#TCMBestof2018 – Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award Results; Speedworld Stars Battle for Rookie Crown
The results are in for the fifth annual Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award and, for the second straight year, the award is going to a driver that called Scotia Speedworld home. A Bandolero Beginner and two Sportsman heavyweights not only battled it out on the 3/10-mile oval but they also battled it out for panel rankings and online fan votes.
Featured Photo by McCarthy Photographic
SCORING EXPLANATION – Dulux Paints Breakout Performer of the Year/Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award
With the expansion of the TCM Panel from three to five panelists, the scoring has changed slightly for 2018.
Each of the five panelists, who have been to the race tracks, seen the racers and have read/heard plenty about the nominees, were presented with a list of 20+ nominees for each category along a brief list of each of their accomplishments. They were asked to rank their favorite five which, in turn, narrowed the field down to the traditional final ten. 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 will be awarded ten points, second on the fan vote will receive eight points, third will get six and so on with sixth place on back receiving zero from the fan vote.
In previous seasons, the fan vote comprised 25% of the vote with the three panelists each being responsible for 25%. It breaks down to about the same percentage under the new trial format, with the fans having a 30% weight on their vote compared to the panel’s 70%. A perfect score is now 35 points (five from each panelist plus ten from the fans).
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 combined panel score will determine a winner.
MISSING THE TOP FIVE (listed in numerical order by car number)
#12 Sam Rogers – While he is not old enough to compete at Scotia Speedworld in the Legend division or put up a victory in his rookie season, Sam Rogers turned a lot of heads in his Legend car debut season. In just seven starts on the Maritime League of Legends Tour, he scored six top five finishes including two podiums at Riverside International Speedway and Speedway 660.
Rogers scored points on two panelist ballots, including one first place vote.
#23 Michael Neary – It was a picture perfect season for Michael Neary. Moving up from the Bandolero to the Legend division at Eastbound Park, the Portugal Cove teenager swept every single Legend car feature en route to not only the Rookie of the Year title at the track but also the overall championship. While the division shrunk in car count in 2018, the class now has a measuring stick for 2019 in Neary.
Neary had the fans on his side, finishing third in the Kings County Performance Fan Vote and making the final ballot for the TCM Most Popular Driver Award.
#44 Nathan Blackburn – In one of the most exciting finishes of the season, Nathan Blackburn and fellow rookie Sam Rogers battled it out for the win in the King Freight Lines 50 INEX National Qualifier at Speedway 660 for the Maritime League of Legends Tour. Add two podium finishes and some solid runs at Scotia Speedworld in 2018, Blackburn posted a pretty stout freshman season in a Legend car.
#48 Waylon Farrell – Waylon Farrell had a roller coaster rookie season on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour that ended with the Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year Award on the Series. A pair of front row starts at Petty International Raceway and Riverside Speedway late in the year and two top ten finishes highlight the year for the first ever Newfoundland and Labrador Rookie of the Year on the Series in the Tour era (dating back to 2001).
#115 Matthew Barkhouse – For a driver whose only previous racing experience was on iRacing, Matthew Barkhouse made a quick impression at Scotia Speedworld. In seven Toursec Lightning starts, he scored two feature victories and five top four finishes. His handicap was the fourth best of any driver in the division in 2018 – not too shabby for a part-time rookie!
THE TOP FIVE
5TH PLACE – #51 Braden Langille of Shubenacadie, NS – 10 Points
Like his Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour peer, Braden Langille’s freshman year on the top touring series in Atlantic Canada wasn’t exactly a smooth ride. Langille did experience some success though, posting three top five finishes in 11 starts on the Tour. His best finish came in the biggest race of the year, placing fourth in the IWK 250 at Riverside Speedway behind the winner and his teammate for the weekend in Kenny Wallace.
Langille caught the eye of three of our panelists, including one who gave him a first place ranking on their ballot.
4TH PLACE – #26 Jeff Richard of Charlottetown, PE – 15 Points
FAN VOTE WINNER
It is not easy to compete up front in your first year racing a Honda Civic in Atlantic Canada. Whether you are racing at Scotia Speedworld, Oyster Bed Speedway or the East Coast Mini Stock Tour, the veterans seem to know the tracks and cars like the back of their hands.
Jeff Richard entered the Outlaw division at the Island oval after competing in the Four Fun division and did not miss a beat. In addition to winning the Rookie of the Year in the Outlaw class, he finished third overall in the standings and took home one feature win on the undercard to the Discover KIA Maritime Street Stock Showdown. In total, he put up six podium feature finishes on the year.
While he narrowly missed out on the TCM Most Popular Driver Award Top 25, his Island fans and friends were with him during the final ballot. Richard won the Fan Vote by three votes, giving him a maximum of 10 points from the fans. Richard also scored on two panel ballots, giving him a handful of points heading into the fan portion of the award.
3RD PLACE – #25 Gage Gilby of Enfield, NS – 17 Points
It is hard to gauge talent, no pun intended, in a class full of beginners but Gage Gilby made a strong statement in 2018 as a driver to watch in the future.
Gilby won nine features on the Scotia Speedworld Beginner Bandolero schedule, including his third career start (second of 2018). In addition to the Beginner Bandolero title at Scotia Speedworld, he also scored podium finishes in the month of September at Oyster Bed Speedway and Petty International Raceway.
Gilby’s fans made a late push to the front of the Fan Vote for the Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award but ultimately came up just three votes short to Jeff Richard. Gilby’s record on the year caught the eye of three of our five panelists, who gave the youngster points before the fans got to make their call.
2ND PLACE – #1 Megan Parrott of Beaver Bank, NS – 19 Points
The 2018 season was a history making one for Megan Parrott.
With the dissolution of the Truck class at Scotia Speedworld, Parrott was left with nowhere to race in 2018. Parrott had dabbled in some Thunder car racing and had subbed in for Emily Meehan on one occasion, but she had no plans for the upcoming year after the track pulled the plug on the Trucks mid-2017.
Enter Mitch Blanchard and the Number One Racing team.
With Matt Moore taking a step back from racing, Blanchard was looking for a driver for his Pothier Motors Dodge. Once the announcement was made in January here, the buzz began to build. After all, Matt Vaughan drove to the championship in the Sportsman class at Scotia Speedworld, the bar was set high.
Parrott lived up to expectations, even with the buzz around her. The year hit a climax with a win on Canadian National Autism Foundation Night. In twelve starts, she scored seven top tens and four top fives, including two top five finishes in her first three races. When the dust settled, she finished sixth in the point standings with only five points between her and fifth at the end of the season.
Parrott is the only driver in the Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year voting to receive points from all five panelists and the fans. Parrott received one first place ranking and two second place rankings from our panel and finished fourth in the fan voting.
Typically, a season like Parrott’s would win a Rookie of the Year Award, whether it is on or off the track. In both cases though, she ran into another up and coming talent with the same goals as her…
CHAMPION – #94 Deven Smith of Lakeside, NS – 20 Points
Deven Smith is a quiet individual when it comes to post race interviews. He talks through his hard work in the pits on his race car and the driving he does on the track.
The hard work and driving talent screamed in 2018 as Smith drove to not only a Rookie of the Year title in the Scotia Speedworld Sportsman division but to the Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award on Tim’s Corner Motorsports.
Smith, a two-time Lightning car champion at Scotia Speedworld and the 2012 Petty International Raceway Mini Stock champion, made the move to Sportsman at the end of 2017, getting a couple of starts under his belt in a former Brent Roy championship car from Speedway 660. Those starts would get his feet under him to hit the ground running in 2018 – and that he did!
Smith showed his prowess as a point racer even as a rookie in the Late Model division, finishing second in the standings at Scotia Speedworld with 11 top tens in 12 races including five top five finishes and his first Sportsman win on Molson Night on September 7th. He also displayed his talents in the big events, running well at Riverside International Speedway, scoring top tens in the extended distance show point races at Scotia Speedworld and bringing home a fourth place finish at the Caleb Dunn Memorial at Petty Raceway in August.
For only the second time in award history, the winner did not need the fan support to pick up the banner. While Smith finished ninth in the Fan Vote, he had enough support from the panel to put him up over the top. In fact, Smith is the only finalist to receive two first place rankings from the panel and was not ranked worse than third by any of the five.
Congratulations to Deven Smith on your first TCM Best of Racing Award.
FAN VOTE RESULTS
1st – #48 Jeff Richard – 15%
2nd – #25 Gage Gilby – 15%
3rd – #23 Michael Neary – 14%
4th – #1 Megan Parrott – 13%
5th – #48 Waylon Farrell – 11%
6th – #51 Braden Langille – 9%
7th – #12 Sam Rogers – 8%
8th – #44 Nathan Blackburn – 6%
9th – #94 Deven Smith – 5%
10th – #115 Matthew Barkhouse – 4%
Previous Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Champions:
2018 – Deven Smith of Lakeside, NS
2017 – Matt Vaughan of Bedford, NS
2016 – Jacob Logan of Harvey, NB
2015 – Courtney O’Blenis of Boundary Creek, NB
2014 – Alexandra O’Blenis of Boundary Creek, NB