Fueling Up for a Sportsman Showcase
Our biggest Friday night racing show of the year is upon us.
Okay, one can argue we have some big races. The Shriners Classic was a barnburner this year and Canadian National Autism Foundation Kidsrace Night brought out a lot of fans, as did Fanfest. The Finale Friday night at the end of the year will be big and next Friday night for Coors Light Night will kick off with a wedding and will be co-hosted by Bobby Mac of Q104.
Yes, I said a wedding, more on that next week, but first, the Affordable Fuels and Metro Home Heating 100.
The Affordable Fuels Sportsman have been off since the Nitro Circus Pre-Party but what a race they had to lead us into the 100. It looked like Wayne Miller was going to victory lane, similar to what Fred Schofield had done in 2015 leading into the Affordable Fuels 100. That plan was foiled by a flat tire with five laps to go. His brother Pete would take the lead but only to be schooled on the final restart by Travis Roma and the #38 would go on to a second victory on the season.
Pete Miller has been strong all year in this division. He has one win and has been on the wrong side of the inch on three other occasions. Statistically he has been the best driver all year long according to the points, but he also has Roma, Matt Moore, Aaron Boutilier and Russell Smith Jr as feature winners alongside the #92 car. Jordan Veinotte has run well this year and sits second in points, Brentley Pirri has been on the podium in a race and so has Alex Johnson. While this is not a point race for our regular competitors on Friday night, it does not mean they cannot make a statement for the stretch run in our season.
You’ve got a number of drivers that are strong at their home track and will be looking to successfully defend their home turf on Friday night, but what about overall car count for this event? Everyone typically asks “how many” as opposed to quantity. Now, if you look at our Thunder class as example, which will run just before the Atlantic Cat 250 on Saturday night, you don’t need numbers to prove an exceptional quality of racing but more cars on track does make it look full.
I can tell you by looking at who might be coming down, we should have around two dozen cars. If you want, I will show my work on how I came to this.
We had 19 cars at the Shriners Classic this year. Darren Wallage sold his Sportsman car, so that leaves us with 18. I would assume they will all be back for this big race. Then you can add Wayne Smith, who will be running in the #41 Dulux Paints Chevy for Craig McFetridge, Mark Josey will be running the #56 car for Wade “Herman” Slaunwhite out of the CSS Insurance stable, last year’s runner-up in Andrew Rodgers, Kenny Mackenzie Jr and James “Hollywood” Matchett from New Brunswick making their Sportsman debuts at Scotia Speedworld along with a rumor that former champion Colby Smith will also be making an appearance. If they all show up, that would make 24, along with someone outside of those that might show up - a Chris Reid, Jeffrey Breen or the like.
You want quality and quantity, we have both!
Sam Rogers and Tyler Hutchinson each took steps closer last week to a Bandolero crown while Owen Mahar edged to second in the Bandit class behind Nathan Langille. While all three titles are still up for grabs this season, with only a month to go these young guys and gals will have to get up on the wheel if they want to prove they are championship material.
A tip of the cap to Chase MacKay last week in the Beginner Bandit feature. The youngster finally scored his first podium finish in the class and has shown lots of improvement over the last few races. He’ll look at getting back to the podium one more time on Friday night.
Dan Smith continues his consistency in the Coors Light Truck class but it was Matt Vaughan who got up on the wheel to get back to victory lane and remind us he is still in the hunt in the standings. Albeit 52 points behind Smith, he is only 18 points removed from Kevin Clark for second place. In turn, Megan Parrott is fifth and only nine points from Vaughan with Fenton slammed in the middle at third. This will be an exciting 25-lap feature upcoming Friday night for the trucks.
Speaking of slammed, our Toursec Lightning car drivers did a lot of that at the close of the second lap of the feature last week. Some hits were so hard in the superspeedway style wreck that it will likely trim our car count by two or three Friday. The top three all dodged the wreck and remain on top of the point picture with last week’s winner Rational Richard Drake sitting on the bottom in third but only 13 points out of Deven Smith with Scott Thibodeau trailing Smith by only four points. Joey Holland has been running exceptionally well over the last few weeks, Jamie Dillman was fast prior to getting swept up in the big one last week, Marc MacMillan and Steve Matthews have shown speed and so has Greg Snelgrove, just to name a few.
The Toursec Thunder race on Saturday night should be intriguing in more ways than one. First of all, there are two major driver changes. Andrew Lively is out of town so Kyle Gammon will slip into the #25 car. Gammon’s car will also be at the track but it will be driven by returning Thunder car driver Brandon Crawford. Dave Matthews and Stevie Lively continue their tilt for the top spot in the standings with Lively gaining the upper hand last week by three points with a win. It’s hard to believe Matthews hasn’t won yet but with the right adjustment to his race car, this could be the night. Watch for Merle Corbin too, Corbin has been quick and is looking to narrow the gap on those top two in the standings.
It will be a busy weekend at Scotia Speedworld for the 17th Annual Atlantic Cat 250 festivities. For my preview of the Atlantic Cat 250, head over to MaritimeProStockTour.com.
We’ll dive into all the excitement of the Strictly Hydraulics Legends next week as their point paying series is off this week. Most of those drivers will be participating in the Upper Clements Parks Maritime League of Legends Tour Scotia Tire 50 on Saturday, which will be a barnburner especially with Alex Pacheco making the trek up from North Carolina to pinch hit in the #48 car for point leader Waylon Farrell.
Until the green flag, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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