A Saturday Sportsman Show-Down: Wade’s Weekly ’14 #7

Speedway 660 is expecting a strong field of cars and lots of fans for the Martin’s Home Heating 100. The $3000 to win race should attract the best Sportsman teams in our region. After last weekend’s rain-out, everyone is excited to get back down to the Geary Woods to see some of the best action of the season.

Calling all Sportsman Drivers & Fans
There’s nothing worse than spending all week constantly checking the Weather Network and hoping their dreary forecast changes before the weekend arrives. Nothing worse except waking up on Saturday morning and hearing the rain bouncing off the roof of your house! That was the case last Saturday and as a result, we lost another awesome night of racing at Speedway 660.

The Maritime Pro Stock Tour postponed its race at Riverside and other tracks in the region were also forced to pull the plug on their events. I hate to complain about the weather, but the racing season is short enough as it is, so let’s hope for sunny days, clear skies and nice weekends from here on out.

Enough lamenting – let’s look ahead. This weekend, Speedway 660 fans are focused on the Martin’s Home Heating 100. You gotta love Sportsman racing and this is gonna be one of the best shows of the year. We’ve got some strong contenders in our weekly division and there should be some other good cars head our way too. Don’t be surprised if a couple of well-known Pro Stockers don’t dust off their Sportsman rides and go for the big bucks too!

I am really excited that the Bando and Sharp Shooter divisions are part of the program this weekend. They were off two weeks ago when the PASS Tour was here and like everyone else they missed last weekend because of the rain-out. So I’m glad the Bandos and Sharp Shooters will be race on the Martin’s Home Heating 100 card. The West Wood Estate Apartments Bandolero Division provides a great place for kids to get involved in racing. Many of them run go-karts for a few years before moving up to Bando. MacKenzie and the rest of the Bando boys & girls always put on a great show for our fans!The Westwood Estate Apartments Bandolero division is relatively new at Speedway 660. The Bandos and Sharp Shooters came to life in 2010 and have become an important ingredient in our incredible brand of racing.

It’ll be interesting to see what three thousand to win does to encourage Sportsman drivers to come race. One driver recently asked me if I knew how many tires he could buy for three grand. I don’t have a clue, but suppose it’s quite a few. In addition to topping up the winner’s take, Richard and Anne Martin have also added another $1350 to the purse, so that means 2nd through 10th will each take home an addition $150.Matt Maillet wins 2013 MHH100Richard Martin (left) congratulates Matt Maillet, winner of the 2013 Martin’s Home Heating 100.   Matt made a late charge to the front to win this prestigious Sportsman race one year ago. We’ll have to wait until this weekend to find out who will go to Victory Lane in this year’s race.

We’ve seen some great Sportsman racing at 660 over the years. Before moving up to the Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock Division, Brian Gillespie was a force in Sportsman. From 1998 until 2008 Brian won five Sportsman championships. The old “Nackawic Night Train” won a few of our big races over the years, but most of the time nailed down all of those championships by being consistent and coming home top five every week. Gillespie claimed at least one and maybe two titles without winning a feature all season long.

Glyn Nott, Bradley Logan, Ken MacKenzie, Brian MacNaughton, Gordon Chase, Myles Harris, Nevin Mullin, Jody Harris and Donnie Shields are other Sportsman drivers who thrilled fans here over the years. Nott and MacKenzie, like Gillespie, have moved on to Pro Stock while most of the other guys on this list have retired. Sadly, Donnie Shields has passed away.dsc_0180Brian Gillespie and his crew celebrate a 5th Sportsman title in 2008 to go with two Street Stock championships. The seven-time champ was a force to be reckoned with for over a decade in the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman Division.

As one generation of Sportsman drivers steps aside, another steps up. And that’s what we are seeing these days at Speedway 660. Brent Roy and Matt & Andrew, the Rodgers brothers are all young, but established Sportsman stars in the Geary Woods. And then you have Alexandra O’Blenis, Dawson MacIntee and Drew Greenlaw, the newest youngsters who are rising to the occasion on the Sportsman stage.

Let’s not forget there are still a few veterans kicking around to make this brand of racing pretty exciting. George Jamieson has been the only driver brave enough to carry the Dodge colours for almost two decades. And Billy Sommerville, the ageless wonder, continues to drive hard, win races and have a lot of fun out on the track.Dawson McIntee Sportsman feature winner May 31st, 2014Dawson MacIntee, who has already won a feature race this season, is a member of the newest generation of Sportsman drivers at Speedway 660.  Dawson and his fellow rookies will head into new territory when they take the green flag to start the Martin’s Home Heating 100 this weekend.

And a lot of fun is what fans can expect this coming Saturday night when the Martin’s Home Heating 100 goes green. It always takes an intense effort to be on the top of the leader board, at the end of the night. Sportsman drivers are used to running 30 lap features, so that extra 70 laps puts a lot of strain on car and driver.

Pit crews will have to be at the top of their game, because undoubtedly some drivers will be forced to come in for tires, chassis adjustments and repairs during the Service Master Clean Cautions. Those pit stops add an interesting element to the longer Sportsman races.

So, let’s hope the weather holds up because this Saturday we’re in for a grand evening at Speedway 660. The Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman 100 plus point racing in the Westwood Estate Apartments Bandolero, Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter, DMR Auto Sales & Service Street Stock and Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock divisions are just the ticket we need to get back in the swing of things.pro stock action 2014Glyn Nott (#12) races in our Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock Division these days. But back in his Sportsman days, Nott won several big Sportsman races including the Martin’s Home Heating 100.

Sportsman teams are working hard this week, preparing their cars for one of their biggest challenges and tests of the season. The Martin’s Home Heating 100 goes this coming Saturday night at 7PM. Don’t you dare miss it. By the way – in case of “you-know-what”, we’ll run this race on Sunday at 2PM.

Before heading to the races on Saturday night, I encourage you to go to the 14th annual Car & Bike Show at Auto Machinery, your Auto Value Parts Store in Fredericton. It runs from 8AM until 2PM. Auto Machinery is celebrating their 100th anniversary this year and invites all race fans to their location at 50 Whiting Road in the Fredericton Industrial Park. Auto Machinery is the driving force behind the Auto Value 250, so check them out on Saturday to see some cool cars and bikes and even cooler people!

We’ll see you at the races!

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