The end of summer is coming quickly and so is the end of the racing season. But we’ve got two more weeks to go and this week it’s all about rookies and champions. Last weekend we had Fan Appreciation Night and saw some great racing and an historic win out in the Geary Woods.
It certainly was a Fan Appreciation Night to remember for a couple of reasons. The Big Story was Alexandra O’Blenis. She became the first lady driver to ever win a feature race in the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman Division. This is not the first 1st for this young lady. In 2013 she became the first lady to run a Pro Stock race at Speedway 660!
The other story on Fan Appreciation Night was the crew from the New Hot 92.3 – Fredericton’s Number One Hit Music Station. Dana, from the morning “Hot-Tub” show really stirred things up in the tower and brought a whole new level of craziness to the Speedway 660 public address system!
It’s been a big year for Team O’Blenis. Back in May, Dave, Courtney and Alexandra won an amazing six races in one night. Pretty hard to top that right? Wrong! On Saturday night all three won features, including Alex’s historic Sportsman win.
This Saturday night, the oldest O’Blenis daughter will try to become the second lady in a row to win the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman rookie of the year award. Sarah McKay became the first lady to win a major award at Speedway 660 when she claimed the Sportsman rookie of the year trophy last season.
Sarah McKay made history by winning the 2013 Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman rookie of the year award. This season Sarah is having great success in the Maritime Pro Stock Tour. We expect to see her to “come home” to see us on SpeedWeekend for the Re/Max 250.
But Alexandra has got some work to do. That’s because Drew Greenlaw and Dawson McIntee are formidable rookie of the year candidates too! While Alex was celebrating her big win last Saturday night, Drew was pretty pleased with his second place finish. Two Sportsman rookies on the podium on the same night – when’s the last time that happened? Never!
We’ve got some tight races in all five of our divisions in terms of championships. Alex and Courtney’s Dad Dave is looking for his third Re/Max Pro Stock title in a row and fifth over-all. By the way, I checked the record books and no-one has ever won three Pro Stock championships in a row. Upon further review I discovered that no-one has ever won three championships in a row in any Speedway 660 division.
Dave O’Blenis is fast approaching legendary status as a race car driver in Atlantic Canada. He currently has four Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock titles and will be trying to move into a class by himself this Saturday night.
Brad Mann, Greg Fahey and Dave O’Blenis have each won two Pro Stock titles in a row. Brian Gillespie won two Sportsman titles in a row twice and Ken MacKenzie won back to back Sportsman crowns too. Rick Cashol has won two Street Stock titles in a row twice. Brian Gillespie, Dave Smith and Greg Fahey all won two Street Stock championships in a row.
Rick Cashol has five DMR Auto Sales & Service Street Stock championships on his racing resume. Rick won his latest title in 2011, driving this blue #54. Hey Rick, you might have to ditch your current white paint scheme and go back to blue next year to get that sixth title!
O’Blenis has those four Pro Stock titles – a record he shares with the great Glenn Rasmussen. If, and it’s a big if, Dave wins the Pro Stock championship this weekend, that would put him in elite company. Brian Gillespie and Rick Cashol are our only drivers who have won five championships in one division. Brian in Sportsman and Rick in Street Stock.
If you have been following along closely and are good at math, you will have picked up on the fact that Gillespie is in a class by himself with seven Speedway 660 championship, five in Sportsman and two in Street Stock!
Brian Gillespie and crew celebrated a Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman championship in 2008. He also won Sportsman titles in 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2007. Brian also has two Street Stock titles from 1994 and 1995.
The other divisions may not have a story-line like the one in Pro Stock, but there are some pretty tight battles for our championships and rookie awards. So Saturday night is going to be a great night for racin!
It’s certain that we’ll have first time champs in Bando, Sharp Shooter and Sportsman. And we could see first time titles won in all five divisions, including Street Stock and Pro Stock. But we’re going to have to wait until Saturday night to find out!
You know luck really plays a big role in this sport. Up until Saturday night Derek Christie had been consistent in the Pro Stock division and was leading the points. Derek, who hadn’t much good or bad luck all season long, was leading the feature with just a couple or three laps to go and it looked like he was taking an important step in his pursuit of a first championship.
But then something happened and the 9 car just quit and instead of a win, Christie rolled to the infield and watched the field go by. There was a collective groan from our crowd and no matter who you cheer for, you just had to feel for Derek and his Dad Leon, who have worked so hard to be successful in this sport. But Derek has still got a shot and I am sure Team Christie is going to give it all they`ve got on the last point race of the season.
The dust will barely settle from the Night of Champions, when the campers start rolling into Speedway 660 for SpeedWeekend 2014. It’s hard to believe our big weekend is less than two weeks away. Everyone’s pretty excited about SpeedWeekend, but first we’ve got some important business to take care of this weekend down in the Geary Woods! It’s the Night of Champions.
We’ll see you at the races!