The 2009 racing season is history and what a season it was. Wasn’t it only yesterday when Shawn Hyslop (Coast Tire Street Stocks), Wade Harris (Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman) and Matt Harris (Irving Lubricants Pro Stocks) won our opening day features? But in reality that was May 23rd and a lot of laps were run at Speedway 660 since then.
My biggest early season highlight was the Pro All Star Series race on June 13th. Ben Rowe put on a clinic making a late charge to take the win. Rowe used the low groove to his advantage, over-taking drivers who were committed to the high side.
It seemed like Mother Nature had a bone to pick with race fans and everyone else who enjoyed outdoor activities this year. Weather was a factor most of the season with rain postponing or cancelling events. There were times we did get races in but the threat of inclement weather seemed to keep some of you away.
But, between the rain drops, the racing was great. On July 4th, we held FanFest 2009 and everyone was admitted free-of-charge. A huge crowd witnessed some awesome action including a Sportsman feature win by John Rankin who was just beginning to emerge as a serious championship contender.
A week later we held the Twin 100’s and on this night it was the Sportsman drivers who stole the show. Myles Harris looked a lot like Ben Rowe, using the low groove to win the Martin’s Home Heating 100.
Then on July 25th we finally got to see the Carquest Maritime Pro-Stock Tour. After a rain-out earlier in the season, the tour rolled into the Geary Woods. Shawn Tucker fans were not happy when their favourite driver was sent to the back of the pack after being spun out. But Tucker did not disappoint, passing them all to win the Parts for Trucks 100.
The August 8th running of the Firecracker Sportsman 150 lived up to its name and Glyn Nott drove home first. It was an explosive race that saw several wrecks with drivers and fans shaking their heads and flapping their lips at the end of the night.
My next highlight was the Day of Champions when Brian Fox, John Rankin and Greg Fahey won our division titles. Fox and defending street stock champ Rick Cashol battled hard in a classic championship confrontation. Rankin tied Michael Banks in sportsman, but Johnny’s two feature wins sealed the deal in the tie-breaker.
SpeedWeekend is still fresh in our minds so I don’t have to go into great details other than to say we saw two of the best races of the year. Dan McNeil is still “walking-on-air” after his last lap pass to win the O’Leary Pontiac Excitement 150 and Lonnie Sommerville is still basking in the spot-light after becoming the first two time winner of the Peterbilt 250.
With 2009 in the books and a lengthy off-season here, it’s never too early to think about next season. Sportsman is our “bread and butter” division and it only looks to get stronger in 2010. Top street stockers Matt Matheson and Shawn Hyslop are moving up and there may be others. I was happy to see Robbie Fraser, from Riverview, make the weekly trip to run with us in 2009. Hopefully other drivers, from the “Hustlin Hub” area, will join Robbie and run in our region’s most competitive sportsman division in 2010.
I would like to see a few more pro stocks commit to our weekly series. It would be nice to see two or three sportsman veterans make the leap. It would also be nice to see a few drivers who only come out three or four times, make a commitment to run a full season.
I think we will see one or two Enduro drivers move up to street stock and perhaps another couple of other new drivers join us in that division.
There’s lots to remember from 2009 and lots to look forward to in 2010. Speedway 660 will be back in action next May and we hope to see you then. Have a great winter, be safe and before you know it we will be letting you know its time to come to the Geary Woods to cheer for your favourite Saturday Night Hero!