From CanAmMidgets.com – Rob Neely wins the first race of the season as the Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets kick off their 45th anniversary year at Sauble Speedway
It was a rainy day but it magically stopped raining at 7PM. The track staff dried the track by dragging old tires around. No jets dryers here; it’s old but it works.
Neely, driving the #74 for Ken and Cindy Lorenz, had a motor seize up in his heat but in a mere 45 minutes had a new power box ready to go for the feature. Starting in last place, he picked off cars one by one, and passed Barry Dunn for the lead with 4 laps to go and held on for the win.
Neely thanked Lucas Oil for their 6th year of support of the Can-Am Midgets as well as Neely Auto, Lincoln Welders, Bicknell Racing/Hoosier Tires and the owner/crew chief Ken Lorenz for a great car and a great motor. He said it was fun to drive.
Dunn had taken the lead from outside pole in lap one and looked to be the class of the field in his 2nd year with the Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets. Dunn is driving the former #90 car. Tom Kyle, also in his 2nd season kept up until lap 7 when Darren McLennan motored around for 2nd place. Greg Smulders, in a brand new car was 4th followed by Mack DeMan in the Mackereth TQ 40.
On lap 11, De Man spun in turn one bringing out the caution. On the restart a few cars tangled in turn 4 sending the #91 of Mike Westwood into the wall. He was not hurt but the car was done for the night. Chris Holman in TQ #16 had a tire go down from contact but replaced it and returned to the back of the field.
James Gray, the 2009 Lucas Oil Can Am Midget Champion had his share of problems, also replacing a motor after the heats, leaving the race on lap 2 and returning after the lap 11 caution.
Neely moved into the top 5 on the next lap behind the #5 of Jody Bound. Two laps later he was pressuring 2nd place Darren McLennan and got around him on lap 18. He began to reel in Dunn and took over the top spot on lap 22 and got the win. Dunn finished 2nd but was disqualified with a fuel infraction after the race. McLennan now finished 2nd, followed by Bound, Kyle and Corey Moesker. Moesker also changed motors before his heat and still got a top 5 finish.
All the cars in the club wore a black #6 in memory of long time club member Roger Riberdy who passed away recently.
Final finish: 1. Rob Neely 2. McLennan 3. Bound 4. Kyle 5. Moesker 6. Walsh 7. Cresswell 8. Balych 9. Smulders 10. Bois 11. Holman 12. Turnbull 13. Hickson 14. DeMan 15. Gray 16. Bauman 17. Westwood. Dsq. Barry Dunn
Story by: Cindy Lorenz – Picture by: Ralph Webb
Sunday Night Event
It was a picture postcard Chamber of Commerce day at The Beach. Last year it was -3…brrr!! 19 cars came to battle and lap times were in the high 13 second bracket.
Last year’s champion led the 1st heat to the green and led from green to checker. Mack DeMan started 2nd but on the 3rd lap slipped to 3rd, with #49 Adam Walsh getting by, followed by David Balych #12. Lap 6, the ever charging winner on Saturday, Rob Neely #74 went from 8th to 4th.
Lap 8 saw Gray leading by 4 car lengths with Neely ready to pounce on Mack DeMan but he could not get by the 2nd year, 2nd generation Can Am driver.
Mike Westwood #91 in a new car went out early in the race with a bent axle after contact with #74 Neely. Finish: 82/49/40/74/12
Kent Turnbull took the green followed by Greg Smulders #00. Jody Bound a 3rd generation driver came from the 7th starting position to take the lead on lap 4.
While #39 Corey Holman and #00 Smulders battled for position, #16 Holman got past. Lap 7 Smulders #00 attained 4th place behind Holman and Moseker.
Lap 8 Bound was gone with Moesker, Holman, Smulders and Turnbull in that order. It stayed that way to the checkered flag. Car 39, Moesker had been a little too frisky on the start, passing before the white finish line and was docked 1 finishing position.
The 48 of Darren McLennan was a no show due to a strange rattle in the engine in the last practice requiring an engine transplant. Todd Cresswell also changed an engine due to a cracked engine block which had cased an oil leak.
The newly numbered ride of Barry Dunn #24, formerly Hazen Macintosh’s #90 started 1st. He led all 8 laps fighting off Tom Kyle #44. Lap 6 saw #20 Daniel Bois bring out the yellow in corner 2. In one lap he was back to 5th. Lap 7 #44 Corey Moesker spun on corner 3.
The B was an exciting race to watch. Darren McLennan came from 7th to finish 2nd with Mike Westwood 3rd . Westwood did some ingenious repairs to his front axle. It was his 2nd damaged axle and he had no spares left so he had to repair what he had. Earl Caine #69 had a stellar run to finish 5th. Finish: 24/48/91/20/69
James Gray #82 and Mack DeMan started the battle side by side. Gray led with a good lead with DeMan in 2nd and with Chris Holman #16 and Adam Walsh in pursuit. Rob Neely who started 10th was coming fast, along with #3 Todd Cresswell who started 18th.
By lap 10 Gray was leading with Adam Walsh 49 and Rob Neely 74 hard at it. On lap 16 Daniel Bois #20 was inducted into the roll-over club in corner 2, after tangling with the inside track rumble strips. He went to the pits to remove the wing hoping to come back out but the axle was bent.
Lap 20 Neely got to 2nd, with Walsh 49 , Holman 16, Dunn 24 and Balych 12 following. Lap 21 Mack DeMan spun on corner 4. After the restart Neely 74 was able to get by Gray 82 and Balych 12 drove by Dunn 24. Before the leaders got by the white line # 91 Mike Westwood spun corner 4 of lap 23 cancelling both passes and the field reverted to the previous lap line-up.
On the restart Balych #12 and #48 Darren McLennan got by Holman, doing the only passing during those final laps. McLennan had started the race 12th and ended up 6th.
Story by Dan Balych – Picture by: Ralph Webb