2014 TCM Power Performer of the Year Finalists Announced
Continuing with the 2014 TCM Best of Maritime Awards announcements, we bring you the ten finalists for the third annual Power Performer of the Year Award, as first released last Thursday in our TCM Newsletter to newsletter subscribers.
These ten drivers were selected from a list of over two dozen drivers pooled together by our TCM Best of Maritime Awards panel to receive recognition for their 2014 seasons. This award is based on a driver’s accomplishments throughout the season and the list below has some pretty big race wins and championships represented on it. Of the ten drivers on the list, 57 feature wins and at least eight 2014 championships throughout Atlantic Canada are represented.
One driver will receive the third annual TCM Power Performer of the Year, and he or she will be announced at the end of November on TimsCorner.ca.
Here is the list of ten, listed in alphabetical order.
Jason Baglole – Oyster Bed Speedway – Four Fun – Six Feature Wins (18 total wins)
Okay, so it has been documented that Jason Baglole had some issues with tech this year, but who in this sport hasn’t been trying to push the rules from time to time?
Baglole started off the season hot, sweeping the first two race meets at Oyster Bed Speedway. The #43 car continued to pepper the field with wins throughout the season on PEI, winning a total of 18 races on the year, six of those being feature victories. From our records, that 18 number is the biggest win total of any race car driver this season in the region.
Dylan Blenkhorn – Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour – Three Feature Wins, Five Time Trial Awards
The “Breakout Performance” by Dylan Blenkhorn has earned him a spot on the TCM Power Performer of the Year list.
Three feature wins, including one of the biggest Pro Stock races on the season in the Atlantic Cat 250, and five Time Trial Awards on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour turned heads this season. Outside of those wins, Blenkhorn showed strength throughout the season, including a second place run to JR Fitzpatrick at Riverside Speedway in August and leading half of the Mike Stevens Memorial 150 at Petty Raceway.
Not to mention, Blenkhorn collected a Legend car feature win at Riverside Speedway, pocketing a cool $1000 on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series weekend.
Jason Fenton – Scotia Speedworld – Trucks – Six Feature Wins
Jason Fenton is the true definition of a “Power Performer.”
Going to Scotia Speedworld each Friday night with winning as the only goal, Fenton won six features this season, while breaking in three others trying to get to the top of the podium. In total, Fenton took ten wins in a division that typically sees the win leader with a fraction of wins that Fenton racked up this season.
Cory Hall – Bandolero – Eight Feature Wins at four different tracks
While five Bandolero drivers were considered to make the final list for the TCM Power Performer of the Year, Cory Hall is the only one to appear here, on the strength of eight feature wins.
Sure, Hall won the Petty Raceway championship, but when you talk about performance in the win column throughout the season, he had that too. Hall won the first two appearances of Bandoleros at Oyster Bed Speedway, won twice at Scotia Speedworld in his first season at the tight 3/10-mile oval, took three wins at Speedway 660, including the big win on Re/Max 250 weekend and a win at his home track of Petty Raceway.
He came close about as many times as he won features too, including four podiums at Petty that did not turn out as wins, two at Speedway 660, another at Scotia Speedworld and came close to the Chi City Showdown at Speedway Miramichi before an equipment infraction took him out of the lead.
Watch this kid next year folks as he moves to Legends!
Jonathan Hicken – Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour – Six Feature Wins
In Tony Stewart-esque style, Jonathan Hicken lit up the Maritime racing scene in the second half of the season.
Sure, Hicken won in May at Petty Raceway, but his next five feature wins came between the first weekend of August and the second weekend in October.
Hicken won two race at the River Glade, New Brunswick oval with the Parts for Trucks Tour, pocketed the win at his home track with the series in August and won the Dartmouth Dodge 200 at Scotia Speedworld after a memorable duel with eventual series champion John Flemming. He fell short of winning the Mike Stevens Memorial 150 at Petty Raceway, but returned with a vengeance the next two weeks, winning the inaugural Chi City Showdown at Speedway Miramichi and his second consecutive Atlantic Championships at Shediac’s CENTRE For Speed. The Chi City Showdown was won with a true showcase of talent in 125-laps consecutive green.
J.R. Lawson – Mini Stock – Five Feature Wins
I know where you’re going to go with this – three of J.R. Lawson’s feature wins were against a handful of cars (or less).
If you subscribe to that, then how did he top one of the biggest fields of the season during the Atlantic Championships at the CENTRE For Speed in October? At the end of the day, a checkered flag is a checkered flag.
Lawson established himself as one of the best Four Cylinder racers in New Brunswick, and solidified the fact when he rolled into Sydney, Nova Scotia in October and finished a close second to Tim Webster in the Jay’s Chicken and Ribs 35. Add in a win at Speedway Miramichi in the Chi City Showdown, and Lawson had a pretty good track record in big Mini Stock races in the Maritimes in 2014.
Robbie MacEwen – Oyster Bed Speedway Late Model – Six Feature Wins
Robbie MacEwen returned to the top of the mountain this season at Oyster Bed Speedway by winning the Central Engine Services Late Model championship, and six feature races along with. Of those six, he won four races in a row, including a thrilling battle with Matt Palmer in July during the Maritime Late Model 100. To add to his six feature wins, he had three more podium runs and five heat race victories, making it eleven checkered flags.
And, oh, by the way, MacEwen made his Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour debut in his own car this season, posting a heat race win at Oyster Bed Speedway and running strong every race he entered until mechanical gremlins bit the team. Like Hall, we may have an early contender for next season’s Kings County Performance Rookie of the Year Award should he choose to go the Tour route in 2015!
Nicholas Naugle – Scotia Speedworld/Maritime Legends – Five Feature Wins
Sweep Petty Raceway. Win on Atlantic Cat 250 weekend. Win on divisional sponsor night.
In his first year of Legend racing, there’s not much Nicholas Naugle did not do.
Setting his expectations at top five finishes, he instead went out and filled his hand of five feature victories, including two of the biggest races on the Maritime League of Legends Tour schedule. He also kept the veterans of the Scotia Speedworld Weekly Legends honest down the stretch, winning two feature races aboard his #88 car, including the 50 lap feature on Strictly Hydraulics Night.
Question is, if the kid does this in his first year, what does he do for an encore in 2015?
Russell Smith JR – Petty Sportsman – Six Feature Wins
The only returning TCM Power Performer of the Year Nominee backed up his efforts from 2013.
Russell Smith Jr took home the 2014 Maritime Sportsman Challenge. Sure, he took home the championship and the extra cash for that, but he did it by winning EVERY RACE in the three race series. He picked up the big win at Riverside Speedway on IWK 250 weekend, went up the road to Petty Raceway and won on Caleb Dunn Memorial weekend and finished it off the next week during the Dartmouth Dodge 100 at Scotia Speedworld.
Oh, and if you’re keeping score, he won three more features at Petty Raceway en route to win his second consecutive track championship, and he darn near completed his goal by winning at Speedway 660 but fell one spot short.
Amanda Wheatley – Eastern Super Mini Cup Series – Six Wins
While it wasn’t as dominating as James Matchett’s Eastern Super Mini Cup Series performance from 2013, six wins in seven features is nothing to shake a stick at.
After quietly coming onto the scene in 2013, Amanda Wheatley took the veterans of the touring series to school in 2014 en route to the championship in the series. She won races at Speedway Miramichi, the CENTRE For Speed, Petty Raceway and her home track at Oyster Bed Speedway. In fact, and it’s kind of ironic, that her only “defeat” on the season came at the hands of Matt Watson at her home track.
No, there wasn’t any brooms out, but an 86% winning average on a touring series that visits four different tracks is good enough for a nomination on the TCM Power Performer of the Year!
Photo by McCarthy Photographic
Previous champions of the TCM Power Performer of the Year:
2014: Announced November 25th
2013: Shawn Tucker of Fredericton, NB
2012: Dave O’Blenis of Boundary Creek, NB
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!