Eastern Super Mini Cup Series Heads to Petty Sunday
Series Release/Photo by John O’Shea
Sunday, the Eastern Super Mini Cup Series heads to Petty Intl’ Raceway as part of the 3rd Annual Caleb Dunn Memorial Race. It will be the 4th race of the season for the series, marking the halfway point of 2015. For the Mini Cups, the feature will go 25 laps. 10 lap heat races will also be contested.
This is a wild card race for the series. It’s the only stop at Petty in 2015, and the track itself is a tough track that has been proven to cause trouble, even for the best drivers. 2014 champ Amanda Wheatley, and 2014 runner-up Chris Wilson have both had DNF’s at Petty, proving that winning here isn’t easy. It may be the smallest track the series races at, but the high banks of Petty always produce intense racing.
Last year, some of the closest racing of the season took place at Petty. During the heat race, there were 2 last lap lead changes, as Amanda Wheatley edged out Chris Wilson at the finish line. The feature was just as exciting too. One of the highlights came just before the halfway mark, where there was a 4 wide pass for the lead going down the front stretch. When all was said and done during the feature, Amanda Wheatley was in victory lane, becoming the 3rd feature winner at Petty. Other feature winners at Petty include James Matchett & Kirk Sheasgreen.
2015 has been Matt Watson’s season so far. He swept the season at his home track, winning both features at Oyster Bed Speedway, in addition to winning the season opener at Speedway Miramichi. Last year, Watson drove to a 2nd place finish at Petty. He is expected to be strong once again this weekend, as he attempts to make it 4 for 4.
However, we are starting to see a number of drivers being able to challenge Watson. Among those expected to do so this weekend are the drivers who call Petty their home track. Leading the charge is Mike Weagle in his #16 Honda. Mike has been very fast in every race he has run during his rookie campaign, and he would love to get his first win at none other than his home track. Mike is also leading the points in the Petty Mini Stock division, so he will be pulling double duty Sunday. Meanwhile, his rookie of the year challenger Kyle Maher will also look for a strong run at Petty. He’s coming off a career best 2nd place finish, which was during the OBS heat race. Maher joins Mark Ferguson as the drivers from nearby Saint John who are looking to pull into victory lane at their home track. Ferguson is looking to rebound from an 8th place finish at Oyster Bed Speedway, which was his first ever feature finish outside the top 5. He showed strength in the past at Petty, and looks for more this year.
2 drivers are hoping their past success at Petty International Raceway can turn their seasons around. As mentioned, Kirk Sheasgreen is a former winner at the track, and he will be the only one in Sunday’s field. While luck hasn’t been on his side this year, Petty just may be the place he turns it around. Then there’s Derek Goodwin, who has been struggling thus far too. He has consistently finished in the top 5, and is challenging for wins in heats and semis, but he has struggled in features. However, Goodwin has finished on the podium in both of his Petty starts. He too could turn his season around at Petty.
Jared Tozer has arguably been the most impressive driver in 2015. In his first full season of racing, he’s been running strong, and he now has momentum following his first podium finish at Oyster Bed Speedway. He finished 2nd after battling with Watson for much of the race. He’s driving the car that Watson finished 2nd with last year, so watch out for the #22 on Sunday.
Going through the field, you cannot forget about Steven Curtis and Chris Wilson. Curtis likes the 1/4 mile tracks, and that has been proven at Oyster Bed Speedway. He has racked up 3 consecutive 3rd place finishes at that track, and looks to carry the momentum into Petty. Back in May at a pre-season practice, the #12 was the fastest car, and there is no reason to believe that won’t be the case again Sunday. Last year at Petty, it is possible that Chris Wilson may have had the fastest car, but a wreck dashed his hopes. While we will never know what could have happened, we do know that the 2 should be fast again this weekend. He has picked up 2 checkered flags so far in 2015, and there could be more on the way.
Don Gaudet will be looking for another strong run as well. At Oyster Bed Speedway, he picked up his first top 5 finish since 2013, and he will be looking for more top 5 finishes this weekend!
Excitement is rapidly growing for this big event! Also on the racing schedule Sunday will be Street Stocks, Atlantic Modifieds, Mini Stocks, & Bandoleros. The main event will be a 100 lap Sportsman show, as a part of the New Brunswick Short Track Challenge! Grandstand admission is just $20 for adults, and the green flag drops at 4pm! Come on out for an exciting day of racing!
2 Chris Wilson
3 Don Gaudet
12 Steven Curtis
16 Mike Weagle*
22 Jared Tozer
24 Derek Goodwin
41 Mark Ferguson
43 Kirk Sheasgreen
78 Kyle Maher*
88 Matt Watson