Tim's Corner
Speedworld’s September Showdown

Where did the summer go?

It is hard to believe we are in the month of September and we only have three weeks of racing left at Scotia Speedworld for the 2017 season. We have seen some fantastic racing in the last few months when Mother Nature has permitted us to run, we’ve seen some big first wins, we’ve seen some emotional victory lanes and we’ve also witnessed some tempers overflowing. While it may have been a shorter season compared to some standards, the action has not suffered one iota.

As mentioned, there are three Friday nights left in the season. While we will crown eight champions on the finale weekend between the CARSTAR Weekly Racing Series, Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour and the Maritime League of Legends Tour, a number of those championships remain to be fought for before September 15th and 16th.

The championship that has become a battle over recent weeks is the Toursec Lightning championship. “Rational” Richard Drake has made this a title fight with three wins to start off August and closed to within five points of Scott Thibodeau heading into last week’s Toursec 50. Thibodeau, by winning his fourth feature of the year and sweeping the Toursec 50s last Friday night, was able to tack four points on his lead to bring his advantage back to nine points. With three races to go, including Friday night, this is going to be a classic duel all the way to Finale Friday.

The battle for third in points is going to be as exciting as the battle for the championship will be. Tom Stewart and Travis Keefe both have had great seasons and have found themselves swapping paint in the last few races. Stewart has been the strongest of the three drivers going for third, including Steven Matthews, in the last two weeks fed by a strong Toursec 50 last Friday. Stewart’s No. 171 paced the field for 30 laps and would wind up third behind Thibodeau and Drake.

Stewart is tied with the leading Tim Hortons at the Airport Rookie Keefe for third in the standings. Keefe is a breath of fresh air into the class. With the help from Smith Brothers Racing, Keefe has learned a ton in his first full season and it shows on track. He is in firm control of the Rookie of the Year Award, with over 150 points on his nearest competitor and will have third overall on his mind with three races to go.

Steve Matthews is ten points behind the pair in third and has had a great season. Whether it is the two Lightning wins or his fourth place finish in the Shriners Classic driving for Josh Collins in his Late Model debut, regardless what Matthews does in the next two races he has had a Summer to remember. He’ll be back in his car on Friday night after Mike “The Outlaw” Umlah was in the seat during the Toursec 50s.

On the other side, Dave Matthews seems firmly in control of the Toursec Thunder division. Yes, anything can happen in three races and 28 points is an obtainable gap to make up, but the field might need to get a little help from Matthews to catch the Mystery Machine. Of note, it is the biggest point lead of any CARSTAR Weekly Racing Series division heading into the month of September.

Second through seventh meanwhile is only separated by 40 points and is a very intriguing battle that features some new blood to title talk in the class. Chris Hatcher, who dominated last week’s Toursec 50 and “The Ironman” Drew MacEachern might be the two most experienced in the battle, while Tim Hortons at the Airport Rookie Neil Miousse, sophomore Jesse Deveau, Truck driver turned Thunder star Megan Parrott and Nic Baker are all scratching their way to take second in the standings. Miousse leads it by just four points over Hatcher, it is seven points back to Deveau and then a 12 point drop to Parrott and Williams in the No. 23 car. Four points separate Baker and MacEachern with just three races to go. Either way - whoever finishes second in this class will earn the title unless Matthews crumbles and makes this a championship confrontation.

Only 20 points separate the top three in the Affordable Fuels Sportsman championship standings with three races to go. Jordan Veinotte was the runner-up last year and has the most championship battle experience of his two peers in Matt Vaughan and Travis Roma. Vaughan is the leading Tim Hortons at the Airport Rookie of the Year chase and is only seven points out of the lead. Roma is 20 points out of the top spot and is the only driver to win two features in the seven events this season.

Chris Dingle is 33 points behind the leader Veinotte and with three races to go and two other drivers between him and the leader it may be a tall task to make it to the top of the standings. Do not discount Dingle’s return season though and do not be surprised if the No. 71 Hants Realty Chevrolet finds its way to a checkered flag before the season is over.

Of note, Ryan VanOirschot will make his Scotia Speedworld debut on Friday evening, making the trip from Antigonish to race with us on Friday evening. Keep an eye on the rookie in the No. 25.

The Strictly Hydraulics Legends division has seen some of the most entertaining racing of any class all season long. In eight races, seven different drivers have won a feature with Cory Hall being the only repeat winner. Hall sits third, smack in the middle of a five way track championship hunt with three races to go. His teammate Paul Goulden leads by Adam Meehan by 11 points and while the pair look for their first Scotia Speedworld Legend championship, they are also in the hunt for their first win of the season.

Hall is nine points off Meehan for second, but only three points up on Danny Harvey for the third place spot. Emily Meehan is hanging on to the championship battle by a thread, sitting 39 points out of the top spot with three Friday nights remaining.

The sister division to the Legend class, the Hydraulics Plus Bandolero division has three separate class battles, ranging from a close Outlaw fight to a near Beginner blowout.

Brooke Dowe has a comfortable lead in the Beginner Bandolero standings as she leads Dylan MacMillan by 21 points with only two features to go. Yes, as I said with Dave Matthews and the Thunder class, it is not over and one bad race brings MacMillan, Dawson Noble and Chase Mackay back into the championship fray.

Nathan Langille is looking to go back to back in the Bandit division, but has Owen Mahar and Colton Noble on the march to take their first track title. Eight points is the gap between Mahar and the championship leader, while Noble chases Mahar with four points being the cushion for the No. 66. The trio own all seven feature victories in the division, with Langille and Noble each having three.

Three points separating the top three in the Hydraulics Plus Bandolero Outlaw makes it the closest battle of the CARSTAR Weekly Racing Series. Josh Langille leads by a single point over Austin MacDonald with reigning champion Sam Rogers sitting two points behind MacDonald. MacDonald’s team has the hottest hand in the class, winning three of the last four features. Heat races will be almost as pivotal as feature races with these three young talents putting on a show every time out in the next two race events.

Of note, former Eastbound Park champion and current point leader Owen Groves will make his off-Island debut on Friday night at Scotia Speedworld, aboard one of Wayne Smith’s rental race cars.

If you have not been out to the track yet, this is the time to do so! We are bound to see some close racing and some spirited battles as the championship battles draw to a close and teams look to pick up the final checkered flags of the year. It will be an emotional final few races for sure, something that you’ll want to take in for yourself.

Until Friday, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track.