(August 29th, 2023) – A big payday, a star-studded field including a NASCAR standout, and the largest entry list in nearly a decade – the storylines have been running rampant, as Geary, New Brunswick’s Speedway 660 readies for it’s biggest annual stock car racing event. SpeedWeekend, Atlantic Canada’s highly anticipated Labour Day tradition, returns for 2023 in spectacular fashion.
Kicking off on Friday September 1st and continuing all weekend, SpeedWeekend 2023 will come to an epic conclusion as the sun sets and fireworks fly in the Geary Woods with one Pro Stock star receiving the cheque for over $15,000 as the winner of the Pro Stock 250. Any of the nearly 30 entries could wind up basking in SpeedWeekend glory, and walk away with what could be the biggest payday of their career – with lap money ($50 per lap), bonuses (including the $1000 Modern Electric Halfway Award), and contingency awards, the grand prize could grow to a total exceeding $30,000.
The Pro Stock 250 is set deep in tradition, with a who’s who list of winners from New England and Atlantic Canada having pulled into victory lane – and Labour Day glory eluding many more. From inaugural winner Kirk Thibeau in 2001, to three-time champions Shawn Tucker, Cassius Clark, and most recently Ashton Tucker, many memorable moments, incredible crashes, and dramatic finishes have kept fans and drivers coming back year after year.
The population of Geary increases by nearly ten-fold on Speedweekend, with hundreds of campers and thousands of fans travelling to Speedway 660 to witness the spectacle. That will be no different in 2023 – but this might go down as one of the biggest and most memorable in recent memory.
Let’s look at some of the many headlines to watch heading into the 23rd Annual Pro Stock 250 on Sunday September 3rd.
Three Young New Brunswick Stars Lead Pre-Race Favorites
Three popular New Brunswick drivers – who all got their start in the Bandolero ranks winning championships – will lead the field into SpeedWeekend combining to have won the last five Pro Stock 250’s at Speedway 660. Their recent dominance extends further than the Pro Stock 250 – they have also combined to win fifteen (15) of the last seventeen (17) extended distance Pro Stock races at Speedway 660 and swept the podium of the Super Late Model Series ReCar 150 presented by Wonder Auto & Tire a few weeks ago in a heated battle.
Needless to say, prepare for another potential chapter of a dynamic duel between three-time Pro Stock 250 champion Ashton Tucker (#2), 2018 champion Ryan Messer (#1), and 2021 champion Cory Hall (#83). One season ago, these three were the class of the field and waged war for the 250 win, but mistakes and circumstances eliminated Messer and Hall from contention as Tucker earned a historic third victory.
This year, Messer has won under every sanctioning body that has competed at Speedway 660 – earning the inaugural Super Late Model Series win in May, claiming the victory when the East Coast International Pro Stock Tour returned to town, and earning a Re/Max East Coast Elite Realty Pro Stock feature win. Hall came out on top in a polarizing battle with Tucker and Messer in the second Super Late Model Series stop August 19th – a finish which left fans buzzing after late race contact. Tucker has yet to win in the Geary Woods in 2023 – a track he has won at every year since 2017 – and now he eyes up a historic fourth Pro Stock 250 win, which would make him the first ever to do so.
NASCAR Star Stewart Friesen Challenges Regions Best
He has won in everything he has climbed behind the wheel of. A Canadian born talent who has migrated south and found himself in the midst of international stardom, multi-time NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series winner Stewart Friesen (#52F) will join the elite field for the 23rd Annual Pro Stock 250.
In early editions of the Pro Stock 250, it was commonplace to see NASCAR stars on SpeedWeekend. Champions such as Terry Labonte, Johnny Benson, and Ron Hornaday Jr, Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin, and most recently race winner and personality Jimmy Spencer were among those to challenge Atlantic Canada’s best. But it’s been twelve years since Spencer entered, and excitement is through the roof – amongst, drivers, fans, and Friesen himself.
None of the past celebrity drivers have won the Pro Stock 250, and Friesen wants to change that stat. Regardless of the final outcome, Friesen’s Speedway 660 debut will be a victory, as he will be racing to raise awareness for his foundation – AIM Autism – and VIVA Therapeutic Services. But a Pro Stock 250 victory would certainly top it all off.
Dave O’Blenis Seeks More 250 Glory Two Decades Later
While the terrific trio of Hall, Messer, and Tucker have laid claim to extended distance races at Speedway 660, only one other driver has won bigger races since their reign began, and he has done it twice. Dave O’Blenis (#48) is the winningest driver in the history of the Re/Max East Coast Elite Realty Pro Stock division, and is closing in on a historic seventh Pro Stock championship. But he has not won the Pro Stock 250 since all the way back in 2002!
A stat on O’Blenis’s side? Five of the last six Pro Stock 250’s have been won by a driver who picked up a Pro Stock victory earlier in the season at Speedway 660. O’Blenis joins Hall and Messer as the only winners in the Geary Woods thus far in 2023, with three wins. It’s been twenty-one years since O’Blenis struck gold in the 250, and he is ready to try again.
PEI Star Eyeing Up Historic Victory
Prince Edward Island drivers have shown the way on top of the Super Late Model Series point standings thus far in 2023, and sitting second is Robbie MacEwen (#40) who has a pair of sixth place finishes in the two races held at Speedway 660 so far in 2023.
MacEwen actually posted a runner-up performance one season ago in the Pro Stock 250, and has consistently been in the mix in this race. However, no PEI driver has ever won the Pro Stock 250 at Speedway 660. This may be MacEwen’s best opportunity to date to make his home province proud!
Super Late Model Star Preston Peltier Ready for Speedway 660 Debut
One of the North America’s most prominent Super Late Model stars will try his hand at the SpeedWeekend Pro Stock 250 for the first time. Preston Peltier (#23P) will team up with two-time Pro Stock 250 champion Lonnie Sommerville (#23) to make his bid for the victory.
Hailing from Colorado, Peltier is a past PASS South Super Late Model champion, and PASS National Super Late Mode champion. His illustrious career has many accolades, including a World Crown victory, four Summer Showdown wins, and three Chilly Willy wins amongst his many trophies. Peltier has been observing the Atlantic Canadian competition as he prepares to tackle the star-studded field and attempt to bring the Pro Stock 250 crown back south of the border.
For Sommerville, he hopes the addition of a teammate with plenty of star power will ignite a spark of his own. Sommerville has two victories in the Pro Stock 250 – his first coming in 2006, and the second being a memorable late race charge after a unique tire strategy in 2009. With many podiums and top fives in recent runnings, and a podium finish in a recent Super Late Model Series race, Lonnie hopes that 2023 is the year that car 23 returns to Riverview Ford Victory Lane.
Chris Duncan Enters After Violent Wreck
Fans are still talking about Chris Duncan’s (#97) wild and violent crash on lap 37 of the Super Late Model Series ReCar 150 presented by Wonder Auto & Tire. Duncan was running in the top ten when a brake rotor exploded while running top speed down the backstretch, vaulting the 97 car over the embankment in a spectacular crash that saw Duncan flip and hit a pit road entrance tire barrier before coming to a rest right side up. It’s been a hectic few weeks for the Duncan family team to make hasty repairs, but Duncan has never missed a 250 in twenty-two years, a streak he is not prepared to let end yet.
Seven Drivers Making Pro Stock 250 Debuts
Out of the twenty-eight (28) car field, seven (7) drivers will be making their Pro Stock 250 debut.
In addition to Stewart Friesen and Preston Peltier, rookie drivers Curtis Collins (#27), Hudson Weston (#43) and Ryan Raynes (#94) will all take to the track for their first 250. All three have impressed this season and will look to survive the attrition the 250 brings.
Ed Bowlby (#19) will join the field for his first Pro Stock 250 after making his Super Late Model Series debut August 19th. Bowlby survived for a 14th place finish. Hailing from Ontario where he has plenty of experience, Bowlby will look to continue making strides at Speedway 660. Another driver well known in Ontario is Gary Elliott (#36), who will bring his 50th Anniversary with Quaker State as sponsor tour to the Geary Woods. Elliott has a prior 250 attempt – suffering a failure that prevented him from starting the 2020 Pro Stock 250 – and he is ready to give it another go.
While it technically won’t be his first Pro Stock 250 start, Clark Moore is ready for his first full 250 lap race. Moore made his debut in the race one season ago, but it was short-lived as he experienced a catastrophic engine failure just four laps in. Will luck be on his side this year?
A Long-List of Heavy Hitters Makes This a Can’t Miss Race
Needless to say the storylines are endless heading into the highlight of the summer. Austin MacDonald (#13) will travel North for another crack at SpeedWeekend after spending much of the summer competing on the CARS Pro Late Model Tour. Andrew Rodgers (#14) is fresh off a career performance in the recent Super Late Model Series race. Four-time Re/Max East Coast Elite Realty Pro Stock champion Greg Fahey has long been eluded by the Pro Stock 250 – but he earned his first podium in the event one season ago. Dustin Tucker (#52) is fresh off a near podium performance a few weeks ago, while six-time Maritime Pro Stock Tour / MASCAR champion Wayne Smith (#4) enters. Other past Pro Stock 250 podium finishers Devin Snell (#10) and Steve Halpin (#03), Nicholas Naugle (#08) who has podiums in both the IWK 250 and Summer Clash 250, and this still just scratches the surface.
23rd Annual Pro Stock 250 Entry List
#03 – Steve Halpin
#08 – Nicholas Naugle
#1 – Ryan Messer
#2 – Ashton Tucker
#4 – Wayne Smith
#9 – John Rankin
#10 – Devin Snell
#10c – Brady Creamer
#13 – Austin MacDonald
#14 – Andrew Rodgers
#19 – Ed Bowlby
#20 – Greg Fahey
#23 – Lonnie Sommerville
#23P – Preston Peltier
#27 – Curtis Collins
#36 – Gary Elliott
#40 – Robbie MacEwen
#43 – Hudson Weston
#48 – Dave O’Blenis
#52 – Dustin Tucker
#52F – Stewart Friesen
#54 – Clark Moore
#66 – Paul Gahan
#81 – Ian Rasmussen
#83 – Cory Hall
#88 – Kevin Moore
#94 – Ryan Raynes
#97 – Chris Duncan
Entry list subject to change without notice
Past Winners of the Pro Stock 250
2001 – Kirk Thibeau #28
2002 – Dave O’Blenis #48
2003 – Scott Fraser #08
2004 – Shawn Tucker #52
2005 – Scott Chubbuck #20
2006 – Lonnie Sommerville #23
2007 – Johnny Clark #54
2008 – Craig Slaunwhite #23sfr
2009 – Lonnie Sommerville #23
2010 – Johnny Clark #54
2011 – Shawn Tucker #52
2012 – Cassius Clark #13
2013 – Shawn Tucker #52
2014 – Travis Benjamin #17
2015 – Cassius Clark #13
2016 – Joey Doiron #73
2017 – Cassius Clark #13
2018 – Ryan Messer #1
2019 – Ashton Tucker #2
2020 – Ashton Tucker #2
2021 – Cory Hall #83
2022 – Ashton Tucker #2
Stay in the Know
Action kicks off at 2:00pm on Sunday September 3rd with qualifying action for the 23rd Annual Pro Stock 250. Fans will be treated to racing from the Heart of a Champion Hot Rod Classics, Atlantic Modified Tour, Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter division, Cross Roads Maritime League of Legends, and the Bandolero Blast. An on-track autograph session will begin at approximately 5:30pm, with opening ceremonies for the Pro Stock 250 commencing at 6:30pm.
Grandstand tickets are $50 for adults, and as always kids fifteen (15) years of age and under will be admitted free to the grandstands. Pit admission is $60 and is restricted to those at least sixteen (16) years of age and older, except for youth who are direct family members of a driver, who can enter the pits with proper signed waivers. All entrants to the pits must complete the e-waiver prior to entering the pits.
SpeedWeekend is a full three-day motorsports celebration, with racing action being contested Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! Friday is headlined by the D. Gillespie & Sons Trucking Street Stock 100, with Saturday featuring the Riverview Ford Sportsman 150! Over 800 laps of feature competition – and over 1000 laps total – will be contested. Friday night, an infield bonfire and concert headlined by the band Hazzard will kick-off the weekend, with the concert firing up at 10:30pm. Weekend passes and weekend camping are also available. More information available at speedway660.com
For the second year in a row, fans around the world will be able to tune in live on FloRacing to watch the entirety of SpeedWeekend 2023, including the 23rd Annual Pro Stock 250. Live flag-to-flag coverage will be available to all subscribers on FloRacing’s platform.
For all up-to-date info from Speedway 660, check us out online at Speedway660.com, or find them on Facebook at “Speedway 660”.
About Speedway 660:
Speedway 660 is one of Canada’s premier stock car racing facilities. Located in New Brunswick’s Fredericton region, it has attracted race teams and fans from the Maritimes, New England and Quebec since 1994. The Speedway 660 racing season runs from mid May until late September. SpeedWeekend, one of the most prestigious short track events in eastern North America, is the marquee event of the Speedway 660 season on Labour Day Weekend.