy off-season, lots of work, but Dave has it under control now. It’ll be a good 2020.”
Stanley received his own honors at the banquet, as he awarded the Best Appearing Car of 2019.
Beyond the success of the top-two in the standings, there were a lot of awards to hand-out at the banquet for everyone.
As the highest finishing rookie in the Hinkley Lighting Rookie of the Year standings, Brad Holmes took home the Rookie of the Year Award. Holmes showed speed on a weekly basis, ranking seventh in the year-end standings.
“I figured I’d start off with a quote that we could all relate to – racing is for people who love to work, but hate money,” Holmes started off his speech. “The whole OSCAAR banner is a challenge because this is where the best racers seem to be reside. To say it was easy would be a lie, but probably the most difficult part was staying focused on the task at hand. We knew exactly where we needed to be each night, but once you climb in the seat, that goes all out the window. Right up there with that would be having my little brother as a crew chief. It is tough to having to listen to feedback and suggestions, from the kid who I just convinced was adopted a few months ago.
“In all seriousness, I just want to say a big thank you to all the people who made this possible – James and Shawn Stanley, Tanner Holmes, Hawn Motorsports, Hawn Motorsports Chassis Works which Daniel and Tyler Hawn, Ryan D., Alyssa Murphy, and my wonderful fiancé Kate Henry, as well as everyone at OSCAAR for making it another incredible year.”
The young talent shined through, as showcased by Tyler Cullen by being a front runner each week. However, after seeing a year filled with motor issues and accidents, he was awarded the Hard Luck Award by his fellow peers.
“What a year it has been – ups and downs, engine issues, and just hard luck I guess,” Cullen commented. “Just want to thank everybody that has helped on this car – Daniel, Hawn Motorsports and everybody there, and all of my sponsors. What a year it has been. Can’t wait for 2020; hopefully it’ll be a better year. Cheers to 2020, I guess.”
On top of that, Gary Elliott would present the young man with the IronMan Award.
“So the Iron Man Award is presented to someone who wants to race, doesn’t want to have a flat tire, doesn’t want to break something in the front end, park his car, and tell his crew that we’ll just come back next year,” Elliott explained. “No no, he wants to fix it and he starts working on his car, and his crew goes over and they just thrash because they want to get back on the track. Some guys will do it during a feature race, and work on it under a yellow flag, and get back out again because even though you went from fourth to 20th, you just went to get back out and race again.
“So the Iron Man Award that does that – not necessarily the hardest racers or the best racers, but the team that has a big night through the year that they came back and did everything to get back on the track. It could’ve been a blown engine, and they changed the engine between warm-ups and the event – that’s really dedication. That’s what the award is for.”
Another driver that was impressed was Kevin Taylor, and that was showcased by him being given the Most Improved Driver Award.
“This is awesome, totally unexpected for what we expected from ourselves this year,” Taylor commented. “I just have a few people to thank. I’d like to thank my dad Reg; last year I got up here, I rambled and forgot to thank my dad, so I’ve waited a year to correct myself. We still have a lot to learn, but I’ve come a long way. I’ve really enjoyed my nights at the track, good or bad, and the conversations afterwards about what we did right or wrong. I’d also like to thank Greg Hayward; I know you’re a busy guy so I appreciate the time that you take at the track to help me.
“I’d like to thank my wife Cindy; I appreciate your help. Two things, as much as I love you, please stop asking me to drive my car – the answer will always be no. And two, stop telling me I need to be faster than Daniel – I know. i say thank you to Dave Gainforth and Ashley McCubbin; you both do an awesome job. And lastly, Ryan Battilana; teaming up with him was the best thing that I did. His help at the track had a huge impact on the gains that we made this year. There were nights that the work wasn’t complete on his car because we were simply working out the issues on my car. So I thank you Ryan; I owe you better. I thank the rest of the Pro Sprints. We’ll be back in 2020.”
Ryan Battilana was able to have his own success, ranking fourth in the year-end standings.
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