Last Saturday night was hot in the Geary Woods. If you missed our Weekly Championship Point racing, you missed one of the most exciting nights of the season at Speedway 660. It was hot in the stands, Hot in the pits and even HOTTER inside the race cars.
I’ve been talkin about the DMR Auto Sales & Service Street Stock Division since before the first green flag opened the 2013 season. The mix of veterans and great young crop of rookies set the stage for what has been an incredible street stock season. Heading into last week’s action, Luc Maclaughlin was riding high as the top rookie. He really is one of the best young drivers at Speedway 660. He won the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter Division title in 2012, after taking the rookie of the year award the year before. Luc bought Shannon Brake’s 2012 Street Stock championship car and last week became the first rookie to have a podium finish in this tough division. And heck, Nick Murray even did a nice story about MacLaughlin in last Saturday’s Gleaner. So things couldn’t have been better for young Luc, that is until last Saturday night when things got a little crazy.
First Luc, who knows he has to be a little more aggressive to be a successful street stocker, got into Robert Raynes in a preliminary race. That brought out a Service Master Clean Caution and uncharacteristically for Rob, he puts the bumper into young MacLaughlin, spinning him on the front stretch. Rob gets blacked flagged and storms off to the pits. Things got better for Raynes though, he settled down, drove a great feature race and brought his car home third. In his podium interview, Rob stood up and apologized to our fans and Luc “for being an idiot”. Our crowd responded with a great round of applause when Raynes accepted responsibility for his earlier transgressions.
But things didn’t get any better for Luc MacLaughlin in the feature. He got stuck in heavy traffic and then perhaps he may have over-drove the car a little in his effort to have another good finish. He ended up in the bank on the front stretch and settled for 12th, his worst finish of the season. But I know he learned a lot on Saturday night and its going to make Luc a better racer down the road.
Luc MacLaughlin (#11) spins out Robert Raynes last Saturday night in the DMR Auto Sales & Service Street Stock Division. At the time I thought it was just one of those street stock racin incidents, but in the heat of the moment Robert thought otherwise!
Raynes (#41) gets a little retribution by spinning MacLaughlin during the Service Master Clean Caution. That move cost Rob a black flag. He rallied to come back in the feature for a third place finish and apologized to Luc and Speedway 660 fans for his earlier transgressions.
MacLaughlin ended his rough night in the front stretch bank and had to settle for a 12th place finish. Luc is a great young race driver and someday he’ll likely look back at last Saturday night as an important part of his learning curve in the unpredictable world of street stock racing!
Street Stock wasn’t the only division to heat up last Saturday night. Drew Greenlaw made a dare-devil last corner pass on Courtney O’Blenis to win the West Wood Estate Apartments Bandolero feature. And the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter division had a car going slide-ways across the finish line. The Martins Home Heating Sportsman race was barn-burner too. And the RE/MAX Group Four Realty Pro Stock feature saw Dave O’Blenis and Paul Gahan get a little perturbed at each other when their cars made pretty hard contact on a restart with a couple of laps to go.
Speedway 660’s racers and fans are passionate about their favourite sport. When the weather heats up and the points battles are brewing, sometimes we see tempers reach the boiling point. Like hockey and football, this too is a contact sport. That’s what makes racing such a great sport to watch. But when all is said and done, you get guys like Rob Raynes standing up like he did and trying to make good. I don’t see that in too many other sports.
Coming up next Saturday night, we’ll see round two of the ENDURO series at Speedway 660. Its the only time you can see these drivers race under the lights, so make plans to head on down to the Geary Woods for a 7 o’clock start. We’ll see you at the races!