(Aug. 22, 2016) It all comes down to one more night of point racing to determine Speedway 660’s champions for 2016. It’s been an exciting season in all four weekly divisions and on Saturday night we’ll find out whose names will be added to the list of champions that was started back in 1994.
Before we take a look at how the points stack up heading into the Night of Champions, I thought it might be interesting to remember a few championship battles from the past.
Brian Gillespie won the sportsman championship one season without ever winning a feature. On another occasion he won a title by winning the feature on the Night of Champions.
Glyn Nott won the Martins Home Heating championship in 2012. Glyn trailed Randy Moore by 15 or 16 points, but on the final point race won his heat, the dash and feature. That gave Nott the sportsman championship by just four points! Randy finally got his championship last season by finishing just eight points up on Drew Greenlaw. Also in 2012, Shannon Brake won his only street stock championship by just two points over Rick Cashol.Glyn Nott needed at “hat-trick” on the Night of Champions in 2012 to win his first and only Martins Home Heating Sportsman title.
In 2009 Michael Banks, who drove for the late Jack Finnie, ended up tied with John Rankin for the Sportsman title. But John won two features that year, which was two more than Michael and as a result John got the championship! Last season Kyle Boudreau won the sharp shooter title without winning a feature.
Those are just a few examples of just how dramatic things can get on the Night of Champions. We’ve seen drivers remain cool, calm and collected and overcome a pretty big deficit to win championships and we’ve seen drivers seemingly have a bit of a melt-down on the final point race.If you think Brian Gillespie is “cool” pushing around a stroller you should have seen him go to work on the Night of Champions. Brian is the coolest Night of Champions dude in the history of Speedway 660 and he has seven titles to prove it!
There is a lot of pressure when it comes right down to it. Drivers and race teams work hard all season long and more often than not championships come right down to the final point races of the season. I mentioned Brian Gillespie earlier. He’s our most celebrated champion and right now sits alone with seven titles – two street stock and five sportsman.
This Saturday Greg Fahey has a unique opportunity to join Brian, but only if he can find a way to win his 4th pro stock championship. Greg already has two street stock and one sportsman crown to go with three pro stock titles. Fahey, by the way, is the only driver ever to win championships in all three of our top divisions!
This is how it looks heading into the Night of Champions. The aforementioned Mr. Fahey is in a tight battle with Kevin Moore for the Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock title. After the dust cleared last Saturday night Greg was just five points up on Kevin and Matt Harris is within 17 of the leader.Big Kevin Moore and his “right hand man” Robert Lee want that Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock title. They were a close 2nd in 2015 and this weekend they hope they finally make it happen!
The Martins Home Heating Sportsman Division is basically a battle between two of the best young, talented drivers we’ve seen come along in years. Ryan Messer and Drew Greenlaw have been racing each other hard all season long and after winning the feature last week Ryan has opened up a 15 point lead over Drew.
The DMR Auto Sales Street Stock Division has been a real barn-burner in 2016. The championship contenders are about as different from one another as any two drivers could be. Rob Raynes is middle-aged man who is a veteran old-school style driver, while Courtney O’Blenis is a young lady, entering her final year of high school, representing a new era of race car drivers. Heading into the weekend Rob is only four points ahead of Courtney.Courtney O’Blenis (#48) and Rob Raynes (#41) are involved in a hotly contested battle for the 2016 street stock championship. One of them will hoist the trophy on Saturday night.
The Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter Division has been a toss-up all season long. Kyle Boudreau and Kyle MacKinnon both want the championship, but unfortunately only one Kyle will get his name on the big trophy. Heading into the Night of Champions Kyle leads the sharp shooter division by 25 points. BTW the point leader’s last name is MacKinnon.
So that’s how it stands before the last point race. Rookie of the Year races are equally exciting and lots of drivers have their sights set on moving up in the standings or maintaining their positions heading into the Night of Champions.
Before ending this edition of the “weekly” I would like to thank Andy Fox for his commitment to racing. His company MacLaughlin Roof Trusses is the new marketing partner that will present the Pro Stock 250 on SpeedWeekend. Andy has also presented the Best of the Best 150 for the last couple of years and sponsors a few drivers including: Greg Fahey, Dustin Tucker and George Jamieson. Also it has been announced that the Saturday night race on SpeedWeekend will become the A.E. McKay Builders Sportsman 150. We thank Andrew McKay for becoming the new marketing partner for the sportsman race.Andy Fox and Greg Fahey celebrate the 2015 MacLaughlin Roof Trusses Best of the Best victory. Andy has made a big commitment to racing and Speedway 660 by becoming the title sponsor for the pro stock 250 on SpeedWeekend.
It’s people like Andy Fox and Andrew McKay who make it possible for us to enjoy racing all season long. You can bet we all are looking forward to the MacLaughlin Roof Trusses 250 and McKay Builders 150 on SpeedWeekend. But first we’ve got to take care of a little business on Saturday because it’s the Night of Champions.
We’ll see you at the races!