(May 9, 2017) Everyone in the Maritime racing community is ready for the 2017 season to begin and they’ll get their first taste of action this weekend at Speedway 660. We tracked down last year’s champs and rookies of the year to talk about their accomplishments and look ahead to the coming season of racing.
A Conversation with defending champs and 2016 Rookies of the Year
Greg Fahey dominated the last month of the 2016 season to bring home his fourth Re/Max Pro Stock title and seventh overall championship at his home track. Greg is proud to have tied Brian Gillespie for the most Speedway 660 championships and is looking forward to another great year.
Wade: Greg you’ve had time over the winter to reflect on winning a seventh title at Speedway 660 and I’m sure you are excited to start the new season this weekend.
Greg: I’m really looking forward to getting back to my home track this spring! Last season was a great year for the McLaughlin Roof Trusses team, winning the Pro Stock Championship and showing just how strong the 29 was in the McLaughlin Roof Trusses 250 before getting caught up with some lapped cars. I expect 2017 to be very competitive in the Re/Max Pro Stock division, because we have some of the best drivers and teams in the Maritimes. I’m also looking forward to working with Ryan Messer, my new team-mate and I know he’s going to make a strong run for Rookie of the Year. We’ve got a new tire compound and it may throw teams for a loop in the early weeks of the season, but I think the racing will be faster than ever. The countdown is on and personally I cannot wait to get back to the track to see all my racing family once again. I think 2017 will be better than ever!Last season Ryan Messer won the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman Championship, after winning the Rookie of the Year Crown in 2015. After just two seasons in sportsman Ryan is making the jump to pro stock!
Wade: Ryan, what a year 2016 was for you. You’ve won championships in every division you have ever raced in beginning with the bandoleros, then the Atlantic Open Wheels and then the sportman. That’s pretty incredible.
Ryan: I still have a hard time believing how our season went last year. We had so many races where we just seemed to get a break when we needed one and took advantage of those opportunities. Of course we worked hard back home in the garage to make sure we were as prepared as we could be and that paid off too. I just hope our luck continues this season. I’m super excited to jump into a pro stock. We worked hard all winter to get the car ready and I’m anxious to see how we’ll do against the best drivers in the Maritimes. I want to thank Andy Fox, from McLaughlin Roof Trusses, for this opportunity and I’m looking forward to being team-mates with Greg Fahey. My sponsors who have supported me for several years, including Dana Alexander from Dana’s Collision Center, continue to be a big part of our team. And I want to especially thank Mom and Dad for helping make my racing dreams come true. Robert Raynes capped off another great season with the 2016 DMR Auto Sales Street Stock championship. It was his second street stock title in a row. This season Rob will jump to Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman division. It’ll be the second time around for Rob in sportsman.
Wade: Hey Rob two street stock titles in a row is a pretty incredible feat. How do you feel about heading back up to sportsman after all of that success in street stock?
Rob: I love street stock racing and always will. It’s a blast and Speedway 660 has got an incredible history of street stock racing. We’re proud of those championships, the last two years. We really had to work for them, particularly last year when Courtney O’Blenis chased us hard for the title. But now we’ve decided to try our luck in sportsman. We went up a few years ago before coming back to street stock and we’ve learned a lot, so I think we will be ready to have a little more success this time around. There are a lot of good race teams in sportsman and we can’t wait to get out on the track to see how we stack up against them.No one has more fun behind the wheel of a race car than Kyle MacKinnon. Kyle raced hard in 2016 and was rewarded with the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter championship. Kyle looks forward to defending the title this year, but knows it’ll be no walk in the park.
Wade: Kyle you were awesome in 2016, winning some features, having several podiums and driving away with the sharp shooter title. What are your thoughts about that and the upcoming season?
Kyle: Yeah it was pretty amazing to win the title last year. There’s such a great group of drivers in our division and even though we race each other hard, we have become friends. We help each other in the pits and do our best to put on a show for the awesome Speedway 660 fans. I toyed with the idea of moving up to street stock this year, but I’m having so much fun that I thought why not stay where I’m at for the time being. Maybe I’ll get in a street stock someday, but for now I’m pretty happy to defend the sharp shooter title and continue having a blast down at 660.Ashton Tucker surprised a lot of folks when he drove away with the Pro Stock Rookie of the Year award in 2016. Ashton was consistent all season long and had a great run on the Night of champions to take the rookie’s trophy. Tucker will be back this year and try to improve on his 5th place point finish.
Wade: Ashton you flew under the radar for most of last season and then on the last point race you claimed rookie of the year honours. That was a great achievement and you must be ready to get back behind the wheel.
Ashton: It was a big jump from bando to pro stock last year and we managed to get rookie of the year in one of the most competitive group of rookies we’ve ever seen in the Re/Max Pro Stock division. We also got a podium and a few top five finishes which was great for our first full pro stock season. It costs a lot to run one of these big cars and we need another sponsor or two to help us run a full schedule in 2017. So if anyone wants to help out a young lad from the Miramichi please come talk to us in the pits. Like every other driver our ultimate goal is to win a championship, but this year another top five in points and maybe our first feature pro stock win would be real nice.Jacob Logan has turned out to be a chip off the old block! His Dad Bradley was one of the most dominant sportsman drivers we’ve ever seen in the Geary Woods. Last year Jacob drove the wheels off the 37 and captured the Martin’s Home Heating Rookie of the Year.
Wade: Jacob 2016 was an incredible year for you guys. You just kept getting more confident as the season went on and by August were one of the top teams in the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman division. How are you feeling about 2017?
Jacob: It’s really hard to put into words how amazing it was to accomplish all that we did in our rookie season! I never expected to have such an incredible season just starting out in the tough sportsman division. It was our goal to compete for the rookie of the year title at speedway 660 and we accomplished that along with three podium finishes and a huge win in Shediac to end our awesome season! Heading into 2017, our goal is to have consistent finishes, to hopefully get that first feature win at my home track and to be in position to battle for the points championship at the end of the season. Mom and Dad support me big time and I appreciate carrying on the Logan tradition down at 660. I may not ever be as good a driver as my Dad was, but with his advice and experience setting up the car, I’m going to try my best every week. Above all else, we are coming out to have fun and do what we love!! Riley Goodwin was one of the top street stock drivers in the second half of the 2016 season. His strong finish earned him rookie of the year honours and gave him a lot of confidence heading into this season.
Wade: Riley it was tough for you guys early last season. But you worked hard and it really paid off. You’ve got to be happy with the result and anxious to build on that this year.
Riley: Yeah we had some mechanical issues with the car early on last season and it took me a little while to adjust to a full size car after getting out of the bandolero. But once we got going we had a lot of fun and started getting the results we wanted. With Rob and Courtney moving up to sportsman, it looks like the street stock championship is really up for grabs. I hope we can get off to a better start this season and make a run for the title when the Night of Champions rolls around in August.Bob Colquhoun is the most senior driver ever to win a major award in the history of Speedway 660. The Grey Owl is sixty something and buckled up for the first time in 2016, driving away with rookie of the year honours in the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter division.
Wade: Bob last season was pretty amazing down at Speedway 660. One of the highlights had to be you winning a rookie of the year award. I hear you are back for another go in a sharp shooter this year.
Bob: Last year was a hoot. Racing these little sharp shooter cars is a real blast. Hopefully I proved to folks that it’s never too late to get into a race car. I won’t be jumping into a pro stock any time soon, but I’m anxious to head back to 660 and race my sharp shooter. 2017 looks like it will be a great year for racing in all four divisions and I think I can speak for all drivers when I say we can’t wait to get after it this weekend at the Riverview Ford Season Opener!