What a start to the 2009 racing season at Speedway 660! After much anticipation, fans were thrilled with an incredible show on opening night.
Several racing teams were strong right off the trailer and showed mid-season form. Matt Harris and his Ford Fusion rode the rail all night long in the Irving Lubricants Pro Stock Division. Matt has shown flashes in the past but the 87 team is on a mission and has set some pretty lofty goals for 2009.
Harris and last year’s champ Greg Fahey, from Charlotte County, put on an excellent show at the front of the field and Matt made a dramatic pass in the final laps to win the feature. It did my heart good to see Glenn Rasmussen and “The Big Black Dodge” make the podium. After all he has been through in the last year and a half, Speedway 660 fans were excited for the “Pride of New Denmark”.
The Martins Home Heating Sportsman Division at Speedway 660 continues to amaze me, not just because of the strength of the car count but by the quality of competition. Charlotte County’s Wade Harris was the class of the field on opening night and drove his number 5 to Victory Lane, but not before fending off dramatic challenges from Derek Christie and John Rankin. And how about that big burn-out on the front stretch! Wade Harris hadn’t won a feature in almost five years and deserved a major celebration.
Another “Charlotte County Boy” had a great night in the Coast Tire Street Stock Division. Shawn “Hard-Luck” Hyslop was the class of the division and deserved the feature win. Fans were happy to see Shawn have success, considering the wrecks he has gotten caught up in the past couple of years.
But the performance of the week, in my books, came from John Rankin. Johnny has shown a few flashes in the past but has always been mid-pack in Speedway 660’s tough Sportsman Division. But on opening night number 28 came out of nowhere and stormed to the front, giving Wade Harris all he could handle. As a matter of fact Rankin bolted by Harris on the outside but had to settle for 2nd when Harris regained the lead on a late restart.
And what about those Charlotte County teams on opening night…first in street stock and sportsman to go with a second in pro stock.
It was a great night of racing and it was a lot of fun to see drivers, crews, fans and Speedway 660 staff after a lengthy off-season. Our racing is second to none, but our racing family is even better. If opening night is any indication of what’s to come, 2009 is going to be an incredible year.
I want to dedicate this column to Mike Power, a true friend of racing. We’ll miss his racing coverage in the Daily Gleaner, but more than that we will miss his presence in the Geary Woods.