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Raining on Our Parade – Tim’s Take on the Scotia Speedworld Opening Weekend

Tim Terry is the owner of and the public address voice for the Atlantic Tiltload Maritime League of Legends Tour, Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour and the Scotia Speedworld Weekly Racing Series. He offers up his thoughts here in this editorial piece on the Saturday and Sunday situation weather situation at Scotia Speedworld.

Let me start off by saying, I hate rain outs as much as the next race fan.

For those that know me, I operate Tim’s Corner Motorsports and when I am not announcing the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour or the Weekly Racing Series at Scotia Speedworld. I set out a goal each year to make 50 local Maritime racing cards. When a rainout happens, I am as upset as anyone because it dwindles my chances of making my goal.

At the end of the day, you can’t change the weather and you can’t work around scheduling conflicts.

The situation that we were presented with yesterday just plain sucks. It had rained and even snowed and hailed off and on all afternoon long while the Atlantic Tiltload Maritime League of Legends and Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tours tried to get their practices in. After a final shower and another on the way, combined with the forecast of another blast which would have dampened (in industry terms, lost) the track, there was no way to get the show in. Sure, use the excuse “well, the race track has lights.” With the stands already damp from three showers throughout the day and the temperatures plummeting to the single digits, it would not have been a pleasant experience for our spotters, crew chiefs and fans. The later you push on, the more uncomfortably cold it gets. I sat through a few cold nights this past winter at New Smyrna Speedway, and those that will remember back to 2008, we ran the opener in Halifax on a damp and dreary night and morning when the checkered flag was dropped near 2am!

With the forecast looking good for the next day, the call was made to postpone the race until today at 2pm, which bumps the Weekly Racing Series.

Let me attack the “why don’t we run a double header” scenario first. Remember back to 2010? The Season Finale that year for both the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour and Scotia Speedworld was run on the same night. The Pro Stock Tour and their support class started at Noon, with the Weekly Series finale, four divisions, beginning that evening at 6pm.

On paper, that is excellent for a race fan. All the racing you can handle on one day. From a facility perspective, it is a logistical nightmare.

That day, we had Pro Stock and support class teams taking up most of the pit area. Weekly Racing Series teams were not allowed into the track until mid-afternoon to unload and prepare for their practices. Pro Stock teams and their technical inspection was hurried up that day to, in lack of a better term, get them out of the way so the Weekly Racing Series could move in. Lineup areas had to be moved, procedures had to be adjusted and there were trailers parked where we thought we wouldn’t be able to fit them. The show that day started at 11am for Time Trials and I was off the microphone that night just over 11 hours later, shy of 10pm. That does not include pre-race opening the gates and those that were there after to put everything away from both shows. That’s a long night for our staff at the track. Keep in mind, even if they don’t work for both parties, the track staff still needs to look after the facility (sell tickets, security, be there in case something goes wrong, etc.).

The difference this weekend? We have another extra division to deal with. That weekend we had six divisions total to work with rolled into one and this weekend we have seven. Might not seem like much of a big deal on table, but remember I said we had an issue fitting everyone in on that Sunday in 2010? With an augmented Bandolero count that’s pushing 20 cars, our Sportsman count which was a healthy 18 on average in 2014, over two dozen Mini Stocks between the Chickenburger Thunder and Lightning and a dozen-ish Trucks, that’s about 70 or so cars. Combine that with the 24 Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour teams on the grounds for the race today, and over 20 Legend teams, you would be looking at well over 110 teams. With the Pro Stocks requiring the front pavement in the pit area and the logistics of having six divisions on that Weekly Show, that would each require adequate practice time, you are faced with a logistical nightmare on the back side of the house. Dan Eddy just joined the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association as the General Manager (congrats by the way Dan), and I’m sure we’d need his guys in to wrangle everything and keep it all under control.
I’m a huge fan of racing. After the 2010 “Super Sunday,” I’m not a fan of a double header like that.

Rain dates are touchy for some. Obviously, we cannot race with Feld Motorsports having the track rented next weekend for the Maple Leaf Monster Jam Tour, so that’s not an option. Keep in mind, some drivers and teams base their schedule off Friday nights. Sure, we could turn around and rain date to Sundays each week, but we will upset those who have planned away time with their family, or have taken an extra shift at work to come race with us, fans and drivers alike. For the record, no Weekly Racing facility in Atlantic Canada (Oyster Bed Speedway (PE), Speedway 660 (NB) or us) rain dates their regular point shows for that exact reason.

You also have to remember that a lot of these Pro Stock Tour teams travel a fair distance to be with us. Nearly half of our field comes from the Island, which is over three hours and a bridge or boat away, and some longer. Sarah McKay’s team is from Quispamsis, New Brunswick, which is a good four hour jaunt from the track, trust me, I’ve done it door to door before. Jerry Hayes and Jerome Kehoe are from Sydney, Nova Scotia, which is well over four hours away. On the Legend side, Paul Goulden hauls from Shelburne, Arnie Spinney from Coldbrook, Cory Hall from Jolicure, New Brunswick and Dustin Tucker from Fredericton, New Brunswick. Tucker is a Tour only team, keep in mind. These touring teams spend a lot of money to chase their championships and tonight had to spend money to stay overnight in the Halifax area. Not to mention the hundreds of fans who follow these series around. Not to mention Race Time Radio, who flew in from Ontario to cover the race and cannot make the 2pm start tomorrow because of an early flight.

Yes, I understand this affects teams like my buddy Art McNamara, the “Mayor of Cleveland,” Nathan and Josh Langille from Coldbrook, Danny Chisholm from Canning and Jeff Atkinson who hauls from Port LaTour. I’m not slighting our long haul weekly teams, but it wouldn’t be fair to those teams either. Trust me, another track had told these two Tours a few years ago to go home over running them the next day. There were some unhappy teams and fans that night.

Sure, it plain sucks for our Weekly Racing Series fans and drivers. They are my Friday night family and I’m proud to say I have a lot of close friends within it. I love shooting the breeze for hours with our Thunder guys, grabbing a chickenburger or a cheddar smokie in the pits after the races from Terri-Ann and Drew MacEachern, chatting with Thomas Watt and getting our fans pumped up, among many other things. I wouldn’t miss a chance to hang out with our Friday night show – it is the best in the Maritimes. I would know, I’ve seen them all. We really have something to be proud about, from Bandolero to Sportsman.

The moral of the story? The track has their hands tied in situations like this. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. You will not please everyone, there is no way you can. Double headers have been tried in the past, they do not work. While it is a dream card for a fan, it is a logistical nightmare to pull off.

I hope you enjoy the show today at the Speedworld, it will be a barnburner. For our Weekly Racing Series guys and girls, I hope this shed some light on their decision from an inside standpoint that had no bearing on the decision made. We will see you on June 5th to kick off the season.

Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!

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