Friday Is For The Fans
On Friday evening, we will celebrate the Friday night fans of Scotia Speedworld with lots of racing, free admission from our sponsors and a meet and greet to kick off the night.
There are not many tracks in this region that offer as many discounted grandstand admission rates (the first of two $20/Carload Nights is coming up soon) throughout the season or offer special events like the Fanfest Meet and Greet or Kiddie Rides like Scotia Speedworld does. In addition, the variety you see on Friday night for the admission price is pretty hard to beat. I could go on and on, but that sounds like a good article topic for another time.
At the end of the day, on Friday, given that you visit a participating Scotia Speedworld partner before you head to the track, you get all the pre-race activities and on track action for free.
Now, to that racing on track.
There is a lot of racing action to cover on Friday night, seven features in fact. The night will begin and end with the Affordable Fuels and Metro Home Heating Sportsman, who will start the night with their makeup feature from May 22nd and end with their regularly scheduled feature for the evening. Last Friday night, there were a handful of really good cars that could have been where Aaron Boutilier stood after 38-laps.
The three Fords of Boutilier, Alex Johnson and Jordan Veinotte were quick, but so were the Dodge of Matt Moore and the Chevys of Kirk Ryan and Pete Miller. Travis Roma and Richard Salter both broke early, so we did not get to see what they had and Fred Schofield loaded early because he felt under the weather after practice. Add in Wayne Miller, Alex Painting, Joey Livingstone and Brentley Pirri and while our Sportsman count is a bit lower than previous years, it is a very close and tight field any one of them could win on any given night.
The Strictly Hydraulics Legends feature was probably the most intriguing, in my mind, of last Friday’s races. Jarrett Butcher rebounded from what looked like a mid pack showing during the opener for the Upper Clements Parks Maritime League of Legends Tour on May 21st to return to championship form last Friday by winning the heat and the feature. The feature was without a challenge at the end though with Cole Boudreau, subbing for Nicholas Naugle, driving hard in the late laps. Second place isn’t too bad for a kid who has limited Legend experience and hasn’t sat in a race car of any kind on track since Oxford Plains last August.
Behind them, you had Adam Meehan driving the wheels off his car for his first podium finish in a Legend car. Craig MacDonald ran extremely well for his second ever start in a Legend car and while he faded off the bumper of the #6 at the end of the race, he kept that wiley veteran in the #37 car behind him for a fourth place run.
My heart broke a bit for Cory Hall in the feature. After a practice incident that left his car damaged, his crew, comprised of himself and his father Scott, went to work to put it back together for the heat. They weren’t alone though, as Meehan, Tylor Hawes, Paul Goulden and a handful of other drivers and crews helped thrash on the #08 car to get it somewhat straight for racing competition. Hall was battling up front in the feature before contact between himself and the #51 driven by Cole Butcher sidelined the Jolicure, NB teen for the evening.
Mark my words, Hall will be a championship contender before the end of the year. While he has a 30 point deficit now and there is mighty stiff competition as we saw on Night One, he’ll rally and be there at the end of the season.
Deven Smith sent a clear statement in the Toursec Lightning feature that if anyone wants to take the championship away from him that they have to step up their game. Smith drove away to a half track lead, or almost a fifth of a mile, in 25-laps last Friday night, leaving a bunch of good cars behind him. It was great to see Tom Stewart on the podium last week in second. Clearly the team has done some homework over the off-season and has put the division on watch that this could be their breakout season. Jamie Dillman also showed a lot of speed in his Neon and could step up to challenge Smith, Richard Drake and Scott Thibodeau for a title run in 2016. Friday will give us another clear indication on who is here to dance for a track title this summer.
What was built on the first day of the season prior to the features raining out as the Dave vs Stevie battle in the Toursec Thunder class played out to Stevie Lively scoring the first win of the year. It wasn’t without trying those as Matthews tried everything in his power to wrestle the win away but could not touch the #32. Instead, he had the battle for third catch him in the late stages, which included JR Lawson, Merle Corbin, Chris Hatcher and former feature winner Drew MacEachern.
With the way that pack ran, along with Tim Webster and Andrew Lively not too far behind, I believe we’re going to see another first time feature winner, or two or three, before this year is out. Keep in mind, Lawson has never won a main feature at Scotia Speedworld, Corbin and Hatcher have stepped their games up tenfold over the offseason and Andrew Lively should hold a checkered flag before this season is done. Even Chantel Ackles and rookie Jesse Deveau put on an incredible battle in one of the most entertaining two car battles of the evening.
Deveau, a former four cylinder champion on the dirt of Valley Raceway, along with Mitchell Hopkins and the team of Greg McKay and Justin Rowe might be the best Tim Hortons at the Airport Rookie of the Year battles we see all season. In total, we have a dozen rookies over the six weekly classes this year and these three teams could be the story we see unfold as we go throughout this 2016 season.
The Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros will also return on Friday night for Fanfest. Sixteen drivers showed up on opening day before the rains came, including three Tim Hortons at the Airport Rookie of the Year contenders that look to continue their family lineage in racing with names like MacMillan, MacKay and Dowe. Nathan Blackburn was impressive on the first night of racing and will have to channel that to keep with the likes of Austin MacDonald and Josh Langille, who you have to believe would be pre-season favorites along with the likes of Sam Rogers and Colton Noble.
Whatever way you split it, there is a ton of young talent in this Hydraulics Plus Bandolero class. Someone will make a statement and draw first blood in this championship season and we will find out who that is on Friday.
With the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour at Riverside this Saturday, Race Time Radio is in town this weekend. That means Sunday they will be at the Wooden Door Bistro for their Sunday SiriusXM show from 8pm to 10pm. The Wooden Door Bistro is located within the Quality Inn Airport Hotel, which is located beside Scotia Speedworld as you head towards Halifax at Exit Six on Highway 102. The Bistro has lots of delicious finds on their menu and is a stop you must put on your schedule, whether it is Sunday or next weekend coming to or from Scotia Speedworld and the Nova Truck Centres Make A Wish 150. May 22nd was a good time when RTR went live from the Wooden Door Bistro the first time and I’m sure Sunday will be much of the same!
Hopefully you can join us this Friday night for what will be an incredible night of racing and good times as Fanfest II hits the track.
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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