@LucasOil • @CanAmMidgets • @FlamoborSpdwy • HAMILTON, ON – Steven Murdock went to ‘Victory Lane’ for the first time with the Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets Saturday night at Flamboro Speedway.
Opening up the 51st season of racing the weather was cold but the competition was hot. In only his sophomore year with the TQ midgets, Murdock put all the pieces together, winning his heat race and leading all 25 laps in the ‘A’ Feature event.
This quiet young driver said after the race “I want to thank my Mom and Dad for all their help and a special thanks to Len, John and Craig for fixing the car after I crashed it last week in practice. I had a new sponsor come on board and I need to thank J. Van Electrical Service for their help. A Big Thanks also goes to Lucas Oil for their commitment to the Can-Am Midget Club.”
Murdock took the lead at the drop of the green with Brandon Zavarella close behind. 2015 Defending Champion Mack DeMan went from his seventh starting spot up to third place. Ryan Fraser and Barry Dunn rounded out the top five. One lap later Veteran race Rob Neely passed Dunn to join the top five. Murdock opened up a sizable lead over the field as Zavarella and DeMan demonstrated some exciting side by side racing for second place. Neely passed Fraser for fourth as the battle continued in front of him. Murdock had at least a 10 car lead over the field as there was only inches between Zavarella and DeMan. Finally on Lap 8 DeMan attempted a pass on the inside going into turn four and spun. The one and only caution came out and DeMan went to the back of the field for the restart.
Murdock shot out to the lead as the cars went back to green with a very strong Zavarella holding on to second place. Neely was third with Fraser now in a close race with Darren McLennan for fourth. Jeff Blackburn in his sharp TQ #7 held on to sixth place and Chris Holman, driving for Cliff Walsh, moved up from 11th place to eighth.
At the half way point Neely caught up to Zavarella and they ran side by side fighting for position. Finally Neely took to the outside lane and made the pass. Murdock was far ahead of the field and starting to lap cars as the race began to wind down.
The checkered flag flew for this first time winner as the field followed behind. Neely was second, Zavarella third, with Fraser and McLennan finishing in the top five. Heats were won by Neely and Murdock.
Of Note…A number of drivers are in different cars or numbers for the 2016 season. Adam Racine is now in TQ #20, Chris Holman is in TQ #49, Barry Dunn has the number 44 on his car, Darren Dryden has #12 on his newly acquired car, and Greg Smulders drove for Peter DeMan in TQ #43. Two new rookies joined the ranks. Cory Whittam is in #55 and Paul Rhodes is in the #99. They both did a great job in their first race.
Final Finish for the Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets at Flamboro Speedway on May 14, 2016 is…1. STEVEN MURDOCK, 2. Rob Neely, 3. Brandon Zavarella, 4. Ryan Fraser, 5. Darren McLennan, 6. Jeff Blackburn, 7. Adam Racine, 8. Mack DeMan, 9. Chris Holman, 10. Darren Dryden, 11. Barry Dunn, 12. Craig Pitchell, 13. Greg Smulders, 14. Cory Whittam (R), 15. Paul Rhodes (R), 16. Adrian Stahle, 17. James Marche.
Lucas Oil Can-Am Midget Driver Points as of May 14, 2016...1. STEVEN MURDOCK….180, 2. Rob Neely…170, 3. Brandon Zavarella…160, 4. Ryan Fraser…149, 5. Darren McLennan…146, 6. Jeff Blackburn…138, 7. Adam Racine…133, 8. Mack DeMan…132, 9. Chris Holman…120, 10. Darren Dryden…115, 11. Barry Dunn…113, 12. Craig Pitchell…107, 13. Greg Smulders…103, 14. Cory Whittam (R)…99, 15. Adrian Stahle…96, 16. Paul Rhodes (R)…95, 17. James Marche…88.
The Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets now head north to Sunset Speedway for the ‘Velocity Weekend’ on Saturday night.