TCM Three Stars + Weekend Agenda – September 29th, 2016
Between the crowning of the first NASCAR Whelen All American Series champions in the Province of Newfoundland and the Mike Stevens Memorial event at Petty International raceway, it made for a big 19th weekend in Atlantic Canadian stock car racing.
Oh, and some rain postponed some pretty big racing cards too.
One of those racing cards, the Late Model 100 at Oyster Bed Speedway, will go head to head and compete against the 16th Annual Atlantic Stock Car Championships at the CENTRE For Speed this weekend, while the Fun Day on the dirt track of Valley Raceway will also go ahead this weekend to close the 2016 season.
While the season is coming to a close, there are some big races left to go and some checkered flags just behind us in the rearview mirror.
Here are the TCM Three Stars from Weekend #19 and what’s to come this weekend in the TCM Weekend Agenda for Weekend #20.
**Feature Photo by Mike Francis/Racin Photos.
Sara Thorne of Chance Cove, Newfoundland
**Second TCM Three Stars appearance, seventh driver to appear multiple times in feature**
With Sara Thorne only having to finish third to clinch her first track championship at Eastbound Park, it seemed like it would be an easy road to the Bandolero title when her worst finish of the year was third.
The battle all season long had been between Thorne and Owen Groves. Much like the Dave Matthews and Stevie Lively battle at Scotia Speedworld in the Thunder division, Sara v. Owen had lived up to all the hype as the two went back and fourth all season long. Thorne held the win advantage on Groves, leading six to four coming into the finale, including a streak of five straight wins during the year.
As with any major championship battle, it came down to the final night with the calm, cool and collected defending track champion against the visibly nervous point leader looking to lock down the title. During practice, contact with another car sent Thorne around in Turn Three and sent the team scrambling on pit road to fix the damage on the #06 Bay by Bay Limited Bandolero.
With rain washing out qualifying, the field would line up by points and Thorne would line up on the inside of Groves. While Groves set the pace off the hop and drove to his fifth win of the season, Thorne stayed strong, got into a rhythm, put practice behind her and kicked the nerves out the window to win the track championship.
It was an emotional victory lane, especially for father Ross Thorne, who was brought to tears when the #06 car returned to the front straight away to celebrate her title, complete with pink silly string.
For her night at Eastbound Park, which ended with the Islander RV Bandolero championship, Sara Thorne receives her second TCM Three Star selection of the year!
Jonathan Hicken of Brudenell, Prince Edward Island
Photo by Tanya Everett Photography
Call him “Mr. Postseason,” because Jonathan Hicken has hit another home run in a non-point, end of season Pro Stock race.
In a very competitive field of two dozen Pro Stock drivers, Hicken won his heat race and led 118 of the 200 feature laps to successfully defend his Mike Stevens Memorial 200 win from 2015. Driving for King Racing for a second straight year in the race, he fended off a strong field at the end, after a pit stop in the second half, including his teammate and former Pro All Stars Series champion Cassius Clark along with three-time Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour feature winner on the year in Dylan Blenkhorn for the prestigious win.
The win comes as a shining light on a year that has been dismal for the most part for the Island driver. Scaling back to part-time on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour after buying a new car at the start of the year, the season ended with a wreck in the first two dozen laps of the Atlantic Cat 250. Hicken drove in the final two races of the season for the Butcher Racing team as a teammate to Cole and Jarrett Butcher.
The Mike Stevens Memorial title has earned him another drive in a King Racing car at the Atlantic Championships this weekend. Hicken is a two-time Atlantic Champion at the CENTRE For Speed and will look for his third win at the race in four seasons.
For his second straight Mike Stevens Memorial 200 win in a race described by some fans as one of the best they’ve seen at Petty International Raceway, Jonathan Hicken earns the second star on the TCM Three Stars this week!
Jason Groves of Hearts Desire, Newfoundland
Heading in with what seemed to be a comfortable point advantage in the NAPA Auto Parts Sportsman division at Eastbound Park, Jason Groves appeared to be in control to win the Island’s first NASCAR Whelen All American Series Division I championship in the season finale Parts for Trucks 150.
Oh, but the storybook finish was not without taking the long road to the title.
Groves won the pole for the race while the closest rival in the title chase, Josh Collins, decided to start scratch on the race after opting to not take a time in Time Trials. With that, Collins would be eligible for bonus points if he was the Hard Charger on the evening.
Collins would eventually work his way up front and pass Groves while the #74 car maintained a top three run, lasting through the caution flags early and to the halfway break at Lap 75.
Then, the air in the tire that was the championship hopes of Groves started slowly leaking out, literally.
Groves had a slow leak in the right rear tire following the halfway break. With 30 to go, after falling outside the top six and out of what would be a spot to clinch the championship, a caution allowed Groves to pit to replace the tire. He would start tenth on the restart but would once again see the title flash in front of his eyes. A multi-car wreck down into Turn One would happen directly in front of Groves. Groves got on the brakes and spun the car, narrowly missing backing into the cars in front of him.
Groves would restart sixth on the next restart and would march his way up to fifth place by the end to clinch the prestigious NASCAR Provincial championship!
For his performance under pressure to win the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Division I Championship in the NAPA Auto Parts Sportsman at Eastbound Park, Jason Groves is the TCM First Star for Weekend #19 on the season!
The Weekend Agenda takes a bit of a different look this year, but will give you a quick glance at the basics. If a track is racing, you’ll see the track name and location in green and if a track is not running an event on a weekend, their name and location will be red. The line proceeding will display the divisions running on the weekend and a start time, or a date of when the next event is at the track.
Blue indicates a race track has completed or crowned point champions their season for 2016!
Cape Breton Miners Memorial Speedway in Sydney: OFF – Next Event on October 15th and 16th
Lake Doucette Motor Speedway in Salmon River (outside of Digby): Congrats to 2016 Champions! Shaun Burke (Sportsman), Joe Hari (V8), Brittany Townsend (Four Cylinder Ladies), Justin Goodwin (Four Cylinder Mens)
Riverside International Speedway in James River: Season Complete.
Scotia Speedworld in Enfield: Congrats to 2016 Champions! Pete Miller (Sportsman), Dan Smith (Trucks), Jarrett Butcher (Legends), Stevie Lively (Thunder), Deven Smith (Lightning), Sam Rogers (Outlaw), Nathan Langille (Bandit), Tyler Hutchinson (Beginner Bandit)
Valley Raceway in Kingston: Non Point Fun Day on Sunday, October 2nd @ 1pm; Unlimited, V8, Four Cylinder, Trucks. Congrats to 2016 Champions! Greg Banks (Unlimited), Sandy Wood (V8), Shawn Sanford (Four Cylinder, Robert McNeil (Trucks)
Petty International Raceway in River Glade: Off – Next Event on Saturday, October 8th. Congrats to 2016 Champions! Luc Bourgeois (Sportsman), Craig Ward (Street Stock), Tim Webster (Mini Stock), Michael Cormier (Bandolero), Brenda Shortell (Women on Wheels)
Shediac CENTRE For Speed in Grand-Barachois: Atlantic Stock Car Championships on Saturday, October 1st @ 1pm; Sportsman 100, Mini Stock 100, Four Fun 50
Atlantic Stock Car Championships on Sunday, October 2nd @ 1pm; Pro Stock 200, Street Stock 100, Bandolero 25.
Speedway 660 in Geary: Season Completed – Congrats to 2016 Champions! Greg Fahey (Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stock), Ryan Messer (Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman), Rob Raynes (DMR Auto Street Stock), Kyle MacKinnon (Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters)
Speedway Miramichi in Miramichi: Off – Next Event on Saturday, October 15th
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Oyster Bed Speedway in Oyster Bed Bridge: Season Finale and Late Model 100 on Sunday, October 2nd @ 2pm; Late Models, Street Stocks, Mini Outlaw, Mini Four Fun (Event rained out from September 18th and 25th)
Eastbound Park in Avondale: Congrats to 2016 Champions! Jason Groves (Sportsman), Mark Best (Hobby Stock), Ryan Murray (Legends), Sara Thorne (Bandolero)
Thunder Valley Speedway in Bishop’s Falls: Congrats to 2016 Champions! Graham Tweedie (Sportsman), Robert Petten (Hobby Stock), Clary Hunt (Bombers)
TCM Coverage Schedule – Weekend 20 of 2016
Saturday, October 1st – Atlantic Championships Day One – Shediac CENTRE For Speed (NB) – 1pm AT (TCM Race #48 of 2016)
Sunday, October 2nd – Atlantic Championships Day Two – Shediac CENTRE For Speed (NB) – 1pm AT (TCM Race #49 of 2016)