It was a tough weekend for stock car racing families in the Maritimes. Mike Stevens died after a crash with just two laps to go, in a Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour race at Oyster Bed Speedway on Prince Edward Island. Mike was well-known here at Speedway 660. I’m pretty sure he ran a Sportsman car with us before competing in our Pro Stock division and then moving on to the Maritime Tour.
Our condolences go out to the Stevens family and his race team. We also extend our sympathies to the staff and officials of the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. We work closely with those women and men when they visit Speedway 660 every year and our thoughts and prayers will be with them as they move forward after this tragedy.
The Speedway 660 racing community is also saddened to learn of the passing of Willard Gillespie on the weekend. Mr. Gillespie has been coming to the races ever since our track opened in 1994. He was a big fan of the sport and a huge supporter of his son Brian. Willard was extremely proud of Brian’s seven championships here. On behalf of all of our fans, the race teams, corporate sponsors and management and staff at Speedway 660 we extend condolences to the Gillespie family.
Speedway 660 is ready for a busy August. After taking a break, during the long holiday weekend, it’s time to “turn up the wick” so-to-speak for our busiest month of the season. It all begins this weekend with the Sportsman Firecracker 150 on Saturday night and the Enduro 200 on Sunday afternoon. Then it’s on to two big weeks of point racing on the 17th and 24th before SpeedWeekend arrives from August 30th to September 2nd .
We hinted in our latest Sunday Photo Album that Drew Greenlaw could be showing up at Speedway 660 soon in a Sportsman car. Well word has it that the West Wood Estate Apartments Bandolero point leader will make his debut in a Martins Home Heating Sportman car on August 17th . He’s worked out a deal with John Rankin to drive the 28 car and has been apprenticing with Lonnie Sommerville.
Drew Greenlaw (#23) leads the West Wood Estate Apartments Bandolero point standings at Speedway 660. The talented Kid from Eastport, Maine will make his Martins Home Heating Sportsman Division debut in a couple of weeks in John Rankin’s car. Drew has been working with Lonnie Sommerville to prepare for the next step in his racing career.
The two-time Auto Value 250 champion deserves a mention here. Lonnie has a race shop in Saint John and does a great job building and preparing his own car and other cars for competition. But my friend Billy Sommerville’s boy also has taken an interest in the next generation of racers. He is working closely with Sarah McKay who is now running a Sportsman car with us. In addition to Sarah and Drew, Lonnie has also been working with Alicia Mowat, another Bando star. Alicia is expected to jump all the way from Bandos to the RE/MAX Group Four Realty Pro Stock Division.
I’ve raved in this space for the last two or three years about the young talent at Speedway 660 and I applaud Lonnie Sommerville for being a great mentor for many of these young kids. The future is bright for our sport as these youngsters come up through the ranks and wow us with their talent.
Lonnie Sommerville, the first two-time winner of the Auto Value 250, is working with several young drivers to help them prepare to move up through the ranks at Speedway 660. Sommerville is a great role model and mentor for the rising stars in our sport.
Speaking of talent, Matt and Andrew, the Rodgers boys are getting ready for this weekend’s Firecracker 150. The two boys, plus their Dad Steve and Grandfather Bob are featured in the next edition of our series of Conversations. The Rodgers Boys Conversation will be posted on www. Speedway660.com in the next day or two.
I hope you get a chance to check it out because not only are Matt and Andrew talented on the race-track, they are well spoken, mature beyond their years and appreciative of the opportunities they have been given in racing. I really enjoy talking with people in the Speedway 660 racing community and bringing those Conversations to our fans. So make sure to come back for this one.
Wrapping up this week’s racing blog, I can’t help but reflect on how precious and fragile life is. Last weekend was a reminder of that and again, on behalf of the entire Speedway 660 family and the Maritime racing community, I want to extend condolences to the Stevens and Gillespie families. We are thinking of you this week.
And don’t forget the Firecracker 150 highlights action this Saturday night at Speedway 660 and the 2nd Enduro 200 of the season goes Sunday afternoon.
We’ll see you at the races!