What makes our racing so great? Is it the speed, the excitement of watching our drivers go door-to-door through turn four or the competitiveness of three great divisions? Well, its all of those things and much more.
With time off to celebrate the New Brunswick Day Holiday Weekend, it’s an excellent time to look at what makes the action in the Geary Woods so special. In my books it’s the Speedway 660 Family.
Our racing family includes fans, sponsors, drivers & crews, staff, volunteers and Speedway 660 management. It’s a big family and I would like to mention some of the folks who play a critical role in bringing you awesome racing.
Before anyone ever arrives at the track, Tracy Burns makes sure everything is ready to go. Tracy looks after maintenance, which is a pretty big job, especially for a guy who retired over ten years ago!
As soon as you turn off the highway, Tim Elliot and his crew guide you to a parking space. Jayne Johnston, Norma Barrieau, Sharon Carr, Ann Martin and the rest of the folks at the office set you up with tickets and programs. Then its off to find your favourite seat next to your friendly Speedway 660 neighbours.
Angela Coffey works out of the office. She keeps a lot of things on the rails and works the phones to make sure everyone gets the info they need. Wanda Campbell is close by on raceday selling Speedway 660 souvenirs out of the office.
Before the show starts Matt Appleby and Lisa Fagan make sure all of the cars are equipped with the transponders used for electronic scoring and Mike “Quick Draw” McGraw greets every driver with a smiling face at the pit gate. Lisa also keeps our youngest fans happy at the Kid’s Club. At 7 o’clock, our guest anthem singer raises our patriotic pride and then it’s time for the Parade Lap with our sponsors and service vehicles.
Brian Campbell lines the cars up in the pits and has the drivers for the each race ready to roll as soon as the checkered flag flies for the previous race. Race Control consists of Joe Barrieau our official starter and his assistant Wallace Carr on the flagstand as well as Chris Johnston, Raymond Coughlann and Danny Hewitt on top of the tower. If racing was hockey, they would be our referees and linesmen. On the track you have Mike McGraw in his day job which is in turn 3 where most of the lining up cars happens during a caution. Christy Bigger and Jesse manually score the event while Steven Burns’ keeps track of the electronic scoring system and lines the cars up during cautions. Jessie Thompson is the boy who operates the scoreboard.
Joyce Burns is always ready to do her part to keep race fans, teams and employees well-fed on race days. The folks at “Joyce’s Pit Stop” are so busy they rarely get a chance to see any racing. That’s what I call dedication!
Pre-race and post-race technical inspection is handled by Don Greer, Shawn Fagan and Ed Chapman. That’s a job I wouldn’t want! Kevin Campbell and Matt Fagan look after the Hoosier racing tires our drivers use.
If a yellow caution flag comes out the boys in the broom-crew dust off the track. Ricky Arbeau, Michael Brown, Kyle Golden-Carr and Jeff Stennick are the best sweepers in the business. Wayne Smith’s Rescue Crew, Buddy, Mary-Ann and Victor Munn’s Emergency Medical Team and “The Hook”, with Robert Dobson and Bruce Mersereau at the controls, are always ready to snap into action. Brian Speight on the MacLean Sports Arctic Cat wheeler makes sure everything is cleaned up before giving the all-clear signal to resume racing. Sammy Carr on his turn 4 perch keeps an eye on the drivers coming on the track and makes sure that all competitors and their cars are safe to be on the track.
Tom Gilmore has one of the coolest jobs. He drives the Riverview Ford Lincoln pace car. Max Roy is our official sharp-shooter and takes those great photos you see on our web site.
Hungry race fans need food and Joyce Burns and her amazing crew in the concession area serve up those famous speedway fries and other great eats and treats. Megan, Margie and Mike Reid dispense adult beverages over in the Alpine Zone and Bruce McClary sells the 50/50 tickets so one lucky fan can leave Speedway 660 with a pocket full of cash!
The focus of this column was on the folks who are instrumental in bringing you racing each week. I know I missed a few of you, but we appreciate everyone’s efforts. Enjoy the New Brunswick Day Holiday Weekend. The roar returns to the Geary Woods on August 8th when we host the Firecracker 150 Sportsman race. Come on out to Speedway 660 and cheer for our Saturday Night Heroes.