Connect with us

TCM Best of Awards

#TCMBestof2019 – Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award Results

The Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award was one that had plenty of contenders in 2019. In all, 35 names were presented to our panelists to narrow down to ten and eventually to select their top five. Combined with the Fan Vote, a new Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year was crowned – but as you can imagine it was far from easy with all the talent to select from!

SCORING EXPLANATION – Dulux Paints Breakout Performer of the Year/Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award

Each of the five TCM 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.


#02 Craig Ward – “THE THRILLMAKER” made the move the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour full time in 2019 and brought home the prestigious Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year Award, becoming the first driver from New Brunswick to do so since 2014. Ward competed in all twelve Pro Stock Tour races, finishing 13th overall in Series points.

#7 Travis Conroy – For the first time since the inaugural year of the Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award, a Atlantic Modified Tour Rookie cracked the final ballot with our panelists. Conroy raced to the Tour’s top freshman honors on the strength of three top five finishes and was also crowned the Speedway Miramichi Modified Rookie of the Year.

#17 Shay MacPhee – Hailing from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Shay MacPhee put a lot of miles on in 2019. In addition to racing full time in a Cavalier at his home track of Lake Doucette Motor Speedway, MacPhee moved up to the Passione Flooring East Coast Mini Stock Tour in 2019. MacPhee turned heads, scoring four top fives on the Tour and amassing an average finish of seventh. He also managed to come out on top of the field (and his father Steve) in a Scotia Speedworld Thunder division race in September.

#45 Brett Pashkoski – In the battle of the Bandolero youngsters, Brett Pashkoski edged out Chase Livingston on track at Scotia Speedworld to earn the Scotia Speedworld Beginner Bandolero Rookie of the Year Award and a Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year final ballot appearance. Pashkoski earned six podium finishes over the 12 race schedule at the Halifax oval and finished fourth overall in championship points.

#58 Darrell Hulme – Darrell Hulme made vast improvements from his first race at Petty International Raceway in May to his final race in Sydney in October. Hulme posted one top five on the Passione Flooring East Coast Mini Stock Tour en route to the Tour’s Rookie of the Year Award. Hulme also scored one podium finish at his home track of Sydney Speedway in October.


5th – #46 Jessie LeClair – Tignish, PEI – 10 Points

Photo by Wendy Gallant

The resurgence in car count in the Oyster Bed Speedway Outlaw division is due in part to new teams in 2019. The LeClair brothers were a part of that boom with Jessie slightly outdoing Jordan in the standings to earn a Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award final ballot appearance. Jessie was seventh in the overall point standings in the Outlaw class and scored a feature victory in the Season Finale.

LeClair scored ten points by scoring the win with the readers of in the Fan Vote.

4th – #87 Danny Chisholm – Canning, NS – 15 Points

Photo by Pat Healey

The latest graduate from the Bandolero talent pool in the Maritimes made his mark in select Legend starts in 2019. Danny Chisholm made his first big splash in July by winning an INEX National Qualifier at Sydney Speedway driving Cory Hall’s No. 08 car and continued to turn heads as the season went on. Chisholm scored two top fives on the Maritime League of Legends Tour and won the Season Finale for the Oyster Bed Speedway Legend house division.

Chisholm scored points with four of our five panelists, including one first place ranking.

3rd – #44 Russell Smith Jr. – Lakeside, NS – 15 Points

Photo by McCarthy Photographic

Though he has dabbled successfully in the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour in the past, 2019 was his first full time season behind the wheel of his own Pro Stock for Russell Smith Jr. In ten starts with the Series, he raced to five top ten finishes with the highlight of his year coming at Scotia Speedworld during the Atlantic Oliver Tire 200 Season Finale with a runner-up finish.

Smith was one of only two drivers to score points from all five of our panelists, including one first place vote.

2nd – #9 Owen Groves – Heart’s Delight, NL – 21 Points

Owen Groves had a taste of Late Model Sportsman racing in 2018, debuting at Eastbound Park by winning his first feature. With that, it may have come to no surprise that Groves would be a contender not only for race wins but for a championship in 2019 and one of the odds on favorite for Rookie of the Year at the Newfoundland track. In addition to top rookie honors at the Avondale oval, he scored two feature victories and locked up third place overall in the standings in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series Division I class.

Groves scored points with four of our five panelists, garnering one first place and two second place votes.

CHAMPION – #7 Tristin Harris – Harvey, NB – 26 Points

Photos by Mike Francis

A track championship and a SpeedWeekend victory are just the highlights of the season for our Sixth Annual Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award winner.

Tristin Harris came out of the gate firing on all four cylinders in the Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter division in 2019. In his divisional championship season, he raced to three feature victories and five top five finishes at Speedway 660. He completed the season on the road with starts at Petty International Raceway and the Shediac CENTRE For Speed. He saw the most success on his road trip by finishing third in the Atlantic Championships for Four Funs and followed it up the next day with a top five finish with the Mini Stocks in Shediac.

His season garnered points from all five panelists including two first place votes. When you add the Fan Vote points, Harris is the only driver in the Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award final ballot to obtain points from each of the panelists and the fans.

Harris returns the title to Speedway 660 for the first time since 2016. Harris is the fourth different winner of the Award from his home province of New Brunswick but is the first Four Cylinder driver (and only the second non-Late Model winner) to take home the top freshman honor in the six year history of the Award.


1st – #46 Jessie LeClair – 18%
2nd – #7 Tristin Harris – 14%
3rd – #9 Owen Groves –  14%
4th – #7 Travis Conroy – 12%
5th – #87 Danny Chisholm – 10%
6th – #44 Russell Smith Jr. – 8%
7th – #17 Shay MacPhee – 7%
8th – #02 Craig Ward – 6%
9th – #58 Darrell Hulme – 6%
10th – #45 Brett Pashkoski – 5%

Previous Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Champions:

2019 –  Tristin Harris of Harvey, NB
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
– Alexandra O’Blenis of Boundary Creek, NB

About Kings County Performance:
Locally owned and operated in the Sussex region by Larry Sommerville, Kings County Performance specializes in windshield replacements, stone chip repairs, auto body and mechanical repair, and rust prevention. Celebrating thirteen years in business, KCP is your go to shop for all your automotive needs.

About Tim’s Corner Motorsports:
Tim’s Corner Motorsports (TCM) is your destination for all your regional stock car racing news in Atlantic Canada. From Bandoleros to Super Late Models, from New Brunswick to Newfoundland, TCM covers it all. Catch video reactions on their Facebook page and content on all social platforms at @TimsCornerCA.  For more information on Tim’s Corner Motorsports or to get up to date on all local stock car racing news, visit! Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!

More in TCM Best of Awards