IT'S A GO!!!
I know we’ve been talking about it all season but we’re going to look at it a bit closer now with two races to go in five of our Weekly Racing Series divisions - who will win the championships next weekend?
Of course, we have to get there first, so let’s do a little analysis on the five divisions racing this weekend and focus on those who have a shot at the prestigious track championships!
ACE LUMBERMART THUNDER
The Players: Matthew Warren (1021 points), Dave Matthews (1000 points), Tim Webster (980 points).
Championships?: Matthews is the 2011 Thunder car champion, Webster was the champion is 2005 and 2005. Warren’s career best is second to Matthews by a single point.
Feature Wins in 2013: Warren - 2, Matthews - 2, Webster - 1
Scouting Report: For Warren and Matthews, it’s been a replay of 2011 when the two went toe-to-toe for the championship, when it came down to the final laps of the final night of the season. Webster has returned to the division full time for the first time since 2007 when he was edged out for the title by current Speedworld tech man Darren Leonard. In fact, the only two drivers who still run full time in the class that finished in the top ten in 2007 are Webster and Kyle Gammon.
The Numbers: Matthews has outpointed his nearest two championship competitors in seven of the ten races this season. In those seven races though, he has only outpointed Warren by an average of 4.5 points with the biggest gain in one night being nine points on August 23rd. The big difference is the mechanical failure Matthews had during the 50, which was a 36 point difference on the night. It appears to be Warren’s title to lose with the way the three are running, but one mistake by the #31 makes this easy for Matthews or Webster to take.
Other Close Battles In Top Ten: Fifth Through Ninth - Kenny Hopper (900), Kyle Gammon (896), Drew MacEachern (878), Pat Riley (867), Chantel Ackles (852).
Brief synopsis here - plain and simple, looking at the numbers without the disqualification in the 50, Gammon is in the top three in points and vying for a championship. Instead, he is four points away from passing “Big Daddy” for the fifth place spot in points. MacEachern is in the same boat but his numbers are just a shade off the mark of his teammate this season. Pat Riley has had trouble keeping his Civic together and has been outpointed by an average of seven points in the last three races by Chantel Ackles, who continues to impress me in her sophomore season against “the BEST Four Cylinder Drivers in Atlantic Canada.”
Long story short, this battle has the opportunity to accordion or scatter this Friday. I’m excited to see what way it goes.
ACE LUMBERMART LIGHTNING
The Players: BJ Nicholson (877), Marc MacMillan (868), Chevy MacDonald (860)
Championships?: BJ (2010) and Chevy (2012) each have Rookie of the Year awards in the class, but no divisional championships.
Feature Wins in 2013: Nicholson - 0, MacMillan - 2, MacDonald - 0
Scouting Report: We will be seeing a first time champion in the ACE Lumbermart Lightning division in 2013, the jury is still out on who. All three would make fine champions for our sport and have dedicated crews who help out each week to get their cars to the race tracks.
The Numbers: Here’s an interesting number - in the last seven weeks after MacMillan suffered two mechanical failures with his car, MacMillan has only outpointed Nicholson an average of four points a race. With two races to go, he needs to make up nine points. The last two races, both have came out with an even amount of points. When it comes to scoring the most points though, MacDonald has outran both MacMillan and Nicholson three out of the last five races. In fact, MacDonald has amassed the most points of any driver in the class in the last five weeks with 510 points, over MacMillan with 507 and Richie Moore with 504. Nicholson is fourth in that number with 493.
Oh, and a non Dodge hasn’t won this division since Andrew Starks won the class in 2008. Chevy MacDonald will hope to break the streak.
Other Interesting Battle: 6th - Earl MacDonald (801), Marshall Bezanson (795), Donovan Gaudet (794).
MacDonald and Bezanson have been around this sport for a while Gaudet is in his second season in this class. In the last five races, Gaudet has amassed one point more than Bezanson with MacDonald scoring ten less points in the last five races than the #175. Watch these three go at it coming to the wire at the end of the season.
It’ll also be worth watching the Smith brothers duel it out. Currently, two time champion at the Speedworld Jorden has only three points over his brother and last year’s champion at Petty Raceway Deven. I’m sure there are some bragging rights on the line when this battle is over!
COORS LIGHT TRUCKS
The Players: Dan Smith (951), Ryan Goldsmith (943), Jason Fenton (933)
Championships?: Dan Smith is the defending champion of the class. Ryan Goldsmith is a former Rookie of the Year in the Coors Light Trucks in 2011.
Feature Wins in 2013: Smith - 2, Goldsmith - 2, Fenton - 1.
Scouting Report: It has been a see-saw battle for the championship in the Coors Light Trucks most of the season with Dan Smith and Ryan Goldsmith, but in recent weeks it has been Dan Smith edging out with the advantage over Goldsmith. Fenton has a blemish on his record from the CAT 250 weekend but has been lights out.
The Numbers: Smith has outscored Goldsmith by seven points in the last three weeks, making it an eight point advantage on Goldsmith with two races to go. For Goldsmith, he needs some distance on Smith. If he were to finish just ahead of Smith in the upcoming two heats and two features, he would only gain six of those eight points. With two races to go, we should see a big truck count like we did a couple weeks ago that could put some traffic between the two.
Fenton meanwhile has outscored both Smith and Goldsmith in three of the last five weeks. The two he didn’t? One was at the CAT 250 weekend and one he finished the night two points back of Smith. The three and four points he has been outpointing the top drivers will not get him a title though, he will need to pick up double that in two races to get it done. Tall task, but Jason Fenton I’m sure is up for it!
HYDRAULICS PLUS BANDOLEROS
The Players: Adam Meehan (1070), Braden Langille (1035)
Feature Wins in 2013: Meehan - 6, Langille - 1
Scouting Report: Pretty simple, Meehan has had the number of the class all season and with 35 points for an advantage, he should feel pretty safe up top. Here’s a number to think of, in a field of 13 Bandoleros at the Speedworld, the most one can gain on a night is 30 points (24 between first and 13th in the feature, and 6 between first and seventh in a heat race). Essentially, if Meehan leaves the Speedworld Friday night with at least 30 points on Langille and we don’t have more than 13 cars on Dartmouth Dodge 200 day, Meehan will only have to start that last race to win the title.
Langille is going to have to get up on the wheel in these next two weeks and win the next two features and hope Meehan has some rough luck behind him to open up this championship chase.
Other Interesting Battle: 5th - Nicholas Naugle (975), Wyatt McCulloch (975), Luke Ettinger (970)
Ettinger is the veteran of this battle but has struggled in recent weeks. Naugle has had some great runs, including a third at the Atlantic CAT 250, but has also had his share of struggles. McCulloch, a rookie in the division, is coming off his first main feature victory and is the only one of this trip that has won a feature in his Bandolero career. Could this momentum catapult him to at least fifth in his rookie season?!
STRICTLY HYDRAULICS LEGENDS
The Players: Cole Butcher (821), Matt Moore (804), Jeff Cruickshank (801), Emily Meehan (801), Cy Harvey (800), Danny Harvey (788)
Weekly Track Championships: Butcher - 1 (three if you include his Maritime League of Legends and Bando track title), Moore - 0, Cruickshank - 0, Meehan - 0, Harvey - 1+++ (at least one when he won the Legends weekly in 2007), Harvey - 0.
Feature Wins in 2013: Butcher - 3, Moore - 2, Cruickshank - 1, Meehan - 0, Harvey - 1, Harvey - 1
Scouting Report: It’s hard to call this one. By the look of the points, you’d have to believe this one is Butcher’s to lose with a 17 point advantage, but, BUT, the competition in this class is so close, you could be fifth or sixth in the feature without batting an eyelash
. With that said, it is really anyone’s game. Danny Harvey’s name is in red because of the hole he is in with two to go and five drivers ahead of him. A 33 point deficit is a big hole with two races to go, and with five strong competitors ahead of him, he is hanging on by the skin of his teeth.
Numbers: In the four weeks leading up to last week for Matt Moore, he had outscored Butcher by an average of 7 points. If he can return to that form and then some, Moore has the potential to make this thing real interesting. When you look at fifth, Cy Harvey has only outscored Butcher twice in the eight races this season, one of those being last week when he pulled off his first Speedworld win of the season.
The tie for third is intriguing too, you have Jeff Cruickshank in the middle of a breakout season (about time, I must add, Cruickshank and his team have been waiting for this season for a while now) and Emily Meehan, who is hoping to return Friday night after a bout with tonsillitis. These two have been trading blows in this battle for third when it comes to the point standings. One week, you’ll see Meehan score ten more points than Cruickshank, then the #7 will beat the #75 by that many the next week. Who will take the next step towards the podium on Friday night? I’m excited to find out!
Well, I’ve used up all my space for the week. Be sure to head out Friday night, this is going to be a great night of racing, one you will not want to miss!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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