sommerville 2011 250 winner

SpeedWeekend countdown: Wade’s Weekly ’14 #16

SpeedWeekend is just days away and race fans; drivers, their families and crews; sponsors and marketing partners and; Speedway 660 volunteers, staff and owners are preparing for an awesome event. After all, it’s one of the biggest short-track racing weekends in Canada.

You can just feel the excitement building as everyone gets set to invade the Geary Woods for SpeedWeekend. Friday night’s corn-boil, bon-fire and Tristan Horncastle concert only amps up the anticipation. It’s great to get together, say hello to old friends, meet new ones and talk about the latest news and hear an odd racin rumour or two.

cornboilOn Friday evening the Re/Max Relay for Life team will be busy serving up a traditional SpeedWeekend treat. What a great way to kick off one of the biggest racing events in Canada.

On Saturday, the Irving Oil Blending & Packaging 150 sets the tone for the rest of the weekend. That big Sportsman race usually raises the level of anticipation for what’s to come on Sunday!

Speaking of Sunday, qualifying for the Re/Max 250 begins early in the afternoon. And this year you don’t want to miss it, because there will be 35 plus Late Model/Pro Stock teams racing for 28 positions on the Re/Max 250 starting grid.

Colby Smith 150 winner 2013Colby Smith won the Irving Oil Blending & Packaging 150 last year. The Cape Sable Island native will try to make it two big SpeedWeekend Sportsman wins in a row this Saturday night!

Before going further, I want to congratulate Dave O’Blenis, Brent Roy, Luc McLaughlin, Jeremy Doran and Cole Tanner. They are Speedway 660’s weekly divisional champs for 2014. And Cole Boudreau, Drew Greenlaw, Tyler Seveck, Kyle Boudreau and Levi Rossiter are our Rookies of the Year.

Overshadowed, during last week’s Night of Champions, were a couple of guys who ended their full time racing careers. I felt bad, that while we were crowning champs and rookies, that we didn’t properly acknowledge Brian Gillespie and Brad Mann. Brad won three Pro Stock titles and Brian has been with us since day one, winning a total of seven championships!

Brad Mann 2014Brad Mann (#35) makes an inside move on Cole Boudreau and Kevin Moore earlier this season. The three time Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock champ’s car will have a number 2 on it for SpeedWeekend and be piloted by John Rankin.

In the future you might see Mann “pinch-drive” a time or two, but Gillespie tells me he’s hanging up the helmet for good. I don’t want to reveal any Personal Health Info, but it is well known that Brian has struggled with back issues over the last few years and it has become too painful to buckle up and run with the Big Boys.

Trevor SanbornTrevor Sanborn, from Limerick, Maine will drive Brian Gillespie’s Nackawic Nite Train in the Re/Max 250. Last Saturday night Sanborn won the NASCAR Pro Series race at BeechRidge Motor Speedway down in Scarborough.

To Brian Gillespie and Brad Mann – thanks for everything you have done for our sport. Both of you are Legends and your Speedway 660 family appreciates your contributions to racing and we will long remember your accomplishments in the Geary Woods!

So who is gonna win the Re/Max 250? Think about it. First, let’s look at former winners. Shawn Tucker (04,11&13) will be gunning for his fourth 250 win. Lonnie Sommerville (06&09) and Johnny Clark (07&10) are both going to be tough. Cassius Clark (12), Craig Slaunwhite (08), Dave O’Blenis (02) and Kirk Thibeau (01) will all be in the Geary Woods for the race.

johnny clark PASS win 2014Johnny Clark has won five of the last six races he has run at Speedway 660, including this year’s PASS 150.  There’s something about the Geary Woods that appeals to the driver from Hallowell, Maine!

Now for some of the top contenders who have never won the Re/Max 250. This year’s Oxford 250 winner Travis Benjamin has been close, but has never won our big race. Austin Theriault, 2nd in this year’s Oxford 150, has never even been here before, but this 20 year old is the real deal.

oxford250podium2014Two-thirds of this year’s Oxford 250 podium will be here for the Re/Max 250. Winner Travis Benjamin and 2nd place finisher Austin Theriault (right) hope a trip to Speedway 660 includes a Sunday night visit to the Riverview Ford Victory Lane!

How about Ben Rowe? He was on the podium last year and he’s won every major short-track race in eastern North America except the Re/Max 250. And then there’s John Flemming. Our race is on his “bucket list”. He wants to become the first driver ever to win the IWK, Atlantic Cat and Re/Max 250’s. Ever hear of Joey Doiron, he`s  one of the top Pro All Star Series drivers who just happened to have a podium finish up here in June!

Yeah, I know I left some guys out. And I don`t mean to over-look our great weekly Pro Stockers and other PASS & MPST drivers. For example Chris Duncan is riding high after winning the Jensen Financial Hat Trick Award at our Night of Champions.

2013 group photo 28 250 driverswWho is going to be in the 2014 drivers photo that will be taken just before the Re/Max 250?

What I`m trying to illustrate here is just how stacked this field is for the ReMax 250! So go ahead make a prediction…and no I won`t be surprised if someone I haven`t named actually wins the race. And I won`t be surprised if we have a first time winner and I won`t be surprised if we have a third or even fourth time winner either!

New Brunswickers have won the race six times, Americans five times and Nova Scotians twice. No one from Prince Edward Island or Quebec has visited the Riverview Ford Victory Lane, but that could change this year! It’s almost hard to believe that Scott Fraser (2003) and Craig Slaunwhite (2008) are the only two drivers from Nova Scotia to have won our race. Had Scott lived, I am sure the N.S. total would have been a lot higher!

2011 250 podiumIn 2011 it was a New Brunswick SpeedWeekend sweep! Shawn Tucker won the 250, Dave O’Blenis was second and Steve Halpin had an impressive third place finish!

The high caliber of racing brings us all together on SpeedWeekend. That`s the reason we will all be in the Geary Woods. But it`s also about the people. Drivers, race teams, camping buddies, sponsors, fellow fans and Speedway 660 staff all make SpeedWeekend the spectacle that it has become.

Started back in 2001 as a one day event, our SpeedWeekend has truly evolved into something special. From Friday`s infield party to Saturday`s Irving Oil Blending & Packaging 150 to Sunday`s Re/Max 250 to Monday`s Enduro 200 SpeedWeekend 2014 is a must attend event.

We`ll see you at the races!

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