Capped off with a third-place finish at Flamboro Speedway, Jeff Blackburn was able to take home the 2021 Qwick Wick T.Q. Can-Am Midget season after a consistent season.
“It’s a little surreal to win a championship,” Blackburn told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “It’s something you dream of and once you accomplish it, it takes some time to set in. I couldn’t be happier to have my name engraved with all the others in a series that is very admirable and respectable series.”
Blackburn had a successful season from start to finish, highlighted by a victory at Sunset Speedway’s Fall Velocity after taking the lead on the sixth lap. There was also a win at Sauble Speedway to start the year, which was much closer as he snagged the top spot only with two laps left on the board. Combined with top-five’s at Flamboro Speedway, he was able to edge out Daniel Hawn by 12 points for the title.
“All year was stressful when points racing,” he admitted. “So I’d have to say my favourite moment was everything leading up to the first race of the year and once that champagne hit me after the final race.”
Ultimately, though, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Blackburn this year. He would suffer a significant crash at Sauble that saw his No. 7 get up on the catch fence.
“Racing definitely isn’t sunshine and roses,” he commented. “I feel like each night has its moments but that one night at Sauble Beach was the hardest hit of the year. That night after the wreck, I thought my year was done. I sustained a lot of damage and only a week to fix it before we were back at Full Throttle Speedway.
“Lucky enough, Daniel Hawn (and) HMCW stepped up and offered his services to get me all fixed up for the next race. (I) dropped my car off there Monday, Dan had it tore down by Tuesday, worked on it all week and I was there Friday to scale it.”
From working together off the track, to the competition each week witnessed by everybody all season long, the T.Q. Can-Am Midgets caught headlines in having a variety of drivers visit victory lane.
“The Can Am Midget series is one of the most competitive series and that’s because of the talented drivers and such even playing ground when it comes to the cars and engine packages,” Blackburn explained. “Stock engines, pump gas, hard tires and a inversion every night makes for pretty even racing and a potential new winner any given night. The series is in a big turnover right now so we have lost many good drivers but also gained some other top competitors from different series.”
For Blackburn, his start in racing came through watching his father race Late models for years, with his first chance behind the wheel coming at the age of seven in go-karts. The progress from there was steady, as a couple championships and a victory in a National event led him to the Outlaw Midgets.
“After running go karts my dad introduced me into the Outlaw Midgets,” Blackburn recalled. “One night at Barrie Speedway, he saw them run and thought it would be something I’d like to get into. The transition wasn’t much since it has no suspension; it was basically a go kart on steroids. That got me into the oval track racing and open wheel scene. I ran those for a few years and finally capturing a championship in that and being around the track seeing the TQs run, I knew that was my next step.
“TQs are one of the most respected series along with fastest. We’re putting down faster lap times then any series and able to go three-wide any night any track. Cost effective as well we run stock engines, pump gas and hard tires. All that makes for fun, tight and hard racing.”
With a championship in hand, the natural progression is continue up the racing ladder, which Blackburn says would be a super modified or dirt sprint car. However, that isn’t happening for 2022.
“I’m getting older now and life changes, and I’ve been chasing this championship for a while,” he started. “I always told myself once I get a championship in this, I’ll sell my stuff but I’m not ready for that yet. I’ll return to defend my title and reassess after next season.”