#TCMBestof2016 – Sara Thorne Caps Season with TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award
The results are in for the Tim’s Corner Motorsports Breakout Performer of the Year and for the second season in a row, it goes to a Bandolero driver who made quite the mark over the past racing season.
This one though came down to the wire between two of the region’s bright young talents and while our three panelists had tough choices on their ballots it was the fans who had quite an impact on the award in 2016.
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.
Feature Photo by Mike Francis/RacinPhotos
MISSING THE TOP FIVE
#1 Ryan St. George – Ryan St. George began the Eastbound Park season without a ride after selling his Legend car at the end of the 2015 season. After a win in a substitute role for Phil Fowler at the second race of the year, St. George found a Legend ride with Dennis Porter and reeled off another three wins and was in championship contention on the final night of the year. In addition, St. George made starts at Riverside International Speedway with the Upper Clements Parks Maritime League of Legends Tour and made his Eastbound Late Model debut in the Parts for Trucks 150.
#25 Andrew Lively – Lively quietly went about his business in 2016 and ended up with a shot at his first track championship at Scotia Speedworld by the end of it. Lively won his first Scotia Speedworld Thunder car feature in June and followed it up with his second in the penultimate round of the year in September. The consistency put him in championship contention into the final round of the season but would wind up third overall. In addition, he gave JR Lawson all he could handle at the Atlantic Championships in Shediac, NB en route to a runner-up finish in the 100-lap feature.
Photo by McCarthy Photographic
#30 Chantel Ackles – From a full time competitor at Scotia Speedworld to a full-time contender at Petty International Raceway, Ackles turned heads in her first full time season in New Brunswick. Aligned with former Mini Stock champion at the track JR Lawson, Ackles showed consistency throughout the year and while a podium was not found she raced her way to six top five finishes in eight races at Petty International Raceway and was well on her way to a seventh top five before rain fell on the Mike Stevens Memorial weekend.
#72 Tylor Hawes – Tylor Hawes turned up the heat at the end of the year in his Legend ride. In 12 starts in the Scotia Speedworld CARSTAR Weekly Racing Series Legends, he scored three top fives, two of those being podium finishes. Hawes was poised for a podium run in the Upper Clements Parks Maritime League of Legends Tour Scotia Tire 50 at Scotia Speedworld before a late race restart shuffled Hawes outside of the top three. Seventh in the Scotia Speedworld standings was not indicative of where he ran at the end of the year.
THE TOP “FIVE”
T3 – #1 Merle Corbin – Six Points
Photo by McCarthy Photographic
We had a four way tie for third in the TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award this year and one of those knotted for the spot at the end was Sackville, Nova Scotia’s Merle Corbin.
Corbin brought the heat in the opening races of the Scotia Speedworld Thunder car season and after three top fives in the first five races he would park the #1 car in victory lane for his first career win on Canada Day. He would further top that feat by winning one of the biggest Mini Stock races of the year prior to the Atlantic Cat 250 at Scotia Speedworld. His season resulted in fourth in the point standings at the track.
After the season had completed in Halifax, Corbin finished his season at the Atlantic Championships at the CENTRE For Speed, finishing a close third in the 100-lap feature.
Corbin received two third place votes from panelist on the final scorecard.
T3 – #22 Kyle MacKinnon – Six Points
Speedway 660 Photo
In a competitive Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters class at Speedway 660, Kyle MacKinnon rose to the occasion to take his first championship.
MacKinnon not only took the championship, he picked up some victories along the way. The familiar black and green #22 car picked up three point paying feature victories and three additional podium finishes in 11 races en route to the title.
He picked up some fans along the way as well. MacKinnon finished second in a tight Fan Vote portion of the TCM Breakout Performer of the Year, just seven votes up on the fourth place finisher.
T3 – #57 Ritske deBoer – Six Points
Of the five four cylinder drivers in the running for the TCM Breakout Performer of the Year, Ritske deBoer, who races out of Oyster Bed Speedway, appeared on the most ballots of them all.
deBoer had a pretty impressive record en route to the Oyster Bed Speedway Outlaw Championship in his Volkswagen Golf. In 41 races total, combining heat, semi and features at his home track, deBoer had 8 wins, 26 top three and 35 top five finishes. Of those eight wins, one was a main feature during a Super Series event. When the action was going on during the last race day, deBoer emerged as the champion when all the dust settled.
The driver of the #57 car had fan support, coming home third in the fan vote and appearing on two of the three panel ballots in the final scoring.
T3 – #29 Mitchell Fahey – Six Points
Mitchell Fahey broke out early in the season by coming home a winner in a wild Sportsman race at Eastbound Park.
In a race that featured a multi-car collision on the front straight, Fahey was able to navigate his way through and hold on to come home with his first NASCAR Whelen All American Series victory in the third race of the year and Fahey’s second start of the year.
With so many eyes on drivers like Josh Collins, Jason Groves, Ches Cole and Gerald Hicks among others, the veteran brass per say, in the Sportsman field at Eastbound, Fahey not only won a race but found himself with a shot at the championship during the Parts for Trucks 150 with Groves and Collins. In addition to his win, Fahey was able to turn in five 30+ point performances in 2016.
Fahey had fan support in his TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award hunt, coming home fourth in the Fan Vote ballot, along with taking home points on two panelist ballots.
Second Place – #12 Sam Rogers – 14 Points
Photo by Mike Francis
Sam Rogers won and won often in the 2016 season in his #12 Bandolero.
Coming off a successful rookie campaign at Scotia Speedworld, Rogers came out of the gate strong in 2016. Rogers would win ten races, one at Speedway 660, one at Petty International Raceway and eight at Scotia Speedworld en route to the Bandolero Outlaw Championship at the track. If you’re keeping score, Rogers won about 40% of the features he entered in Atlantic Canada in 2016.
His results in the 2016 season earned him the 2016 INEX Canadian Bandolero Outlaw championship by a mere six points over Josh Langille.
Rogers scored the highest of any driver in the combined panel vote, missing out on a perfect score by one point taking 14 of a possible 15 from the three panelists. The fan support for Rogers was not as kind as the panelists were though as he missed out on the top five on the Fan Vote, finishing seventh in the fan survey.
And the winner is….
Photo from Eastbound Park
WINNER – #06 Sara Thorne – 18 Points
Sara Thorne made headlines in 2016 and put her name on the map with a championship season in Newfoundland.
After Owen Groves cruised to the Islander RV Bandolero championship at Eastbound Park in 2015, Thorne stepped up to the plate and gave Groves a run for his championship. Thorne recorded her first feature win on the year in just the third race of the season. That feature win was followed by five more on the year. While slight damage from an accident in practice on the night of the season finale may have phased some running for their first championship, it did not appear to throw Thorne off her game as she drove to second in the feature on September 24th and the overall title by a mere three points.
The championship battle throughtout the season lived up to some of the best we’ve seen on the mainland this year. Think Dave vs. Stevie in Halifax, Greenlaw vs. Messer in Geary, Ward vs. Duskey in River Glade, just to name a few. Thorne vs. Groves lived up to the hype of any of those heavyweight battles from 2016.
Among Thorne’s other racing accomplishments in 2016 included a win at Thunder Valley Speedway in Bishop’s Falls, Newfoundland and an appearance at the Tim’s Corner Motorsports Bandolero Blast at Speedway 660 on Speedweekend.
Thorne received top ranks on one panel ballot along with two second place votes from our remaining panelists. Thorne cruised to the win in the Fan Vote by over a hundred votes (23% of the total vote) ahead of 660’s Sharp Shooter champion Kyle MacKinnon. The 18 total points is the second highest in the three years of the TCM Breakout Performer and Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year scoring after Dylan Blenkhorn shot the lights out for a perfect score in his 2014 TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award win.
Her fan support was evident throughout the #TCMBestof2016 Awards with a third place effort in the Martin’s Home Heating Most Popular Driver Award to Randy Millar.
If you’re keeping score, Thorne became the first female Bandolero track champion in Eastern Canada with her win at Eastbound Park. Of note, she also becomes the youngest winner of a TCM Best of Racing Award, she turned 13 at the end of the year, and the first Newfoundland driver to win a performance based driver award in the five year history of Tim’s Corner Motorsports. Thorne’s award is one of two that found a home in Newfoundland, Josh Collins Racing brought the Finish Line Vinyl Design Best Looking Car Award in 2016 to Placentia.
Thorne joins nine-time Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour feature winner Dylan Blenkhorn of Truro, Nova Scotia and former Speedway 660 Bandolero champion and current Pro Stock Rookie of the Year Ashton Tucker of Lyttleton, New Brunswick as a winner of the TCM Breakout Performer of the Year.
FAN VOTE RESULTS
1st – #06 Sara Thorne – 23%
2nd – #22 Kyle MacKinnon – 16%
3rd – #29 Mitchell Fahey – 16%
4th – #57 Ritske deBoer – 16%
5th – #72 Tylor Hawes – 6%
6th – #1 Ryan St. George – 6%
7th – #12 Sam Rogers – 6%
8th – #25 Andrew Lively – 4%
9th – #30 Chantel Ackles – 4%
10th – #1 Merle Corbin – 2%
TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award Winners
2016: Sara Thorne of Chance Cove, NL
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!