mason Motorsports Enters
43rd Year Of Racing
There are names that come and go pretty frequently in this sport. When you look the upper levels of NASCAR, the names like Petty and Earnhardt have been around for years, making lasting legacies with the many laps that teams and drivers with those surnames continue to make. The same can be said at Scotia Speedworld with the name Mason. Nine Mile River’s Wes Mason began his racing career in 1969 and has been at Scotia Speedworld since Day One on May 27th, 1988.
Mason’s thirst for speed was first quenched in 1969 when he owned “The Spoiler.” The car, which carried the #66, ran at Halifax Dartmouth International Speedway (HDIS) and was driven by Thomas Crabbe. The #66 was inspired by one of Mason’s racing heroes, Calvin Sharpe, who raced out of the Seabreeze Raceway. “Calvin’s number was #33,” explained Mason in a newspaper interview. “We doubled the number and used #66 beginning in ’69. We then went to #96 in ’84.” Mason would go on to the track with nicknames emblazoned on the cars such as “The Hound” and “River Rat.” Prior to Scotia Speedworld opening in 1988, Mason raced at the area's premier tracks at the time, including Seabreeze Raceway, Atlantic Speedway, HDIS, Riverside Speedway and Onslow Speedway. In that time, Mason racked up many trophies and checkered flags before adding the Speedworld to his resume in ’88.
He adapted to Nova Scotia’s newest race track pretty quickly. Mason began racing in the Speedworld Street Stock class in 1988, racking up six wins in that first season. He would follow that effort up with eight more victories in 1989. He moved to the Open Wheel Modified class in ’91 and began racking up trophies in that class, including a big “B” Feature win in ’93. “That was the best Open Wheel Modified race all year, ask anybody,” Mason said of the victory. Mason Motorsports soon moved to the Sportsman division after spending a few seasons in the Open Wheel class. The ’99 campaign was a memorable one as the team pulled double duty, racing both at Scotia Speedworld and Exhibition Park . The hard work paid off with a fifth place point finish at Exhibition Park and a third place championship finish at Scotia Speedworld. Wes also won a heat race during the Atlantic Championships event at the Centre for Speed (NB) in 2004, which gave the then 35-year stock car veteran the pole for the year ending event.
While Wes hasn’t been in the seat full-time in a few seasons, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been active at the Speedworld in recent years. The #96 car is still racing each week with Wes calling the shots for his son Tony Mason. Tony has had some memorable moments at the track in the past few seasons. Ever wonder how that big crack got in the Turn Two wall? That can be credited to Tony. During a mid-week test of the #96 Mason Motorsports Grand Prix, he slammed the Turn Two wall with enough force to break the wall. Tony also had an incident during the Sportsman 100 in ’09 in which he slammed the front straight wall hard enough to shatter the wall into pieces. The accident came on the heels of Tony’s first win in a heat race for the 100 the night prior to the feature. Tony has finished within the top dozen in the standings in each of the last three seasons with a high of tenth in 2009.
Wes has also had his eye on an up and coming driver that is expected to see some seat time in a Sportsman car this year. Scott O’Neill is an ACE Lumbermart Thunder car veteran that got his first taste of Late Model racing at the Atlantic Championships last season. I remember talking to Wes at the event and both of us remarked about how smooth and comfortable Scott looked in the car. After all, Wes has an eye for talent, he’s seen a lot come up through the ranks in the last 42 years of being involved in the sport!
Wes was recognized by Scotia Speedworld and General Manager Ken Cunning in 2007 (the Speedworld’s 20th season) as the only driver/owner to be active in each season Scotia Speedworld has been open since 1988. As the Speedworld turns 25, Wes continues to be active in the sport as an owner, and the rumor is that you may see the veteran back at the helm of the Mason Motorsports car this season. One thing is for sure, whether it’s as a crew chief or at the wheel of his Sportsman car, Wes Mason still has a lot of laps left in him!
Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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