(May 14, 2017) Last weekend was beautiful and hopefully the sun and wind helped dry out the infield, pits and parking lot at Speedway 660. And let’s hope we get more decent weather this week so we can go racin this weekend! With a lack of action this past weekend, we still have lots of questions heading into the 2017 season.
There’s usually lots to talk about after the first weekend of racing down at Speedway 660. And it’s usually pretty easy to fill up the space allotted to this weekly racing blog. However, when the first scheduled race is postponed it’s a little more difficult to come up with content for the web.
This week we should be talking about how great the cars looked last weekend and how certain teams were fast right out of the box. There would likely have been a few teams that surprised us with great finishes while others got off to slow starts. Instead of talking about those things, all we have are some interesting questions.
Will Rob Raynes and Courtney O’Blenis continue their rivalry now that they have both moved up to the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman Division?
Not likely. Rob and Courtney had the two dominant cars in the DMR Auto Sales Street Stock Division for the last two seasons. Courtney won more features last year, but Rob was just a little more consistent and won the crown. Those two really duked it out last season. I personally don’t expect that fierce rivalry to carry over to sportsman. Courtney will be running for rookie of the year, but Rob ran a season in Sportsman a few years ago, so he won’t be competing for the rookie award. And Sportsman cars cost a lot more money and aren’t the “tanks” we see in Street Stock. So I expect they’ll race each other hard, but I can’t see them tradin paint like they did in 2016.Lean on Me! Rob Raynes (41) and Courtney O’Blenis (48) had a real old-time, old-school kinda rivalry at Speedway 660 last season. Both drivers are moving up to Sportsman this year.
Will Greg Fahey win a 5th Pro Stock championship and 8th overall?
Maybe, but it won’t be easy, because it never is easy to win a Speedway 660 championship. Greg Fahey has two Street Stock, one Sportsman and four Pro Stock titles and I expect him to be in the hunt for number eight this season. Greg has an appreciation for the history of our sport and his seven titles ties him with the legendary Brian Gillespie. Greg respects Brian’s accomplishments, but you gotta believe that deep down the “Pride of Charlotte County” would like to stand alone at the top of the mountain!Greg Fahey will be out signing autographs this weekend on Kid’s Day. Greg hopes 2017 is a history making year for his team at Speedway 660!
What will the new Pro Stock tire compound mean to racing?
That’s pretty easy. We’re going to see faster racing. Beginning this season Speedway 660 Pro Stocks will run the same tire compound as the Pro All Star Series. They’ll still be Hoosiers, but a softer compound means more grip, which means faster lap times and better cornering. The harder “hockey pucks” we’ve seen in recent years are now a thing of the past. Many of us remember how fast the Pro Stocks were when they ran Goodyear tires for several years. Some teams are going to like the new tire and others won’t. That’s racin!There’s been a real resurgence in Pro Stock racing in the Geary Woods. Fans love the speed and excitement and with a better tire these cars will be faster than ever!
Can Drew Greenlaw capture that elusive Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman championship in 2017?
Kyle Bush says “second sucks” and young Greenlaw knows all about finishing second. Last year he was runner-up to his good friend Ryan Messer and in 2015 he was second in points to Randy Moore. 2017 could be Drew’s year. He’s one of the top young talents in our sport and he’s got a great car. He can use those things to his advantage but there’s a third ingredient that is hard to control. You need “Lady Luck” to help out a little and Drew hasn’t had a lot of luck come his way in the last couple of years. I’m not saying the “Kid from Eastport, Maine” will win it all, but I’ll bet he’s going to in the running for that Sportsman crown.Drew Greenlaw (left) was the first to shake Ryan Messer’s hand when Ryan won the Sportsman title in 2016. After finishing second in points the last two seasons, maybe 2017 will be Drew’s year!
Is the DMR Auto Street Stock championship wide open?
It kinda looks that way to me. With Rob Raynes and Courtney O’Blenis running Sportsman the street stock title should really be up for grabs. Keep an eye on Riley Goodwin, last year’s Rookie of the Year. He was tough down the stretch in 2016 and has got to be eyeing the championship this year. If former champ Luc MacLaughlin is back full time and Shawn Hyslop is back and Matt Crocker runs a full season and Roger Slocum has a bounce back year. That’s a lot of ifs! One thing is for certain, Street Stock racing will be great and someone will emerge with the title on the Night of Champions.Riley Goodwin(77) was a pretty good little Bandolero driver, but he’s an even better Street Stock wheelman. Look for this kid to be in the thick of things in 2017!
Will the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters continue to thrill fans?
The answer is a resounding YES! I must admit I wasn’t too enthused when we started running the little front wheel drive cars back in 2010. But I’ve come to love what they mean to our sport. A whole new group of folks now can go racing. Racing is expensive and not everybody is able to afford to run Pro Stock, Sportsman or even Street Stock. But just about anyone can get out there in a Sharp Shooter, have some fun and entertain our fans. They raise more than a little dust and three wide is common practice for this bunch.There’s never a dull moment when the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters hit the track. They are excited to entertain fans again in 2017.
What does the Pro All Star Series race mean to Speedway 660?
It sets us apart from every other race track in Atlantic Canada. PASS is one of the best short-track tours in North America and we’ve got it. This year the top three Americans and top three Canadians earn provisional starting positions in the Oxford 250! That’s huge. For us to be associated with PASS and Oxford Plains Speedway is incredible. Lining up our Pro Stock rules with the PASS rules will help us attract more American cars to SpeedWeekend. We won’t have to wait long to see the PASS drivers, because they’ll be here on the first Saturday in June!Coming up on June 3rd the Pro All Star Series cars will come to Speedway 660 for their only Atlantic Canadian appearance. The PASS 200 is a real big deal in 2017.
So there you have it. I guess we were able to fill the space allotted for the weekly. A bit of creative writing if you will, but hopefully next time we’ll have lots to talk about after the season opener and kid’s day. We’ll see you at the races!