Neely Honored As Can-Am Midget Champ

Driver Rob Neely (center) poses with car owners Ken & Cindy Lorenz after being recognized as the 2012 Lucas Oil Can-Am Midget Series champion. (Can-Am Midget Photo)
Driver Rob Neely (center) poses with car owners Ken & Cindy Lorenz after being recognized as the 2012 Lucas Oil Can-Am Midget Series champion. (Can-Am Midget Photo)

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario – The Lucas Oil Can-Am Midgets celebrated at their 47th Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday night at the Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

Rob Neely, 2012 Lucas Oil Can-Am Midget Champion, received the winners trophy as car owners Ken and Cindy Lorenz enjoyed their second Championship.

“This championship is extra special because when we had the wreck at Sauble Ken had doubts that we could fix the car for Sunday’s race,” Neely said. “Well, he got up early the next morning and went at it. The car was great and we finished 3rd. For the final race at Flamboro the car was set up perfect and good luck followed us through the night. I want to thank Billy Pippard for our “Zoom Zoom” this season and Justin Fraser for all his help. I would also like to thank my wife Yvonne and Cindy Lorenz for always being there to help and encourage Ken and me. I especially want to thank Lucas Oil for their continued support of the Can-Am Midget Racing Club. We are proud to run under their banner.”

Terry Watts, emcee for the evening, thanked the Club’s supporters this season. Thanks went to Lucas Oil for their eighth year as the series sponsor, Hoosier Tire/Bicknell Racing, Thom Boys Powersports and Equipment, Lincoln Welders, Ralph Webbe and Colormark LTD as well as Inside Track Motorsports News and Racetime Radio.

He also went on to mention the recent passing of long time members Bob Stanley and Craig Hill. Stanley, known as “Push Truck Bob” traveled for many years with the Club as our Official Push truck. Craig Hill was a car owner and driver for many years and was instrumental in the Club’s long time association with Castrol Canada in its earlier years. May they both Rest In Peace.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Founding Member Albert Banyard. Being with the club since its early beginnings in 1965, he continues to work weekly as an Official at the track. He has held many positions in the Can-Am Midget Club, from Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and is an Honorary Board Member. He raced for 24 years at over 30 different tracks in the US and Canada in his familiar No. 8 Can-Am TQ Midget but you will now find him in his No. 8 red golf cart cruising the pits. He received a standing ovation from everyone at the banquet.

The Special Awards of the evening were then given out. Adrian Stahle received the 2012 George McIntyre Memorial Rookie of the Year trophy. Capturing his very first win at Varney Speedway on his 18th Birthday and finishing seventh in points, this young man earned the respect of the other drivers in his first year in this very competitive series. He will be a driver to watch in 2013.

The Albert Banyard Sportsman of the Year trophy was given to David Balych. This special award has extra meaning because it is voted on by the car owners, drivers and Officials. Balych is always willing to lend a helping hand and earned this award. Congratulations David.

The Rick Sykes Memorial Most Improved Driver award went to Chris Holman. Capturing his very first feature win at the final race of the year at Flamboro Speedway and finishing sixth in the Lucas Oil Can-Am Midget points, Holman was thrilled with this trophy.

The Harry Macy Mechanic of the Year trophy went to car owner Ken Lorenz for the winning car. Rob and Yvonne Neely surprised him with a special ‘surf board’ trophy in honor of this award.

The Official of the Year award went to Race Director Terry Watts. This award is also voted on by the car owner, drivers and Officials.

The President’s Award was given to Cindy Lorenz and Rob Neely by President Ken Lorenz, noting all their encouragement for him to keep going and never giving up.