Each week, this will be the column that takes a look at a division’s past weekend of racing, combined with the week ahead to highlight what should be on the minds of all race fans.
Quintin Murdoch. TJ Marshall. Ricky Willigar. Steve Murdoch.
The competition has been red hot this year in the Canadian Vintage Modifieds with four different drivers reaching victory lane over the course of the seven races to date.
TJ Marshall has a pair of trips to victory lane, which surprises nobody with his past series championships and continually setting the standard in the series. He has not finished worse than fourth this season, giving him an average finish of 2.43. Is this something we see changing? Probably not.
Quintin Murdoch began the season with a pair of wins and third, though has seen his season hit a small snag in the two weeks which followed. He found himself on the sidelines early in the second feature on May 28, and has failed to place on the podium in the most recent four features. That said, he is not that far off with consecutive fourth-place finishes coming his way, and should easily be able to find what his team has been missing.
Steve Murdoch was listed as a darkhorse to watch for a win at the end of May, and lived up to those expectations with a trip to victory lane. Unfortunately, the early momentum was halted by finding himself involved an incident this past Saturday. Though given the dedication of the team, he should be back on-track this weekend – but it will be interesting to see how quickly the runs come.
Ricky Willigar is the sophomore competitor everybody has an eye on, and it’s not just due to the new paint scheme he has been rocking. A pair of trips to victory lane over the past two weekends of racing combined with a sixth and second may present him as the hottest driver on the tour, other than Marshall. He’s certainly capable of being the man to take charge as the series sees a changing of the guard with budding new faces.
The diversity of winners is certainly something everybody would love to see continue though, and easily should with the variety of competitors in the division.
Mike Podd has yet to make it happen this season, but knows what it takes with five wins in 2021. With no results outside of the top-five this year including five podium results, it’s easy to see why he’s at the head of the list of your next ones to watch.
Rodney Rutherford has also carried forward his impressive start to 2022, backing up four fifth-place finishes with a runner-up performance. Could we be on the verge of seeing the Pure Stock stand-out make it happen in another division?
Scott Tonelli may have gotten a late start to the year, but that doesn’t mean you can write him off. In fact, he’s our next darkhorse to watch as a possibility following a fifth and sixth on his first night of competition.
It’s also interesting to see how drivers rebound from early bad luck, so seeing what Mike Westwood is capable of following his repairs should be something to watch. He has ran up front in a variety of classes through the years at Flamboro Speedway, with top-five performances in the CVMs previous seasons. The team as a whole could use a golden horseshoe, as John Karley unfortunately did not much better luck the week prior.