SpeedWeekend 2011 is just a little over a week away! Race fans, from all over the Maritimes, Maine and Quebec, are getting set to invade the Geary Woods for the biggest and best racing event in our region.
But hold your horses, for just a minute! Yeah, I know SpeedWeekend is a big time event, but we’ve got some very important business to take care of first. This Saturday Speedway 660 will host our annual Fan Appreciation and Evening of Champions event.
Our Fans are the Best
Speedway 660 prides itself on its great weekly racing all summer long. Our fans know that and that’s why we get big crowds. Well this weekend, we’ll show our appreciation to our loyal fans. Fan Appreciation means lots of prizes, an opportunity to go on track before the show to meet all of our drivers and a night of awesome racing.
Evening of Champions
And that awesome racing will see champions crowned in every one of our five exciting divisions. As I mentioned last week, winning a title at Speedway 660 is a big deal. It’s a big deal because the competition is so fierce. Race teams have to be consistent to win a championship. One or two off-nights or a couple of mechanical issues will take you out of the running.
For the first time in a long time, almost all of our leaders have pretty solid leads heading into the last points race. But strange things always seem to happen on our Evening of Champions and all too often what seems like an insurmountable lead evaporates. I have seen point leaders wreck in their heat race and end up watching as the championship trophy is presented to another driver.
I never really stopped to think how important podium finishes are to race teams at Speedway 660. That point was driven home last Saturday night. Gregory Cashol, the tall, lanky grandson of street stock sensation Rick Cashol got to the Speedway 660 Victory Lane for the first time in his 4 cylinder ride.
Podium finishes are old hat for Grand Dad Rick, who got a 2nd place in the street stock feature. Cashol, the elder, was a heck of a lot more excited and proud to see young Gregory get the win than racking up another podium finish for himself.
Then there was the “Boy with the Great Big Smile” who overcame a lot on Saturday night to win the Hanwell Village Mart Bandolero feature. Cole Boudreau was standing ten feet tall in Victory Lane and what a great interview he gave our fans! Also in Bando’s, Chad MacDonald was pleased as punch to get his first ever podium finish.
Jack Lane in Street Stocks and Richard Atkinson in the Martins Home Heating Sportsman division are always animated and excited during their podium interviews. Both of these vets got to the podium on Saturday night. And Robbie Fraser who is having a heck of a season in Sportsman got his first podium of the year and sure was happy to be there.
So these podium finishes are a big deal. Drivers get a chance to talk to our fans from the front stretch and it means a lot to them, even to guys like Rick Cashol, Glyn Nott and Greg Fahey. Podium finishes have become a habit for these guys, but I know they’ll agree it’s a habit they all want to continue.
My Saturday Night Hero
He officially retired last Saturday night after over 40 years in racing. He is a former RV World Street Stock Champion and nine time most popular driver at Speedway 660. He started racing back in the 1960’s when he was 26 years old and on his next birthday he’ll turn 70. And as my little buddy Jesse says, “He’s got the longest beard in motorsports.”
Smokin Joe Albert says it’s time to hang up the helmet for good. When Joe climbed out of the Orange 04 on Saturday night he was tuckered out. He got a top five in his final race and in a rare break from tradition, we asked Smokin Joe to join the podium finishers on the front stretch for an emotional good-bye.
Smokin Joe Albert is a true Saturday Night Hero! For almost five decades, the Pride of Minto has thrilled race fans from the old dirt tracks to “Canada’s Fastest Short Track”. Even though Joe has retired, I know he will still be kickin around Speedway 660 as a fan for many years to come.
Fans and Champs
This Saturday night I encourage you get down to the Geary Woods early for a pre-race autograph session (5:30-6:15), with all the cars and drivers on the track. So, Get Ready, Get Set and Go to Speedway 660 for the Fan Appreciation and Evening of Champions. We’ll see you at the races!