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Atlantic Racing Scene

Weekly Races Worth Checking Out

As you read this, the 2010 Maritime auto racing season will have reached the half-way point, but there is still a lot of great action to come before the cars are put away for the winter.

There is no doubt that the touring pro-stock series draws the largest crowds and garners the most space from the local media, and maybe that’s the way it should be. After all, these touring series, such as the Maritimes’ CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour, arguably offer the fastest cars and most experienced drivers.

Scotia Speed World introduced their truck division this season, following Island Speedway who have featured the class for several years.

The CARQUEST Tour, however, with an 11-race championship, only visits specific tracks a couple of times each summer, possibly only once. And out of province pro-stock tours will only make one or two appearances a year in the Maritime Provinces.

So that leaves a lot of weekends open for other types of cars to provide the action for regular fans of the various tracks. Recently, Auto Atlantic dropped by Scotia Speedworld for their weekly Friday night program to check out what was in store for the track’s regular fans. What we saw that night left us wanting more. While the classes that ran that night may not have been as powerful or as fast as the pro stock division, the action was every bit as exciting and there is no reason to think that the action at other Maritime tracks would be any less enjoyable. Like the pro stock series, weekly racing divisions at Maritime tracks crown champions in a number of divisions at the end of the season, and usually offer a number of special events, including extended length features, throughout their summer schedule.

Cars are divided into different classes, mainly based on engine power, with classes from four-cylinder to eight-cylinder engines, putting a premium on driver skills. Different tracks may have different names for their classes, but the basic rules are pretty much the same for all the tracks. Only one track, Speedway 660 at Geary, NB has its own pro-stock division.

Scotia Speedworld's Bandolero division provides a perfect entry level series for young racers between the ages of eight and 16. introduced to the area by scotia speedworld in 2006, bandoleros are now raced at speedway 660 as well.

Possibly the most popular, both with the fans and drivers, of the weekly classes, is the Sportsman Division which certainly boasts of the largest number of cars.
Sportsman cars are built on domestic passenger car frames and are fitted with an eight-cylinder engine.  They are fast and provide close racing night after night. They resemble their big-brother pro-stocks in outward looks but their engines are slightly less-powerful than the pro-stocks. Many Sportsman drivers use the Sportsman class as a spring board to the next step, but there are as many racers who are happy to remain in the class, enjoying the close competition of the more affordable  Sportsman Class.

Most Maritime ovals feature their own Sportsman class, but there are drivers who may race at more than one track if the run is different nights. In addition there is the eight-event NAPA Sportsman Super Series that competes at various Maritime tracks during the summer. Likewise, the Maritime League of Legends feature a touring portion in their schedule, travelling to Riverside Speedway, Oyster Bed Bridge Speedway on PEI and Speedway 660, with the main part of their schedule comprising  13 races at Scotia Speedworld. Three of the Scotia Speedworld races are included in the touring series, which also includes a date at Atlantic Motorsport Park’s 2.5 km road circuit.

Legends are 5/8 scale fibreglass full-fendered versions of NASCAR’s legendary modifieds, sporting a 1,200CC Yamaha engine while weighing just 1,300 lbs. Other than the outer skins, which are modeled after a number of the car models which ran in the NASCAR series, the cars are identical, ensuring close, exciting racing.

Other classes that run at Scotia Speedworld include a truck class, Bandolero and Thunder and Lightning classes. Scotia Speedworld introduced the Bandolero class to the region in 2006, and this summer Speedway 660 has introduced the entry-level class as well. The cars are turnkey, spec , single-seat racers with a streamlined, sportscar-like body and a rear 570cc engine. Bandoleros are raced by eight to 16-year olds, and while they race on a shortened oval at Scotia Speedworld, they are a crowd pleaser.

The Halifax facility has introduced truck racing to the region this season. Running an eight-cylinder 305 cu. In. engine with an automatic transmission, the truck division has replaced the Hobby Stock class at Scotia Speedworld. “Island Speedway near Sydney, NS also runs a truck class, as well as Thunder and Lightning, Street and Mini classes, while Centre for Speed at Shediac, NB also runs mini stock and winged outlaw classes in its schedule.” If the classes at the various tracks in the Maritime provinces come under different names, one thing is constant. Visitors to the various tracks will be treated to close and exciting competition no matter what the class is.

A funny thing happened during our last visit to Scotia Speedworld’s Friday night action July 23. Well, maybe funny’s not the right word, but it was certainly unique.

As it happened, Russell Smith Jr., a regular, and the points leader, in the Lightening Class, decided to move up to the Sportsman Class, and, in a field of 28 cars, won his first Sportsman Feature, in his first Sportsman Class race. Following a brief interlude to receive the winner’s trophy for the 30-lap event, Smith rushed back to the paddock, jumped into his more familiar No. 144 Lightening Class vehicle and promptly took his second checkered flag of the night to increase his point’s lead in the class. Smith’s double victory sent Speedworld officials rushing for the record books. No one could find any mention of the same driver winning consecutive feature races in different classes previous to Smith’s heroics, apparently setting a new track record.

Smith, who sported number 44 on his Sportsman car in honour of his uncle Wayne Smith, no stranger himself to victory lane, with five Pro-Stock titles on his resume, was not finished for the weekend. The next night, Russell was at Speedway 660 in New Brunswick, working in Uncle Wayne’s pit crew for the CARQUEST Pro-Stock event there. Just one example of the connections between the touring and local weekly racing classes, and the excellent driving abilities that are exhibited on a weekly basis by the drivers who compete in the weekly events. Check with the track in your area to determine what night they run and the classes you can expect to see. Auto Atlantic has links to most of the Maritime provinces tracks in their web site at www.autoatlantic.com.

 



Much, much more in the print addition of Auto Atlantic.
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