THREE STARS: Season Opener, May 26th
Okay, I’ll admit, I’m going to borrow a page from the hockey book.
After all, it’s been a good season for local hockey teams. Our Halifax Mooseheads went all the way to become Memorial Cup Champions and an hour up the road, it was the Truro Jr A Bearcats (along with assistant equipment manager and one of our biggest fans at the Speedworld Terry Isenor) taking the Fred Page Cup on home ice.
So, here is what we are going to do from here on in. Within the Tim’s Corner piece for each week (which will include a brief preview as well of the upcoming week’s action when we kick off Friday nights), I will be putting the spotlight on three drivers who put it at the top of their division, had great runs or put something together worthy of recognition. I know, I know, I have my work cut out for me. Case in point: we had 80 teams at the season opener and I have to narrow my list down to three.
Without further adieu, in numerical order, the inaugural edition of the Tim’s Corner Three Stars for Opening Day presented by Live 105.
#6 - Adam Meehan - Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros
Adam Meehan had the pressure on him Sunday afternoon in not only his heat race but also in the main feature for the Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros - and he never cracked!
Meehan held off a frantic charge by Braden Langille and Craig MacDonald in the feature to take away his first main event win of 2013, which was preceded by a heat race victory earlier in the afternoon. In that heat race, he had to once again hold off Langille for the win.
With his mirror full of competition, Meehan did not let the pressure get to him as he staked his claim as one of the contenders to take the Bandolero championship in 2013.
#97 - DJ Casey - Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman
Rookie at his home track in a Sportsman car? You’d never know it if you watched the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series season opener on Sunday!
For only making select starts in a Legend car in the last few seasons and then hopping into a Sportsman car during Tech ‘n Tune and turning laps as quick as veterans who have been in the division for nearly as long as Casey has been alive is impressive enough. To be able to put that to use in a race situation is pretty spectacular in a 21 car field of some of the best around.
Casey moved his way towards the front of the field and spent most of the afternoon just inside the top five. When the race had a restart with less than ten laps to go, it was as if Casey found another gear as he made his way to third and tried to loosen up Darren Wallage for the runner up spot.
Driver #97 told me after the feature that he’d love to get a feature win before this season is out. It will be a tall order with all the competition in this class, but if anyone can do it in their rookie season, by the way he ran on Sunday, he may be able to accomplish that feat!
#141 - “Rational” Richard Patrick - ACE Lumbermart Lightning
I don’t like to brag - but I called it!
Look back to the “Five First Time Winners” article I did in the off-season and you will find “Rational” Richard Patrick’s name listed as one of the five who could visit Victory Lane before 2013 is out.
Patrick was pretty rational on Sunday as he ran down Mark Campbell and waited for the perfect opportunity to position the #141 car for the pass to take the lead and eventually the win. At the end though, he had to hold off a furious charge to the front from Richie Moore, who had to come from the rear after a rendezvous with the Turn Four tires on Lap One. Patrick was smooth and drove his own race, something that isn’t learned easy but with seat time.
Entering his second full time season at the helm of the Ken Zwicker owned #141, “Rational” Richard has already accomplished a feature win in one of the hardest divisions to crack. Could a championship be next?
As mentioned, there are lots of teams who deserve to be on this list. Luke Ettinger, another driver who was in that First Time Winners list back a month or more ago, was on the march throughout the afternoon and turned some heads on Opening Day. Visiting driver Brady Creamer from the Miramichi was a top five car all race long in the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series in his first start at the track in a few years. Ryan Goldsmith captured his second career Coors Light Truck division win in convincing fashion. Cole Butcher was dominant in the Strictly Hydraulics Legends feature. You get the point, the decision wasn’t easy and won’t be any easier this season as we get into the bulk of the Weekly Racing Series.
We have a week off now before we kick off Friday night racing with Hydraulics Plus Night. Now, I know it’s really early to talk points, but with drivers only having a dozen or so races to get it done as they look for a championship, one bad race could be fatal in that plan. For example, the ACE Lumbermart Lightning cars, who do not race until June 15th with their off-week, will have stars Richie Moore, Mark MacMillan and Mark Campbell having to scramble after finishing at the back of the pack on Sunday. Same can be said for Jeff Atkinson and Richard Salter in the Strictly Hydraulics Legends. Harry Ross White, Alex Johnson, Mike Banks and Larry Fisher all know what it’s like to battle for a championship and with them finishing in the back half of Sunday’s Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series race, they’ll have to dig deep to get back in the point picture.
Have to give a tip of the cap to Dan Smith though. The defending champion of the Coors Light Truck division was fading in the main feature on Sunday afternoon. If it was a 25 lap feature, Smith may not have finished third after his truck was overheating, a problem that became apparent when he pulled his Glen Stone Excavation Chevrolet into victory lane. When we look back on the season, where Smith finishes could be contributed to six points he could have lost if the truck broke on him before Lap 20 on Opening Day. I know a lot of guys don’t like to look at numbers but it makes things fun to follow as we progress throughout the season.
Next week, we preview Hydraulics Plus Night and take a little deeper look at the Bandolero division. If you are heading out to the Speedworld for Monster Jam this weekend, enjoy and be sure to bring your stub to the Speedworld next week so you can get in the grandstands for $5. We always say our gate price is one of the best values for entertainment in the Halifax Regional Municipality but for $5, the deal becomes pretty unbeatable.
Until next week, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track.
|BACK TO ARCHIVES|