Summer Stretch “Officially”
Kicks off Friday Night
For the Weekly Racing Series, our season really got started the Friday night following Monster Jam. From June 3rd all the way to September 16th, with the exception of inclement weather interfering, we race EVERY Friday night. The calendar though says the Summer season officially kicked off this week and with that, the action is sure to heat up on the track.
I will begin this week with a tip of the cap to the Toursec Thunder division for providing some of the most exciting racing we witnessed last weekend and I’m including that barnburner of a Nova Truck Centres Make a Wish 150 in that group. Typically, when you look at the quick results and you find the same three drivers topping the list, you think that the three ran away and hid. That was not the case and while the three flexed their muscle especially near the end of the features, they had lots of close competitors that ultimately were left to fight for fourth.
Stevie Lively took the first feature of the weekend in a photo finish with Dave Matthews. Matthews made changes to his car the week prior that did not go his way and made a nice rebound by leading the most laps in the race. Lively worked the outside a couple times in the main feature but made it stick at the end to edge Matthews out at the line for his second victory of the year.
While Andrew Lively watched those two from third, it was a role reversal in the second feature as he scored his first career win at Scotia Speedworld. The #25 had the #32 on his bumper at the end and while Matthews got hung up in traffic he also was making tracks for the top two at the end.
Those three drivers are the top three in points, while the rest of the pack is not far behind. Merle Corbin has been really quick this year, as has Drew MacEachern even though he developed motor issues last week. If Chris Hatcher could keep his car together, he’d be in the top three battling with the Livelys and Matthews. Tim Webster was pretty quick last week in the second feature and led laps before slotting into fourth. Webster was a heat race winner last week too, edging out a hungry Nic Baker who was looking for his first heat win. Chantel Ackles ran laps up front in the feature as well before pulling off two laps prior to the finish. JR Lawson finds himself in the thick of the championship chase and the Tim Hortons at the Airport Rookie battle between Mitchell Hopkins and the team of McKay and Rowe is only an 11 point gap after four races.
Scheduled to make his return this weekend is Matthew Warren. Warren has scaled back to a part-time schedule but is excited for Kiddie Rides this weekend and being able to put some smiles on some faces on Friday. The reigning Toursec Thunder champ was testing earlier in the week in preparation for his first race of the season on Friday night.
Pete Miller found his way to victory lane in the Affordable Fuels and Metro Home Heating Sportsman to put himself a bit closer to the top of the standings in the class. The class is led by Jordan Veinotte and Aaron Boutilier, who are tied atop the standings with a 15-point advantage on Miller. Veinotte has been consistent with four straight podium finishes while Boutilier leads the class with feature wins with two to go along with a pair of heat race victories.
Could this be the night Matt Moore, Alex Johnson or Brentley Pirri win a Sportsman feature for the first time? It will happen this season that one of or all of that group will have their time in victory lane, the question is if it will come Friday night. All three have shown speed and while Pirri is the only one that does not have a podium finish in the group this year, he does have two straight top five runs.
The final laps to the Coors Light Truck feature on Saturday night were pretty exciting. It was great to see Adam Carter up front and leading laps and while it appeared that Matt Vaughan was on his way to his first feature win of the year, it was Jason Fenton who perfected the bump and run to win his second feature of the year. Dan Smith slid by for second with Vaughan third. Smith still has a nine point lead heading into Friday but you best believe the field will be looking to change that with a win!
The Hydraulics Plus Bandolero division has been Sam Rogers playground over the first two weeks. Rogers has won the first two features overall and in the Outlaw division for drivers aged 12 and up. Josh Langille, who has been second on both occasions, Austin MacDonald and Nathan Blackburn have all shown speed, meaning this championship chase in the Outlaw class will be excellent all season long.
In the Bandit division, Nathan Langille has bested all his competition thus far over two race meets. He has an eight point advantage on Danny Chisholm with Owen Mahar and Colton Noble not far behind.
Tyler Hutchinson leads the Beginner Bandits on the strength of his feature win last Friday. A misstep by Malcolm Jollimore and Brooke Dowe last week also sees Hutchinson take the point lead. Great runs last week by Dylan MacMillan and Morgan Mosher to place on the podium. Chase MacKay is making strides in his learning process and will be in the top three in a feature before we know it.
The Strictly Hydraulics Legends feature was wild to say the least. Sure, let’s address the elephant in the room, there were a lot of yellows in that race and the race ended with the top two wrecking across the stripe but the racing between the wrecks was stellar. You had Cole Butcher, Nicholas Naugle and Cory Hall putting on a show up front for the top three spots, while you had another half dozen or more drivers dueling it out for fourth on back.
With Jarrett Butcher fighting his way to fourth at the end, it preserves his point lead but the gap is down to a single point over Naugle. There is a cushion of 22 points back to Paul Goulden but if the top two slip, it’s not only Goulden there. Between the #57 and the seventh place point driver, only 20 points is the gap. Within that group you have both Meehan siblings, Adam and Emily, along with the leading Tim Hortons at the Airport Rookie in Craig MacDonald and Hall. It’s a close field and with one slip, the field might be even closer. Friday will be big in shaping the landscape of the Strictly Hydraulics Legends picture.
It is bound to be a big night of racing on Friday. Be sure to bring the kids down so they can take a ride around the track in a race car beginning at 7pm. It is a night where memories are made and future race car drivers and pit crew members are born!
Until Friday, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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