Ten East Coast Teams Looking For Gold at 2018 INEX Winter Nationals
Photos by McCarthy Photographic
UPDATE: Add an eleventh driver from Atlantic Canada to the list. Braden Langille will be heading to Florida to run a Legend car during INEX Winter Nationals. Langille, from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, is a former Bandolero Outlaw champion at the event.
Welcome to February!
For a number of Atlantic Canadian teams, focus shifts to the South this time of year. INEX Winter Nationals and the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing are familiar stops in the state of Florida for teams on the East Coast – and while we already know Nicholas Naugle will be making the transition from Legends to Late Models beginning on Friday, at least ten teams will be looking to fly their colors at the front during the February 11th to 16th Bandolero and Legend showcase at Citrus County Speedway in Inverness, Florida.
Four Legend drivers representing three Atlantic Provinces will look to bring hardware home. Cory Hall, Waylon Farrell and Paul Goulden all came out of 2017 with something to celebrate and will look to roll that momentum into 2018.
Hall won the championship at INEX Winter Nationals one year ago on a tiebreaker over Naugle and continued on to Texas to win the Battle at the Big Top V in April. The Jolicure, New Brunswick driver, who racked up a double digit win total last season, will move to the INEX Pro Legend division after coming close to winning the International Semi-Pro championship in 2017.
Farrell is registered for the Semi-Pro division after a season at home that included his second consecutive Maritime League of Legends Tour championship. Farrell and his No. 48 Farrell’s Excavating Limited team from Conception Bay South, Newfoundland took three feature wins at Scotia Speedworld and cruised to the 2017 Maritime Tour title over former Canadian Pro champion Justin MacNeill. Farrell was fifth in points at INEX Winter Nationals in 2017 with four top tens in the five days of racing while his brother Will was 13th one year ago.
Shelburne, Nova Scotia’s Goulden captured the Scotia Speedworld Strictly Hydraulics Legend track championship in 2017 after his first trip to INEX Winter Nationals last February. Goulden is back for his second trip to Florida in February with his race car after posting three top ten finishes at INEX Winter Nationals in the Masters division in 2017.
While Michael Cormier has competed at the Legend level in Atlantic Canada, this INEX Winter Nationals will be his first that will not see him in a Bandolero. Cormier, who also campaigns a Street Stock at home, finished fifth in the Bandolero Outlaw division at Citrus County in 2017 and hopes to carry that into the Semi-Pro Legend division.
Austin MacDonald was scheduled to compete in the Young Lions division at INEX Winter Nationals but will sit this event out as he heals from an arm injury.
The Bandolero Outlaw division at Citrus County Speedway will see the concentration of East Coast talent. Of over 20 drivers registered for the division, five hail from Atlantic Canada with three heading into 2018 with track championships from the previous season.
The “Fast Three” from Newfoundland and Labrador will all be at Citrus County Speedway. Owen Groves of Heart’s Delight and Sara Thorne of Chance Cove, who own the three Bandolero track championships contested at Eastbound Park in as many years, will make their stateside debut at the event while Portugal Cove’s Michael Neary, who scored the Islander Cup and Thunder Valley Speedway track titles in 2017, will return for a second straight year. According to his social media, you can expect to see Neary make his Legend car debut before the week is over as well.
After his run at INEX Winter Nationals in 2017, one would believe that Sam Rogers will be in the championship conversation before the week is over. Rogers finished the 2017 edition of the event with three straight second place finishes to place third overall on the week behind eventual champion Cameron Bolin. Rogers, of Lower Onslow, Nova Scotia, is the reigning TCM Bandolero Blast winner at Speedway 660 and current Petty International Raceway track champion.
Danny Chisholm moved up to the Outlaw division in 2017 and is looking for a bit more to start off his sophomore season. The Canning, Nova Scotia fan favorite was fourth overall at the event last year with three top fives in five races.
Owen Mahar finished INEX Winter Nationals strong in 2017 with the Day Five feature win in the Bandit class. He followed it up with a second place point performance at Scotia Speedworld in the Bandit division presented by Hydraulics Plus. Mahar will return to Florida in 2018 to kick off what is slated to be a busy season. Like Chisholm, in addition to Bandolero racing Mahar competes with the CKRA Karting Club in Dieppe, New Brunswick.
Maritime alumni of the INEX Winter Nationals include a number of familiar names including IWK 250 and Atlantic Cat 250 champion Dylan Blenkhorn, two-time Atlantic Cat 250 titlist and 2016 Maritime Pro Stock Tour champion Cole Butcher, Atlantic Modified champion and current Speedway 660 Pro Stock sophomore Ryan Messer, 2018 Maritime Pro Stock Tour Rookie of the Year contender Braden Langille, multi-time Bandolero track champion Cole Tanner, Maritime Motorsports Hall of Famer “The Legend” Cy Harvey and many more.
While the number of Atlantic Canadians competing at INEX Winter Nationals may have dipped, the overall numbers seem to be trending upward for the event. As of the end of January, nearly 130 cars are pre-registered for the event with more coming into Little Gator Legend Cars. Four divisions, Young Lions, Masters, Semi Pros and Outlaws, all have more than 20 cars entered in advance of the event.
The track will be available for practice on Saturday, February 10th and Sunday, February 11th with racing taking place from Monday, February 12th to Friday, February 16th with Wednesday, February 14th reserved as a rain date. Tuesday, February 13th will see a double header with two features for each class. A detailed schedule is below, all times Eastern.
Fans can watch LIVE online with a monthly subscription to LegendsNation.tv. To watch all the action from Citrus County Speedway, log onto www.LegendsNation.tv and follow the simple instructions to subscribe to LNTV. Each subscription includes complete on-demand library access, allowing subscribers to watch any previously aired LNTV broadcasts through the “replay” tab of the site. LNTV also comes packaged as a convenient, easy to use Roku application. For instructions on installing the LNTV Roku channel, visit the website and click “Roku” on the menu.