The 24-year-old native of Gores Landing, Ont. will return to Brighton Speedway’s Pro Stock division but it also tackling a new adventure.
In addition to his Saturday night commitment at Brighton, Murrell will also race weekly in the Crate Sprint Car division on Friday nights at Ohsweken Speedway, located on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ont. Less than a month remains before Murrell hits the track to begin the 2017 season and he couldn’t be happier to realize the first step in his dream to race Sprint Cars.
“I didn’t realize it would come this soon,” Murrell said. “I’ve always wanted to do it and I’ve been pushing in that direction for many years. For me to actually have one sitting at home and to be able to wrench on it and learn so much about it is extremely exciting.”
Preparing two racecars created a busy and often chaotic winter for Murrell. It has required several long road trips to acquire the right parts for his new endeavor and even longer nights in the garage.
Murrell’s winged, open-wheel Crate Sprint Car looks and drives completely different from his full-bodied Camaro stock car. It also has several different technical specifications that Murrell continues to learn every day. For example, Sprint Car motors run on alcohol instead of gasoline and do not have a starters or transmissions, forcing them to be push-started before each race.
Those differences, coupled with the much larger, high-banked 3/8-mile track at Ohsweken compared with the one-third mile configuration at Brighton, will require some time for adjustment.
“A lot of the time I’m still learning about the Sprint Car,” Murrell said. “I would rather it this way. I bought a bare chassis and I’m learning how everything goes together and how it works.
“I want to improve every week that I’m out. I want to be able to look back and see how I was at the beginning of the year and see growth.”
Racing two cars has offered a unique opportunity to Murrell’s marketing partners for the 2017 season. Murrell’s partners for the upcoming season, which currently include Cobourg’s Yorkie’s BBQ, Innovative Apparel, Goodyear of Cobourg, Mayhew Graphics and Champion Racing Lubricants, will benefit from sponsorship on both cars for one price.
“Twice the cars on the track means twice the exposure for them,” Murrell said. “I think the Sprint Car helps huge with the excitement level of my sponsors. They want to be more involved this year. I can see the excitement.”
As for his Pro Stock, Murrell hopes to improve on the success that last year led to a third-place finish in the championship standings. He also earned a pair of victories for the second straight year in just his third season of competition.
“I’m hoping to beat my two wins per season record,” Murrell said. “I really want to get a third win to break that and I want to beat my third in points. That’s my main focus this year.”
Murrell is currently pushing towards the final stages of preparing the cars for the upcoming campaign, which includes mounting new bumpers and bodies. Soon after, he’ll be able to install the motor in each car and hear the sweet sound of the engine coming to life.
“I’ve been working so hard on cars that don’t run,” laughed Murrell. “I’m extremely excited to get these things fired up and actually turn some laps on the track. I feel like I’ve been looking at still racecars for way too long.”
Murrell’s 2017 season will kickoff at Brighton Speedway’s Monster Energy season opener on Saturday, April 29. He will hit the track for his first Crate Sprint Car race at Ohsweken Speedway’s season opener on May 19.
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