Tim's Corner
Round Two, Weekly Racing Series

Chad Tingler gets some big air Saturday afternoon during Monster Jam at Scotia Speedworld.

Did you get to Monster Jam this weekend at Scotia Speedworld? If not, where were you?!

Thousands of motorsports fans, including yours truly took in at least one of the action packed shows this weekend at “Atlantic Canada’s Action Centre.” For me it was my first time in about five years since I saw the monsters take to the Speedworld track and I was blown away by the shows I witnessed at our facility. From Ryan Anderson parading skills learned from his father Dennis to “Death Defying DiRenzo” plummeting fifty feet on fire, the show brought a breed of entertainment to the Speedworld that only Monster Jam can. Hats off to James Thrope, Matt Parker and their staff for another job well done!

If you want even more entertainment check out the Weekly Racing Series this Friday night with five divisions of racing on track. The Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros will kick off the show with their US Legends Cars counterparts joining them in the Coco Beach Legends division. The popular Truck class is back for their second race of the season while “The BEST Four Cylinder Drivers in Atlantic Canada” will round out the show when the Lumbermart Lightning and Thunder drivers strut their stuff on the 3/10-mile oval.

It feels like an eternity since we saw our favorite Friday Night Stars on track. For those who have cloudy memories, let’s review what happened at the opener, shall we?

  • The Butcher brothers are a top the Hydraulics Plus Bandolero standings after race one. Defending champ Cole bested his brother Jarrett for the win while rookie Adam Meehan and former Rookie of the Year Braden Langille had a spirited battle for third off Turn Four on the final lap which ended with Meehan rounding out the podium and Langille in the wall a few feet from the finish line.
  • Dan Smith picked up right where he left off last week by doubling down in the Truck class. Smith won the ten lap qualifier before holding off the hard charging duo of Gordon Ritchie and JP Arsenault to take the feature.
  • Steve Pye was quick to the draw in the Coco Beach Legends division. Pye picked up his sixth win in the weekly division since 2008 on May 29th by beating ’10 titlist Paul Blenkhorn and Maritime League of Legends feature winner Matt Moore. Last season’s Cathy Ledwidge Memorial Rookie of the Year Award winner Derek MacCallum was nipping on the heals of the top three but had to settle for fourth in the Hellas Diner rocket.
  • Jorden Smith slid into the #144 DaBest Construction Neon and picked up where his older brother left off by winning the first main feature of the season! Cody Singer was closing in but ran out of laps to make anything happen up front. A GM entry stopped the Neon Brigade from sweeping the podium as Hillbilly Racing’s Jamie Dillman came home in third.
  • May as well call him “Dominant Dave,” as that what it seems to be when the #99 Lumbermart Thunder car gets into the lead spot. Dave Matthews led flag-to-flag in Thunder competition on May 29th while a returning Kyle Gammon and ’10 runner up Tylor Hawes charged hard through the field without the aid of a yellow flag to finish second and third.
  • Though they are not racing this coming Friday, it should be noted that Colby Smith held off Aaron Boutilier in the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman feature. The two waged war on multiple late race restarts before Smith got the edge on the outside line on the final dash to the checkers. The two are tied for the point lead after Opening Day.

    So, who to watch this week? Many drivers need good runs this Friday to route their season in the right direction. Contrary to popular belief, it is never too early to talk championship contention, at least not when your season consists of the number of our races that our Canadian summer allows. Sure, Stevie Lively dug himself out of a hole that was made early in 2010 to win the biggest prize in four cylinder racing in Atlantic Canada but you can’t let yourself fall behind early in the year if you are gunning for the top spot at the banquet.

    You would have to think that Nick Hurshman would have to “win out” to get to where his Smith Brothers Racing teammate is sitting in the #144 car after one event. With what we’ve seen from that team in the past, it may not be too farfetched for Hurshman to come out of September with a bundle of feature trophies in the back of his #145 Bernie’s Drywall Services Neon. The downside is though after mechanical problems on Opening Day, Hurshman has to dig out of a fifty point hole to see the light of the championship which is currently shining on Smith.

    Matthew Warren and his team averted near disaster two weeks ago when it came to his championship hopes. His #31 Markland Associates Civic developed problems under the hood following practice and the team worked feverishly to get that car back on track for the feature. Warren then got up on the wheel like we’ve seen him do before at the Speedworld and drove his Honda up to fifth at the completion of twenty-five laps.

    You know me though, I like to play with numbers and here’s one stat that could be key when we hit Finale Friday. Not starting the heat race hurt Warren’s point standing on Week One as he slots into eighth (eighteen points behind Matthews) after one week. The upside is that the aforementioned Lively was seventh after one race last season and was fifteen points behind the leader. The downside is that if the championship comes down to a couple points, that heat race on the first afternoon of racing could mean the difference between a championship going to White’s Lake or somewhere else in the province.

    Believe it or not, heat races can make or break your season. I remember a conversation I had with Alex Johnson back in 2008 when he was contending for the Hobby Stock title. He had reminded me the heat races were one of the most underestimated events on our Weekly Racing Series schedule. Keep in mind that each heat winner gets ten points with each position declining by one marker (i.e., second place gets nine points, third place gets eight…etc). Essentially, if you beat your nearest competitor in the championship by three positions in your heat race but he beats you by one position in the feature (each feature position being worth two points more) you take a net gain of one point out of the night. When we have point battles coming down to one point like we did in the Coco Beach Legends last season it puts into perspective how valuable heat races can be.

    Who will come out on the first Friday night of 2011? Be at the Speedworld at 7pm to find out!

    Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!