TCM Power Performer of the Year Nominees Announced
Nominees have been announced for the Tim’s Corner Motorsports Power Performer of the Year – and for the first time, we couldn’t narrow the list to just five!
Ten drivers have made the cut for consideration for the TCM Power Performer of the Year. This award is based on a driver’s accomplishments throughout the season and the list below has some pretty big race wins and championships on it. Of the ten drivers on the list, over 40 feature wins and at least nine 2013 championships throughout Atlantic Canada are represented.
Without further adieu, here is the list of nominees, in alphabetical order, for the 2013 TCM Power Performer of the Year.
Photo by McCarthy Photographic
Aaron Boutilier – Porter’s Lake, Nova Scotia – Late Model Sportsman
Aaron Boutilier was arguably one of Nova Scotia’s top Sportsman drivers on his home province turf in 2013.
Boutilier took home the NAPA Sportsman Series championship on the strength of two series victories and appeared to be on his way to a second consecutive Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series title at Scotia Speedworld before motor issues ultimately dug a hole that the #4 CARSTAR Collision Centre team could not get out of.
The team had plans of traveling in New Brunswick during the “playoff season,” but a broken hand sustained in a heat race crash at Petty Raceway in September prevented Boutilier from flexing his muscle.
John Flemming – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Pro Stock
For the first time in the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour era (2001 to present), we have a four time champion of the series.
John Flemming won four races at three different race tracks in three different provinces in 2013 on the series and amassed a lead so big just past the halfway point in the season that he could finish last in a series race and still come out with a 40 point advantage. Flemming also finished second at Riverside Speedway in Race Two of the season and led the most laps in the season finale at Scotia Speedworld en route to the second biggest margin of victory on the Tour, which is his own record he tried to eclipse (he won the 2002 title by 81 points, he won the 2013 crown by 50).
Drew Greenlaw – Eastport, Maine – Bandolero
Drew Greenlaw’s border town team racked up the miles throughout New Brunswick this season, but in the end, he goes down as the only driver to win Bandolero races at three of the provinces four tracks that contested races for the division in 2013.
In his final year in a Bandolero car, Greenlaw was the champion in the Westwood Estates Bandolero class at Speedway 660, won two races in a part-time effort at Petty Raceway and was the top driver at Speedway Miramichi during the Coors Light 125 festivities in September. He also took one end of the “Bandolero Blast” at Speedway 660 and ended up tied for the overall championship in the two race mini series on Speedweekend.
Greenlaw also got his feet wet in a Late Model Sportsman car in August, impressing those at the track to see him run the feature. He will be in a Late Model Sportsman full time in 2013 after winning almost everything there is to win in a Bandolero in New Brunswick in 2013.
James Matchett – Miramichi, New Brunswick – Mini Cup
In a building year for the Eastern Super Mini Cup Series, James Matchett built on last season’s success by sweeping the series in 2013.
The series saw six races at four tracks, including a new stop at Oyster Bed Speedway in September. Rain pushed back a majority of the season to the “playoff season” in September, but it didn’t stop Matchett from lighting up the series. Not only did he win his second championship on the series, he won every race there was to win on the year, including taking wins at big events such as the Coors Light 125 at his home track of Speedway Miramichi and the season finale Atlantic Championships feature at the CENTRE For Speed.
Matchett is planning on taking his skills to the Street Stock class in 2014, a division that he got his feet wet in during this past season, but hasn’t ruled out a return to Mini Cup action if his car, which is currently for sale, doesn’t leave the driveway.
Adam Meehan – Rawdon, Nova Scotia – Bandolero
The 2013 campaign was a breakout one for Adam Meehan.
In a division that would see a first time champion in 2013, Meehan won a total of six, yes, that’s right, six races en route to his first Bandolero title at Scotia Speedworld. Those six wins, which led the Speedworld in feature wins for 2013, came in streaks, one of which saw Meehan take the first three races in the month of August, including the undercard to the Atlantic CAT 250. Regardless if you win a championship or not (which Meehan did at Scotia Speedworld by 29 points), a 50% winning percentage is nothing to sneeze at!
In addition to his dominating performance at Scotia Speedworld, Meehan ran for points at Petty Raceway and finished second on the strength of three runner-up finishes. In fact, out of the nine races held at Petty Raceway, Meehan only finished out of the top four twice.
In total, Meehan had 17 top five finishes in 21 starts, including 11 top two finishes. If those numbers aren’t Power Performer nominee worthy – I don’t know what is!
Dave O’Blenis – Boundary Creek, New Brunswick – Pro Stock/Sportsman
The 2012 TCM Power Performer of the Year is once again up for the nod in 2013, and for good reason.
Not only did Dave O’Blenis repeat as RE/MAX Group Four Realty Pro Stock champ at Speedway 660 in 2013, he also took away the Best of the Best Pro Stock 150 and finished on the podium at his home track during the Irving Blending and Packaging Sportsman 150 on Speedweekend.
Speaking of Sportsman, he was pretty successful in that car too, winning two of the biggest Sportsman races in the province in 2013 in the Caleb Dunn Memorial 200 at Petty Raceway and the Coors Light 125 at Speedway Miramichi.
With O’Blenis being the only returnee on the nominee list, the question remains, are all these accomplishments enough to give Dave O’Blenis his second TCM Power Performer of the Year Award?
Colby Smith – Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia – Sportsman
Considering Colby Smith was planning on running for the Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour and only ran part-time between a Sportsman and Pro Stock car, one may think that he may be out of place on this list.
Colby Smith became the inaugural Maritime Sportsman Challenge champion in 2013 by amassing the most points in the three race series between Riverside Speedway, Scotia Speedworld and Petty Raceway. While he may not have won a race (though he came close at Riverside during IWK 250 weekend), he capped off his season by pocketing a cool $5,000 in the Irving Blending and Packaging 150 at Speedway 660. When you add the nugget in that the field was one of the deepest Sportsman fields in recent memory with the likes of Wayne Smith, Flemming, O’Blenis, Lonnie Sommerville, Greg Fahey and thirty others, the win becomes that much more historic and in itself is deserving of a spot on the nominee list for the TCM Power Performer of the Year Award.
Russell Smith Jr. – Lakeside, Nova Scotia – Sportsman
For the second consecutive season, Russell Smith Jr. is celebrating a Late Model Sportsman track championship. This time though, it’s a bit farther up the Trans Canada Highway from Riverside International Speedway.
While Smith did not enjoy the success he did in 2012 at Riverside Speedway, he did rack up points, trophies and checkered flags at Petty International Raceway as the GT Enterprises Sportsman champion. Smith began the year with the win in the LaFarge Aggregates 150, which also gave him a $2,500 boost to start the season on the May long weekend. He went back to victory lane on July 12th and out of the seven races, Smith only finished outside the top five once en route to the track title.
To boot, Smith scratched one more Sportsman win off his bucket list by taking home the Dartmouth Dodge 100 at Scotia Speedworld in August and while he came up short in the 19th Annual Shriner’s Classic, he did come home with a second place finish in a race he vows to take home in its 20th year. He also made his first start at Speedway 660 in September and was within the top ten before a mechanical issue sidelined him from the finish of the event.
Smith has established himself as one of the region’s most successful Late Model Sportsman drivers in the last ten years in his short career in the seat of the #44 car. The question is, have his accomplishments of the 2013 season earned him a Power Performer of the Year Award?
Cole Tanner – Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia – Bandolero
Cole Tanner can lay claim to something no other driver can – he is the only driver to win back-to-back championships since Petty International Raceway re-opened its doors, and is the only driver to record a Bandolero title since the track began keeping points in 2012.
Tanner dominated the Bandolero class on the high banks in 2013, never finishing out of the top five in nine features over his second championship season. Of those top fives, five of those were wins, including three of the last four races of the 2013 season. Even with one drop race, he still finished ten points up on his closest rival in the championship chase.
The #33 car also took home the second end of the Bandolero Blast at Speedway 660 in September in front of the big Auto Value 250 crowd. He tied with Drew Greenlaw for the overall title in the two race mini series on the weekend after finishing second in the Saturday night 25 lap showdown.
The only thing Tanner was missing on 2013 was a win at his home track – but he did come close though, finishing on the podium on four different occasions. The team began the season in Winter Haven, Florida and while the week did not yield a victory, it ultimately gave Tanner enough points to capture the 2013 INEX Canadian Outlaw point championship, a title he also won back in 2011.
Shawn Tucker – Fredericton, New Brunswick – Pro Stock
To win one of the crown jewels of Pro Stock racing is a huge accomplishment within itself.
To win two of the three, and finish third in the other, well, that’s a pretty special feat.
After a rough start to the season, Shawn Tucker absolutely lit up the Pro Stock scene at the end of 2013. The #52 team turned the corner at the end of June by finishing second at the Lucas Oil 150 at Petty International Raceway on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. Two weeks later, the series returned to the high banks, where Tucker took away the victory in the Fast Eddie Racewear 100.
Then came the IWK 250 – and a late pass on reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski for his first win in the staple race at Riverside International Speedway.
About a month later, Tucker was back in victory lane at Petty International Raceway, adding his name to the River Glade International trophy in the 49th year of the prestigious race.
The next week, Tucker was back in victory lane to collect his third Auto Value 250 title, a payday which was worth over $25,000 – the biggest in Tucker’s career.
In all, Tucker collected five Pro Stock wins, four on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour along with the Auto Value 250. The only two things missing from his 2013 resume were the Atlantic CAT 250, which he finished third in and the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour title, in which he finished second. Pro Stock teams only dream about a season like the #52 team had, but the Fredericton based camp made it a reality in 2013!
The winner of the 2013 TCM Power Performer of the Year will be announced in December on TimsCorner.ca. Last season, Dave O’Blenis took the top nod as the Power Performer of the Year over Cole Boudreau, Cole Butcher and Cassius Clark.
About Tim’s Corner:
Tim’s Corner began as a weekly stock car racing column appearing on ScotiaSpeedworld.ca and MaritimeProStockTour.com, penned by track and series announcer Tim Terry. It has now grown to include basic media services for motorsport teams big and small. TimsCorner.ca, the official website of Tim’s Corner, also features Tim’s Corner Unplugged, a podcast hosted by Terry which focuses on the motorsports scene. For more information on Tim’s Corner and services offered, visit TimsCorner.ca!