Well here we are heading into the long holiday weekend in August. At this point of the season, we usually are anxious to have a little break and get ready for a busy August. But this year, we’ve lost several races to rain-outs, so it’s going to be easy to look past this weekend in anticipation of what’s to come in August.
I was pretty amazed with what we saw at the Best of the Best Pro Stock 150. After getting rained-out on Saturday night, a nice mix of veterans and rookies came out on Sunday afternoon and provided our fans with some great racing from the front to the back from lap one to lap 150.
Big Kevin Moore roared out to the early lead and held the point for 17 laps before Lonnie Sommerville jumped into first place. From lap 18 to 136 Lonnie and Dave O’Blenis swapped the lead nine or ten times with O’Blenis taking his Irving Blending & Packaging number 48 over to the front for good on lap 136. Dave ended up in the Riverview Ford Lincoln Victory Lane, while Sommerville settled for 2nd and considering it was his first race of the season, Matt Harris had an impressive 3rd place finish!
Fans were treated to tight racing on Sunday afternoon with intense action in the Best of the Best Pro Stock 150. On lap 17 Lonnie Sommerville (#23) passes Kevin Moore for the lead. Dave O’Blenis, Derek Christie and Matt Harris also ran up near the front all day with O’Blenis’s #48 eventually taking the checkered flag.
What really amazed me was the response from all three of these drivers after Joe Barrieau waved the checkered flag. Both O’Blenis and Sommerville were not happy with the way their cars handled and Harris claimed his lack of racing this year made him a little rusty behind the wheel.
This reminds me of that old Steve Earle song: “I Ain’t Ever Satisfied”. And why aren’t Dave, Lonnie and Matt satisfied? Well they all know that when SpeedWeekend rolls around they are going to have to be better, MUCH BETTER if they want to have a chance to win the biggest race of the year.
Lonnie is a two-time Auto Value 250 winner. Dave has won it once, while Matt came home third last year. All of these guys have good equipment and lots of talent, but they all know the competition level is going to go from very good last Sunday afternoon to EXTREME on SpeedWeekend. And you don’t win the Auto Value 250 with an ill-handling race car or if you aren’t at the top of your game in the driver’s seat.
I think it’s great that our drivers are always pushing themselves to be the best they can be. That forces everyone else to up their game too. It won’t be long before we see who rises to the occasion and takes the 2013 Auto Value 250 trophy home on SpeedWeekend.
Speaking of rising to the occasion, how about Brady Creamer? The young Miramichier loves the competition at Speedway 660. But until last Sunday, he never really had a lot of success here. But all that changed as the young driver won the Jensen Financial Group Triple Crown Award. He won his heat, the dash and the Martins Home Heating Sportsman feature. You could really feel the joy and pride come through in his post race interview. Now Brady can’t wait to ride his momentum into the Firecracker 150 on August 10th .
And what about Andrew Rodgers? This kid not only has three straight second place Sportsman feature finishes, he’s become a real crowd favourite and a bona fide championship contender! Not bad considering he’s barely 16 years of age and getting ready to go back to Hampton High this fall!
DMR Auto Sales & Service Street Stock racing is incredible in 2013. A great group of young rookies have revitalized this division. T.J. “Hollywood” Madore (#7) is one of these impressive rookies. On Sunday afternoon, “Hollywood” dove down low to miss an early dust-up and drove to a 4th place feature finish!
And while we’re on the subject of kids, the veterans in the DMR Auto Sales & Service Street Stock Division must be wondering what the heck is going on. On Sunday three of the top four spots in the feature went to rookies. Luc MacLaughlin, after a bit of a run-in with Rob Raynes a few weeks ago, responded by winning the 20 lapper last weekend. Kenny Jr. (MacKenzie) took 2nd place and T.J. “Hollywood” Madore was 4th . Never, in the 20 year history of Speedway 660, have we seen so many good young drivers. Not just in street stock, but in all of our divisions.
Cole Boudreau, another amazing kid, made his RE/MAX Group Four Realty Pro Stock debut on Sunday. The 2012 West Wood Estate Apartments Bandolero champion looked pretty good too. Cole stayed out of trouble, earned the respect of the veteran pro stockers, brought the car home in one piece and grabbed a top ten finish. Pretty impressive for the boy with the big smile from Chipman!
Cole Boudreau (#00) races hard against Brian Gillespie (#69) and Jason Carnahan (#55) during the Best of the Best 150 last Sunday. Cole showed Speedway 660 fans that he’s ready to play with the Big Boys by racing to a 10th place finish.
Another big story from last weekend involved Team Tucker. Shawn is riding high after winning the IWK 250 and jumped from 19th early in the season to third in the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour points. Everybody figured Shawn would use that momentum to his advantage and be the favourite heading into the Best of the Best 150. But, as first reported by Nick Murray in the Daily Gleaner, Shawn announced he was stepping aside to allow his son Dustin the opportunity to get some seat time.
Shawn gave up a chance to earn a guaranteed spot in the Auto Value 250 so his son could get some valuable on-track experience. Now I can`t imagine that Shawn won`t race his way into the biggest race of the year on SpeedWeekend, but still it`s great to see a father making that kind of sacrifice for his boy. And Dustin did a pretty good job in the Best of the Best too. Like Cole Boudreau and young Dana Hamm, Dustin got some valuable experience and stayed out of trouble. I`d say it won`t be long before those three kids start lighting up the RE/MAX Group Four Realty Pro Stock Division.
I want to thank Tim Terry, the Parts for Trucks Tour announcer, for providing expert colour commentary during the Best of the Best 150 on Sunday. I`m hoping Tim will join me, during SpeedWeekend, in the tower. He does a great job and it`s always a pleasure to work with him.
While Sunday may have belonged to the rising young stars at Speedway 660, we took time to recognize some of the Hero’s of our sport. In the parade lap we honoured all of our former Street Stock champs, including Rick Cashol (left) a five time champ who is still racing and in contention for a sixth title this year and the legendary “Smokin” Joe Albert, who is the most popular driver in the history of Speedway 660.
So this is our regularly scheduled weekend off. But we’ll be back for a double header weekend on Saturday, August 10th with the Sportsman Firecracker 150 and Sunday, August 11th with the 2nd Enduro of the season. Then we have two more championship point races on August 17th and 24th , before SpeedWeekend comes our way from August 30th to September 2nd.
So enjoy this weekend off, catch your breath and get ready for an awesome stretch run at Speedway 660. We’ll see you at the races!