Petty’s International Weekend Takes “Must Attend” Race Vote
The fans have spoken and have selected Petty International Raceway’s River Glade International Weekend as the “Non Triple Crown, Must Attend Race” of the season.
Over 350 votes were cast and in a nail biting vote, it was Petty’s marquee weekend garnering 21% of the vote, just four percent more than its nearest competition.
Originally run at River Glade Speedway, just down the road (literally) in River Glade, New Brunswick, the event was revived in 2011 by the re-opened Petty Raceway after a one year hiatus when River Glade Speedway shut its doors at the end of the 2009 season. The past champions list boasts a Who’s Who of stock car legends in this region, including Jim Hallahan, Frank Fraser, Don Biederman, Junior Hanley, Caleb Dunn, Earl Ross and Greg Sewart – just to name a few.
The 50th anniversary of the event will take place on Friday, August 22nd and Saturday, August 23rd. Since the inception of the event at its new home, the River Glade International has etched two names a year onto the prestigious trophy, with Friday’s Late Model Sportsman and Saturday’s Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour winners getting their names engraved into history. Last season, Riverview’s Laurie Cormier joined his father (and two time International winner) Adelard Cormier as a winner of the illustrious race by taking the Friday night Sportsman 150, while Shawn Tucker added to his impressive resume by becoming an International champion in the Parts for Trucks 150 Saturday night leg.
While the Late Model divisions have the spotlight of getting their names on the Cup and getting custom made Kevin Hubley Woodworking and Contracting grandfather clocks – the support classes that warm up the stage for the big boys and girls typically put on shows that put those fans on the edge of their seats long before the green flies for the main attraction. The Saturday show serves as the second and final leg of the Atlantic Tiltload Challenge for the Maritime League of Legends Tour, a thriller last year that was won by “The Legend” Cy Harvey of Elmsdale, Nova Scotia.
The weekend also includes point paying races for Petty’s Mini Stocks, Street Stocks and Bandoleros. With it serving as the penultimate event on their schedule, the International weekend is not only pivotal for putting up a win in front of the biggest crowd of the year but could make or break a championship run.
Congrats to Craig McFetridge, Brett Benoit, Wayne Smith and their staff at Petty Raceway for building a fantastic event – one that fans have recognized as the best non-Triple Crown event of the season!
#2 – David Lambe Memorial 75 – Oyster Bed Speedway
Arguably the biggest Street Stock race in Canada comes home second in our vote, taking 17% of the tally. The event, where drivers chase “The Piston Cup” and the traditional $1,000 payday, is in its fourth season in 2014 and has three of Prince Edward Island’s best as past champions, including Darren MacKinnon (2011), Stephen Gass (2012) and Geoff Boyle (2013).
While that past champions list features some of the “top guns” on the Island racing scene, it wasn’t easy for either of them to get to the top. The Stella Maris Credit Union Street Stock class at Oyster Bed Speedway is touted as one of the most competitive Weekly Racing classes in Atlantic Canada with healthy car counts and close racing every lap greeting race fans every week at the track. Add in the mix of visiting cars for a race like the David Lambe Memorial and you have all the ingredients for a race event that will leave you wanting more!
Traditionally, the PEI Modifieds, Mini Stocks and Mini Outlaws round out the full card of racing. The 2014 edition of the event is set for Sunday, September 7th at 2pm.
Oyster Bed Speedway Photo
#3 – PASS North Feature – Speedway 660
Our #3 “Must Attend” event as voted on by the fans, taking 14% of the vote, has roots back to 2002. At that time, the Pro All Stars Series was still in its infancy where the likes of “Sud’n” Sam Sessions, Louie Mechalides and Richie Dearborn were on the list of drivers in the mix for the championship on the cross-border series. In that second year of the series, their second event took place at a new to them venue – New Brunswick International Speedway in Geary, New Brunswick.
A dozen years later, the series is a powerhouse in short track racing across North America, “NBIS” is now Speedway 660, which has gone through one ownership change at the beginning of 2013 and the likes of Travis Benjamin, Joey Doiron and DJ Shaw have picked up where those other names left off over a decade ago.
There have been six PASS races at Speedway 660 since their first visit in 2002, which was won by Ben Rowe. Scott Fraser won the event in 2003, which was followed by a three year hiatus. The event was scheduled to return in 2007, but was rained out and, like the 2013 event, was lost and not made up.
The 2009 edition was the first of four 200 lap events in the Geary woods and was won by Ben Rowe, marking his second PASS North win in the Geary woods. Johnny Clark has won the last three PASS events at Speedway 660, winning 200 lap events in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In the 2012 editions, an ailing battery plagued the multi-time PASS champ before halfway but an intermission at Lap 100 let the team change the juice in the car to allow Clark to extend his winning streak to three.
The event length for 2014 has yet to be announced, but the 2013 edition of the event was slated to be scaled back to a 150 before rain washed out the event. The race will run Saturday, June 7th at 7pm and will have the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman and DMR Auto Sales and Service Street Stocks as the support classes.
#4 – Caleb Dunn Memorial Weekend – Petty Raceway
The “newest” event of the top five honors a Legend in Atlantic Canadian stock car racing over a two day, long weekend that traditionally kicks off a “championship stretch” in the region.
At Petty International Raceway, the New Brunswick Day weekend honors the legacy of Caleb Dunn with the Caleb Dunn Memorial Weekend. In 2014, the event takes a bit of a different direction compared to the inaugural weekend carrying Dunn’s name, with a Sportsman 125 headlining the Saturday show and Pro Stocks taking to the high banks for a 75 lap feature on Sunday. The 2013 edition saw a two-day, 200 lap event for the Sportsman class, which saw Dave O’Blenis take the inaugural title.
With nearby Speedway 660 taking the weekend off, this weekend is quickly becoming that “mid-Summer classic” that the region has been missing for a few years and also serves as the appetizer to the aforementioned River Glade International weekend, which takes place three weeks after the Caleb Dunn Memorial weekend.
This year dates for the second annual Caleb Dunn Memorial weekend are Saturday, August 2nd and Sunday, August 3rd. The complete Saturday evening card includes a Sportsman 125, Mini Stock 30 and a Bandolero 25 with Sunday’s plate having a Pro Stock 75, Bandolero 25 and Street Stock Twin 25s as the main course. Both events have 6pm post times.
#5 – 20th Annual Shriners Classic – Scotia Speedworld
Darren Wallage (right) won the 19th edition of the Shriners Classic in 2013. Photo by McCarthy Photographic
While there are big races all over Atlantic Canada, no event holds as much prestige in the Halifax stock car racing community than the Shriners Classic for Sportsman at Scotia Speedworld.
The 50-lap event, which enters its 20th year in 2014, is a fundraising event for the Dartmouth and District Shrine Club and the programs they support in the area. Beginning as a Street Stock event back in the mid-90s, the event has been won by many of Scotia Speedworld’s biggest stars and the best in Nova Scotia Limited Late Model racing continue to come out in a bid to add their name to the iconic trophy.
The late Terry Roma built a legacy in the event. While the team won multiple track championships at the track, Roma Brothers Racing won three Shriners Classic events in 1997 and back-to-back in 2004 and 2005. Those numbers have since been matched by two-time Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman champion Jeff Dillman, after three wins in the race in four years (2009, 2011 and 2012), but the legacy of Roma Brothers Racing lives on with Travis Roma, Terry’s son, driving the #38 in the last two Shriner’s Classics.
The 2013 Atlantic CAT 250 winner Craig Slaunwhite has won the Classic twice, as has Harry Ross White. Gordie Ryan, Troy Slaunwhite, Ron and Mel Tibert, Tony Leonard, James Graves, Sheldon Pemberton and Colby Smith each have their name on the trophy once over the 19 year history of the race. Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Champion Darren Wallage added his name to the history books in his championship season by taking home the win in 2013.
Like the Daytona 500 is to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series though, some champions have gone their whole Late Model Sportsman career at Scotia Speedworld without winning a Classic. Two-time Parts for Trucks Tour champion Shawn Turple won a championship in the Sportsman class at Scotia Speedworld – but never a Shriners Classic. Aaron Boutilier won the 2012 championship in the division and has won many races at the Speedworld – but never a Shriners Classic. The likes of Leonard Boutilier, Steve Ross, Larry Fisher and Kirk Ryan are examples of those who have celebrated in victory lane at Scotia Speedworld and have raced many laps in a Sportsman car at the track – but have never won a Shriners Classic.
The event also brings out part-timers to run for the checkers. Russell Smith Jr has made it a point to run in the event every year, as has former champions Dillman and Colby Smith. You’ll never know who you’ll see in the field when the green flies for the Classic.
You can be a part of history as the Shriners Classic turns 20 on Friday, July 25th at Scotia Speedworld. It is a full card that night, with the Legends, Trucks, Lightning and Bandolero classes completing the card.
September Stock Car Weekend – Speedway Miramichi
While it did not crack the top five when it came to fan voting, the nomination period saw a strong turnout of fans offering up Speedway Miramichi’s September Stock Car weekend as one of the best events in Atlantic Canada.
Headlined by the Coors Light Sportsman 125 in 2013, the first September event at the track under the new ownership was a success. While the Sportsman feature was the main event on the card and was an exciting battle between eventual winner Dave O’Blenis and Lonnie Sommerville, the Street Stocks, Four Cylinders, Bandoleros, Atlantic Modifieds and Eastern Super Mini Cup Series supplied a ton of great racing action leading up to the Late Models hitting the track.
The tentative schedule for 2014 holds a Pro Stock 150 as the headlining event on Saturday, September 27th, with the Sportsman, Street Stock, Atlantic Modifieds, Eastern Super Mini Cup Series and Mini Stocks serving as the appetizer to the main course.
Dave O’Blenis hoisted the Coors Light 125 trophy last season on Miramichi’s September Stock Car Weekend. Photo by John O’Shea/Miramichi Racing Radio.
Now, which Triple Crown event was at the top of fans lists?! Find out here next week!