Matt Watson Sweeps Eastern Mini Cup Season Opener in Miramichi
What a difference a year can make. Last year in the Eastern Super Mini Cup Series Season Opening race at Speedway Miramichi, the #88 car, which was driven by Don Gaudet, got involved in an incident in practice and was unable to compete. Last night, Matt Watson, who was driving the #88 for Gaudet, picked up a grand slam at the Kaat Auto Sales Season Opener, after sweeping the Heat, Semi, & Feature. The victory in the feature was the 2nd of Watson’s career, and extended his streak of consecutive podium finishes to 5. It also moved him to 3rd on the all-time feature wins list in the series. To make the night even more impressive, Watson did all this while competing at Speedway Miramichi for the very first time in a mini cup car.
Watson’s wins did not come easy, as he had to hold off a hard charging Chris Wilson during the intense and exciting feature. Wilson’s #2 was the faster car, but he could not successfully complete the pass for the lead. In the closing laps, the 2 drivers battled side by side, with Wilson on the inside. Coming off turn 4 with 2 laps to go, Wilson got loosed and wiggled a little bit. Watson pulled away and never looked back, taking the checkered flag. Wilson held on to finish 2nd, while Mike Weagle picked up a podium finish in his first mini cup race to round out the top 3.
Jared Tozer battled back from some mechanical issues during the heat and semi race to pick up a 4th place finish; which is his first career top 5 finish. Rounding out the top 5 was defending Rookie of the Year Mark Ferguson. Kyle Maher picked up a 6th place finish in his first career start, and Steven Curtis rebounded to finish 7th after spin early in the feature. Don Gaudet finished 8th after starting on the pole.
Mechanical problems forced 2 strong competitors to not finish the feature. Derek Goodwin had to pit with a broken chain just past halfway. At the time, he was running in the top 5, and he ended up finishing 9th. Kirk Sheasgreen’s night also didn’t go as planned, as problems forced him to miss the initial start of the feature, and then have to finish early. He finished 10th.
Only 1 caution slowed the feature, which was for the spin by Steven Curtis on lap 4. Watson led 19 of the 20 laps, with Wilson leading 1 lap.
The 10 lap semi was just as exciting as the feature. While Watson pulled out to a lead, a pack of about 5 cars battled for 2nd. They battled side by side for laps, even making it 3 wide at times. In the end, Mike Weagle prevailed to take 2nd over Derek Goodwin, Kyle Maher, and Steven Curtis.
Watson grabbed the checkered flag in the 10 lap heat race as well. Derek Goodwin finished 2nd in the heat, Chris Wilson finished 3rd, while Mike Weagle and Mark Ferguson rounded out the top 5.
As it stands now, Matt Watson has jumped out to the points lead after race #1. The rest of the field is close behind him though, with the #16 of Mike Weagle & Patricia Taylor sitting 2nd in points, and Chris Wilson in 3rd. Full points can be found on the standings page of the ESMCS website.
A big thank you goes out to Kaat Auto Sales for sponsoring tonight’s event! Be sure to stop in if you are in the market for a new car! They are located on Hwy. 126 in Rogersville. Also, check them out online at kaatautosales.ca
The next race for the Eastern Super Mini Cup Series is next Saturday night, June 27th, as the series heads over to Prince Edward Island for the first of 2 races at Oyster Bed Speedway. Racing gets underway at 6pm! Stay tuned during the week for more information and updates!
1. Matt Watson #88
2. Chris Wilson #2
3. Mike Weagle #16
4. Jared Tozer #22
5. Mark Ferguson #41
6. Kyle Maher #78
7. Steven Curtis #12
8. Don Gaudet #3
9. Derek Goodwin #24 (DNF)
10. Kirk Sheasgreen #43 (DNF)