Photos by Ernest Pothier and Mike Francis
(GEARY, NB – August 30th, 2019) – The Atlantic Modified Tour will bring their unique brand of racing to New Brunswick’s biggest short track stock car racing weekend this Sunday. The 35-lap feature kicks off a busy month of September with three races for the New Brunswick touring series over the next four weekends. The SpeedWeekend 2019 race is the only stop at Speedway 660 for the Tour in 2019. Racing action on Sunday, which is anchored by the 19th Annual McLaughlin Roof Trusses Pro Stock 250, gets underway at 2pm with qualifying.
The Atlantic Modified Tour enters Speedway 660 with a tight point battle on their hands. At the top, it is the experience of Yves McCray (Neguac, NB) pitted against former Atlantic Modified Tour titlist Brandon Skidmore (Springhill, NS). McCray is a former Late Model Sportsman standout in the Province and Skidmore has experience racing in Speedway 660 on a weekly basis in a RE/MAX East Coast Elite Realty Pro Stock. Both returned to the Atlantic Modified Tour in 2018 and are a part of the resurgence the Series has seen over the last 18 month.
With drop races factored into their point chase, it is Skidmore with a slim three point advantage on McCray. McCray has the edge on Skidmore on wins with McCray winning three events to Skidmore’s two. Both have won races at the two venues the Series has contested races at in 2019, Petty International Raceway and Speedway Miramichi. The 35-lap feature on Sunday could ultimately swing the momentum and the subsequent championship title hopes one way or another between the No. 58 and No. 84 teams.
The most recent win on the Series went to Chris Wilson (South Esk, NB). It was an emotional victory for Wilson and the entire No. 2W team on August 17th at Petty International Raceway as it was his first feature win on the Tour. Unlike most of the Atlantic Modified Tour field that will be on track on Sunday, Wilson has laps at Speedway 660 in DMR Auto Street Stock competition with his most recent start coming at the Night of Champions one week ago.
The other feature win to be accounted for in the first seven rounds on the Atlantic Modified Tour was taken by Doug Matchett (Miramichi, NB). The man they call “Mr. Excitement” was the Miramichi Modified champion in 2018 and his Tour win in 2019 came at his home race track. Matchett is always a contender when the Series rolls into Speedway 660 and will be on the hunt for a checkered flag on Sunday.
Another prime example of former Late Model stars finding a home in the Atlantic Modified Tour with the youth versus experience theme is Zean Dutcher (Miramichi, NB) and Braxton Stafford (Blackville, NB). Stafford has visited Riverview Ford Lincoln Victory Lane on several occasions while Dutcher’s resume includes a River Glade International title and several extended distance Sportsman features at Speedway 660 in the 90’s. Both would have to be considered favorites to sneak out of SpeedWeekend with a victory on Sunday. “The Racing Ranger” Kim Hallihan (Renous, NB) has also called the Atlantic Modified Tour home in 2019 and will be a factor on Sunday if the No. 97 takes the green flag in the Geary woods.
Travis Conroy (Miramichi, NB) is the top rookie on the Atlantic Modified Tour heading into his first SpeedWeekend. Conroy made the move from the Mini Stock division at Speedway Miramichi in 2018 where he not only took home feature victories but garnered the respect of other drivers and fans alike. The No. 7 team is coming off an August 17th race at Petty Raceway where Conroy led half the feature event. Conroy will look to impress in his first trip to the Geary woods in the 35-lap feature on Sunday afternoon.
Brody Levesque (Fredericton, NB) will be a busy driver on Sunday afternoon. Not only is Levesque gearing up for his first Atlantic Modified Tour start of the season, he will be doing double duty. Levesque, a feature winner and the runner-up in the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters, will also be digging out his Street Stock to race on Sunday afternoon.
The talent is deep enough in this field that we have yet to mention the reigning champion of the Series or the defending SpeedWeekend winner for the Atlantic Modified Tour! Joe Hoyt (Waasis, NB) and Kevin Bailey (Minto, NB) will be tough customers on Sunday when the green flag flies. Hoyt, the 2018 Atlantic Modified Tour champion, won the first of two visits to the Geary woods last Summer. When the Tour returned, it was Bailey parking his car in Riverview Ford Lincoln Victory Lane.
Greg Butler (Hoyt, NB) and Steven Curtis (South Esk, NB) are sure to have something to say before the checkered flag flies on Sunday afternoon. Butler is a former Bandolero standout in the Province while Curtis raced for numerous years on the Eastern Super Mini Cup Series before making the jump to the Atlantic Modified Tour.
Also among the 17 car expected entry list for the Atlantic Modified Tour 35 include Stacy Madore, Kevin Brideau, Riley Frost, Tyson Donovan and John Lyons.
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.