(Aug. 23, 2017) Congratulations to all of the drivers who brought home the 2017 Speedway 660 championships and rookie of the year awards last Sunday. They all are deserving winners – not just great competitive race car drivers but real good sports too. I know the focus was on champions and rookies last weekend, but something else excited race fans too.
Had it not been the Night of Champions or in this year’s case the Day of Champions, the big story of August 20th would have been the results of the Sportsman feature. For the first time in the history of Speedway 660 and perhaps any track in the Maritimes, two young ladies finished first and second in one of the top classes.I’ll bet the O’Blenis sisters dreamed of this scenario long before they ever jumped into Sportsman cars. Coming to the finish line first and second, in Sunday’s feature, was a pretty big deal!
Courtney and Alexandra O’Blenis were pretty amazing last Sunday afternoon. They swapped the lead three or four times in the final five laps, raced each other hard and crossed the finish line a split second apart. Our crowd was appreciative of their efforts and gave the girls a huge, well deserved round of applause.You could feel the joy as the girls celebrated their amazing accomplishment. These are the moments we live for as fans and last Sunday was a day to long remember.
Dave O’Blenis, five-time Pro Stock champion at 660, is one of the classiest race car drivers you’ll ever meet. And his girls have been around the sport since they were born. I’m sure they hung around the shop when they were little and I know they came to the races back then too.
So it’s little wonder they wanted to follow in their father’s footsteps and drive race cars. They started in Bandolero and were pretty good little drivers and had lots of fun too. To Dave’s credit he insisted they work their way up through the ranks. He made sure they got to experience the “old school” Street Stock division. Dave has supported his girl’s racing careers every step of the way. The O’Blenis girls, following in the footsteps of their famous Dad, have become two of the most talented young drivers in Canada.
He wanted them to get used to the bigger, heavier rear-wheel drive, steel body cars and I’m sure he wanted them to race against guys like Rick Cashol, Rob Raynes and Roger Slocum. Both girls worked their way through Street Stock and only when Dad figured they were ready, were they given the green light to move up to Sportsman.The girls learned a lot about the “give and take” of racing in the DMR Auto Sales Street Stock division. Before moving up to Sportsman, Courtney had a wicked rivalry with Rob Raynes and proved she could handle the “rough and tumble” world of Street Stock racing.
It’s been fun watching the O’Blenis girls grow up in racing. As a matter of fact, it’s been a blast watching all of the kids grow up in racing. When Brent Roy was just a little fellow, he used to run up the stairs to the announce booth to answer trivia questions and win prizes. Now he’s the 2017 RE/MAX Group Four Realty Pro Stock champ. Dustin Tucker used to sweep the floor in his father’s race shop before he became one of the rising stars in our sport.It seems like yesterday that Brent Roy was one of the little kids watching the races from the stands. Now he’s a proud Dad and the 2017 RE/MAX Group Four Realty Pro Stock champion!
The list goes on and on. Jacob Logan, Ryan Messer, Ashton Tucker, Destiny Enkel, Allison Hall, Riley Goodwin, Sarah McKay, Matt and Andrew Rodgers, Noah and BJ Gillespie, Drew Greenlaw, Curtis Collins, Hudson Weston and Ian Rasmussen are just a few of the kids we’ve seen come into our sport in recent years. They’ve all gone from being cute little kids, wanting to drive race cars, to some of the best young talent in Canada.Little Ryan Messer won the 2010 Bandolero championship at Speedway 660. Two years ago he was the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman Rookie of the Year, last season he was Sportsman champ and this season he is the RE/MAX Group Four Realty Pro Stock Rookie of the Year.
What we saw Sunday afternoon was pretty amazing because Courtney and Alexandra, two of the best drivers in our sport, were racing each other hard for the win. The fact that they are sisters made the finish that much more exciting. But it should no longer surprise anyone that young ladies are thrilling fans with exciting finishes.
Alexandra had a message for all girls in her post race interview on Sunday. She said if they dreamed of driving a race car they should follow their dream. But her message was much more than that – she was encouraging girls to follow their dreams, no matter what those dreams might be, and to be the best they can be. Alexandra, Courtney and the other young lady drivers at Speedway 660 are real role models for young girls everywhere. Their dreams of being awesome race car drivers have come true.Alexandra had a positive message for all of the girls in the stands last Sunday afternoon. The O’Blenis girls are great race cars drivers, but they are even greater role models.
SpeedWeekend is just around the corner and folks are working hard down at the track getting ready to welcome everybody to Speedway 660. Race teams and fans are getting prepared to travel here for the biggest weekend of racing in Atlantic Canada. It’s going to be awesome.
Pit Row TV will be providing live coverage of SpeedWeekend through a kind of “pay-per-view” web broadcast. That’s great for folks who aren’t able to get out to Speedway 660 for the weekend, particularly for the families and friends of visiting drivers back home in New England, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. There are also Speedway 660 fans who have moved out west and other places who would be interested in seeing the races. So let everyone know about this option and check out PitRow.TV.com for more info.
The next edition of the Weekly will be a full-blown SpeedWeekend advancer. I can’t wait to see whose dreams come true on SpeedWeekend.
We’ll see you at the races!