#TCMBestof2021 – Eighth Annual Breakout Performer of the Year Award Results
The nominees for the TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award in 2021 were debated at length during the panel process. With the field selected for the top five as strong as it was, several names just missed out on the cut while those that did make it had pretty extensive resumes over a season shaped by COVID-19. Usually a name or two new to the racing scene makes the final five but this year it was a handful of drivers who have seen success in their respective divisions before but not quite to the lengths they did this year.
Who topped the charts for the Eighth Annual TCM Breakout Performer of the Year?! Find out below…
SCORING EXPLANATION – Breakout Performer of the Year/Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award
Our panel was presented with a list of potential finalists for both the Breakout Performer and Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Awards. Our six panelists will rank the finalists on their ballot. Their top picks of the finalists 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. The fan vote essentially carries 25% weight on the overall ballot.
A perfect score is 40 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.
FIFTH PLACE – #91 BRAXTON STAFFORD – MIRAMICHI, NB – 14 POINTS
Photo by Tanya Everett
The Atlantic Modified Tour (AMT) has plenty to look forward to after the performances of several drivers in 2021 including Miramichi, New Brunswick’s Braxton Stafford.
Stafford made the cut on the final ballot on the strength of a three win season – tied for the most feature victories on the AMT in 2021. Victories came at a pair of New Brunswick tracks (Petty International Raceway and Speedway Miramichi) and at two of the Provinces’ biggest races (Mike Stevens Memorial Weekend and The Very Best Fall Shootout). With the help of five top five finishes in 11 races, he was able to capture a third place effort in the championship point standings.
For a driver who has competed in both major Late Model divisions in Atlantic Canada, the driver is seeing a resurgence to his racing career within the Atlantic Modified Tour ranks. His 2021 season was worthy of a finalist spot on the TCM Breakout Performer of the Year ballot.
FOURTH PLACE – #06 SARA THORNE – CHANCE COVE, NL – 22 POINTS
Photo by Matt Myler Photo
Two victories in the Late Model Sportsman ranks and establishing herself as one of the top Late Model drivers in the Province of Newfoundland landed Sara Thorne on the TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award ballot.
Thorne, a former Bandolero Champion at Eastbound Park and the 2016 TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award winner for her Bandolero results, was able to turn heads in June with her first feature win in a Sportsman car. In just the second race of the season, and limited starts under her belt in 2020, she wound up in victory lane ahead of NASCAR Provincial Champions Wayne Walsh and Jason Groves. She followed it up again with another win in August, keeping her in sight of a championship heading into the final races of 2021. She finished with eight top five finishes in ten races and captured third in the championship standings.
In a typical year, her season would have easily captured her the Breakout Performer title but she ran into some stiff mainland competition. She received one second place vote from the panelists and won the Fan Vote to come home fourth in 2021.
THIRD PLACE – #87 DANNY CHISHOLM – CANNING, NS – 22 POINTS
Photo by WingNut Productions
While he was ineligible for the Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award (he was eligible for that award in Legend competition in 2019), Danny Chisholm was able to take home a third place finish in the TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award in 2021.
Chisholm’s record speaks for itself. He took home the Strictly Hydraulics Legends Championship after a back and forth battle with Colton Noble. Chisholm had three victories on the Scotia Speedworld Weekly Racing Series en route to the track title. On the Maritime League of Legends Tour, Chisholm won twice, including a win at Oyster Bed Speedway and the Season Finale at Scotia Speedworld. In eight races, he had five podium finishes and six top five finishes, which earned him a runner-up finish in the standings.
The scorecard for Chisholm was pretty consistent with three spots across the board – except for one panelist who had the rising star at the top of their card.
SECOND PLACE – #14 ALEX JOHNSON – ENFIELD, NS – 29 POINTS
Photo by WingNut Productions
Alex Johnson’s 2021 season was a defining one in his career as he fought down to the last lap of the Scotia Speedworld season for the Fleet Brake Atlantic Sportsman track title.
Sure, Alex Johnson was a familiar name to the front of the field in Halifax over recent seasons but his consistency in 2021 put him near the forefront of the conversation in Atlantic Canada’s biggest Late Model division. Simply put, in nine races he was able to finish in the top two seven times, which included two feature victories. The finale didn’t go the way he wanted to but the hometown driver was able to capture a third place point finish in 2021. While he may still be looking for that marquee victory at Scotia Speedworld, he put everyone on watch this past season.
Much like his stat line, Johnson was second or better on five of the six panel ballots. He was third in fan voting, finishing 15 votes from second place and a potential overall win in the Breakout Performer of the Year Award for 2021.
WINNER – #83 CORY HALL – JOLICURE, NB – 33 POINTS
There wasn’t much debate on this year’s TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award winner.
Cory Hall scored four Pro Stock victories in 2021, including the RE/MAX 250 at Speedway 660 and the River Glade International at Petty International Raceway. Hall was the name who made the most headlines in his home province of New Brunswick over the season but also was able to score a podium finish at Scotia Speedworld in the No. 83 car during the Atlantic Oliver Tire 200 In Memory of Jim Hallahan. Simply put – he ended up on the podium or in victory lane more often than not. Not bad for a driver that is still relatively new to the Pro Stock division!
Hall was the top ranked driver on three of the six panelist ballots and was runner-up in the Fan Vote. This is Hall’s second TCM Best of Racing Award after winning the Power Performer of the Year in 2016 – an award he is also being considered for in 2021.
1st – #06 Sara Thorne – 39%
2nd – #83 Cory Hall – 22%
3rd – #14 Alex Johnson – 20%
4th – #91 Braxton Stafford – 10%
5th – #87 Danny Chisholm – 9%
TCM Breakout Performer of the Year Award Winners:
2021: Cory Hall of Jolicure, NB
2020: Tanton Wooldridge of Summerside, PE
2019: Emily Chisholm of Antigonish, NS
2018: Emily Meehan of Rawdon Gold Mines, NS
2017: Ashton Tucker of Lyttleton, NB
2016: Sara Thorne of Chance Cove, NL
2015: Ashton Tucker of Lyttleton, NB
2014: Dylan Blenkhorn of Truro, NS
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