Saturday Sees Back to School Smash at Speedway Miramichi; Atlantic Modified Tour Racing Extended Lap Feature
Track Release/Photo by Brittany Hoyt; Atlantic Modified Tour
Speedway Miramichi returns to action on a full-moon Saturday, September 14th, with the running of the Back to School Smash! With wild and crazy demolition and stock car action on tap, this event promises to be nothing short of action packed with a large field of cars assembling across all divisions! It will also be a day where somebody will see their name etched into history as the 2019 Demolition championship! Start time for the event is 4pm.
From the opening green flag in May, 2019 has been Kevin Tucker’s (#87) year. Tucker has been a dominant force in 2019, racking up trophies all season. The impressive season includes 7 preliminary wins and 3 podium finishes in Demo finales, with Tucker capping it off in August by winning the Mid-Summer Madness Demo. This dominance has given Tucker a stranglehold in the standings heading into the final points race.
Behind Tucker, things get a little more interesting. Jacob Smith (#29) sits second in points on the heels of a breakout year where he captured 2 Demolition finale victories! Trailing Smith, and eyeing the runner up position in points, is defending champion Joey Pitre (#20). Despite missing the most recent event, Pitre has had a stellar season all around, showing the same consistency that won him the title one season ago. Rounding out the top 5 heading into the final points night is Colby Buggie (#738), who sits 4th in points after a very respectable season, and Alexander MacIntosh (#738), a teenager who is a rising star in the Demolition class.
For those on the outside looking in, Saturday is one last race to crack the top 5 in points. Crafty veteran Adam Plourde (#52) shot from last to 6th in points during the August event after an excellent showing and would love to spoil the youth movement in the top 5. Mathieu Brideau (#99) is another veteran and fan favorite, and he sits just 1 point behind Plourde heading into the points finale. Of course, there will be a number of competitors looking to spoil the party with their primary concern being the trophy and the cheque when the dust settles on Saturday. 2-time Miramichi Demolition champion Jean-Francois Basque (#21), Jay Skerry (#51), Norm Robichaud (#666) and Riley Harris (#1) have all signalled their intentions to compete during the Back to School Smash, with even more entries expected by the time the green flag drops on Saturday.
The co-headlining act on Saturday will be a 50 lap Modified feature for the Atlantic Modified Tour. This is the only scheduled extended distance feature event for this class in 2019, upping the prestige for drivers. Furthermore, with the 2 championships on the line for drivers in this class being a dogfight heading into the final stretch of the season, the pressure is on for drivers to perform.
One year ago, it was Brandon Skidmore (#84) making the province of Nova Scotia proud when he took the checkered flag during the 50-lap feature in Miramichi over Yves McCray (#58). The story of the 2019 season from the touring series standpoint has been very similar, a war between the two drivers. The most recent event in Miramichi went to Skidmore while McCray struggled, but the most recent tour event, run at Speedway 660, was won by McCray. As it stands now, McCray holds a slim 11-point lead with 3 tour races to go, meaning Saturday’s 50 lap feature will be critical for both drivers as they chase the championship.
The pressure doesn’t stop there though, as it’s Skidmore with a slim lead in the Miramichi Modified points after his August victory. Chasing Skidmore is defending Miramichi Modified champion “Mr. Excitement” Doug Matchett (#75), and the “Racin’ Ranger” from Renous, Kim Hallihan (#97). The top 3 drivers are separated by just a mere 4 points with 2 races to go, while the top 7 is also separated by just 15 points. Within striking distance is McCray, Joe Hoyt (#17), Braxton Stafford (#91) and Travis Conroy (#7). Last time in Miramichi, Hoyt dominated the day, only to give up the lead in the closing laps. Stafford has shown speed all throughout the season, and is seeking his first win at his home track, while Conroy is the top rookie on the tour in 2019, and is riding the momentum of his first heat race victory at Speedway 660 during Speedweekend.
The remaining drivers in the deeply talented Modified class will be looking to play spoiler and steal a win, headlined by former Sportsman veteran Zean Dutcher (#55) and Kevin Bailey (#2). Dutcher has spent the entire 2019 season knocking on the door of victory lane in the Modified class – he has many big wins on his resume, and he looks to add another on Saturday. Kevin Bailey is also a former winner at Speedway Miramichi, and in August he scored a podium finish during the Modfied race. Kevin Brideau (#14) has been turning heads during his sophomore season, especially after the most recent event where he led a career high number of laps. Also expected in the line-up is John Lyons (#88), who is looking to find some magic and redemption, and also rookie Tyson Donovan (#63) who will make his first start since June.
So far in 2019, the Street Stock class at Speedway Miramichi has produced 3 winners in 3 races. But at the top of the standings, it’s South Esk driver Chris Wilson (#2W). Wilson has been making noise all over the province in 2019, and with 2 races to go he holds a comfortable 17-point lead as he looks to capture his first career championship. Behind Wilson, the battle for 2nd in points is also the battle for rookie of the year, as JR Lawson (#81) and Jamie Jardine (#10) sit tied for 2nd in points and the top rookie crown. Last race in August, it was James “Hollywood” Matchett (#55) who took home the win, which was his first of the season, and he is expected to challenge for the win on Saturday. Rounding out the field will be some drivers making their first starts of the year in Miramichi, including Miramichi’s Jared Tozer (#51) and Bathurst’s Bryar Ellis (#95).
The most dominating of all drivers in 2019 may just be JR Lawson (#81). Lawson has been unstoppable at Speedway Miramichi in the Mini Stock class, winning every feature to date. However, the championship is not entirely his yet. Lawson’s teammate Chantel Ackles (#30) is in hot pursuit, as she is 13 points out of the lead. Ackles has been turning up the wick in the Southern part of the province, and could capitalize on any trouble Lawson may have. Trailing the Lawson/Ackles duo is Michael Savoie (#00), Guy Basque (#27), and Mathieu Mallett (#80). Savoie has a pair of podium finishes so far in 2019, while Mallett also has one. Basque has been the runner up in points for the past 2 seasons, but that streak is in jeopardy after a blown motor earlier in the season hurt him in the standings. Among the other entries expected for Saturday’s Mini Stock race includes Mitchell Poirier (#28), rookie Shawn Benoit (#55), an entry from Dutcher Racing (#55), and Michel-Andre Poirier (#16).
The most decorated driver in Speedway Miramichi history is on the cusp of adding to his already impressive resume. Robert Legere (#04) has 4 track championships to his credit, 3 in Demolition competition and 1 in the Dukes division. Barring any major mishaps, it appears Legere will be crowned champion for the 5th time in his career, as he holds nearly a full race lead with 2 races to go. The driver who has been challenging Legere the most in 2019 has been Darcy O’Neill (#68), who also owns a pair of track championships. The top rookie driver in 2019 has been Jonathan Dickson (#3), who has had big improvements through just 2 starts. Dickson has quickly become a fan favorite thanks to his entertaining driving style.
Saturday will also feature the final Kids Rides of 2019 before the race. Kids Rides are tentatively slated for 3:35pm, weather permitting. Bring your kids early and they can go for a drive with one of their favorite drivers!
The green flag for the Back to School Smash will be waved at 4pm on Saturday, with pit gates opening at 1pm, and grandstand gates at 3pm. Admission for adults is $15, while youth ages 8 to 17 and seniors can be admitted for just $10! All kids ages 7 and under are free, while the popular family pass can admit a family of 4 for just $35, plus $2 per additional child. Pit admission is $20, and is restricted to those aged 18 and over, and youth 8 to 17 years of age with the requirement of a signed parental waiver form being necessary to enter the pits.
For more information, stay tuned to Speedway Miramichi’s social platforms, “Speedway Miramichi Inc.” on Facebook, “speedway.miramichi” on Instagram, and our website at speedwaymiramichi.com
Plans are also underway for the annual “The Very Best Fall Shootout,” being held October 4th and 5th at Speedway Miramichi! This event, which doubles as the Speedway Miramichi season finale, has grown into one of the most highly anticipated events of the season! Friday night will be an open practice at the track, with more details coming soon! Then Saturday, it’s the biggest grassroots racing event in the Maritimes, featuring a 100 lap Street Stock race, a 50 lap Mini Stock race, and a 35 lap Modified race, with the year-end Demolition blowout to follow! This is shaping up to be the biggest and best Fall Shootout to date, stay tuned for more info!