The racing season at Speedway 660 wrapped up with an exciting and entertaining SpeedWeekend. Despite rainouts in three of our first five events, 2011 was a great season in the Geary Woods. We saw some awesome racing in what was “The Year of the Kids”.
Bando Girls and Boys
We expected to see the youngsters flourish in the Hanwell Village Mart Bandolero division. Dana Hamm-Cameron won three features in a row on his way to the championship. Cole Boudreau had a terrific second half. Kenny MacKenzie Jr. picked up the pace and Ryan Messer was uninjured in the most spectacular wreck of the season in any division!
And the girls were great too. Alicia Mowat put lots of pressure on young Dana in the title chase. Courtney and Alexandra, the O’Blenis girls, really improved during the season. Alicia and Alexandra both won feature races.
More Successful Kids
But the youngsters were not just providing fans with thrills in the Bandoleros. We saw a youth movement in every division. Gregory Cashol won a feature in a four cylinder car this year. The grandson of five time street stock champ Rick Cashol has great potential and don’t be surprised if Greg lands at Speedway 660 in a street stock in a year or so.
Speaking of the RV World Street Stocks, a couple of high schoolers showed us a thing or two this summer. Peter Martin, the former go-karter and Bando driver, had a solid season (10th in points). And 14 year old Andrew Rodgers won a feature and finished 11th in points. With Smokin Joe Albert retiring, it’s good to see these kids step up in street stock.
Youth Movement in Sportsman and Pro Stocks Too
In the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman Division, Andrew’s brother Matt Rodgers had a feature win and finished 6th in points. Matt, who out-dueled Glyn Nott and Ken MacKenzie to win that feature, started grade 11 last week! Both Rodgers boys have great potential.
In the O’Leary Auto Group Pro Stocks we also saw a couple of kids compete. I was sure glad to see Colter Wiggins step into his dad’s pro stock around mid-season. Colter did a great job learning how to handle the big pro stock machine and had an awesome run in the AutoValue 250. He finished 13th out of 28 and to me that’s very impressive!
Steve Halpin might not like me calling him a kid, but in my books he still is a young pup. And this young pup had a solid pro stock rookie season capping it off with a podium finish in the 250. I liked the way he handled a Sportsman car in recent seasons and he sure made a smooth transition into a pro stock in 2011.
So, with the kids making a splash in every Speedway 660 division the future looks bright for racing in our neck of the woods.
An Important Challenge
It takes a lot of cash to run a race car and sponsors are crucial to our sport. I just hope the economy improves and more businesses are able to step up and take on sponsorship roles. Without new sponsors it will be more challenging for racing to continue to grow, even though we’ve got a youth movement underway.
And that brings me to this important point. If you are a Speedway 660 fan, please support our sponsors. When I say “our sponsors” I mean track sponsors and individual car sponsors. Whenever possible please buy their products and use their services. And also tell them you are a race fan and appreciate their involvement and support.
My Saturday Night Hero of the Year
I’ve had a lot of fun picking a Saturday Night Hero for every week this season. I had no idea that fans and drivers paid all that much attention to this web column, but I’ve had a lot of comments and advice about these weekly picks.
Several drivers had great seasons in 2011and it took me awhile to pick just one of them as my Saturday Night Hero of the Year. But after much thought, I finally decided on Greg Fahey. Very quietly Greg won every pro stock point race. He won the Best of the Best Pro Stock 150. He finished 2nd behind Shawn Tucker in the Parts for Trucks 100. And if Ben Rowe hadn’t slid into him in the final laps of the AutoValue 250, I believe “The Rocket-Man” would have had a podium finish in that race too.
Greg has piloted “The Rexall Rocket” to three pro stock titles in four years and that makes Greg Fahey my Saturday Night Hero of the Year.
My word count is way too long this week, but if you are still reading along I want to thank all of our fans and sponsors for making 2011 a successful season. Drivers, crews and all of their families deserve credit too. I want to thank Steve and Tracy Burns and Chris Johnston for allowing me to be the voice of Speedway 660. And I want to thank all of the employees and volunteers for their awesome efforts this year.
Have a great fall and winter. Be safe and we’ll see you in the spring for Speedway 660’s 2012 season!