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Andrew Morgan stands next to the Dodge Neon he started out with five years ago – the same car that he flew the checkered flag from on July 28.
Andrew Morgan stands next to the Dodge Neon he started out with five years ago – the same car that he flew the checkered flag from on July 28. - Chris Lewis

CARBONEAR, N.L. — After an eventful season, Andrew Morgan came out on top of the standings recently at Eastbound Raceway.

Morgan, a Carbonear native, has been putting his skills as a driver to the test at Eastbound Speedway for approximately five years.

Andrew Morgan proudly flying the flag from the window of his car at Eastbound Speedway.
Andrew Morgan proudly flying the flag from the window of his car at Eastbound Speedway.

Throughout those years, he’s seen plenty of ups and downs, and plenty of kilometres driven around the track. All that hard work paid off last month, as Morgan recently came home with a first-place overall win for the first time in his racing career.

In the last five years, Morgan has crossed the finish line time and time again as he improved himself as a driver and competitor. Driving in the Hobby Stock Series, he is no stranger to high speeds and thrilling rides around the track. However, July 28 will always stand out in Morgan’s career as the day he was handed the esteemed checkered flag – a symbol of his prowess as a driver, and growth over the years.

“It almost didn’t feel real, to tell you the truth,” Morgan said, sitting next to his Dodge Neon that took him across the finish line this year. It’s also the same car he drove in his first two years as a competitor.

“I didn’t even have my window ready to grab the flag when I got around. But it’s a very proud moment for me, and I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face when I drove around with the flag. Definitely one I won’t forget anytime soon.”

Morgan initially got into racing when he and his wife went to visit Salmonier Nature Park. After finding out the park had closed for the day, the two decided to instead visit Eastbound Speedway for the first time.

“We saw a sign on the side of the highway – ‘races today’ it said – so we popped in to see what it was all about,” Morgan explained. “I was never up there before, but I think about two weeks later I had a car for it.”

Morgan can usually be found in his garage, where he spends countless hours working on his vehicles, ensuring they’re up to the sometimes-dangerous task of whipping around the turns of the 3/8-mile asphalt track in Avondale.

Andrew Morgan’s car mid barrel roll during one of the early races of the season. The accident is what led to him rebuilding his original Dodge Neon.
Andrew Morgan’s car mid barrel roll during one of the early races of the season. The accident is what led to him rebuilding his original Dodge Neon.

Morgan himself knows just how tricky the races can be to maneuver at times. During the second week of races, Morgan experienced one of the biggest crashes of his career – a barrel roll that saw his vehicle go from race-ready to useless on the track in a matter of seconds.

“I was going for the win, that’s the best way to put it,” Morgan said of the roll, followed by a bout of laughter. “Those kinds of things are pretty rare, but you always have to keep in mind that it can happen. I went wide on a turn, and could just get a bumper ahead of the guy in front of me. The car broke loose, and I hooked onto it the wrong way. That was that. At the end of the day, we build these cars to take a beating – that’s what we’re prepared for.”

Although Morgan’s car rolled a number of times before coming to a halt just past the finish line, Morgan himself came out unscathed, albeit slightly shaken up. Despite this, he was ready to go again the next week with the same Dodge Neon he had started out with five years ago.

“The car I rolled? That one’s gone. Done. In the scrapyard, probably destroyed by now,” Morgan said. “(The Dodge Neon) is the one I started out with, and the one I raced for about two years.

“We had her pretty well scrapped – she spent two years in the garage without even a motor in her. We kept her around, just in case this kind of thing happened and we needed to get something out on the pavement. We had to build her from the ground up pretty much – it was a lot of work, but obviously it all worked out.”

Now, with his first feature win under his belt, Morgan is even more excited about the future of his racing career. It’s this love of the sport that’s kept him going through it all, and it’s that same passion that will keep him going in years to come.

“I just love everything about it. It’s my passion to be doing this, and I don’t see myself giving up any time soon. Especially not now.”

chris.lewis@cbncompass.ca

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