creating a dynasty
A dynasty in sport can be defined as a team or athlete dominating a sport over a length of time. When I think a dynasty in sports, I think of the Edmonton Oilers, who dominated the NHL for five Stanley Cups over seven years in the 80s. In the racing world, Michael Schumacher (seven World Championships, five in a row from 2000 to 2004) and more recently Sebastian Vettel (four titles) in the Formula One World Championship come to mind. Most recently in NASCAR, Jimmie Johnson has won six championships since 2006, including five in a row between his first championship and his fifth in 2010.
When it comes to our backyard at Scotia Speedworld, we are in the middle of three local racing dynasties with two teams and one individual making a lasting mark on the sport that will be remembered for years.
DAN SMITH - COORS LIGHT TRUCKS - FOUR CHAMPIONSHIPS IN FOUR YEARS (2012 to 2015)
Dan Smith was one of the “Original Six” to take the track in the first Coors Light Truck race in 2010, along with two-time champion (2009 Hobby Stock, 2010 Truck) Gordie Ritchie, 2011 champion JP Arsenault, SFR’s Curtis Lindsay, Wayne Ritchie and Vernon Brown. In that first year, Smith won the final two races of the season and began 2011 where he left off in the previous year, winning the season opener. We all know how that season ended, with back-to-back scary incidents that took Smith from leading the point standings at the end of August to sidelined by injury at the end of the year.
Smith hasn’t lost a championship in the division since then.
Smith had some incredible championship battles over the years with Arsenault, Ryan Goldsmith and more recently drivers the likes of Jason Fenton, Cory Leonard and Matt Vaughan have pushed Smith to the limit. Like a sports team building their dynasty off clinching series in deciding Game Seven shootouts, Smith has been able to be cool under pressure during his four title clinching races.
While Smith is on his “drive for five” this year, wherever he finishes you have to believe the dynasty built by the driver of the #39 Glenstone.ca Chevrolet will continue on as long as Smith decides he wants to slide in the window of his race truck. After all, the roots can be traced back to the first year of the Truck class in 2010.
BUTCHER RACING - SEVEN CHAMPIONSHIPS IN SIX YEARS (2010 to 2015)
Cole Butcher and his younger brother Jarrett have made their mark on Scotia Speedworld in a short period of time.
While Cole Butcher won three consecutive Strictly Hydraulics Legends championships in the same time period Smith won his first three Coors Light Truck titles (2012-2014), that wasn’t the only winning the team has done over the last six seasons. Jarrett Butcher continued the Legends trend, winning the team’s fourth straight title in as many years by taking the championship in 2015.
The pair also won three consecutive Hydraulics Plus Bandolero championships, with Cole winning the championship in 2010 and Jarrett winning the next two in 2011 and 2012. The 2012 racing season saw the pair exit the summer with championships, with Jarrett as the Bandolero champion and Cole as the Legends champion.
With Jarrett expected to compete full time this season in a Legend car at Scotia Speedworld, you’d have to believe based on his 2015 performance that he will be favored to push the dynasty to eight championships in seven years. Don’t be surprised to see him in a Pro Stock Tour ride this season either as the Butcher Racing legacy continues to be built on a solid foundation of Legend and Bandolero racing at their home track.
SMITH BROTHERS RACING - FIVE LIGHTNING CHAMPIONSHIPS, SIX TRACK TITLES IN 10 YEARS
Brothers Russell Smith Jr., Jorden Smith and Deven Smith have built quite the name for themselves over the last decade at Scotia Speedworld.
Sure, their father Russell Sr. was a wheelman himself and their Uncle Wayne Smith is one of the most decorated Late Model touring series drivers in the region, but the three brothers have cemented their legacy within the history books of Scotia Speedworld.
Russell Jr. owns the most championships of the trio but he’s also been racing for longer than his younger brothers. His first championship came in 2006 in the division Smith Brothers Racing has shown the most success, the Chickenburger Lightning class. While Russell’s next (and last) Lightning championship did not come until 2010, he was a bridesmaid in 2009 to Dan Michaud Jr and in 2008 to Andrew Starks.
The next two years in the Chickenburger Lightning division were also owned by a Smith, but it was Jorden Smith winning the two championships. Where Jorden left off, Deven picked it up. The youngest Smith brother wound up finishing second in 2014 in his first season at the track and winning the Lightning championship in 2015.
If you’re keeping score, that is five Chickenburger Lightning championships in 10 years. In 2015, Russell returned home with his Late Model Sportsman to win the Affordable Fuels Sportsman championship. In addition, Russell would win his third consecutive Affordable Fuels 100 in 2015 and take home a Shriners Classic win for the first time.
What does the future hold for this dynasty in the Halifax area? Well, that’s a good question. I spoke to all three Smith brothers over the course of the Atlantic Outdoor Sports and RV Show weekend and only one had concrete plans. After running since 2007 full time between a Lightning and Sportsman car, Russell is stepping back to run a part-time schedule with the ultimate goal of a fourth Affordable Fuels 100 on his radar. Deven is unsure of his plans for 2016 as is Jorden, though Jorden told me he had been toying with the idea of building a Coors Light Truck in the future. What a story that would be!
Who will be the next driver or team of drivers to create their own chapter in the history books at Scotia Speedworld? Matthew Warren and Dave Matthews have been the two in the Thunder class that could add their names to the list above, each owning two championships and runner up finishes in the standings over the last five years. Will either of them make the move to another championship in 2016?!
Either way, the competition in every division will be tight and with the way we ended 2015, you’d have to believe that 2016 might be the closest contested seasons we’ve seen in a while. I’m looking forward to it and I hope you are too!
Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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