Let’s Go Racin: Wade’s Weekly -15 #1

(May 11, 2015) : The long wait is almost finally over. Speedway 660 will start a new season this weekend. For over two decades race fans, teams, drivers, sponsors, marketing partners, officials, staff and track owners have come to the Geary Woods every spring to kick off a new season of short-track stock car racing. 2015 is going to be another awesome year at Speedway 660.

Are you ready for some racin?

There’s something special about kicking off a new season. Maybe it’s because we haven’t been to Speedway 660 since SpeedWeekend. Maybe it’s because New Brunswick winters, especially this past one, are way too long. Perhaps it’s because we can’t wait to see our racin friends. But most likely it’s because we really want to experience Canada’s best weekly short-track racing.

At 1PM on Saturday, race teams will be in Geary for a Pre-Tech and Practice session. It’s a great opportunity for Donnie Greer and his tech crew to inspect all of the cars before drivers are allowed to hit the track for their annual shake-down. These Pre-Tech inspections are extremely important because safety is the top priority of our sport.

Donnie GreerDonnie Greer (right) and his tech crew will be busy on Saturday making sure all of the race cars pass the Speedway 660 safety test and they’ll also be checking various competitive mechanical rules as well.

Then at 2PM on Sunday, the Riverview Ford Season Opener kicks off the 2015 season. You’ll see racing in five dynamic divisions including: the Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stocks; Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman; DMR Auto Sales Street Stocks; Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters and; West Wood Estates Apartments Bandoleros.

It’s our 22nd season opener! And it’s something we all look forward to every year. There are some interesting story lines heading into the new season. For one, the Pro Stock division is going to be even more competitive than usual. The return of Greg Fahey and Lonnie Sommerville will make the 2015 championship battle pretty incredible.20-faheyGreg Fahey, a six-time Speedway 660 champion, jumps back to Pro Stock this year. Greg has two Street Stock titles (02 & 03); three Pro Stock championships (08, 09 & 11) and; one Sportsman title (13). 

Our Sportsman Division is receiving a boost as well. Ryan Messer, our first-ever Bando champ and the 2014 Atlantic Modified title winner is expected to run for Sportsman rookie of the year. Braxton Stafford is another rookie and he will pilot a car Colby Smith had a lot of success with at Speedway 660. I also hear veterans Richard Atkinson and Randy Moore are returning to the scene of their former glory!

Speaking of Sportsman, it’s nice to see New Brunswick’s three short-tracks work together to create a provincial championship. Petty, Miramichi and Geary will all host 100 lap events, with the first race coming your way at Speedway 660 in early June.  Andrew and Matt Rodgers action 2014 Andrew Rodgers (#14) and his brother Matt (#42) are two of the top Sportsman drivers in Atlantic Canada. They’ll likely be in the thick of things when it comes to deciding a New Brunswick champion.  

Two young ladies are all amped up and ready to mix it up with our Street Stock drivers. Courtney Barton, up from Sharp Shooter, and Courtney O’Blenis, up from Bando, will join veterans Heidi Cooper and Destiny Enkel. So the ladies are going to be well represented in our roughest and toughest division.

Speaking of Team O’Blenis, they are going to be busier than ever this season! I mentioned Courtney will run street stock, her sister Alexandra will pilot a sportsman car and their father Dave will chauffer the big pro stock. I know they’ll be busy in the shop and at the track, but I would like to see what kind of convoy they’ll be riding in from Boundary Creek up to the Geary Woods!Courtney O`Blenis podiumCourtney O’Blenis is one of the rising young stars of stock car racing in our region . Courtney is saying: “Good-bye Bando and Hello Street Stock” in 2015.

By the way, Dave O’Blenis will be gunning for a sixth Re/Max Pro Stock title and his fourth in a row. But with the addition of Lonnie and Greg in our top division Dave’s job just got a lot tougher.  But O’Blenis loves competition and I know he’ll welcome Fahey and Sommerville to Atlantic Canada’s only weekly Pro Stock series.

I usually don’t comment on personal health information, but I hear the defending Sportsman champion has a broken wrist. I don’t expect that will keep Brent Roy out of the seat. The “Camry Kid” will likely stick his hand in a bucket of ice and then tape up the busted wrist before getting in the car. Brent hasn’t invited me into his garage, but I hear he’s got a Pro Stock and we might see him play with the Big Boys later this season!Brent Roy Sportsman Dash winner June 28, 2014Last season Brent Roy finally won the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman championship. Brent, who chased that title for several years, is a little banged-up heading into the Riverview Ford Season Opener.  

I want to welcome Brent Dunphy, Tim Elliott and Jessica White to the Speedway 660 staff. Brent is our new race director, Tim our new flagman and Jessica is our new official scorer. All three have worked with us before, but this year they are taking on new jobs.

So, we’ve got just a few more days to wait before the long off-season ends. So make sure to let all of your friends, neighbours and co-workers or schoolmates know that Speedway 660 is the place to be this weekend. Pre-Tech and Practice goes Saturday at 1PM and the Riverview Ford Season Opener gets underway at 2PM on Sunday!

We’ll see you at the races.

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