SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – While no one will mistake Mike Hearty’s transition from weekly Super Stock competition to touring Ontario with the talent-rich OSCAAR Modified Tour as seamless, the veteran showed undoubted improvement throughout his hardscrabble 2018 campaign.
“This deal hasn’t been easy from the start – but I think we’re starting to make some progress,” opines Hearty. “Seat time has been so important. When I look back at how much time I’ve actually spent in the car, I think it adds up to about two seasons of actual racing spread over the last four years.”
Hearty’s move to the perennially-competitive cross-province tour has been nothing if not ambitious – particularly when you consider the fact that Hearty has yet to spend a full season behind the wheel of his Port City-built Open Wheel Modified.
“Most of the speedways that OSCAAR runs are over eight-hours away from my front door – so it’s just not possible for us to do every single race,” admits the Sault Ste. Marie, ON racer. “It’s a juggling act between finding the budget to make these events happen and finding the man-power to make sure that I’ll have a crew and some help when we actually pull into the pits.”
“We just try to make the most of every race night,” continues Hearty. “We don’t have the luxury of being able to do this a few times every month. So, when we are at the track, the objective is to make it count. We want to race for wins and come away with as much new information as we can to make sure that we’re better in our next start.”
Now, after finding the rhythm in 2018 that his team was sorely missing in years prior, Hearty believes that his low-budget effort is finally ready to become a regular fixture at the front of the OSCAAR field.
“Last year was the best year we’ve had since we brought the (Open Wheel Modified) our – no question,” stats the soft-spoken veteran. “We’re improving every time you see us. I don’t think we’re too far off from racing for wins and podiums.”
“That’s where we want to be headed,” adds the former Laird Int’l Raceway Factory Stock champion. “We want to be up there at the front with the best guys on this roster. We’re ready for it. And we’re not going to stop working until we can make it a reality.”