Tim's Corner

Okay boys and girls of the Weekly Racing Series – it’s your turn!

Last Sunday the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock and Maritime League of Legend Tours put on one of the more memorable season openers in recent years. From Matt Moore’s first ever Tour win (second Legend car win at the Speedworld oval) to Darren Mackinnon’s heartbreak and Shawn Tucker’s breakthrough in the CARQUEST 100, fans were left with many moments that will stick with them throughout the 2011 season. I’m confident the Weekly Racing Series drivers will pick up right where the big boys (and girl) left off last Sunday as we go green this Sunday at 2pm.

One of the most anticipated battles this season will be in the Coco Beach Legends division, and I’m not necessarily talking about the big trophy in the class! FIVE, yes, count ‘em up, five rookies will be battling for the Cathy Ledwidge Memorial Rookie of the Year Award this summer. This class includes four former champions and one of the most popular drivers to grace the Speedworld oval in recent years. The advantage in this epic tilt may go to former Hydraulics Plus Bandolero champs Shelby Baker, Dylan Blenkhorn and DJ Casey as the three have Legends experience on the Maritime League of Legends Tour. Former Lumbermart Lightning titlist Dan Michaud Jr. and Hydraulics Plus Bandolero 2010 runner-up Emily Meehan each made their maiden Legends voyage last week during the fifty lapper.

When you add over a dozen veterans into the mix, the likes of Cy Harvey, Steve Pye, Jerry Austin, sophomore Derek MacCallum and 2010 champ (and Dylan’s father) Paul Blenkhorn, it makes the division that much more exciting to see when the green silk drops on Sunday!

Who will have anything for Cole Butcher in the Hydraulics Plus Bandolero division? The question will be answered Sunday as the young guns of the Speedworld will kick off the first show of 2011. Watch for last year’s top freshman Luke Ettinger to be strong along with Cole Tanner of Shubenacadie, who will be vying for the top rookie honors this season. Adam Meehan slides into his sister’s 2010 ride to give Tanner a run for the top trophy in the rookie battle while the likes of Jarrett Butcher and Megan Parrott will look to punch their ticket to the win column in 2011 as well.

Dartmouth Dodge is the proud sponsor of the Sportsman division in 2011 and they will be ushered in Sunday by seeing the top Sportsman drivers in Atlantic Canada duke it out for the first win of the season. Colby Smith leads the field into competition with a healthy mix of veterans and fresh faces alike looking to make the season’s first big splash. Terry Roma is back full time this year chasing his first Sportsman title since he topped the class in 2008. Young gun Mike Alexander will look to move one spot up the ladder in the standings while Russell Smith Jr. will look to win it all in his first full season in the top class. Aaron Boutilier racked up the wins last year but fell short of the top spot while the likes of Wallage, White, Butler, Dillman, Fisher, Mason, Dingle and Leonard among others are also set to put on a show this season.

The Trucks are also ready to attack the track Sunday. Six trucks started out the season last year but the low car count meant nothing when it came to competition. The boys put on a fantastic show each time out with Gordon Ritchie taking away the top spot by a slim margin over JP Arsenault. Some new faces are set to grace the truck grid this Sunday, including former Lumbermart Thunder standout Matthew Scott.

“The BEST Four Cylinder Drivers in Atlantic Canada” complete the lineup on Sunday. The Lumbermart Thunder and Lightning will contest their first races at the Speedworld since Kyle MacMillan and Dan Michaud Jr earned victories in their fifty lap season finales. MacMillan is back this season in the Thunder class as he will be joined by heavy hitters such as Dave Matthews, Tylor Hawes, Matthew and Andrew Warren, Ross Harvie and ’10 titlist Stevie Lively. Also re-joining the Thunder ranks is Kyle Gammon after a nearly one season hiatus along with Mark Williams and Jeremy Hallett, who will be sharing a ride in 2011.

The top seed in the Lightning class is wide open with top guns and the last two champions Russell Smith Jr and Dan Michaud Jr moving up the Weekly Racing Series ladder. Does Nick Hurshman or Jorden Smith have what it takes to be crowned champion or will we see Cody Singer, BJ Nicholson, “Crazy” Craig Cordeau, John Poan, Harry Breimer Jr or even Mike “The Outlaw” Umlah climb to the top of the class?

Although winning on week one means nothing in regards to the championship, a good finish can set you up to head down that road. Only two champs (Butcher and Smith Jr.) won their feature on Opening Day while that number was only one in 2009 (Bandolero champ Brad Eddy won his feature on the first race meet two years ago). In fact, Colby Smith and Stevie Lively finished outside the top five in the Season Opener in 2010!

If you want some more reading material on your internet travels, check out my column over at MaritimeProStockTour.com where I re-live the CARQUEST 100 from last week. Also, check out my Facebook page at facebook.com/timscorner.

Who will start off their season on the right foot this Sunday? Be at the Speedworld to find out as the lid is lifted on the biggest Weekly Racing Series show in Atlantic Canada at 2pm with six features and qualifying on tap!

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