(Sept. 6, 2016) It was a summer of racing that provided us with lots of thrills, a few spills and a terrific SpeedWeekend. It all started on May 22nd and wrapped up on September 4th. That short three and half month season was packed with action and we’ll try to hit some of the highlights in this final edition of the “weekly”.
The long off-season was supposed to end on Saturday, May 15th, but inclement weather forced us to wait an extra week. So the next Saturday afternoon we combined the Riverview Ford Season Opener and Kids Day.Glyn Nott participated in his 23rd opening day at Speedway 660 back in May. We didn’t know it at the time, but 2016 would be Glyn’s last season as a pro stock driver.
It was great to see the cars roll into the pits and say hello to lots of folks we hadn’t seen since SpeedWeekend 2016. Dave O’Blenis won the Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock feature on opening day, but Dave only ran a part time schedule in the big car this year.Ryan Messer, the Martins Home Heating Sportsman Rookie of the Year in 2015, made a statement on opening day this year by winning the feature. It was the first of four trips to victory lane for the 15 year old kid from Harvey, including the A.E. McKay Builders 150 on SpeedWeekend!
Rob Raynes won the DMR Auto Sales Street Stock feature that day in May and served notice that he was gunning for his second title in a row. Neil Miousse, who moved to the Annapolis Valley over the winter, came home and won the first Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter feature of the season. For the first time since 2010 Speedway 660 did not run a weekly bandolero division.Cassius Clark returned to the Geary Woods for the Best of the Best Pro Stock 150 in early June. Clark, who won 250 and $30K on SpeedWeekend 2015, drove away a BoB winner that night.
The first of three ENDURO 200 races was scheduled for Sunday, June 11th. In an effort to revitalize and re-invent ENDURO racing Speedway 660 attempted to move to newer, front wheel drive cars. However, there were not enough competitors pre-registered and the race was cancelled. As it turned out all three ENDURO events suffered the same fate.Perhaps it’s the end of an era. If so, ENDURO events will long be remembered for their excitement and unique style of racing!
We made history the very next weekend when two young ladies won features on the same night in the Geary Wood. Destiny Enkel won street stock and Alexandra O’Blenis beat her father to take the sportsman feature. Lonnie Sommerville became the first two time pro stock feature winner of the year that same night. Destiny Enkel won her first-ever feature in June, when she went to victory lane in the DMR Auto Sales Street Stock 30 lapper. I mentioned that Dave O’Blenis ran his pro stock car part time this year, but that didn’t stop him from jumping in a sportsman car and winning the Martins Home Heating 125 on June 18th and the Clark’s Chevrolet Firecracker 150 in July.On the long weekend in July, Greg Proude won the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock race here. The Cummins 100 was Greg’s first win at 660. And in August Kyle Boudreau picked a great time to win his first feature in over two years when he drove into victory lane in the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter 40.Courtney O’Blenis had several big nights this season, winning seven street stock features! She took the checkers in the DMR Auto Sales 75, for the biggest win in her racing career and also won the 50 lap race on SpeedWeekend. Greg Fahey lit it up after our traditional break for the long weekend in August. Greg won the last three Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock features of the year, propelling him to his fourth pro stock title and seventh over-all Speedway 660 championship. That ties him with Brian Gillespie for the most all-time!
Our other champs were Kyle MacKinnon (Sharp Shooter), Rob Raynes (Street Stock) and Ryan Messer (Sportsman). We had some awesome rookies too: Bob Colquhoun (sharp shooter); Riley Goodwin (street Stock); Jacob Logan (sportsman) and; Ashton Tucker (pro stock).Kyle MacKinnon had an incredible season. Kyle always plays hard in the Geary Woods and this “ambassador of racing” was rewarded with a championship.
One thing that really caught my eye this year was the number of “father & son” acts in the Geary Woods. We saw Ian Rasmussen, Jacob Logan, Dustin Tucker and BJ Gillespie all come to race with us full time. Their fathers, Glenn, Bradley, Shawn and Brian are all Speedway 660 legends. I should point out that Dave O’Blenis, another legendary driver, has two outstanding daughters racing at 660. Alexandra and Courtney are two of the best young drivers in the Maritimes!It was great to see Glenn Rasmussen return to 660 with his son Ian, a rookie pro-stock driver. Glenn owns four Re/Max Group Four Realty pro stock titles.
SpeedWeekend 2016 just wrapped up and it was one of the best “end of summer classics” we’ve ever seen. Drew Greenlaw got unceremoniously up-ended, with a couple of laps to go, after leading most of the A.E. McKay Builders Sportsman 150. That allowed Ryan Messer to end his season with a punctuation mark as he won the biggest race of his career.
The McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250 started with Dustin Tucker and Matt Harris, two Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock drivers, on the front row. Local fans cheered loudly for Greg Fahey and Dave O’Blenis when each of them went to the front and led several laps. But in the end the boys from Maine ran the gauntlet and owned the podium.
For Joey Doiron it was his biggest win ever, Cassius Clark was disappointed he didn’t win his second 250 in a row and Ben Rowe vows to keep coming back until he crosses our 250 off his “bucket-list”.(left to right) Ben Rowe, Joey Doiron and Cassius Clark owned the podium in this year’s McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250. The last New Brunswick driver to be on the podium was Shawn Tucker, who won the race back in 2013.
Well this is the longest “weekly” of the year. I’ve tried to touch on some of the highlights of 2016, but must admit I couldn’t fit them all into this space. Now we can fondly remember the season that was and look forward to the season to come.
It would be hard to pick a driver of the year, but three strong candidates come to mind. Courtney O’Blenis, for winning the most features ever in a season by any driver in any division; Ryan Messer, for becoming the youngest champion in one of our top three divisions and; Greg Fahey for winning his seventh Speedway 660 championship.We thank our great fans, incredible race teams, dedicated marketing partners & sponsors and our fantastic volunteers & staff for making 2016 a successful racing season.
Have an enjoyable and productive off-season, stay active and fit and be safe. Right now, mid-May seems like a long way off, but before you know it, we’ll be back in the Geary Woods to kick off another great season of short-track racing.
Hope to see you at the races then!