TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft – Picks 6 to 10
The wait is over!
After months of deliberation, sorting and re-sorting of lists, the inaugural TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft is ready for presentation.
The idea was brought to Tim’s Corner Motorsports late last season and while we pumped it up – and planned on presenting it – around the time we did our Best of 2013 Awards. As you know, it kept getting put off. That, and the fact the ranking of talent in the Maritimes kept having the panel changing their minds slightly. We contemplating with changing the presentation of how this would be published but at the end of the day, we scaled back from 15 on our list to 10 and have it here for you now.
The objective? To recognize Atlantic Canada’s up and coming talents in the sport. Those that could, in the future, upend a Shawn Tucker, John Flemming or Shawn Turple to give us a new Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour champion. You could look at it as a scouting report for, if the opportunity came along to put an Atlantic Canadian driver in a seat down south, to put him or her in it.
The list was put together by seven ballots – five from racing fans and those within the industry that have seen many races over the past year in Atlantic Canada, one coming from myself (Tim Terry at TimsCorner.ca) and one cumulative coming from the fan balloting held at the end of 2013. While I was left with final ranking, those consulted saw final ranking prior to the publishing of this list and agreed that these ten rightfully deserve their spots on the list.
Now, that doesn’t mean these were the only ten considered for the list. There are dozens of drivers that are under the age of 21 at the end of the 2014 calendar year that were considered for a spot within the top ten of this draft. In fact, 38 names were brought up between fan balloting and panel discussions for the top ten on this list. If you are your team driver isn’t on the list, don’t fret, they were likely brought up in conversation and most could easily make an appearance here in 2015!
Before we get going, the eligibility requirements:
– Must not turn 22 prior to December 31st, 2014 (drivers aged 21 and under as of completion of 2014 were considered).
– Must have competed on Atlantic Canadian soil during the 2013 season. Those who have plans to compete in Atlantic Canada in 2014 was also a strong criteria consideration in the nomination and ranking process.
– Must be born in Atlantic Canada or have Atlantic Canadian roots.
What are we waiting for – let’s dive into it! Here is the 2014 TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft!
Today, we will present draft picks #10 up to #6 with tomorrow bringing the Honorable Mentions and the top five picks, including the overall #1 pick as chosen by our panel.
#10 – Alexandra O’Blenis
Photo by Tanya Everett Photography
2013 Petty International Raceway Street Stock Track Champion
2013 Petty International Raceway Street Stock Rookie of the Year
Multiple Feature Wins – Bandolero at Speedway 660
There are some names on this list that made it here in part to the strength of their 2013 season. Our #10 pick would be one of those whose previous season performance put her on the radar and into the forefront of “young gun talent.”
Alexandra O’Blenis moved to the Street Stock class full-time at Petty Raceway in 2013 and while it may have not been in the cards pre-season, it certainly was a move that boosted her stock as a driver at the end of the day. The Street Stock division at Petty Raceway fluctuated when it came to car count, with stronger car counts coming at the end of the season but the competition was always there to test the Boundary Creek teenager. The championship came down to O’Blenis and Martin Landry (who is a few years past eligibility for the draft) and in a 25 car field, the biggest of the season at Petty Raceway, O’Blenis stayed cool as a cucumber, even though she got her brakes a bit hot over the run and locked up her first championship in fine fashion with a second place run in the season finale!
While Alexandra and her sister Courtney are the future of O’Blenis Motorsports and a Pro Stock ride will probably be in those plans, Alexandra got her feet wet in a Pro Stock last season, with a start in late August at Speedway 660. The start was short lived after brake problems and we never got to see the full potential of O’Blenis in a full bodied Super Late Model.
But, that’s not the last we’ll see of her in a Late Model.
In a move that could see her vault up the list, the team has announced she will run a Sportsman at Speedway 660 full-time in 2014 in search of the Rookie of the Year Award in the ultra competitive Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman class. In a class that also includes Drew Greenlaw, Dawson McIntee and Daniel Clark, O’Blenis will have her hands full as she battles for the Rookie of the Year Award, but with good equipment, a great crew and skills learned in past seasons, she has the good foundation to build on in 2014 and beyond!
Be sure to watch in the next couple seasons for her sister Courtney on this draft list too. With Alexandra moving up to the Street Stock class, Courtney is sure to move into the seat soon and into our ranking list after just missing out this year.
Oh, and for those keeping track, Alexandra is the only female driver to crack the top ten in this year’s rankings.
#9 – Kenny Mackenzie Jr
Photo by Tanya Everett Photography
2013 Speedway 660 Triple Crown Winner (swept Street Stock races August 17th)
2012 Speedway Miramichi Street Stock Feature Winner
Kenny Mackenzie Jr and Marmaduke find themselves in ninth in the TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft.
Every time the #85 Street Stock rolls into a race track in New Brunswick, you know it is a threat to contend to the victory. For the 2013 season, Mackenzie set his sights on the Speedway 660 Street Stock class and in a deep field of six rookies, Mackenzie finished third to Luc McLaughlin and Justin Cole. In that season, he pulled off one Triple Crown victory – a sweep of his heat, dash and feature on the evening, something his father Ken Mackenzie Sr had tried many times to do but had failed to complete. When you look at the fact that the 660 season produced eight winners in nine point races, Mackenzie had to battle traffic and competition each week to earn his finishes with veterans like Roger Slocum and multi-time champion Rick Cashol looking for the same checkered flag.
Petty Raceway and Speedway Miramichi have been stops for the #85 team in the past season but with schedules changing, Mackenzie will aim at both tracks in 2014 and the NB Big Dawg Challenge in his #85 Street Stock. Mackenzie is an early favorite for track titles at both places and the subsequent challenge title and would go a long way to elevating the value of the Salisbury driver’s stock.
Off the track? He is the complete package when it comes to a marketable driver. When it comes to laying down an interview, he chooses his words wisely and has a delivery that drivers thrice his age only wish he had. The way he handled the fracas last year at the finale in Miramichi also goes to show he can keep a level head when things may get heated on the racing surface.
The combination of driver talent and the way the driver handles himself off the track makes it hard not to root for Mackenzie. That, along with the potential the driver has, has put Mackenzie ninth on the 2014 TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft!
#8 – Adam Meehan
Photo by McCarthy Photographic
2013 Scotia Speedworld Bandolero Champion (Six wins)
2013 Petty Raceway Bandolero Runner-Up
2011 Scotia Speedworld Bandolero Rookie of the Year Runner-Up (Third Overall)
Adam Meehan is one of three 2013 Bandolero drivers to crack the top ten of the TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft.
With a stock consistently on the upswing over the past three seasons, Meehan’s portfolio spiked in 2013 with a dominant performance at Scotia Speedworld en route to a track championship and nearly a second in the same season at Petty Raceway, finishing second in the standings at the high banked River Glade, NB oval.
Should the Scotia Speedworld track title have come as a surprise? Not really.
Okay, maybe the way he did it, taking six feature wins, or half of the season, en route to the title. Let’s face it though, we’re talking about a kid who won in his third feature of his rookie season in 2011. He can win races, he’s proven that. The amount of times he won with the competition he had in 2013 might be the staggering number.
When it comes to Petty Raceway, Meehan was consistent, finishing in the top four in seven of the nine races in 2013. Typically, that kind of consistency would win a championship, but, like Meehan at Scotia Speedworld, when a driver wins four of the nine races, it’s hard to top when it comes to the standings.
When it comes to the stat line – it’s hard to ignore. In 2013, Meehan had 17 top five finishes in 21 starts, including 11 top two finishes.
The 2014 season will be Meehan’s final in a Bandolero while also getting his feet wet in the Maritime League of Legends Tour. As has been the case in the previous years, Meehan’s stock has the potential to continue to soar in the coming years as he moves up the regional ranks of stock car racing in Atlantic Canada!
#7 – Andrew Rodgers
Photo by McCarthy Photographic
2013 Speedway 660 Sportsman Third Place in Points (three seconds and a third in eight point races)
2012 Speedway 660 Sportsman Rookie of the Year
Speedway 660’s version of Kasey Kahne lands in our TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft at #7.
After dabbling in some Street Stock racing, Andrew Rodgers followed his older brother Matt into the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman division at Speedway 660. In 2012, the team won Rookie of the Year honors in a part time season.
Then came 2013, which really put Rodgers in the limelight and on the radar.
Rodgers finished second place in three consecutive features in July. While he never cracked victory lane, he solidified himself as a not only a driver that was a threat to win a feature in the competitive Late Model Sportsman class, but a championship contender at the same time. He was on the wrong side of the inch on both goals of winning a race or a championship in 2013 but the season that was will only fuel Rodgers in 2014.
Rodgers sets his goals high. When he speaks, you can hear the confidence in his voice. He was quick to point out last Speedweekend that he would move his brother out of the way to win the $5,000 payday if it came to it. While it didn’t come to that, he did share the race track for many laps with “The Oval Outlaw” Wayne Smith as the two put on a hard nosed, yet clean battle throughout last season’s Irving Blending and Packaging Sportsman 150.
Could Andrew Rodgers be the next “Oval Outlaw,” making a name for himself by winning races and championships in a Pro Stock? We may be a few years off before we see that, but if he keeps it up, he may be on that path. Watch for the #14 in 2014 – specifically near victory lane at Speedway 660!
#6 – Drew Greenlaw
2013 Feature Winner at Speedway 660, Petty Raceway and Speedway Miramichi
2013 Speedway 660 Bandolero Champion
2012 Speedway 660 Bandolero Runner-Up
When Drew Greenlaw finished runner-up in the 2012 Speedway 660 Bandolero championship standings, many figured it would only be a matter of time before he would end up in victory lane.
After he won his first race at the 2013 season opener at Petty Raceway, it was like the floodgates opened wide, because it paved the way for seven more between New Brunswick’s three major oval race tracks.
If it wasn’t for conflicting schedules between Petty Raceway and Speedway 660, we may be talking about a multi-track champion. Greenlaw was strong at Petty, winning two races on the high banks, but opted to run Speedway 660, where he collected four point wins along with one half of the Speedweekend Bandolero Blast to go with his championship accolades in 2013. He also took a victory at Speedway Miramichi during their big September finale weekend.
We mentioned the way drivers handle themselves off the race track as well. It should be noted that Greenlaw is a humble individual and has taken his successes in stride over the past two seasons and takes nothing for granted. It is a trait that creates fans just for the genuine, down to earth personality of the driver of car #23.
So, what’s next for the Eastport, Maine (yes, I know it’s the TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft, but he could throw a well arched stone and hit Canadian terrain) driver in 2014? The team purchased the former John Rankin Sportsman car at the end of last year, even ran a race with it at Speedway 660 last August, and will campaign it at 660 full time this Summer along with the possibility of some special events. With the team still under the Lonnie Sommerville Racing banner, the support and knowledge from Lonnie Sommerville will go a long way to molding Greenlaw into a competitive Late Model driver.
You would have to believe the goal is to win that Rookie of the Year title. As mentioned, we have O’Blenis, McIntee and Clark already in the ring with Greenlaw for the crown. The winner of the top freshman honor in the class, given that they perform well which they will have to in order to win the award, will likely see their stock rise exponentially. With the season he had in 2013, you’d have to believe Greenlaw is a front runner for it – something that would likely put him into the top five in this draft when we revisit it at the end of the 2014 season.
Tomorrow, we bring you the rest of the list. Who landed at #1? Find out here tomorrow evening!
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