JASON HATHAWAY IN HUNT FOR MAJOR SPONSOR
After his finest season on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, Jason Hathaway is putting two cars and three engines up for sale.
That doesn’t mean he and the Ed Hakonson Racing team are folding the tent.
“We’re going to replace equipment to come back racing (in 2016),” the St. Thomas native and driver of the Team 3 Red Chevy said. “We talked to a couple of sponsors and we’re working on a few other things. My date is the (series) banquet in December whether we’re racing (there again) or not. Hopefully, we can get something together and come back.”
He’s not alone. The series — with Canadian Tire hitting the brakes — needs a new title supporter.
Hathaway, when that’s said and done, should be one of the top driving targets.
He won three races this season, including the 100th in NASCAR Canada history at Autodrome Chaudiere in Quebec, and the final two of the season, the well-attended stop at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and the capper at Kawartha Speedway near Peterborough.
“You couldn’t have picked three better races to win than we did,” he said. “We had two oval wins and a road course win. It’s an exceptional year by any standard, really. If that doesn’t help raise our profile for the sponsorship hunt, I don’t know what will.”
Hathaway finished second in the points race, four back of four-time champ Scott Steckly, who ended up staying right behind his bumper in second at Kawartha.
“Scott didn’t let me get away from him all night and I enjoyed where he was behind me,” Hathaway said. “But he did what he had to do to win the championship and I did what I had to do to win the final race.”
The NASCAR series is not for the hobbyist. It costs $250,000 to 300,000 a year to run 11 races.
Hathaway, Steckly (Canadian Tire) and DJ Kennington (Castrol) are considered circuit ironmen for competing in all 109 events since inception. When the schedule shifted west this summer, Hathaway wasn’t sure he would be able to continue, but he found a way each week to keep rolling.
“I’d like to do it two more years with a company that wants to get involved,” Hathaway said. “I know Kennington will be back and I imagine Scott will be, too. Maybe I’m the lone wolf that won’t be back, but we’ll see.
“With three wins and second place in the championship, I think there are a lot of companies that missed the boat this year to go along with our team and ride our car. They’re kicking themselves for not getting involved when they had the chance.”
United, they stand
APC United late models series founder Luke Ramsay declared the opening season a “huge success” on the heels of the Great Canadian Race finale two weeks ago at Delaware Speedway.
“We averaged 29 cars per race and 43 different cars competing throughout the year,” he said. “We had the one rainout at Sauble and we got delayed (by weather the final weekend) at Delaware, but we’re happy with the way it went and we’ll only be bigger and better for next year.”
The series plans to add at least one event, maybe two, to what was an eight-race schedule. They will hand out nearly $75,000 in prizes at their banquet Oct. 17 at the London Convention Centre.
“We’re not going to go crazy adding races because we’ve got to keep it affordable for all involved,” Ramsay said. “We understood the first year would be all about proving ourselves and we did that. Sure, we had some bumps along the way but that’s just learning curve. We’re going to market the series, get new people involved and take it to the next level.”
Written By: Ryan Pyette, The London Free Press