It was an amazing year for the Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets as they closed out their 2017 season at Sunset Speedway’s Fall Velocity.
It was a tight Championship point’s race going into Saturday’s race between Adam Racine and Adrian Stahle, with only 154 points separating them, mathematically it was either drivers Championship to win.
Racine earned his first Lucas Oil Can-Am Championship with a third place finish and a Feature win.
In the first Feature, after dealing with mechanical issues over the past 4 races related to his fuel cell, Darren Dryden sat on the pole. At the drop of the green flag, Dryden was out in front and untouchable for all 25 green to checkers laps.
“We fought mechanical issues the last 4 races so for us to come out here with the car finally working and take the win, I honestly can’t thank my dad enough for all he put into it, Steve Garry and Bill Pippard for their help all season, I couldn’t do it without them. When I saw myself lap the tail of the field as quick as I was I had to turn the car down a bit because I realized no one would be near me. The biggest thing going into the second feature is going to be getting around everyone because I have to start in the back, so it’s going to be interesting for sure. A special thanks to my sponsors Napa Auto Parts, DJD Designs, Retail Design Group, Sharpie Art by Darren Dryden, John Dryden Autobody, Epic Racewear, Wix Filters, R & W Repair, BJ Custom Finishes, Rosie’s Custom Paint & Polish and State Farm “Burnside Insurance”.
At the drop of the green it was Dryden and Cory Whittam battling for position and the lead going into turn one. Barry Dunn dropped to the inside as Ryan Fraser went high trying to take positions over Lucas Munsie and Dominique Smith by making it 4 wide but Dunn thinking better of it backed off.
As the field completed the first lap Dryden held the lead over Whittam, Smith settled into third, Fraser was fourth and Mack DeMan rounded out the top five, gaining 5 spots from his tenth place starting spot while Dunn fell to seventh. Stahle and Racine crossed the line in eight and ninth.
The next lap DeMan made a pass on both Fraser and Smith to capture third staying high on their outside.
Lap 5 DeMan had advanced past Whittam for second while Stahle entered the top 5 and Racine looked from the outside in seventh.
As the field ran nose to tail with Dryden out in front with a large lead, Racine had passed Fraser for sixth with Stahle in his sights still sitting in fifth. Lap 10 Racine passed Stahle, his only threat to the Lucas Oil Can-Am Championship, on his outside going into turn 1.
At the half way point Dryden was still leading and within laps of lapping the field while DeMan still held second, Whittam was third, Racine had worked his way up to fourth, and Smith, in her final race as a rookie, held fifth.
By Lap 16 Dryden was putting David Miller a lap down, with Racine battling Whittam for third, Dryden and DeMan were able to increase their lead over the field by half a track.
Lap 18 Dryden had caught Daniel Hawn, Lucas Munsie and Todd Cresswell putting them all a lap down.
In the closing laps Dryden was able to make easy work of Jeff Blackburn adding him to the long list of lapped cars, DeMan held onto second, while Racine ran out of laps to advance any further than third, Whittam had a strong finish in fourth while Stahle fought a good race to round out the top five.
The Lucas Oil Can-Am Midget Feature #1 finish at Sunset Speedway on September 23,2017 was…1.DARREN DRYDEN, 2. Mack DeMan, 3.Adam Racine, 4.Cory Whittam, 5. Adrian Stahle, 6.Dominique Smith(R), 7.Ryan Fraser, 8.Steven Murdoch, 9.Barry Dunn, 10.Jeff Blackburn, 11.Daniel Hawn(R), 12.Lucas Munsie(R), 13. Todd Cresswell, 14. David Miller(R).
Before the start of the second feature The Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets saluted one of their own as they said farewell to long time veteran and friend, Barry Dunn. Instead of the field performing their signature 4 wide Salute to the fans, Dunn led the field around the track as fellow racers and friends formed a “flying V”, as a flock of geese do when in flight, behind him.
Dunn decided this was his last year on the paved oval with the Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets, trading in his TQ Midget for a Crate Sprint car, returning to his grass roots in dirt car racing.
The Lucas Oil Can-Am Family wishes Dunn all the best in his future endeavours and thank him for 10 great years. We will miss you on the track.
With the first feature in the books with a Third place finish; Racine had the Championship won with 166 points separating him and Stahle. Even with a Win Stahle would still be short on point to clinch the Championship.
Huge Congratulations to Adam Racine on his Lucas Oil Can-Am Championship win and a phenomenal season.
“When we got together there and he [Stahle] spun around, I felt so bad. Me and him are best friends and we’ve been best friends for years, without him and his dad this car wouldn’t be out here this year. I love that guy and I feel bad that we got together. We came up to a lapped car and I knew we were side by side. We got by him and all of a sudden I started sliding, I think I over heated my tires and then it got real fun. We were battling our hearts out. I have to thanks the fans that come out, my family; I love these guys, and to everyone who supports me. To the Mackereth’s, Peter and Mack who let me start out in the 6 car this year, starting me off on the right path with 5 feature wins in the car. Thanks to my sponsors for all their support, Dettmer Tirecraft Auto Centre in Kitchener, Retail Design Group, T-Weber Oil Spraying and Paving and Schwartz Inc”.
Cresswell kicked off the second Feature on pole, leading Munsie, Blackburn, Dunn and Murdoch to the green flag. Just before the drop of the green, Whittam pulled off in the infield with mechanical issues.
Cresswell led the first lap followed by Munsie, Dunn, Stahle and Blackburn.
Dunn, in his last TQ race, lead the second lap, holding the lead for 3 laps as Stahle made a strong run for second with Racine battling him lap after lap, trading positions before the two passed Dunn knocking him down to third.
Lap 5 Stahle was leading ahead of Racine, Dunn, Munsie and Fraser before the caution flew for debris. At the same time Blackburn was slowing on the track with an issue. As the field began to slow, Dryden jumped the left rear tire of Dunn, who was in third. Blackburn would leave the race with a loose negative battery wire.
The restart didn’t go so well when Dryden spun in turn two not realizing he had suffered damage from going airborne.
On the second attempt at the restart, Stahle still was in the lead followed by Racine, Dunn, Fraser and DeMan.
Stahle led for 9 more laps battling to stay ahead Racine before Racine took the lead on lap 16. Stahle and Racine battled side by side for several more laps before Stahle earned the lead back on lap 20.
Running side by side and catching the rear of the field Stahle and Racine made contact between turns 1 and 2; sending Stahle around to bring out the third and final caution of the night.
Racine was now the leader on the restart followed by DeMan, Dunn, Fraser and Dryden as Stahle went to the back of the lead cars.
Getting a good jump on the restart Racine was untouchable hanging on for the Feature win while DeMan finished second, Dryden completed a pass on Dunn with 2 to go for third, Dunn held onto fourth and Fraser rounded the top 5 ahead of Smith. Stahle made a valiant effort to race back to the lead only gaining two positions to finish seventh before the laps ran out.
Congratulation to all the Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets on a hard fought 2017 season.
The Lucas Oil Can-Am Midget Feature #2 finish was…1. ADAM RACINE, 2. Mack DeMan, 3. Darren Dryden, 4. Barry Dunn, 5. Ryan Fraser, 6. Dominique Smith(R), 7.Adrian Stahle, 8. Steven Murdoch, 9. Daniel Hawn(R), 10.Lucas Munsie(R), 11. Todd Cresswell, 12. David Miller(R), 13. Jeff Blackburn, 14. Cory Whittam.
The Lucas Oil Can-Am Midget top 10 in Driver points are as follows…1.ADAM RACINE…3623, 2. Adrian Stahle…3417, 3. Ryan Fraser…3183, 4. Steven Murdoch…3015, 5. Barry Dunn…2894, 6. Darren Dryden…2886, 7. Dominique Smith(R)…2608, 8. Cory Whittam…2464, 9. Lucas Munsie…2454, 10. Mack DeMan…2401.
Photos by Paul Husby