2015 TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Results – “Photo Finish”
You voted – we listened!
Over the next few weeks, we will be releasing results for the Tim’s Corner Motorsports Best of Awards. Fans voted through three rounds on nine different categories, with the nominees for the TCM Power Performer of the Year to be announced in November.
A panel of three had an influence in the TCM Breakout Performer of the Year and the Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Awards, while twenty judges narrowed the 2015 Finish Line Vinyl Design Best Looking Car Award to five cars. Fan voted categories included Favorite Tracks (Weekly, Monthly, Special Event) and Touring Series, Favorite Staple Race Track Food and the prestigious TCM Most Popular Driver Award.
SCORING EXPLANATION – TCM Breakout Performer of the Year/Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award
Each of the three panelists, who have been to the race tracks, seen the racers and have read/heard plenty about them, was given the list of ten nominees and a brief list of each of their accomplishments. They were asked to rank their favorite five. Their top picks each received five points, second pick received four points, third received three, fourth got two points and their last pick got one point.
The fan vote winner was awarded five points, with each of the top five in the fan vote receiving the same point scoring as if the fans were a panelist.
Simply put, each “panelist” carried 25% weight in determining the winner of these two awards. Drivers could score five points from each, meaning a perfect score would be 20 points.
Ties are broken by the amount of ballots a driver appears on, followed by the amount of top votes they received. Should drivers still be tied following that, the panel will come together to determine a winner.
Photos by McCarthy Photographic, unless otherwise indicated
MISSING THE TOP FIVE
#5 Matt Palmer – Sure, Matt Palmer’s name has been a mainstay near the front of the field when it comes to Late Model competition at Oyster Bed Speedway in recent seasons, but bad luck has also bitten the #5 team numerous times. In 2015, everything came together for Matt Palmer to finally hoist the Central Engine Services Late Model title at the high banked Island oval. The breakthrough championship performance was accompanied by two feature victories.
#13 Harley Cornish – Harley Cornish turned heads in 2015 by winning 18 races in the Oyster Bed Speedway Mini Stock division. Six of those wins were feature victories and with no major issues throughout the season, Cornish was crowned champion in the class. Not bad for a driver twice the age of some of these “young guns” coming into the sport!
#18 Josh Langille – Josh Langille has been around Bandolero racing for a few years now, but 2015 was his breakthrough season. Langille began the season by winning the season opener at Scotia Speedworld on June 5th. As the saying goes, he liked the thrill of winning so much, he repeated himself four more times in the next four races. Langille’s worst finish all year at Scotia Speedworld was a fourth, the only time he finished off the podium en route to the Bandits Championship. He capped the season off in victory lane as well, winning a feature at Petty International Raceway.
#38 Travis Roma – Travis Roma finally broke through to victory lane this season by winning a Sportsman feature at Scotia Speedworld. Roma had been close many times before but could not seal the deal until the September 4th feature. In addition, Roma was well within contention for a championship this season, eventually finishing fourth in the championship standings.
#88 Matt Watson – After winning one race on the series in 2014, Matt Watson showed up ready to play on the Eastern Super Mini Cup Series in 2015. Watson won every feature race en route to his first championship on the series. Only one champion prior, James “Hollywood” Matchett, has pulled the feat in the touring series.
THE TOP FIVE
5th – #53 Cole Butcher – 10 Points
After knocking on the door of victory lane for two seasons on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour, the door was finally answered for Cole Butcher.
Not only did Butcher win two races on the series, once at his home track of Scotia Speedworld and two weeks later at Speedway 660, he also battled tooth and nail with Dylan Blenkhorn in the Dartmouth Dodge 200. While he came up short in the battle, he finished second in the war, as the #53 Atlantic Tiltload Chevrolet was second in the series standings at the end of the season, proof that Butcher was near the front of the field more often than not in 2015.
Butcher received two second place votes from the three person panel while also garnering a fourth place finish in the Fan Vote.
T3rd – #27 Austin MacDonald – 11 Points
It was only a matter of time before Austin MacDonald began making big noise on the racing scene.
MacDonald, grandson of Hall of Famer Rollie MacDonald, went on a streak of nine consecutive top two finishes to the end of the Scotia Speedworld season. Included in that streak was five feature victories en route to a second place finish in the standings at his home track. MacDonald finished tied for third in the Petty Raceway standings, was on the podium at Speedway 660 on Speedweekend and took home the 2015 INEX Canadian East Bandolero Bandit Championship.
MacDonald was one of only two drivers to receive votes on all three panel ballots in the Breakout Performer of the Year category, but failed to tally in the Fan Vote, falling about 50 votes short of the top five. Of note, MacDonald received one first place vote from one of the panelists.
T3rd – #2 John Rankin – 11 Points
Photo by Michelle Roy/Speedway 660
In a partnership formed late in the 2014 season, Brad Silliker Motorsports and new driver John Rankin set their sights on the Pro Stock division at Speedway 660 this season and found success. Rankin drove to victory lane on July 11th after a late race battle with Dave O’Blenis. The team fought all season in a competitive Pro Stock class at the Geary oval, coming home with a fifth place finish in the standings.
The team would close off their season at Shediac’s CENTRE For Speed and the Atlantic Championships, one of the races the team got a jump start on in 2014. Whether it was the second trip to the oval or it was the team being able to come together over the season, everything fell into line and Rankin finished a strong second place in the 200-lap feature.
Rankin appeared on two panel ballots, which included one first place vote. The St. Martin’s, NB driver also finished second in the Fan Vote.
2nd – #89 Donald Chisholm – 12 Points
After sixteen years, Donald Chisholm finally climbed the mountain to the top prize in Maritime racing, the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour championship.
Chisholm had knocked on the door on a number of previous occasions only to have circumstance take him out of a shot at the title. While bad luck tried to set up road blocks in 2015, Chisholm navigated his car into contention at all 12 events, including a couple of runs from the rear of the field at Petty Raceway and Scotia Speedworld to take top ten finishes. The #89 also ended up in victory lane at Riverside International Speedway in September.
Chisholm received points from two of the three panel ballots along with third place honors in the Fan Vote, giving him 12 points.
Aaaaaand the winner is…
1st – #32 Ashton Tucker – 12 Points (won tiebreaker)
While he had tasted victory lane prior to the 2015 season, Ashton Tucker was a frequent visitor this past summer as he lit up victory lane at three of New Brunswick’s oval tracks.
Tucker won seven races in the province in 2015, including a trio at each track he won the Bandolero divisional championship at – Petty International Raceway and Speedway 660. One of those Speedway 660 victories came at the end of the year, when he took home the victory on Irving Blending & Packaging Speedweekend.
The seventh win came at Shediac’s CENTRE For Speed, where he drove to victory lane in the Atlantic Championships for Bandoleros.
Tucker was the only driver in the Breakout Performer of the Year balloting that scored points across the board with all three panelists and the fans, which is used as the first tiebreaker for the award. Of note, this is the first time that a TCM Best of Award has finished with a tie at the top.
His one full score of five points came from the fans, winning the Fan Vote by taking 30% of the total vote, 11% over runner-up John Rankin.
The team will be making the move in 2016 to the Pro Stock division at Speedway 660, a class he got his feet wet in during the Irving Blending & Packaging 250 where he finished an impressive 12th. Could he be an early 2016 favorite for the Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award?!
Tucker joins Dylan Blenkhorn (2014) as a winner of the TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award.
For his victory, Tucker will receive a Tim’s Corner Motorsports Awards Banner from Infinite Creative Solutions for his win in the TCM Breakout Performer of the Year category. The presentation will be made in January at the Speedway 660 Awards Banquet.
Big thanks to our panelists whose input was used to bring us to a winner along with the fans who voted in the TCM Best of Awards in 2015.
FAN VOTE RESULTS
1st – #32 Ashton Tucker – 30%
2nd – #2 John Rankin – 19%
3rd – #89 Donald Chisholm – 14%
4th – #53 Cole Butcher – 9%
5th – #13 Harley Cornish – 7%
6th – #5 Matt Palmer – 6%
7th – #27 Austin Macdonald – 5%
8th – #18 Josh Langille – 4%
9th – #88 Matt Watson – 3%
10th – #38 Travis Roma – 3%
TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award Winners
2015: Ashton Tucker of Lyttleton, NB
2014: Dylan Blenkhorn of Truro, NS
About Tim’s Corner:
Tim’s Corner began as a weekly stock car racing column appearing on ScotiaSpeedworld.ca and MaritimeProStockTour.com, penned by track and series announcer Tim Terry. It has now grown to include basic media services for motorsport teams big and small. TimsCorner.ca, the official website of Tim’s Corner, also features Tim’s Corner Unplugged, a podcast hosted by Terry which focuses on the motorsports scene. For more information on Tim’s Corner and services offered, visit TimsCorner.ca!