TCM brings the Bandos back to 660!

(May 24, 2017) Tim’s Corner Motorsports presents the Bandolero Spring Shootout at Speedway 660 this coming Sunday afternoon. After a great show, during SpeedWeekend 2016, the Bandos are coming back twice this year. We caught up with Tim Terry, from TCM, to talk about Bandolero racing and the Spring Shootout.

A Conversation with Tim Terry

Wade: Hey Tim fans are looking forward to seeing the Bandos again. They put on a fantastic show during last year’s SpeedWeekend and it’s going to be nice to see those kids come here twice in 2017.

Tim: Your right Wade, thanks for inviting me to the Speedway 660 website to let folks know about it. I chatted with management of Speedway 660, after the TCM Bandolero Blast last September, about bringing the Bandos back to try and generate more interest in the Fredericton market, with the goal of getting a new group  of youngsters into racing.

After looking at the 2017 schedule and a conversation with the Roy family, we decided to add the TCM Bandolero Spring Shootout to the schedule for this  Sunday. Most of the Bandolero teams are in Riverglade for an INEX point race on Saturday, so a special event on Sunday up your way seemed like a no-brainer to everyone. With the biggest concentration of Bandoleros now in the Halifax market, two races in New Brunswick on back to back days makes sense both cost and travel wise, so the Spring Shootout became a reality and will be a great tune up for SpeedWeekend. Bandos speedweekend 2016The TCM Bando Blast on SpeedWeekend provided exciting racing for our fans. They’ll be back for another Blast, during this year’s SpeedWeekend, but they’ll also be here this weekend for the TCM Bando Spring Shootout. 

Wade: What is it about Bandolero racing that appeals to race fans?

Tim: They are little, light weight cars that carry a ton of speed for a 30 horsepower Briggs and Stratton motor. At Speedway 660, they rarely lift off the throttle. You can liken it to a Daytona or a Talladega for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, if you let off the gas, you lose momentum and see the lead pack drive off into the sunset. The same can be said here. The kids have lightning quick reaction times and make moves that will take your breath away. It’s a really fast race track and you’ll see that on Sunday.

Wade: We ran Bandos here at 660 from 2010 until 2015. That group of kids outgrew those little cars and many of them are now running Street Stock, Sportsman or Pro Stocks.

Tim: This division has produced so many quality drivers in our region, and beyond, over the past couple of decades. US Legend Cars International and INEX have hit a home run with the Bandolero and Legend cars. You look at the alumni that the Bandolero division has sent to the Cup and Xfinity Series level including: Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, the Dillon brothers, Timmy Hill, Bubba Wallace, Garrett Smithley and Daniel Hemric, just to scratch the surface.Image result for chase elliott bandolero photosChase Elliott, son of legendary NASCAR star Bill Elliott,  raced Bandos when he was a little guy. Today Chase is an established driver at the highest level of our sport.

That same progression has been seen on the local level at Speedway 660. Ryan Messer is a fine example of that. He went on to win championships on the Atlantic Modified Tour and in the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman division and now has a top tier Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock ride. The O’Blenis sisters, Drew Greenlaw, Destiny Enkel, Riley Goodwin, Hudson Weston, Kyle Orr and Ashton Tucker are all graduates of Bandolero racing at Speedway 660.ryan messerRyan Messer won the 2010 Bando championship at Speedway 660. He has gone on to win Rookie of the Year Awards and championships on the Atlantic Modified Tour and the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman division. This year Ryan will try to capture another Rookie crown, this time in the Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock division!

Wade: Who are some of the kids fans should watch for this weekend?

Tim: I think Michael Cormier will be tough to beat. He and Josh Langille put up a fight for the win with Sam Rogers last year at SpeedWeekend. Koven Lewis has learned a lot and has really impressed me over the last year. Josh’s brother Nathan Langille is one tough cookie, as is Nathan Blackburn. The Dowe siblings from Bedford, Brooke and Dylan, both learned a ton at INEX Winter Nationals this year and could pick up a lot of knowledge Sunday for Speedweekend in September.  PIC_0109 (left to right) Michael Cormier, Sam Rogers and Josh Langille finished on the podium at the Tim’s Corner Motorsports Bando Blast last year at SpeedWeekend.

I spoke to Cory and Ashton Tucker at Speedsport in Moncton last month and they still have a Bandolero. If they do double duty on Sunday, Tucker could be a factor in both the Bandolero Spring Shootout and the Re/Max Group Four Pro Stock feature.

Wade: I mentioned that the 660 roster has a lot of former Bando drivers and we’re also seeing some kids jump into the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. With some of the veteran drivers retiring from competition what does Bando racing mean to our sport and where would we be without this new generation of drivers?

Tim: In theory, the Bandolero division, and any lower division for that matter, will continue to feed the upper classes. As we’ve discussed, it has turned out some great talent but, in turn, you need butts to fill those vacant seats in the lower divisions. You learn so much in a Bandolero with the power to weight ratio, the short wheel base and the speed, it is the best learning tool for a young racer, which is why you see kids like Cole Butcher, Ryan Messer, Drew Greenlaw and Dylan Blenkhorn do so well when they step up into a Late Model.dylan blenkhorn legendDylan Blenkhorn, an established Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour star, ran Bandos and then Legend cars before strapping into the Big Car!

Wade: I know we’re talkin Bandos today, but in about a month the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour will be in town. How does the tour look this year and what can we expect when they invade the Geary Woods on Canada Day?

Tim: Numbers look good on the series this year! We got off to a great start at Scotia Speedworld for the Lucas Oil 150 and I’m looking forward to July 1st and the Cummins 150 at Speedway 660. The series has gone to 150-lap races this year to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and I think this will add to the excitement we’ll see on Canada Day. The extra 50 laps add strategy to conserve tires and with no halfway break you have to really ride out the storm. On a track like Speedway 660, that can be a fine balancing act over 100 laps, let alone 150!

We’ll see if Greg Proude can repeat in the Geary Woods after becoming the first Islander to win a Tour race there in the 16 year history of the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. Not to mention, you’ll see Bandolero graduates in that race like Cole Butcher and his brother Jarrett, DJ Casey, Dylan Blenkhorn and Nicholas Naugle!Cole Butcher wins Parts for Trucks race July 4, 2015Cole Butcher won the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour race here back in 2015. Before graduating to Pro Stock, Cole lit up race tracks around the Maritimes in his Bandolero.

Wade: You travel to race tracks all over Atlantic Canada and beyond. What is the state of short-track racing and what do you think we can do, as a sport, to get more fans out and increase the car count?

Tim: That’s quite the loaded question Wade! We could take up lots of space discussing this. In short, and something lost on many people, is the sport is a business and at the end of the day each individual race track, series, car builder, part manufacturer have different answers to that. Is everyone right? Not necessarily. We’re also in a different time then we were say, ten or fifteen years ago – before the social media boom.SpeedWeekend 2015 Tim Terry interviews Sarah McKayTim Terry, from Tim’s Corner Motorsports, is an authority on short-track racing in Atlantic Canada and beyond. He feels Speedway 660 is well positioned to attract new fans to our sport.

Fans are digesting the sport in different ways and budgeting to do other things throughout the short summer with their limited entertainment dollars. That is visible to a degree when you see the patches of empty seats on Sunday at Cup venues.

But the location of Speedway 660 is great – you have several communities within 90 minutes of the track including Saint John, Moncton, Fredericton, Woodstock and a number of USA border towns. How do we increase car and fan counts? There are a number of ways, some more successful than others, but it all has to make business sense at the end of the day. Sportsman action 2017We had a great crowd for the Riverview Ford Season Opener and Kid’s Day last Sunday afternoon. The on-track brand of racing in the Geary Woods has always been superb and now Speedway 660 is doing a good job on the social media side to attract new fans. 

Wade: On behalf of our fans at Speedway 660, I want to thank Tim’s Corner Motorsports for bringing the Bandos our way twice in 2017. We sure are looking forward to seeing these kids light the Geary Woods on fire this weekend in the TCM Bandolero Spring Shootout.

Tim: Thanks Wade, I’m looking forward to getting back up there. We’re in for a pretty awesome season at Speedway 660 with all the storylines developing throughout the past few months. Calling races at Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway and Citrus County Speedway this past winter was fun, but I’m excited to share the microphone with you on Sunday!         

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