River Glade International Winner MacKenzie Jr Latest Entry for Martin’s Home Heating 150
Excitement continues to build and with the $5,000-to-win Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman 150 at Speedway 660 expected to attract some of the top drivers in the region to race Saturday night, the race has received a boost with intentions to compete from one of the hottest hands in Late Model competition in Atlantic Canada this season.
Kenny MacKenzie Jr. of Salisbury, New Brunswick, who is coming off wins in the Caleb Dunn Memorial and River Glade International at Petty International Raceway, will be in the field Saturday night at Speedway 660 to compete for the $5,000 top prize. Mackenzie will race the #41 Dulux Paints Bayers Lake Chevrolet for car owner Craig McFetridge.
MacKenzie Jr has seen success at every level of stock car racing he has competed in but might be most known for racing in the Street Stock and Sportsman ranks. MacKenzie won the 2014 Street Stock champion at Petty International Raceway and the Sportsman Rookie of the Year Award the next season. He was fourth in the overall standings in 2014 in his first season of Late Model competition before climbing to runner-up in 2016 behind Luc Bourgeois.
The 2017 season has been one many stock car drivers only dream of. After a big win in the Mike Stevens Memorial 75 last October, MacKenzie has held a hot hand into the current season. The #85 Acura has yet to finish off the podium in 2017 and has four feature wins, including two of the biggest Late Model races in the region, the 5th Annual Caleb Dunn Memorial and the Jones Auto Body River Glade International.
The River Glade International trophy features a champion’s list full of legendary short track stars, including Don Biederman, Junior Hanley, Frank Fraser, Jim Hallahan, Greg Sewart, Earl Ross and Adelard Cormier, just to name a few. Kenny’s father Ken MacKenzie Sr is on the trophy as the winner of the prestigious race twice.
“That win was so huge for us last weekend,” said MacKenzie Jr. of the River Glade International victory. “I still can’t believe we won that race, especially with all the history that comes with it. It is the biggest win of my career, we had a blast and it gives us momentum heading into the last month of the season.”
While MacKenzie Jr will focus on the September 9th double feature point finale at Petty International Raceway with his own car, he now gets a chance to race with McFetridge and the #41 car this weekend at Speedway 660.
“Last Friday night gives us a huge confidence boost heading into the Martin’s Home Heating 150,” said MacKenzie Jr. “We have had rough luck at this race and I would love to say we just finished one. It is going to be different being in a car that is not my own, but we will go up and have some fun against some of the best drivers around.”
This will be MacKenzie Jr.’s first race of the year outside of Petty International Raceway and first race of 2017 in a Sportsman car that will have Hoosier 890 tires bolted to it after Petty Raceway changed their tire to a used Hoosier 1070 Pro Stock slick.
The #41 Dulux Paints Bayers Lake Chevrolet has seen success this season with a number of different drivers. The car has only finished off the podium twice in six starts. Dylan Blenkhorn went to victory lane with the car on July 8th at Petty International Raceway. Brady Creamer and two-time Maritime Pro Stock Tour champion Shawn Turple each have starts in it at the River Glade oval, while Wayne Smith wheeled the car to a fourth place finish at the IWK 250 weekend at Riverside International Speedway in the only race thus far for the car outside of Petty Raceway in 2017.
The last two races in which Kenny MacKenzie Jr won in at Petty Raceway, the McFetridge car was driven to podium finishes by MacKenzie Jr’s girlfriend Alexandra O’Blenis. O’Blenis led 52 laps last Friday, the most of any driver, but would wind up third in the River Glade International. O’Blenis, along with her sister Courtney and father Dave, will all be in the field Saturday in hopes of grabbing the $5,000 top prize at Speedway 660.
“I’m excited to have Kenny MacKenzie Jr drive the No. 41 on Saturday night at Speedway 660’s SpeedWeekend,” said Craig McFetridge. “He is a great young talent with a lot of success in 2017 behind the wheel of a Late Model and is a great addition to the roster of drivers we have had race for us this year.”
The Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman 150 is expected to draw over 30 cars from across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Maine. In addition to the roster of Speedway 660 regulars including champion John Rankin, Drew Greenlaw, Alexandra O’Blenis, Curtis Collins, Richard Atkinson and many more, Dave O’Blenis, defending 150 winner Ryan Messer and Shawn Warren are expected to do double duty between the 150 on Saturday and the McLaughlin Roof Trusses Pro Stock 250 on Sunday. Nova Scotia is expected to be represented by the likes of Jordan Veinotte, Pete Miller, Russell Smith Jr and Aaron Boutilier.
Fans that cannot make it to Speedway 660 on Saturday evening can watch every lap live from the track online through Pit Row TV. The premium video broadcast will feature multiple camera angles of the action, live scoring, replays and a feed from the track’s public address system. This is the first time a production such as this has taken place of a stock car race in Atlantic Canada. Fans can tune in to all the racing action this weekend at PitRow.tv.
The racing action to kick off SpeedWeekend 2017 begins on Saturday at 6:30pm. The Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman 150 will be a part of a racing card that includes the MJS Holdings East Coast Mini Stock Tour Pub’s Drive Thru Bottle Exchange 50, the Maritime League of Legends Tour A.L. Gullison DKI 50 presented by Ideal Equipment and the first of two Tim’s Corner Motorsports Bandolero Blast events of the weekend. Grandstand gates open at 5pm on Saturday with pit gates opening for competitors at 9:30am.
Complete camping, ticket and venue information for SpeedWeekend can be found at Speedway660.com or by calling (506) 454-RACE.
Photos by Tanya Everett Photography