FROST 6th, MIDGLEY 7th, CARLSON VICTORIOUS!
VICTORIA, BC – Part-time Team NPP driver Brandon Carlson won his first Canada 200 Late Model event at Western Speedway Sunday night. With two left wheels on the grass, Carlson muscled past race leader and fellow Team NPP driver Darrell Midgley on lap 194 and drove on to victory. The Canada 200, first run in 1972, is one of Western Canada’s longest running paved oval events. “I grew up going to the races here (at Western Speedway),” says the driver of the Seawings Express/Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd. #14 Chevrolet, “I’m here (in victory lane) finally!” Carlson spent a majority of the big race running in the top 5. “It took a worldwide pandemic for me to win the Canada 200.” Spencer Carlson, Brandon’s brother, ended up finishing second. Due to Coronavirus restrictions in British Columbia, no fans were allowed in the grandstands to watch the wild night of racing. The number of entrants for the race was also capped at 24.
The 2020 edition of the Canada 200 saw seven lead changes among five drivers. Brandon Carlson led just 6 laps en-route to victory. Darrell Midgley led 74 laps in a borrowed race car (Shockwave #5 Chevrolet). “It was last minute,” explains Midgley, “Dave Smith offered up one of his cars for me to race.” Midgley last competed in the Canada 200 back in 2015 and has won this race twice (1998, 99). “I’m a little disappointed with the outcome (finished 7th).” The Sidney, BC driver still questions the pass for the lead. “If they paved another four feet inside the racetrack it would have been a legal pass.” Midgley’s last competitive race was back on March 14th when he drove the the Team NPP #81 Super Late Model to a 4th place finish at Arizona’s Tucson Speedway.
Team NPP driver Jason Frost had to overcome many obstacles for his 6th place finish Sunday night. The driver of the Northern Provincial Pipelines Ltd./The Keg Restaurant #81 Dodge kicked off the race weekend qualifying #1. Before the race was even 50 laps in his car began to lose power. “I had an alternator go.” The Victoria, BC driver did all he could to remain competitive. “I turned off the driver cooling fan, the dash lights and even the engine fan to save as much power as I could. I was just hoping to limp the car to the (halfway) break.” The caution flag flew for a single car spin just before the halfway point. Race organizers decided to call the halfway break at lap 92. Frost admits he got off lucky with this call. “We ended up being down just one lap. If it kept going green we would have been down many laps.” A new alternator was installed during the break.
“We knew the car was good,” says Frost, “if we could just get back on the lead lap we might have a chance to get back up to the front.” Frost had several cars in front of him that were also one lap down. “We had to pass five cars in order to take advantage of the lucky dog. Thanks to a caution flag, we got our lap back with about 70 laps to go.” Frost then began his march to the front. By lap 158 Frost was running fourth and had a front row seat for the action in front of him. “Both Carlson’s absolutely just pounded Darrell. Brandon hammered him in the door (to take the lead). The #41 did the same thing (for second).” Ironically Frost then got into the back of Midgley down the front straight at the end of the race. “Darrell was trying to get back into the groove (after contact with Spencer). I was trying to get into the same groove because it was open. I wanted to go after Spencer for second.” Frost and Midgley lost several positions as a result of the contact. “I feel awful. If I knew that was going to happen I would have let off and finished fourth.” Hundreds of thousands of fans turned on their televisions and computers to catch the action. CHEK TV, cable channels Rev TV in Canada and Speed Sport TV in the United States carried the broadcast live. Final viewership numbers won’t be known for a few weeks.
Some preliminary Western Speedway Canada 200 viewing numbers.
– 26,000 people watched the race live on FACEBOOK
– average number of viewers watching the Canada 200 on CHEK TV was 30,000
– more British Columbia residents were watching Sunday nights Canada 200 than the NHL playoff game between the Dallas Stars and Las Vegas Golden Knights.