Most short track race teams run Chevys or Fords. But you won’t find a bow-tie or blue oval on the front of George Jamieson’s race-car. Jamieson, a veteran Martins Home Heating Sportsman driver, is a dedicated Dodge man. Wade Wilson recently talked with George about racing and his passion for Dodges!
Talkin with George Jamieson
Wade: Hello George. Tell us how and when you got into racing and what keeps you coming back to the track to compete in our Sportsman division every year?
George: I started almost twenty years ago. I went on a road trip and watched one of those NASCAR races in person. And that pretty much did it for me. I caught the bug and thought I would try it. Luckily Speedway 660 was fairly new and since there was racing right here, it was easy to get involved. Since I already worked on cars for fun, I started building a race car for the next year.George Jamieson is proud to carry the Dodge colours at Speedway 660. George has a couple of podium finishes this year and hopes that kind of consistency could put him in the 2014 Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman championship picture.
Wade: The short track racing world is dominated by Chevrolets. You see some Fords too, but very rarely see a Dodge. Why do you think it’s that way?
George: One of the biggest reasons more people race Chevys is because parts are a lot easier to get. Also, ninety percent of the chassis builders, like Tucker Racing, build Chevy chassis. Also, the engines and other parts are cheaper to buy.
Wade: Have you always been a Dodge man and how did you start this love-affair?
George: Yes, I have been a Dodge man all my life. It goes back to when I was a kid, growing up, my family always owned Dodges so that’s where it all started. I liked Dodges back then and I still like them today. Besides that, I find them easy to work on. George Jamieson has always been a pretty good “wrench-man”. George’s family always drove Dodge’s, so when he decided to go racing at Speedway 660, it was obvious he was going to fly the Dodge colours!
Wade: Do all the Chevy and Ford guys give you a hard time and what’s it like being the lone wolf out there on the track?
George: Yeah sure they do, but I’m used to it by now. They like to brag about how good their Chevys are, but I have always stayed true to Dodge. I don’t really mind because I built my own car from the ground up so the more Chevys I beat, the more gratifying it is because most of them have cars built by a professional chassis builder.
Wade: We’re seeing growth in our Street Stock and Sharp Shooter Divisions at Speedway 660, but Sportsman numbers are down at every track in the Maritimes. Why do you think that is happening and do you think this division will bounce back?
George: It’s good to see the growth in the lower divisions. It’s a cheaper way to get into racing. The Sportsman division has lots of cars out there that aren’t running and that has a lot to do with money for sure…times are tight and it is an expensive division. If it wasn’t for a very special man named Andy Fox of MacLaughlin Roof Trusses and Tim at Electric Motor Service, I may not have been able to go racing this year either.George Jamieson leads the way at a recent Speedway 660 race. Brent Roy (#16) and Andrew Rodgers (#14) are two of the other top Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman contenders in the Geary Woods this year.
Wade: I like the red and yellow paint scheme on your car this year. Some drivers keep the same old paint scheme year in, year out. You’ve changed yours several times over the years and I even think you’ve changed your number a time or two.
George: I’m not superstitious like some guys when it comes to numbers or the colour of my car. It’s fun to change the colours around each year. I paint my own race car, so it’s a little easier to change the colour schemes each year. I get bored with the same colour all the time. The number has changed a few times too – started out in Sportsman with the number 44 – then I changed to 10 and now have been running the 96 for a couple of years.George Jamieson ran the #44 a few years ago. Unlike most drivers, George actually likes to change his number and paint scheme from time to time.
Wade: You got off to a pretty good start in the Martins Home Heating Sportsman Division this year and had a couple of podium finishes in the first two weeks. Is this the year a championship may finally come your way?
George: I don’t know about that, it’s really too early to tell how things are going to work out. It’s a tough class of cars out there. It would be nice to win a championship and I think that if I can be consistent every week it could be a possibility. A lot of things can happen during the season, so we’re just going to take it one week and one race at a time. If we’re close on the Night of Champions, we’ll race as hard as we can and see where it takes us.
Wade: This weekend Speedway 660 will host its first longer Sportsman race of the year. What’s it going to take to have a great run in the Martins Home Heating Sportsman 100?
George: I think you are going to have to be fast and consistent from start to finish. With that great money that’s up for grabs, it’ll be tough because we’re bound to see some guys, like Dave O’Blenis roll in here with strong cars. It would be nice for a small team, like ours to get that three thousand dollar first place prize, but it going to be hard. On behalf of our regular Sportsman Division drivers I want to thank Richard and Anne Martin for their commitment to this class of racing and their dedication to the sport.George Jamieson gets around Andrew Rodgers at a recent race at Speedway 660. George hopes to have a great run this weekend at the Martin’s Home Heating 100. A win in the race would be an awesome $3000 pay-day!
Wade: We’ve got three Sportsman rookies running at Speedway 660 this year and they are all teenagers just up from the Bandolero Division. Dawson McIntee, Alexandra O’Blenis and Drew Greenlaw have had some pretty good runs. What do you think of the youth movement in our sport?
George: They are all top runners already in this division. Dawson has already won a feature and Alex and Drew are right there too. From what I see, they have top car notch cars and loads of talent. Hopefully, with these young drivers racing, it will encourage younger fans to come out and also make sure the racing is still around after the rest of us retire.
Wade: You’ve stayed in Sportsman for several years. We’ve seen Brian Gillespie, Glyn Nott, John Rankin, Steve Halpin and a few others move up to Pro Stock. Have you ever thought about doing that or are you pretty happy to stay in Sportsman?
George: I would love to try it someday because I think it would fit my driving style. But, it would mean having to get a new car and having a lot more sponsors than I have right now. Pro Stock is a pretty expensive division and fans here at Speedway 660 are fortunate to have this Division running in our weekly shows.George Jamieson hopes to make another trip to the Riverview Ford Victory Lane this weekend. The Martin’s Home Heating 100 will see the most the most competitive Sportsman action of the season.
Wade: Thanks a lot for doing this George and best of luck in this weekend’s Martins Home Heating Sportsman 100 and all of the Dodge fans out there are hoping you make a run for the championship this year.
George: Thanks a lot Wade. If I have any luck this weekend, I could be talking to you again sooner than later – hopefully on the front stretch or even Victory Lane after the Martin’s Home Heating 100. All we can do is our best by making sure the car is ready and the driver and pit crew are focused on their jobs come race day. Then we’ll give it our best shot and see how it works out. I’m sure the fans will see a great race. And to our many fans at Speedway 660, a big thank-you from the Dodge Boys!