TCM Power Performer of the Year Nominees
Hundreds of racers put rubber to pavement each season with one goal in mind – getting to the front and taking the checkered flag around the track. Between TimsCorner.ca and Tim’s Corner Unplugged, we’ve covered many of those wins and championships by the countless drivers who have punched their tickets to victory lane at these Atlantic Canadian tracks.
But, here’s the question, which of these drivers have been making the most headlines and turning the most heads? We’ve polled a few fans within the sport who have seen their share of racing in 2012 and have narrowed our list down to those who have had seasons to remember.
Keep in mind, there are dozens of drivers who are fully deserving to be on this list, but here are the four that have made the cut for the “Tim’s Corner Motorsports Power Performer of the Year Award!”
*Note – Drivers are listed in alphabetical order.
Cole Boudreau – Scotia Speedworld, Speedway 660, Petty Raceway Bandoleros – Chipman, New Brunswick
When you classify yourself as a Touring driver, it is hard to be good at every track you visit. When you are going for a trio of track championships, such as three Bandolero drivers were this past season, you have to be on your game at every track, and with some of those weekends during the season having two or three events over three days, a driver’s mentality is put to the test to be able to quickly transistion from one track to another. Cole Boudreau was able to do that and it has resulted in success at every track he stepped foot at in 2012.
Boudreau wound up with the track championship at Speedway 660, a second place point finish at Scotia Speedworld Bandolero class and fifth place point finish at Petty International Speedway. All three point chases involved feature wins, including Boudreau’s first Speedworld feature win in his first ever start at the 3/10-mile oval.
The #00 team also turned up the wick when it came to non-point shows as well. Boudreau took the checkers first on Auto Value 250 day at Speedway 660, won the Bandolero feature as a part of Speedway Miramichi’s first big stock car race of the year on July 21st and completed the season with the Atlantic Championship title at the Centre for Speed. In total, Boudreau visited five tracks to run his Bandolero in Atlantic Canada in 2012 – and won at least one feature at all five with multiple feature wins at Speedway 660 and Scotia Speedworld.
The season will also be recognized by INEX as Boudreau captured the Canadian INEX Outlaw Bandolero championship.
Quick Stats: Speedway 660 Bandolero championship, second in points at Scotia Speedworld, fifth in points at Petty Raceway, Atlantic Championship (CFS) win, Speedway Miramichi win (July 21st), Auto Value 250 Bandolero feature win, ’12 INEX Canadian Outlaw Bandolero title, 11 feature wins.
Cole Butcher – Maritime League of Legends, Scotia Speedworld Legends, Porter’s Lake, Nova Scotia
Think fast, what were you doing at the age of 16? If you’re Cole Butcher, the answer is winning races and championships in one of the most competitive classes of racing in the Maritimes.
Butcher busted onto the Legends scene in 2012 and by the end of the season, he was making quite the statement in the class. After quietly reeling off top five finishes at his home track of Scotia Speedworld, those top fives began to flourish into podium runs and an eventual point lead (and championship) at his home track.
That first win came at Petty International Raceway during the International Weekend, and he followed that up less than a month later with a very convincing win at Riverside International Speedway, a victory that ultimately gave him a leg up in the Maritime League of Legends Tour championship point race – a title he locked up on October 8th at Atlantic Motorsports Park with a second place finish.
Quick Stats: Maritime League of Legends Tour Championship, Scotia Speedworld Legends Championship, Legend wins at Petty International Raceway and Riverside International Speedway – all in rookie year in Legends!
Cassius Clark – Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour/Super Late Model Open – Farmington, Maine
To win one of the “crown jewels” of stock car racing in Atlantic Canada is special. To win two in the same season is a feat that only two drivers can lay claim to – Lonnie Sommerville in 2009 and now Cassius Clark.
Clark pulled the feat Sommerville did this season by winning the Atlantic CAT 250 at Scotia Speedworld and the Auto Value 250 at Speedway 660 at the helm of Rollie MacDonald’s #13 King Freight Lines Chevrolet. At the Atlantic CAT 250, not only did Clark have to fend off his competition, he danced with Mother Nature and the fog she threw down throughout the evening to capture his second ‘CAT 250 title. Clark’s first career Auto Value 250 attempt was a successful one as he held off a hard charging DJ Shaw at the end of the race to take the title.
Not only did Cassius put up two big wins in those events, he put up numerous strong runs in the #13 car in a partial schedule in 2012. He kicked off the season at Scotia Speedworld with a hard charging second place run to Craig Slaunwhite and backed it up with strong runs at Petty International Raceway and Riverside Speedway. Though the Riverside race resulted in a podium run, the 16th place finish was not indicative of where he was running before a fuel pickup problem bit the team in the final ten laps. Clark also scored a third place run in the PASS 200 at Speedway 660 in June.
Speaking of PASS, Clark and his primary ride in the Height Chevrolet scored a trio of wins this season on the PASS North Series and was involved in the championship chase with Travis Benjamin all the way up to the final race of the season at Oxford, a track he won at back in July. Just to put it into perspective on how dedicated Clark is of a driver, after winning the Atlantic CAT 250 in August, he drove all night back to New Hampshire to race the next day in the #77 at White Mountain, a race in which he finished third in!
Quick Stats: Atlantic CAT 250 (Scotia Speedworld) win, Auto Value 250 (S660) win, three podium finishes in four 2012 PST races, third in PASS 200 at Speedway 660.
Dave O’Blenis – Petty International Raceway (GT Enterprises Sportsman), Speedway 660 (A.L. Gullison Disaster Kleenup Pro Stocks) – Boundary Creek, New Brunswick
Dave O’Blenis described this as a “dream season” at the end of 2012 on Tim’s Corner Unplugged, and who can really argue with him and the statistics put up this year?
O’Blenis set out on a busy season which would see him run a Sportsman car full time at Petty International Raceway, a Pro Stock at Speedway 660 and special events with both of those cars at other tracks. This was in addition to looking over two Bandolero teams for his daughters Alexandra and Courtney.
Everywhere Dave went in 2012, he was a threat for the checkered flag. When it came to point paying Sportsman races at Petty, he completed the “six pack” of races with four wins, a third and a fourth. The Sportsman also took two major open race victories, including the Coastal Blending and Packaging 150 at Speedway 660 on Speedweekend and the Atlantic Championships at the Centre For Speed. O’Blenis also took home the A.L. Gullison Disaster Kleenup Pro Stock title at Speedway 660 after taking two feature wins and finishing 48 points up on Kevin Moore.
Quick Stats: Four wins in six races en route to Petty Raceway Sportsman championship, Speedway 660 Pro Stock Championship, Coastal Blending and Packaging Sportsman 150 title.