The Martins Home Heating Sportsman Division has provided fans with plenty of exciting action over the years at Speedway 660. This weekend we expect a strong field of competitors for our region’s first big sportsman race of 2013. Wade Wilson talked with Brent Roy about his racing career and this weekend’s race.
Wade: Right off the top let’s get this one out of the way. Do you receive any special or preferential treatment now that your parents are co-owners of Speedway 660?
Brent: I’m glad you asked that question. I am the only racer who has an open invitation to sit at my parent’s kitchen table anytime I want and eat my mom’s awesome home cooking. But when it comes to Speedway 660, I am just another race car driver. I expect to be treated the same as everyone else. I have worked hard over the years to hopefully earn the respect of the other drivers and Speedway 660 fans. My parents and their friends the Foleys are the new owners of the race track and I wish them well. However my main focus is keeping the Camry Kid racing program at the front of the field each and every week.
Wade: You aren’t the first driver to be related to folks who have owned a race track.
Brent: I am told that Jerry O’Leary, who built the track, raced a pro stock and his son David ran a sportsman car in the early years of Speedway 660. Down in Nova Scotia, Donald Chisholm runs a car at Riverside International Speedway – a track John Chisholm owns. I wonder if they’re related? Yeah, it’s happened before and I am sure it will happen again. Personally I think it’s the best thing for track owners to have experience in racing. My family played a big role in my racing career long before they bought Speedway 660. I believe it shows their true passion for the sport and it also gives them a perspective from the other side of Pit Lane so-to-speak.
Wade: How did you get started in racing?
Brent: When I was nine, my Mom made the mistake of taking me to a Go-Kart race in Moncton. At the time we didn’t have a karting club in the Fredericton area, so Mom made, what she thought was a safe promise in saying “if Fredericton ever gets a kart club we’ll get you one”. NBKC was born the following year, and yours truly was one of the many Fredericton Rookies in the Novice Division.
Brent Roy is hoping this is his year to win the Martins Home Heating Sportsman 100. After finishing third in last year’s race behind Ken MacKenzie and Dave O’Blenis “The Camry Kid” would like to make a trip to Speedway 660′s Riverview Ford Lincoln Victory Lane this Saturday night.
Wade: When you first jumped into a Sportsman car you were still in high school. At the time you were our youngest driver. What were those first few years like for you?
Brent: The first race was something else. We did a few test laps by ourselves one night and I thought to myself “hey this ain’t half bad!” Then they put me on the track with 22 other crazy fools. My first goal was to keep the doors on the car and not ruffle the feathers of the front runners. My second goal was to finish on the lead lap, and after three starts we did just that. The second year we accomplish a feat that’s special to any racer, our first win. We battled door to door with Randy Moore for 25 or more laps, and ended up getting the win by a nose at the end. After that, I felt the pressure come off my shoulders a little. I’m 23 now, and over a decade older then some of the competitors at the track, but they still call me a “Kid”.
Wade: We’re seeing a real youth movement at Speedway 660. The Westwood Estate Apartments Bandolero and Fredericton Jewelers 4 cylinder divisions are a great place for kids to start racing. What advice do you have for our youngest racers?
Brent: You gotta cut your teeth somewhere and the Bandolero’s and 4 Cylinders seem to be an excellent place to do it. Every race day before the national anthems, I always go to Joyce’s pit stop, grab a poutine, and watch the bando and 4 cylinder heats from the main grand stands. Some of these guys and gals might be young, but they sure know how to wheel a race car! The most important advice I have for the young drivers is to race other people the same way you want to be raced. No one wants to bring a wrecked car home every week, but everyone loves to see a few sparks fly every now and then.
Wade: You seem to be pretty comfortable in a sportsman car. Have you ever thought about moving up to the RE/MAX Group Four Realty Pro Stock division?
Brent: Man has there ever been a lot of guys move up to Pro Stock this year! Calvin Rankin, Glyn Nott, Dana Hamm-Cameron, I even heard Johnny Rankin has a Pro Stock sitting somewhere! Well you might as well add my name to the list for 2014, because we’re currently in the beginning stages of building a Pro Stock car of our very own. Not to fear though, we won’t be getting rid of our Sportsman car! I’m a little biased, but I still think Speedway 660’s 100 and 150 lap Sportsman races sometimes prove to be a better show than the Pro Stocks!
Wade: Most of the time drivers get all of the credit and glory for winning races and championships. But this is a team sport. Tell us about your crew and what they do to help make you competitive every week?
Brent: The crew I have standing behind me, is the main reason we’re able to park the car under the flag stand or in the Riverview Ford Lincoln Victory Lane after the features. I can’t remember how many times we’ve fired up the car at 1:30AM or set it on the scales at 2AM, and the guys are always right there with me until the shop lights turn off. Steve, Wyatt, Keith, Chad and both Kyles help make sure everything is 100% before we hit the track every week. I can’t forget my Dad Max, Mom Shawna, and sister Michelle who look after more stuff behind the scenes. Turning the wheel every weekend is the easy part.
Wade: And every good race team needs corporate support. Who are the sponsors who make it possible for you to go racing every week?
Brent: One of the proudest things I say anytime I get a chance is how many years Service Master Clean has supported my racing efforts. They were my very first sponsor, twelve years ago when Mama Roy made a promise to help me get into racing, and they’ve been supporting us ever since. But they aren’t our only sponsor. We also have long standing relationships with Clark Toyota, Dionne Signs, Bates Custom Laminating and Framing, Tucker Appraisals Ltd, Top Choice Automotive and the Canadian Tire Gas Bars in Fredericton and Oromocto. Sewell’s Paving also came onboard with the team in 2012, and we’ve been excited to see their enthusiasm for us and the sport. Michelle Roy of Re/Max Group 4 Realty has also been a long time supporter of her little brother! I’d also like to thank Anne and Richard, from Martins Home Heating for sponsoring the Sportsman division. All of the race teams really appreciate their support and commitment to our brand of racing.
Wade: This weekend Speedway 660 runs the Martins Home Heat Sportsman 100. It pays three grand to win! This will be one of the toughest races of the year. What are you doing this week to make sure you are ready to make a strong run?
Brent: Three Grand! If we could win a couple of these races we might be able to put that Pro Stock on the track sooner rather than later! This race in particular is tough because you don’t get a break. You do 100 laps on the same tires and same tank of fuel you started with. Everyone from across the Maritimes will be bringing a sportsman car for their shot at that three grand, so we have to be at the top of our game to defend our home turf. And I’ll bet we’ll see O’Blenis, Mackenzie, Nott, Sommerville and maybe another Pro Stocker or two show up in Sportsman cars and be at the top of the practice sheet on Saturday. Luck is 50% preparation, and this week we’ll lay a wrench on every single nut and bolt we can find to make sure that a 7 dollar part doesn’t cost us $3000.
Wade: It took Glyn Nott 14 years to win our sportsman championship. It’s a difficult title to win for anyone not named Brian Gillespie! You have been in the thick of things for the last few years in this division. Could 2013 be the year for the Camry Kid?
Brent: I would like to think so Wade, I’ve had a lot of people tell me they’re cheering for us. The truth is this division is so tough, every single one of the guys and teams do their homework and improve just a little, each and every week. The trick is you have to try to be one step ahead and bring something just a little bit better then the next guy. Guys like Greg Fahey, Matt Rogers, Richard Atkinson and Randy Moore are going to be there to capitalize when you make a mistake, and that’s what makes the Martins Home Heating Sportsman Division so fun to watch.
Wade: Good luck this weekend and thanks for doing this.
Brent: Thanks Wade! Hopefully we’ll be talking to you at the end of 100 laps with the Champagne flying.