Tim's Corner
Light 'Em Up!

Last Friday was a special night for many reasons and if the trend continues, you’ll want to be at Scotia Speedworld every chance you can in this 30th Anniversary Season.

Not taking away anything from our season opener in May under the “beautiful spring weather” but racing under the lights comes with more pomp and circumstance it seems. The cars look like they go faster under the lights and the paint and vinyl schemes on the cars shine under the lights. That is, unless you’re Shane Lively and then you need sunglasses at night, but I digress.

Night time is the right time and it was right for a number of drivers who returned to or visited victory lane for the first time last Friday.

Of our feature winners, one had been away from victory lane since 2014 and one scored his first win in his three year racing career. We had a popular win from one of our CARSTAR Weekly Racing Series drivers that had the crowd fired up, an International star that won his first race of the year at home and a role reversal from Opening Day in the Affordable Fuels Sportsman Division.

Five winners, five storylines and five new winners compared to the first race of the season. The variety in the parade to victory lane and the competition left nothing to be desired.
We’ll start off with Steve Matthews and the battle in the Toursec Lightning class. Matthews drove the wheels off his #198 Goob’s Custom Metal Works Dodge Neon, battled hard with Jamie Dillman in one of the best battles we’ve seen so far in this early season and after contact from behind freed up Dillman, Matthews drove away and held on for the win over Deven Smith. The win for Matthews, nicknamed “Mr. Lightning on the Hill” for his win in the event in his rookie season, was his first since the 50-lapper in 2014.

If you know Steve, you know he always has a smile on his face. Like a lot of us, he lives racing. He spotted for Jerome Kehoe for many years on the Maritime Pro Stock Tour, it isn’t uncommon to see him head to New England to take in some racing on an off-weekend, and he is a great promoter for racing at our track and the Toursec Lightning class. He also knows the importance of winning and to soak in the victory knowing it does not come easy and, as it was in his case, you never know how long it will be until the next time you get to hold that checkered flag.  His win was a popular one in our pit area and you best believe he’ll be even more determined when the Toursec Lightning Division races in two weeks to do it all over again.

Nic Baker is another prime example of hard work paying off for a team that loves the sport. Baker came on the scene in 2014 in the Toursec Thunder class and he and his Tool in Hand Garage pit crew have been finding speed every week they hit the track. Baker was confident on Friday night he was going to be quick and even sent me a Snapchat asking what we were going to talk about in victory lane. That’s like the batter standing at home plate and pointing his bat to right field before belting off the game winning home run. Baker called his shot and fulfilled it en route to his first Scotia Speedworld win. There are a number of drivers that have raced in this division longer than Baker has and they do not have a checkered flag to their name.

Like Matthews, Baker is a guy that loves our sport. He rushes around after work to get to the track to put on a show for our fans in the stands. It is great to see his hard work finally pay off in the way of a win.

Megan Parrott has a ton of fans in this sport which showed last season when she was a finalist in the TCM Most Popular Driver Award voting at TimsCorner.ca. If you needed an example of this, you simply needed to hear the crowd when she jumped out of and on top of her #10 Truck on Friday after winning the Pulse Heavy Duty Truck feature. She got up on the wheel and drove a great race after being pressured most of the way by two-time Scotia Speedworld champion Gordie Ritchie. Ritchie was quick to give kudos to Parrott on the great drive after the race in his first podium appearance in a few years after his hiatus from the sport.

Parrott was busy during our off-weekend two weeks ago. While we were off on the Friday night for Monster Jam to tear up the track, Parrott was in North Carolina on an invite from Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series star Danica Patrick to work out with her through her Pretty Intense by Danica program. She’s had a pretty busy past few weeks to say the least and it’s only bound to get busier as she chases Dan Smith to try and snap his five straight championship streak!

Speaking of busy, that would describe Cory Hall’s last few months. The Jolicure, New Brunswick youngster has won major event championships in Inverness, Florida and Denton, Texas driving his locally prepared Legend car. On top of that, he won races at Concord Speedway in North Carolina. He struggled the first week to find electrical gremlins within his #08 G&S Racing car but last week they were gone in a big way.

As my co-hosts and I chatted about last week, his first win of the year at home may be overshadowed by the slow rhythm to the feature by oil downs and other drivers playing bumper cars with each other, but it shouldn’t be lost in the fact that Hall’s victory keeps him in the INEX National Semi Pro championship hunt. As of this article, without the win counted last week, he still holds the lead over Georgia’s Connor Mosack and Colorado’s Darrell Stewart. It is a long season, but Hall is in the thick of the hunt for a championship that hasn’t come to this side of the border since Ryan Mackintosh won it in 2013.

The Affordable Fuels Sportsman division feature last Friday was seemingly Jordan Veinotte’s until a caution flew with seven laps to go. Yes, the win still went to Veinotte but unlike before the caution, he had no time to relax with Travis Roma closing in during the late laps. The length of the final sprint to the finish was perfect for Veinotte but just not enough laps for Roma to make a run for the lead. It appears these two will be your prime candidates for the championship this year, but it is early. Brentley Pirri had a strong run last week and it is only a matter of time before Alex Johnson and Chris Dingle find victory lane.

There you have it - five winners with five different paths to victory lane. Will we see the different winners trend continue this weekend? We’ll have to find out on Friday night.

Special thanks to Owen Mahar, Danny Chisholm and Nathan Langille for helping me out on the call last week of the Friday night opener. The Hydraulics Plus Bandolero stars gave some great insight throughout the evening on the event as it unfolded. I’m looking forward to having Valley Raceway’s Dylan Langille with me this Friday night for his second appearance in the booth at the Speedworld. If you’re a driver and you want to stop up on your off-week, be sure to let me know and we’ll try to make it happen!

Be sure to check out the Herald Wheels Weekend this weekend, where I take a look at early trends in this racing season. You might see a few familiar names mentioned in the article!

I hope to see everyone on Friday, and I mean everyone because it is $20 Carload Admission Night. Strap everyone into the car, van, lifted up pick up truck and bring them out to the track to see some great racing. With the racing we have, it will be something you’ll want to bring your friends, parents, in laws, your neighbor, grandma’s friend Jim and your Tim Hortons coffee buddies to.

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