(June 20, 2017) The brand new MJS Holdings East Coast Mini-Stock Tour is heading to the Geary Woods this weekend. Speedway 660 will be the first track in the region to ever host a tour race. The race teams and tour officials are anxious to go racing and excited to be coming to 660. Mark Williams is the Vice-President of the new tour.
A Conversation with Mark Williams
Wade: Hello Mark. Congratulations on putting together this new stock car racing tour. It must have taken lots of work. Can you tell us where the idea came from and how it went from just an idea to an actual racing tour?
Mark: Our President Drew MacEachern began talking with drivers last summer to see if they were interested in a Mini Stock Tour and what it would take to make it happen. In the fall of 2016 a group of guys got together in a local coffee shop to discuss the idea a bit more. We worked on it all winter and managed to book dates, build a rules package and put a board of directors together.Honda’s have raced at several tracks around the Maritimes for many years. The new Mini Stock Tour is an idea whose time has come. The first race was rained out back in May, so this weekend’s Gilmet Designs 50 at 660 will be the inaugural race for the new tour.
Wade: It’s been a cold, wet spring in the Maritimes and your first race was actually rained out, so Speedway 660 now has the honour of hosting the MJS Holdings East Coast Mini Stock Tour’s very first race. What can fans expect to see?
Mark: These cars handle really well and fans will see fast, exciting side by side racing. The drivers are excited about the new tour and anxious to come to Speedway 660 this weekend. There should be great battles for the lead all night and we’ll just have to wait to see who wins the Gilmet Designs 50! We don’t usually see “imports” race in a four cylinder division at Speedway 660. But last SpeedWeekend a few of them came up to race against our Sharp Shooters.
Wade: We’ve run a four cylinder, front-wheel drive division up here since 2010. Our Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters are North American domestic cars, but I understand you guys are running Honda’s.
Mark:Yes, All of our cars are 1988-2000 Honda Civics. Many of us have been racing this style car for 10 or more years at different tracks but we have never had a chance to put them all together on a equal rules package.
Wade: When it comes to tours, we usually see Pro Stocks and Late Models. But this is different. How much interest is there among race teams to travel around the region in this kind of tour? Mark: We have drivers from Cape Breton, PEI, New Brunswick and mainland Nova Scotia registered. We have close to 25 teams registered already with an intention to run some or all of the events.Rob Poirier was here last September to race his funky looking import during SpeedWeekend.
Wade: Next to fans, marketing partners and sponsors are probably the most important component to our sport. MJS Holdings Limited is presenting the new tour to fans in the Maritimes. Can you tell us a little bit about this great marketing partner and any other folks who are supporting you guys?
Mark: MJS Holdings Ltd have been amazing, They have been supportive of everything we are trying to build with this new series and we can’t wait to showcase their Rotary brand lifts and tire changers to fans this season. We also had EIT Race Radios come on board as our radio partner and presenter of the hard charger award. Gilmet Designs is our website and artwork provider, they do a great job making us look good! As a matter of fact our very first race this Saturday at Speedway 660 is the Gilmet Designs 50. Stickerfool.com sponsors our heat race winners though-out the season and does vinyl decals and apparel for teams. We are still looking for presenting race partners, so if anyone is interested in showcasing their local business please get in touch with us.There’s a lot of hype about the new tour and Speedway 660 fans will be the first in the region to see one of their races.
Wade: I’ve talked with Tim Terry, from Tim’s Corner Motorsports, about the Mini Stock Tour and he’s pretty excited to see you guys hit the track and be successful. I know this is your first year, but what would you like to see the tour develop into say in five years or so?
Mark: Yeah, Tim is a big supporter of racing in our region and we’re happy to have TCM support our efforts. We are confident that the tour will be popular and successful with race teams and fans alike. We want to be known as a tour with a tight rules package, equal cars and a place for the drivers to showcase their talents in an affordable division.Mike Weagle, from Salisbury, is one of the fastest drivers of little race cars in Atlantic Canada. Patricia Taylor, also from Salisbury, and Mike Edwards, from Penobsquis, are also expected to be at 660 this weekend.
Wade: Go-Karts, Bandolero and Legend car divisions have provided lots of new people with the opportunity to go racing. Those forms of racing have produced some pretty good drivers here in the Maritimes. Do you see the East Coast Mini Stock Tour doing the same thing and do you expect some of your drivers to eventually jump into Street Stock, sportsman or Pro Stock cars?
Mark: We have already seen drivers make the jump from Honda’ s over the last few seasons into Legends cars and recently Stevie Lively has moved into a Pro Stock. All of the drivers that have moved up have proven they are capable and competitive in their new series with the skills they have learned in Mini Stocks. The Mini Stocks have run at a number of tracks in Atlantic Canada, including Scotia SpeedWorld near Halifax. Now there is a new Mini Stock Tour which will come to Speedway 660 this weekend.
Wade: The fans at Speedway 660 love their racing. They appreciate competitive racing and over the last 24 years have been treated to some of the best action in our region. I know you guys respect the fans and want to provide them with some incredible racing action.
Mark: We were all fans first before jumping into the seat, our goal is to make our events fan friendly with great action that will keep people talking about us for years.
Wade: Thanks for doing this Mark. We really look forward to seeing you this weekend and on behalf of everyone in the Maritime racing community, I want to wish you great success with this brand new tour.
Mark:Thank you, We can’t wait to get up to Speedway 660 this weekend to make this dream of a new series a reality.
We thank McCarthy Photographic who shot some of the photos used in this story.