After a career in racing lasting over 30 years, it appears that the 2020 Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified campaign will mark the last year behind the wheel for Ken Hayward.
“KHR (Ken Hayward Racing) is looking to get an earlier start on this year’s competition,” he commented. “The last two years we have been late getting our car out. The work has started on the (No.) 55 Mod and we are planning to make it to Sunset (Speedway) for the first date on the racing schedule.
“I am very thankful to Terry Coates and Stewart Hayward for their time and dedication towards our racing team. Without their assistance, it wouldn’t be possible for me to pursue the passion I have for the sport. Also a special thanks to the people, supporters and fans that help us get to the track each event.
“A special thanks goes to my partner, Joan for putting up with the late nights, time spent on the car and the weekends away from the trailer park.”
Hayward feels that he has made the right decision now to step away, after several years of putting in the time and finances in order to go racing.
“The time and finances has only become more demanding in order to field a competitive team,” he express. “KHR has a limited source of sponsors and the majority of the funding is absorbed personally. I have never been one to enjoy watching the races from the sideline; have always liked to be out on the track competing. It is going to be a challenge to make that transition.
“Another factor is my age. I will be turning 65 this year and I feel it may be time to step back and let the younger generation carry the torch into a new decade of racing. If you look at racing worldwide whether it be NASCAR, Formula One or local racing the competitors are progressing through the ranks at a much younger age.”
While noting the young and upcoming drivers are fast, he hopes his experience shines through this year and is not lost despite the ever-changing racing landscape.
“I feel technology has really changed over the years to make the cars more competitive,” he commented. “However, I hope we never lose the human element involved. An ill-handling car or a challenging race track can result in some very entertaining racing and provides an opportunity for a driver to showcase their skills. It is also more entertaining for the fans.”
His car also has several laps underneath it, as it was originally built in 1994 for Stu Robinson Jr. for the Super Late Model class. Though has since been transformed by original chassis Brian MacDonald – with some help from Dave Taylor, Mike Westwood and several others – into a solid top-10 competitive car.
“My goal has always been to be a top competitor in any of the various classes I have competed in over the years,” he noted. “Also to be a respected driver and friend in the sport. This sport is one which involves the whole family. I treasure the many friends and contacts I have made over the years participating at the many tracks throughout the province of Ontario. I would be content to land some top five finishes in the 2020 season.”
The 2020 series schedule will allow him to visit different tracks on his last go around, something that he treasures as he says he enjoys racing each week – no matter what track that may be.
“It isn’t necessarily the track that it is the challenge; it is good clean racing with the other competitors which makes a good show for the fans,” he explained. “I look forward to competing at Jukasa (Motor Speedway). I was impressed with the upgrades to the facility. I have competed on the old Cayuga track, but look forward to the challenge of the new track.”
Hayward enters the 2020 campaign following a solid campaign last season with a pair of top-10 finishes.
“Last year was an enjoyable one,” he commented. “It is always a pleasure to meet the different individuals, competitors and fans, that come out to the track to compete or spectate. It is also great to hang out with the OSCAAR Family. Dave (Gainforth) and his team of volunteers put in many thankless hours to facilitate our passion to compete at the different tracks. I would like to thank them personally for providing an organization to sanction our events.
“During the season, each team experiences their highs and lows, but in the end it makes it worthwhile to share the passion of the sport. Despite having some heated discussions on occasion throughout the years, the friends and contacts I have made make it all worthwhile.”
For Hayward, his start in racing came from the family’s involvement for a many years, and wanting to tackle a new challenge.
“Many of my family have been drawn into motorsports, whether it be car racing, tractor pulling, custom cars, motorcycle racing, etc,” he explained. “I became involved helping my brother back in my early years. My mother also competed in the powder puffs at the Hockley Valley Racing facility.”
In the late 1970s, Hayward would become regularly involved, go-karting at Goodwood, North Halton, and Mount Forest after purchasing a car from Scott Goodyear’s dad. He then transitioned to cars in 1981, beginning with the street stock division at Delaware Speedway.
“This led me into racing on asphalt and dirt for the next several years at many different tracks throughout southern Ontario,” he reflected. “In 1985, I became a member of the OPP Golden Helmet Motorcycle Precision Team which demanded much of my time traveling through Ontario participating in many fall fairs and various events putting on demonstrations. I took a break away from racing while I performed with the Helmets for seven years.”
He would get back into racing in 1991 after purchasing an all pro modified from Rick Woolner to compete with at Full Throttle Motor Speedway. His involvement would then spread across a couple different classes, including the OSCAAR Super Late Models in 2005.
“With the help of many supporters the team lead by my late brother, Keith Hayward competed for three years followed by two years at Sunset Speedway in the LLM division,” he continued. “I took another break away from competition for nine years until the bug bit again and we resurrected the Diesel Doctor Super Late into the current OSCAAR Modified.”
With a career spanning 30 years, it’s no surprise that Hayward has had several memorable moments, including adopting the identity of the ‘Sarge on the Charge’ at Barrie Speedway.
“With having experienced the chance to compete in the OSCAAR Super Late Model Series, it was a rush that will always stay with me. The speed and the power of the big cars is a sensation only few people can experience,” he commented. “Another memorable moment was having the opportunity to drive a Late Model at New Symrna Speedway during Speed Weeks.
“Starting this year I have some feelings of apprehension as this may well be the final charge of ‘Sarge on the Charge’. As I sit here typing, I look back over the many years and am very thankful for the family members, crew members, car owners, sponsors, fans and supporters that have made it possible for me to enjoy and experience a life changing passion.
“As I mention earlier, car racing is a family sport. Throughout my racing career I have always had family at my back. It has been a great experience having my two sons, Stewart and Bryan assisting me whether it be during an event or at home preparing the car.
Racing would never survive without Family!
“A special thanks to those special ones that were in my corner and supported me through the tough times and the high times. There are far too many to mention but you know who you are.”
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