Known to fans as the Thrillbilly, Lane Zardo thrilled the fans in 2013 with the variety of racing that he did.
“Overall, I'd say it was a good learning season,” he said. “After being so victorious early on in my career, I had to deal with a lot of car troubles and frustration.”
Racing his No. 46 Holmes on Homes and National Exhaust Super Stock every week at Sunset Speedway, Zardo was fast every week – though went through some tough weekends, ranging from mechanical issues to getting involved in incidents. Still, the young driver had a solid season as he finished second in points with a feature win and 13 top fives in the 14 features. He also capped the year off with 14 heat wins and an average finish of 2.16 across the 28 heats that were run.
Of course, the Ontario racing scene always caps their season off with a bang – the Autumn Colours Classic. To say that it was eventful for Zardo…well….that would describe it and then some.
The weekend didn’t start off on the best note as in Friday’s practice session, he rolled the car over when the driveshaft broke.
“My crew went straight to work with me to get it out for our heat,” he said. “Their probably wasn't 10 drivers out of the 200 that didn't ask if I was okay, or lend a hand. Being able to race my way to almost the top 5 with a car that beat up was a definite point that my crew and I don't mess around.”
With five laps to go in the feature, he was running inside the top 10, though found himself up on the wall after contact happened in a process of racing for positions late in the race.
“The season defiantly ended with a bang at the end, but I'm proud of the way my crew worked, and the way I reacted,” he said. “Instead of acting like a jerk like I have witnessed before, I did what I normally did to show I was okay - I made people laugh. The fan response when I got out is something I will remember for the rest of my life!”
Beyond driving his super stock, he also drove a late model and a modified throughout the season.
“I got to take very large steps, racing for new car owners such as John Mombourqutte, George Woods, and Chuck Marsh,” he said. “I also competed in a 100 lap race, which was an insane feeling to have so many people support me.”
Zardo made his modified debut this year early in the year at Sunset Speedway and said it was a comfortable.
“The raw power was made up with the traction and tires they use,” he said. “Felt almost like a Super Stock. I only noticed more speed in the corners to be honest. I got the chance to race Kawartha, which was cool considering I've only run it in a 4-cyl before. Defiantly something I might want to look forward to in the 2014 season.”
The weekend that the Kawartha event was held brought forth a unique opportunity. Across a two-day period – Saturday and Sunday – Zardo drove three different cars.
“My favorite part of the year was doing double duty one night with my own super stock, and Mombourqutte’s late model on a Saturday at Sunset Speedway, then going to Kawartha Speedway on the Sunday,” he said. “Racing three feature races, in three different cars, in two days, at two tracks was a very cool experience. I had to adjust my driving style, and how I talked with my pit crew for set ups. Made me feel like Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, or even Kenny Wallace!”
With a season like that, the options for next year are in full swing and there have been rumors of Zardo either remaining in Super Stock, or possibly moving up.
“Instead of setting the record straight, I'm just going to let the rumors keep flying,” he said. “One thing is for sure. Come spring next year, people will be surprised.”