The New Brunswick Day holiday weekend is coming right up in a few days. This weekend Speedway 660 will sit silent - giving fans, race teams, sponsors, volunteers and employees a mid-summer break. Many members of our racing family plan their vacations around this weekend and will be hitting the road for some R&R.
Ben Rowe (left), car owner “Hurricane” Hall O’Neal (right) and a happy crew celebrate in Victory Lane after winning the Best of the Best Pro Stock 150 last Saturday night. The team now has its sights set on winning the Auto Value 250 on SpeedWeekend.
Most of us will take a break from racing to do a little fishing, hiking, camping, mountain biking or some other invigorating outdoor activity. Others will hang out at home to catch up on a few chores or just charge their batteries. But there are other, hard-core race enthusiasts who will find a race track to visit.
There are two events this weekend that deserve mention in this space. Our friends from the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour are headed to the Island. The Atlantic Rentals 150 goes Saturday night at Oyster Bed Speedway. John Flemming is riding atop the point standings after celebrating an IWK 250 win at Riverside International Speedway. Fredericton’s Shawn Tucker is 2nd in points.
The other event our fans might like to check out will involve pointing your wheels south and heading down the 95. Seekonk Speedway, in Massachusetts, will host a 150 lap Pro All Star Series Tour race on Saturday night. Cassius Clark holds a 17 point lead over Travis Benjamin in the PASS standings. Johnny Clark is 3rd and Saint John’s Lonnie Sommerville sits 7th.
Speaking of point standings, let’s check out the Speedway 660 point battles before we head into the stretch run.
Cole Boudreau won the Hanwell Village Mart Bandolero feature last Saturday night. That win propelled the popular young Chipman driver into the point lead. He has a narrow five point margin over Cole Tanner. Alexandra O’Blenis is the top BandoGirl sitting fifth in points and I think 7th place Brayden Langille is the youngest driver in the top ten. Langille, who had an amazing 2nd place finish last week, claims to be 11 years old, but he wouldn’t have any trouble passing for nine!
Luc McLaughlin broke the three-way tie in the four cylinder division with a podium finish last Saturday night. Luc has a slim four point advantage over TJ “Hollywood” Madore. In the RV World Street Stock Division Rick Cashol won the feature last time out and has opened up a 12 point advantage over Shannon “The Cannon” Brake.
The Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman Division will see a first time Champ crowned in 2012. Four veterans are in a tight battle. Randy Moore leads the way over Richard Atkinson, Brent Roy and Glyn Nott, but there are only 17 points separating first from fourth!
The A.L. Gullison Disaster Kleenup Pro Stock championship looks like it will come down to a tussle between Dave O’Blenis and Kevin Moore. Dave is in the driver’s seat right now with a 16 point edge over Big Kevin.
There are only three point races left for four of our divisions and only two for Sportsman. That’s because the Martin’s Home Heating Firecracker 150, on Saturday, August 11th, is a non-points race for Sportsman. I’ll have more on the Firecracker in this space next week.
I almost forgot our Enduro Division. After one of three events, Pat Sharpe has a two point lead over Chuck Mercer. Pat is looking for his fourth straight Enduro title in 2012. By the way, they will run their 2nd Enduro the day after the Firecracker 150 - Sunday, August 12th at 2PM.
For an in-depth look at our point races, just go to the menu bar at the top of the Speedway 660 web site and click on standings.
Ben Rowe’s legendary status as a race car driver was enhanced last Saturday night. Rowe won the Best of the Best Pro Stock 150 and will race “Hurricane” Hal O’Neal’s car in the Auto Value 250. Winning a big race is nothing new for Rowe, but what’s amazing is this was the first run for O’Neal’s car since the 2011 Auto Value 250.
As might be expected, despite the best efforts of the crew to prepare the car for competition, there were a few challenges to deal with when the race went green. But Rowe calmly ducked in and out of the pits, during early race cautions, and the crew worked its magic to give their driver a chance to win. One thing they couldn’t fix was the power-steering which let go early in the race.
On a hot, sticky night in the Geary Woods Rowe muscled the O’Neal machine to the front of the field and cruised into the Speedway 660 Victory Lane to celebrate with Hal and the rest of the team. They all served notice that come SpeedWeekend this car, this team and this driver will be ready to take on all comers in the Auto Value 250!
I hope you all have a great week off. If you are hitting the roads, please drive carefully and be safe. And tell your friends, tell your neighbours, tell everyone that Speedway 660 will be back in business on Saturday, August 11th for the $3000 to Win Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman Firecracker 150.