Photos by Mike Francis
(GEARY, NB – August 29th, 2019) – SpeedWeekend 2019 at Speedway 660 in Geary, New Brunswick will officially go green on Saturday evening, August 31st, with the running of the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman 100. The top Late Model Sportsman drivers from across the Province are set to battle for 100-laps and the $3,000 winner’s prize to kick off the racing portion of the Labour Day Weekend classic. The local Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter and DMR Auto Street Stock divisions, who are a key part during the Saturday night programs throughout the season at Speedway 660, will play support to the 19th Annual McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250 on Sunday afternoon, September 1st. Post time for Saturday’s racing action is 5:30pm with qualifying on Sunday slated for a 2pm start.
The Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman division championship in 2019 came down to youth versus experience. Curtis Collins (Barnesville, NB), after coming home second a year prior in the championship chase, was able to outduel Richard Atkinson (Geary, NB) down the stretch to pick up his first Late Model division title. Collins scored an impressive five feature victories en route to the championship, was third in the Martin’s Home Heating 100 in June and was third in this race on SpeedWeekend 2018.
Atkinson had a revival type season in 2019. “The Old Musket” drove to victory lane in May during the Riverview Ford Lincoln Season Opener, becoming the first driver in Atlantic Canada to win with the new Five Star Late Model body. He’s been consistent down to the end of the year, having finished six of the last seven features in the top five with four of those being podium finishes. Consistency means nothing in a big event though and Atkinson will have to be on the top of his game to race home Saturday evening with the win.
Robert Raynes (Saint John, NB) raced to his first feature podium finish of the season last weekend during Night of Champions. He finished fourth in the overall standings behind Ryan Raynes (Saint John, NB). The younger Raynes has a pair of feature podium finishes to call his own on the year. They’ll be in tough like they are every Saturday night against fellow hometrack favorites including Clark Moore (Saint John, NB), Hudson Weston (Saint John, NB) and Destiny Enkel (Fredericton, NB).
Several part time drivers are planning on racing for the big win on Saturday night to kick off SpeedWeekend 2019. Drew Greenlaw (Eastport, ME) drove to Riverview Ford Lincoln Victory Lane last Saturday during the Night of Champions and will look to hoist the big cheque on Saturday evening. Luc McLaughlin (Geary, NB), in the No. 11 CB Warren’s Auto Care Sportsman, will be looking to cap his rookie Late Model season with a big SpeedWeekend triumph. Devin Snell (Saint John, NB) will be doing double duty on the weekend, piloting the No. 60 Pub’s Drive Thru Bottle Exchange Sportsman on Saturday night before sliding into the No. 10 Pro Stock Sunday for the McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250. Stock car veteran Former Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour rookie contender and stock car veteran Byron Bartlett (Rothesay, NB) will have his No. 7 car ready to roll on Saturday evening for 100-laps. Mark Harris (Rusagonis, NB) and Matt Maillet (Burton, NB) have each made a handful of starts this season in the Geary woods and Kyle Campbell (Salisbury, NB) was a part of the early season Martin’s Home Heating 100 field.
Laurie Cormier (Riverview, NB) and Brady Creamer (Miramichi, NB) have their eyes focused on a SpeedWeekend victory. Both have seen success at Speedway 660 and both have been in victory lane this year. Cormier’s win is the most recent between the pair, winning the 55th River Glade International at Petty Raceway one weekend ago. Creamer had a win at Petty Raceway early in August before heading to Scotia Speedworld to finish on the podium in their 100-lap feature on Toromont Cat 250 weekend. Creamer also took home an extended distance Sportsman race in Geary one season ago. The pair know their way around Speedway 660 and will certainly be a factor during the Martin’s Home Heating 100.
Sunday will see the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters race in their final big event of the season. The division has seen two 50-lap features in 2019 and will close the year off with a 35-lap feature in front of the SpeedWeekend crowd. Mike Weagle (Salisbury, NB) and Brody Levesque (Fredericton, NB) won the two extended distance races this year with rookie Tristan Harris (Harvey, NB) racing to a track title in the class. The class has seen car counts grow in leaps and bounds with an average of 20 cars showing up each Saturday evening for battle. With this being their biggest stage to race on and the final event of the year, expect the Sharp Shooters to leave it all on the track on Sunday afternoon.
Of note, the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters division produced nine different winners over 11 races. In addition to Weagle, Levesque and Harris, BJ Gillespie (Harvey, NB), Matt Martin (Haneytown, NB), rookie Jon Forsythe (Oromocto, NB), Ryan Bernard (Harvey, NB), Scott Kennie (Fredericton, NB) and Randy Titus (French Lake, NB) all found Riverview Ford Lincoln Victory Lane at least once in feature competition in 2019.
The DMR Auto Street Stock division saw a first time champion crowned in Chris Hanley (St. Stephen, NB). The class will compete in a 50-lap feature prior to the McLaughlin Roof Trusses Pro Stock 250 and you best believe Hanley will be looking to cap his championship season with a SpeedWeekend win. Roger Slocum (Chipman, NB) raced hard but finished second in the championship chase with veteran Rick Cashol (Saint John, NB) coming third in the standings. A total of 31 teams have competed in at least one DMR Auto Street Stock race in 2019, with six different feature winners emerging including Hanley, Slocum, Peter Martin (Saint John, NB), Michael Cormier (Grand-Barachois, NB), Shawn Hyslop (St. Stephen, NB) and Courtney O’Blenis (Boundary Creek, NB).
SpeedWeeekend 2019 kicks off on Friday, August 30th with the popular weekend corn boil, bonfire and pre-event concert featuring The Walking Contradictions with DJ Dale Case spinning tunes throughout the evening. The festivities get underway on Friday evening at 7pm.
The racing action on SpeedWeekend 2019 begins on Saturday, August 31st at 5:30pm with the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman 100 as the opening act for the two day short track showcase. The Maritime League of Legends Tour will contest INEX sanctioned action on Saturday a 50-lap INEX National Qualifier for Legends and the 25-lap Tim’s Corner Motorsports Bandolero Blast Part One. Joining the Sportsman, Legend and Bandolero competitors on Saturday will be the Passione Flooring & Interiors East Coast Mini Stock Tour racing in the Pub’s Drive Thru Bottle Exchange 50.
The racing action gets underway at 2pm on Sunday, September 1st with qualifying for the 19th Annual McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250. In addition to the Pro Stock action, the DMR Auto Street Stock, Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter and Tim’s Corner Motorsports Bandolero divisions will be in action along with the Atlantic Modified Tour.
Advance tickets and campsites are available now by calling the Speedway 660 office at (506) 454-7223. Laps for the McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250 are also available now for $50 each, with the money pledged going into the pocket of the leader of that sponsored lap.
For more information about SpeedWeekend 2019, or any event at Speedway 660, visit Speedway660.com, like @Speedway660 on Facebook or call the Speedway 660 Raceline at (506) 454-7223.
About Speedway 660:
Speedway 660 is one of Canada’s premier stock car racing facilities. Located in New Brunswick’s Fredericton region, it attracts race teams and fans from the Maritimes, New England and Quebec. The Speedway 660 racing season runs from mid May until Labour Day Weekend. SpeedWeekend, one of the most prestigious short track events in eastern North America, wraps up Speedway 660’s racing season.