Jason Hathaway winning the 2020 Pinty’s FanCave Championship was the cherry on top of a spectacular season for Ed Hakonson Racing.
EHR succeeded in what few teams have done in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series; bring four separate teams to the track each week, be dominant and contend for wins in each car.
Alongside Hathaway, Brett Taylor rejoined EHR for 2020, coming off his first win in the 2019 season finale at Jukasa Motor Speedway.
Connor James and Dexter Stacey also joined the team for the three-event, six-race season.
"It was busy! It pretty much took every day we had in-between races," said Hathaway. "They always say you’re never ready; you just load the race car and go to the track."
"Kudos to my guys and my crew and everybody else that helped out. Everybody kind of pitched in everywhere and made it all happen."
Between all four drivers, EHR collected a total of eight top fives, 18 top-10s, and led 403 laps.
|Driver||QwickWick 125||Canadian Tire 125||Pinty’s 125||PartyCasino 125||Motomaster 125||Pinty’s 125|
Battling against Treyten Lapcevich and Mathieu Kingsbury, James scored Rookie of the Race honours a total of five times.
"It’s a Hell of a Year."
Looking back on the 2020 season, the No. 3 Kubota/Choko/Kugel Bearing/Total Chevrolet driver still reminisces on the "one that got away."
"Losing that first one still hurts a bit," said Hathaway. "Even though we did get the championship, I’m still down on not winning that first one at Sunset."
Career Statistics: Jason Hathaway
Team owner, Ed Hakonson gave his admiration to his driver for dealing with the pressures of the tight season.
"When Jason got out of the car, he was very emotional because he’s tried so hard and he really has put his heart into it," said Hakonson. "He’s in the race shop all the time, and not just this year but over all the years has really worked hard to become a champion."
Even though 2020 was a condensed schedule, statistically Hathaway led one of the series’ most dominant seasons, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since DJ Kennington in 2012.
2020 was @JasonHathaway3 year for a championship ?
– NASCAR Pinty’s Series (@NASCARPintys) October 7, 2020
Both Hathaway and Hakonson agree they couldn’t have dominated this season without the help of corporate sponsors like Kubota Canada, Fast Eddie Speedwear, Total Lubricants and Kugel Bearings.
"Kubota believed in us," said Hakonson. "They don’t have to get into the sport as deep as they did. But they believed in us and said ‘We know you folks do things right and we know you understand what it takes to have good sponsors support you.’"
After being crowned the 2020 champion, Hathaway started being called "Captain Kubota" thanks to his long-time sponsors.
"We probably wouldn’t have been at the race track if we didn’t have corporate partners," explained Hathaway. "In the corporate world and in a pandemic, they chose to get behind us and made sure we got on the race track."
Ed Hakonson – Hall of Famer
Before COVID-19 and winning the championship, 2020 was already a landmark year for the EHR team owner after he was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame back in February.
"That was tremendous. It’s an opportunity that a lot of people do not get," said Hakonson. "There are a lot of people that are even more deserving than I am, that have been in the sport for a long time and they don’t always get the opportunity to get inducted."
"You do things because you want to do it because you’re passionate. You don’t expect that you’ll end up being in the Hall of Fame," he continued.
What an amazing night for one inductee close to our heart! Motorsports is a close knit family so Ed brought his wife Hiedi up with him to receive his award. https://t.co/7Id067tFHM
– EHR/Team3Orange (@ehrt3r) February 16, 2020
Onwards and Upwards
2021 marks the NASCAR Pinty’s Series’ 15th year and while there is an air of uncertainty surrounding everything in the world, both driver and team owner believe they can continue their momentum into next season.
"I think Team 3 is going to come out strong," said Hakonson. "I believe that we’ll still be running probably three maybe even just two teams. But I believe we have the capability to go in and be very competitive again next year."
Hathaway, while uncertain what next season holds, still sees room for improvement.
"If we go back to a real schedule with 13 or 15 races, obviously the road course is going to be a big thing," explained Hathway. "It’s somewhere that we can improve on a little bit but our oval program is strong, I wouldn’t really want to change too much on that side."
"I’m pitching my owner for a new car though, we’ll see what happens. It’s hard to get a new car when you keep winning in the old one."