TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft – Top Five Picks
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!
Denver Foran, originally from New Brunswick but now living in Edmonton, Alberta, was considered for ranking in the inaugural TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft based upon performance on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour in 2013. Unlike his fellow Rookie of the Year contenders on the series, he had never seen the five venues the Tour visited in a full bodied Late Model before, let alone seen some of them period.
In ten starts, he grabbed two top ten finishes and two Rookie of the Race honors on the series. Out west, he picked up the Dakota Dunes Championship at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway and competed south at New Smyrna Speedway during Speedweeks and has once again been south in 2014 competing at the Florida track.
Talent? Yeah, you better believe it. Great kid with a personality on and off the track that makes him a fan favorite. Where does he rank here? We’re not sure. How does the Dakota Dunes title rank up against some of the accomplishments on this list? That is what has some of us puzzled. For that, we have Foran as an honorable mention in this year’s draft listing.
You can’t have a discussion about young talent from Atlantic Canada without Amherst, Nova Scotia’s Ryan Mackintosh.
Mackintosh has been down south for years now, racing anything from Bandoleros to Legends to Alison Legacy Series cars. In 2013, he nailed down the INEX National Semi Pro Championship.
That’s National, as in around the world. Not just Canada, even though he grabbed that one too in 2013 because of his Canadian address.
There’s no denying Mackintosh has talent to run with the best grassroots short trackers in North America. The question remains though, what is next for Mackintosh? He’s reached the top level in INEX, with the exception of winning a National Pro Championship, but how much will that help his stock as a driver in the long run? The team has committed to the Jack in the Box Summer Shootout in Charlotte in the Pro division but beyond that has no concrete plans. We could see him up home competing in the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour on a part-time basis, we could see him in a few PASS South races, we might see him in a Limited Late Model at a track like Hickory. Options are there, but nothing has been made official yet as of this post.
Not to mention he has a full college scholarship in the bag too.
Like Foran, where do we rank the talent and accomplishments of Mackintosh against the ten on our list that have made the Maritimes their home for competition in the past few years? It’s hard to rank. For 2014, he lands as an honorable mention in this year’s draft.
#5 – Cole Tanner
2013 INEX Canadian Outlaw Champion
2013 Petty Raceway Bandolero Champion
2012 Petty Raceway Bandolero Champion
2011 INEX Canadian Outlaw Champion
2011 Scotia Speedworld Bandolero Rookie of the Year, Second Overall
Cole Tanner slots into our draft in fifth and is the highest 2013 full time Bandolero driver on our list.
After a trio of races in 2010, Tanner hit the ground running in 2011, winning Rookie of the Year honors at both Speedway 660 and his home track of Scotia Speedworld. In fact, Tanner tied for the overall championship in his first year at Scotia Speedworld, but lost the tiebreaker on feature wins.
Tanner has won the last two track championships at Petty Raceway, taking seven wins in the combined 17 point races that have been run on the high banks in the last two years. He has had success at Speedway 660 with a handful of wins in the past three season, including two Speedweekend victories and has even won a feature at Thunder Valley Speedway in Bishop Falls, Newfoundland. He has also enjoyed success at Auburndale Speedway in Florida with a few podium finishes in the past two Februarys.
While Tanner has not visited victory lane at his home track in two seasons in a feature, his performance throughout the region has seen him awarded with two INEX Canadian Outlaw Bandolero titles. Tanner has established himself as one of the best Bandolero racers in Canada and has one more year left to re-write the history books once again.
The question has been “what’s next for Cole?” With Scotia Speedworld not allowing kids to graduate from the Bandolero ranks until they turn 16, Tanner still has one year before he can run a bigger car in Halifax. With that said, he can run any other race track in the region with their minimum age being 14. Tanner has recently inked a deal with multi-time Hobby Stock champion Mark Whynot to drive the #2 Overall Collision Legend on the Maritime League of Legend Tour races that do not conflict with the Bandolero schedule, which would give him a perfect transition into a Legend car at Scotia Speedworld for 2015.
There are three names above him on this ranking that followed the similar path Tanner seems to be on – Bandolero, Legend and onto a Pro Stock. With accomplished crew chief and spotter (and Cole’s father) Jack at the helm steering the ship, it’s a combination I’m sure we’ll be seeing around here for years and one that will continue to add to that championship accomplishment list above
#4 – Brad Eddy
2011 NASCAR Whelen All American Series Track Champion – Tri County Motor Speedway (NC)
2009 Scotia Speedworld Bandolero Champion
2006, 2007, 2008 Scotia Speedworld Bandolero Runner-Up
Say what you want about Brad Eddy, the kid has a boatload of raw driving talent.
Yes, behind the Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia driver is a marketing machine pushing Eddy as the best thing to come out of Atlantic Canada since Sidney Crosby, but in order to market a driver like that, the guy needs to perform on track to back it up.
Brad Eddy has done just that.
While he has enjoyed success in everything he has sat in, including a championship and multiple wins at Scotia Speedworld in the Bandolero class and a respectable record on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour which includes a third place run at the River Glade International in his freshman season of 2012, his rank on this top ten list isn’t higher because of what the future holds.
Right now, it’s a bunch of question marks.
Last season, Eddy came out of the gate sharp on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. After three events, Eddy had three top ten finishes and was fourth in the standings out of 24 full time cars.
The team then ran out of funding and had to scale back their season, giving up fourth in points on the biggest short track Late Model Series in Canada.
When Eddy ran at the end of the year, he was good. He hopped into Rollie MacDonald’s #13 car at Riverside in September after it was vacated by Denver Foran and finished fifth with it during the Lucas Oil 100. New car and crew to Brad did not matter, it looked like the combination had been working together for years and the young man showed skills like he was a 20 year veteran of the sport, not a 20 year old.
Of our seven panel ballots we took into consideration on this ranking, some had Eddy ranked high and some had him lower than the fourth place rung we have him ranked. Either way, he deserves to be here. If he finished off 2013 on the Tour, this fourth place could quite possibly have been first. Does Eddy have the potential to win on the Tour? I’d put money on it. Does Eddy have the potential to upset guys like Flemming and Tucker for a championship? He showed at the beginning of last year he could be “the one” to do so.
Will it happen? If a marketing partner comes on board to help him, it is quite possible.
The big question mark also hangs on what the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown will do for Eddy’s young career. Sure, if he does well, it could open an endless potential of doors for him. You have to believe the Tri County Motor Speedway championship did that to an extent too. But, if he doesn’t turn this into a head turning experience, could that cash used on that been better used to run Parts for Trucks Tour races to build a potential championship?
Yes, more eyes are on you down south but it also is a bigger burden on the pocketbook if it doesn’t work out.
At the end of the day, Eddy has the talent to run with the best of them but needs that seat time in front of the right eyes, whether that be teams down south or a potential marketing partner up north, to fit all the pieces into the jigsaw puzzle. What happens in this 2014 season will play a key role in what Eddy’s driving career holds in the future.
#3 – Cole Boudreau
Only driver to win at every race track in the Maritimes that has held organized Bandolero racing (Speedway 660, Petty Raceway, Speedway Miramichi, Scotia Speedworld, CENTRE For Speed).
2012 Speedway 660 Bandolero Champion
2012 Scotia Speedworld Bandolero Runner-Up
2012 INEX Canadian Outlaws Champion
One of the most accomplished Bandolero drivers in Atlantic Canada slots in third in our TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft.
Cole Boudreau has won a Canadian INEX Championship and a Speedway 660 track championship – both of which took place in a breakout year of 2012. In that season, Boudreau ran at almost every race track that held a Bandolero race. They became the first team from the province of New Brunswick to run a full schedule of racing at Scotia Speedworld in the Bandolero class, finishing a strong second after a handful of feature wins. Major wins at Speedway Miramichi on their Lucky Irish weekend, Shediac CENTRE For Speed’s Atlantic Championships and Speedway 660’s Speedweekend highlighted the season, not to mention great runs in North Carolina and Florida with Chris Woods Racing and Repair. The season earned him a finalist spot in the TCM Power Performer of the Year in 2012.
So, that was 2012 – why is Boudreau here after the 2013 season?!
Boudreau ran a handful of Bandolero races at the beginning of 2013, which included three podium finishes at Petty Raceway and one win at Speedway 660. At the midpoint of the season, Boudreau and team pulled the trigger to begin his Pro Stock career. In four starts, Boudreau kept his car in one piece and turned heads by maintaining speed of some multi-year veterans.
With 30 laps to go, Boudreau was running sixth in the Auto Value 250, one of the most prestigious races in Atlantic Canada, before an accident took him out of contention. In his fourth ever Super Late Model start. That says something folks!
His plans for 2014 include running at Speedway 660 full-time in their weekly Pro Stock division, along with some possible events at Petty Raceway and big races such as the Atlantic CAT 250 and IWK 250 on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. If Boudreau can contend with guys like Dave O’Blenis, Chris Duncan and Kevin Moore in Geary, you best believe the stock of the youngster will be on the rise again!
#2 – Cole Butcher
2013 Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour Rookie of the Year Runner-Up
2013 Scotia Speedworld Weekly Legends Champion
2012 Maritime League of Legends Tour Champion
2012 Scotia Speedworld Weekly Legends Champion
2012 Scotia Speedworld Weekly Legends Rookie of the Year
2010 Scotia Speedworld Bandolero Champion (Nine win season)
Cole Butcher finds himself second in the inaugural TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft with a stock that continues to rise with every lap on track.
Butcher has a “leave it all out on the race track” style. He’s a driver that will get every ounce he can, every lap, out of a race car.
That style has put him on a roll of late, with his breakout year coming in 2010 by winning nine feature races en route to the championship in the Scotia Speedworld Bandolero division. Since then, he has won two championships in the Legend class at Scotia Speedworld (three track championships in four years if you’re keeping score), including the 2013 title in which he had to outduel “The Legend” Cy Harvey to successfully defend his crown earned the year previous. Add to that the 2012 Maritime League of Legends Tour championship and you have four championships in four seasons across the region.
On top of defending his Scotia Speedworld Legends title in 2013, he also embarked on his rookie campaign on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour, which saw the #53 gain seven top tens in 12 races and four Rookie of the Race awards en route to second in the rookie standings at year’s end. Butcher showed improvement throughout the season, including making a few Dash for Cash events at the back half of the season and winning one heat race in 2013.
To manage a full time Legends ride AND your rookie season in a highly competitive Late Model Tour, going to tracks he’s never seen in a full bodied car before, is a lot to manage. Cole Butcher handled it like a veteran.
Butcher has also found success on the road at Atlantic Motorsports Park, coming home with the win in the 2013 edition of the Road Course Challenge for the Maritime League of Legends Tour, making Butcher a well rounded driver on the oval and road courses.
Butcher has competed in the previous two INEX Winter Nationals events at Auburndale Speedway in Florida, including this past season where he moved up to the Pro division, racing against the best in the region (of note, only one other driver in the Atlantic Canada region is a registered INEX Pro Legend). If he keeps up the improving runs on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour, which will likely end him up in victory lane sooner rather than later, more industry leaders stateside will be hearing the name Cole Butcher for many, many years to come!
#1 – Dylan Blenkhorn
2013 Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year – Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour
2011 Maritime League of Legends Champion
2011 Scotia Speedworld Legends Champion
2009 Scotia Speedworld Bandolero – Third Place
2008 Scotia Speedworld Bandolero Champion
2007 Scotia Speedworld Bandolero Rookie of the Year (5th Overall)
Topping the inaugural TCM Atlantic Canadian Short Track Draft is Truro, Nova Scotia’s Dylan Blenkhorn.
Blenkhorn, who will turn 20 in this calendar year, turned heads on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour in 2013. Not only did Blenkhorn win a Rookie of the Year championship, he was in position by mid-season to contend for wins on the top racing series in Atlantic Canada. Blenkhorn posted two top fives and five top tens in his first season – including a third place finish at the River Glade International in August. Of note, Blenkhorn was tied for third in Laps Completed on the Tour in 2013 behind series champion John Flemming, Shawn Turple and Greg Proude, finishing all but eight laps in his rookie season.
Maybe more impressive is that the team continued to learn throughout the season. Yes, Blenkhorn has been successful in everything he has sat in, winning races and championships soon after flipping the switch for the first time but considering the knowledge the team had wasn’t in Super Late Models and their result is head turning. Father Paul and Dylan took to GRIP Seminars in February 2013 to learn about Late Model racing but keep in mind, the car they campaigned last season had a lot of old technology on it. Winning car? Yes, the chassis had won 13 of 15 races with Scott Fraser Racing in 1996 (12 with Scott, one with Junior Hanley) and went to victory lane in the Atlantic CAT 250 with John Flemming in 2000 but compared to some of the newer cars running on the Parts for Trucks Tour, the knowledge they needed to learn they needed to do so on the fly.
And boy did they ever learn!
The team has since acquired a former NOVA Racing car to campaign in the 2014 season and will keep the car they ran last year as a back-up car. Blenkhorn will be looking to better his eighth place overall in the standings from 2013 and will look to bust into victory lane on the series, something he came close to doing last season. We’re sure those race win trophies from the Parts for Trucks Tour will go nice beside the dozens racked up through Bandolero and Legend car racing over the years!
All photos by McCarthy Photographic
So there you have it. Our top ten comprised from lists based on fan vote and panel input.
Are we completely missing someone? Think our rankings are crazy?! Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Let’s us hear it on our Facebook page!
Of course, be sure to watch for these ten at a track near you this Summer – May 11th is the kick-off for the Speedway 660 season, where you’ll be able to see a minimum of four of these young guns compete for the first time in 2014!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!