Over the next six weeks as we countdown our way to the Season Opener of the CARSTAR Weekly Racing Series 2018 season, we will be highlighting our six 2017 champions and their divisions! Make sure to check back each week on Sundays to see who's next!

Photos: McCarthy Photographic

Toursec Thunder Division

Title Sponsor: Toursec Security

About The Cars: This popular entry-level class has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception. It features Honda and Volkswagen four-cylinder streetcars with safety modifications.

Looking Forward to 2018: So far we have seen that eight of the 2017 Top Ten drivers are registered for the 2018 season which means we are in for another great season of racing from the "Best 4 Cylinder Drivers in the Maritimes"! Fans can also look forward to the return Chantal Ackles after a year off due to a knee surgery!

Mark your calendars for June 8th & August 24th which are the dates for the two most anticipated Toursec Thunder and Lightning Twin 50's! You don't want to miss them!

2017 By The Numbers:
Number of trucks who competed: 19
Number of races contested: 11
Number of cars who won races: 7 (Dave Matthews (2), Chris Hatcher (2), Mark Williams (2), Tim Webster (2), Nic Baker, Matthew Warren, Merle Corbin)
Champion: Dave Matthews
Rookie of the Year: Neil Miousse

Champion Profile:

When you talk about some of the most successful Thunder car drivers in the history of Scotia Speedworld, names like Ken Zwicker, Tim Webster, Jamie Arsenault and Derek MacCallum come up, among others.

The name Dave Matthews was a part of that conversation prior to 2017 but another championship season further cemented his part in the conversation.

Consistent as the day is long, Matthews scored 11 top five finishes in 11 races in 2017. His two feature wins came at the start of July, including the Toursec 50, and while Chris Hatcher mounted a late season charge it was for not as Matthews captured his third Toursec Thunder title in the last seven seasons. Matthews and the No. 99 Quality Auto Parts Honda Civic scored a division high seven podiums in 11 races, two more than any other driver in the class in 2017.

Consider this - Matthews has finished first or second in the Thunder division standings over the last five years and has finished in the top two seven of the last ten years. Only one time in the past decade has Matthews finished outside the top five in points - and that was the 2012 season where he ran in the Legend division. He’s been on top of his game for a while and 2018 should be no exception.

You can’t miss Matthews on track either with his “Mystery Machine” colors on his Honda. His fan club, led by his daughter and No. 1 fan Bristol, can be found cheering loud and proud every Friday night in the front rows of seating just past the start/finish line.

Watch for Matthews this season as he looks to add another chapter to his already impressive Thunder car resume!


Affordable Fuels Sportsman Division

Title Sponsor: Steve Williams' Affordable Fuels & Metro Home Heating

About The Cars: Affordable Fuels Sportsman Cars are built on the frame of a domestic passenger car. This is a cost efficient, yet fast, and very competitive class. They have eight-cylinder engines and the competition is always close.

Looking Forward to 2018: While registrations are still rolling in, we now know we will see veterans the likes of Peter Miller, Chris Dingle, Richard Salter, and of course, defending Champion Matt Vaughan racing alongside rookie contenders Darren Hilchie (former Duke driver) and former Fleet Brake Atlantic Truck Feature Winner Megan Parrott.

Make sure to mark your calendars for the 24th Annual Shriner's Classic on June 29th where the Affordable Fuels Sportsman cars will run an extended distance 50 lap race as well as August 10th for the Affordable Fuels 100 as part of the Toromont Cat 250 Weekend.

2017 By The Numbers:
Number of trucks who competed: 33
Number of races contested: 10
Number of cars who won races: 7 (Travis Roma (2), Aaron Boutilier (2), Matt Vaughan, Jordan Veinotte, Tony Leonard, Matt Moore, Russell Smith Jr)
Champion: Matt Vaughan
Rookie of the Year: Matt Vaughan

Champion Profile:

What started as a driver making his Late Model debut with a goal of winning the prestigious Debbie Hallahan Memorial Rookie of the Year Award presented by Tim Hortons at the Airport turned into a history making season.

Moving from the Fleet Brake Atlantic Truck division to the Affordable Fuels Sportsman division is a big jump but Matt Vaughan made it look easy. In just his fourth career Sportsman start and third at Scotia Speedworld, he drove the No. 08 Aerotec Engines Chevrolet to victory lane in both the heat and feature during Fanfest.

The win not only put him in the driver’s seat for the top freshman honor but it thrust him into a battle for the overall championship. By the time the Toromont Cat 250 weekend rolled around, the discussion was not about if Vaughan could win races, it was about if he could pull off something no other driver had done in the 30 year history of Scotia Speedworld - win the Sportsman title as a rookie.

Heading into the season finale, Vaughan had six consecutive top five feature finishes in regular point paying events. The battle had turned into a see-saw fight between he and division veteran Jordan Veinotte for the championship. Heading into Finale Friday, Vaughan had a slight edge of three points in the title hunt.

Vaughan and Veinotte ran together in the final race but a broken transmission on a restart with six laps to go in the year would sideline Veinotte and his championship dreams. While Veinotte sat in the garage, Vaughan was realizing his dream as the champion in the top division of weekly competition in the province.

Vaughan is already focused on repeating the championship in 2018. His paint scheme for the new season is one his grandfather Larry drove to a Street Stock championship in 1998 at Scotia Speedworld.

With a big crop of new rookies in the division, you have to think they aspire to do the same thing Matt Vaughan did in 2017!

Fleet Brake Atlantic Truck Division

Title Sponsor: Fleet Brake Atlantic, formerly Pulse Heavy Duty

About The Trucks: These trucks are built from small Pickups with modifications to accept eight cylinder Chevrolet engines and automatic transmissions. Larger rubber tires help these little giants fly around the track.

Looking Forward to 2018: After dwindling numbers in the class plagued 2017, the division has been disbanded for 2018. We are looking forward to seeing as many drivers as possible moving to new divisions of the CARSTAR Weekly Racing Series.

2017 By The Numbers:
Number of trucks who competed: 9
Number of races contested: 8
Number of trucks who won races: 3 (Dan Smith (6), Megan Parrott, Matt Vaughan)
Champion: Dan Smith
Rookie of the Year: No qualifying rookies

Champion Profile:

After the “Original Six” took the green flag in the inaugural Truck division race at Scotia Speedworld in 2010, one of those that started that very first race ended up as the final champion in the class.

Dan Smith (39) completed a six year run as Truck champion in 2017 after a back and forth battle with Megan Parrott (10) and Adam Carter. While the division dwindled to Smith and Parrott, along with the likes of Cory Leonard, Justin Balsor and inaugural champion Gordie Ritchie part time near the end of the run, the 39 and 10 put on some incredible battles for the history books. In the end, Smith would emerge with six wins in eight contested features to capture the championship.

Smith’s primary sponsor is Glen Stone Excavation and Trucking. While Smith would love to join the likes of Carter, Parrott and Vaughan in the Sportsman division, the opportunity has yet to present itself for the Lower Sackville driver to make the move in 2018 as of press time.

Make sure to check back next week for more!