Expect the Unexpected at the Back to School Smash!
Speedway Miramichi finally returns to action this Saturday, with a massive card on tap. Both drivers and fans have been anxiously waiting for this event for over a month and a half now, and it appears all the waiting may be worth it, with one of the biggest car counts in a long time expected on Saturday.
The first order of business is the 2018 Demolition points championship; somebody will be crowned champion on Saturday. As it stands now, Joey Pitre holds a mere 7-point lead following the Backwards Bash. At 24 years of age, the 3rd year driver would be one of the youngest Demo champions ever, if he could hang on. But his closest competition is a hungry veteran chasing his first championship. Kevin Tucker has come so close so many times and 2018 might finally be his year to lay claim to the title. The 3rd heavy hitter going for the title is Randy Girouard, another young sensation. Girouard is a popular 2nd generation driver, who has placed in the top 3 in points in recent years. He will have to make up 9 points on Pitre if he wants to be the 2018 champion.
Also in the midst of the title fight is Trenton Silliker and Marc-Andre Benoit. Silliker sits 3rd in points with 25 points, but he has missed the last 2 events. If he was to show up this weekend and perform like he did in May when he scored an astonishing 25 points, it might be enough to steal the title. As for Benoit, he sits 12 points back and has a steeper hill to climb to win, but he scored more points than any other competitor in July with 19 points!
Ultimately, anyone in about the top 15 has a mathematical shot at winning the 2018 championship. With drivers being able to score upwards of 27 points in one event, a dominant final night may be enough for a long shot to steal the title. Silliker proved with his 25-point performance in May that you can gain a lot of points fast. Long shots can’t be counted out on Saturday.
Potentially overshadowing the points drama, is the possibility that things could get wild on Saturday! Following the drama filled Backwards Bash in July, it sounds like the Back to School Smash could see some scores be settled. With drivers on different sides following the chaos of July, all indications suggest that even more drivers want in on the action. Upwards of two dozen demo cars are rumored be attendance for the Back to School Smash. Besides the top points contenders, the field of demo drivers is expected to include returning veteran Chris Sickles and daughter Amber, Riley Harris, Doug Matchett, Adam Plourde, Jay Skerry, Jonathan Dickson, Dave Comeau, Zach L’Hullier and more! Some drivers are planning on bringing multiple cars, meaning some entries won’t be known until race day. If you haven’t seen a Demo in a long time, Saturday is shaping up to be one that you can’t miss!
All racing divisions will contest double features on Saturday, due to the July postponement. Headlining the racing divisions is the Atlantic Modified Tour, who will contest a 35 lap feature, and a 50 lap feature. Joe Hoyt paces the Miramichi Modified points by 6 points over both Doug Matchett and the Stafford Racing #91, and 7 points over John Lyons. Running double features means that any one of those 4 drivers could leave Saturday with a comfortable lead, or they could be bunched up even closer.
A lot of heavy hitters who aren’t eligible for the title will have one thing on their mind, winning.
Leading the charge of drivers will be Kevin Bailey who is fresh off his win at Speedweekend. Former Miramichi Sportsman champion Yves McCray also scored his first feature win recently at Petty, and he would love to follow that up with a win on his old stomping grounds. Chris Wilson has been hot since he made his 2018 debut at Petty in August, and he will have momentum on his side Saturday. 2015 AMT champion Brandon Skidmore, who won 3 races at Miramichi in 2015, recently returned to the Modified division, and he will return to his favorite track Saturday. Steven Curtis has been making a lot of noise over the past few races and showing signs that he is poised for a breakthrough at any time. Rookie driver Kevin Brideau would also love to repeat his May podium finish, all while maintaining the gap for rookie of the year points. Also in the field will be local driver James “Hollywood” Matchett, who just recently purchased a Modified car. Matchett will be shaking his car down and hoping to get off to a good start with it.
Moncton area native Rob Poirier leads the Mini Stock division into this event with a 7-point lead. Poirier’s only close competition for points is local driver Guy Basque. Basque, who was 2nd in points in 2017, needs to make up 7 points to win the title. With Chris Garnett having no intentions of running this weekend, no other driver is within a race of Poirier in points, and while they are not mathematically eliminated yet, anyone that far back has a lot of ground to make up.
3rd in points may the battle to watch for the Mini Stocks this weekend. The 3 drivers chasing that position will be Mathieu Mallett, a heat winner from July, Michael Savoie, who has been fast all year with little luck, and Travis Conroy, a sophomore driver closing in on a breakthrough performance. A couple wild cards to watch will be rookies Mitchell Poirier and Michel-Andre Poirier, both of whom will have new cars on Saturday. Mitchell debuted his car in July but new car bugs and rain didn’t give him the chance to prove his car, and Michel-Andre’s new car is being delivered to the track on Saturday. Several others will be looking to spoil the party up front, including Casey Munn, Mark Conroy, and Kendall Arbeau. Rumor has it a few other entries may be in the pits on Saturday as well!
Brad MacLean can all but taste the 2018 Street Stock championship. MacLean has a full race lead on Chris Wilson, and only needs to stay out of trouble and run well to lock up the championship when everything is said and done on Saturday. MacLean and Wilson have been the top 2 cars for much of the season, but there will be some competitors looking to change that. Deryk Murphy and Jacob Smith are expected to hit the track on Saturday. Among the other entries that have been in the rumor mill include former driver Duane Hollier, Jared Tozer, and possibly out of town heavy hitters Brandon Carter and former Miramichi Mini Stock champion Mike Weagle.
Robert Legere and Darcy O’Neill sit in a dead heat for the Dukes championship. Legere leads O’Neill by just a single point. Some more competition is finally expected at this race, with the MacLean Racing #13 entry, as well as the MacKenzie Racing #1 entry. Legere and O’Neill have been evenly matched all year, and the extra competition is sure to make their feature even more entertaining.
All classes will run double features. Only drivers who attended in July will be eligible for the make-up features, which will be 25 laps for each of the Mini Stock, 35 laps for Modifieds, and 20 laps for the Dukes and Street Stock, who will run a combined feature together.
As always, the burnout competition will be contested. Drake Nowlan is the most recent burnout competition winner, and he will be back looking to defend his title.
Pit gates open at 12pm Saturday, with grandstands opening at 3pm, and the green flag dropping at 4pm. Kids rides are at 3:30. Admissions prices as always are $15 for adults, $10 for youth 8-17 years of age, and kids 7 and under are free. The family pass pricing of $35 is in effect as well. Pit admission is $20 and is restricted to those 8 years of age and older. Drivers in the Dukes, Mini Stock, Modified, and Street Stock classes qualify for free driver admission.
For more information, check out the Speedway Miramichi website at speedwaymiramichi2016.com or the official Facebook page “Speedway Miramichi Inc.” for more info!
Mini Stock Make-up Feature Lineup (25 Laps)
Rob Poirier #0
Mathieu Mallett #80
Travis Conroy #7
Guy Basque #27
Michael Savoie #00
Samantha Flieger #17
Chris Garnett #66
Casey Munn #29
Mark Conroy #14x
Wesley Peterson #59
Mitchell Poirier #14
Dukes/Street Stock Make-up Feature Lineup (20 Laps)
Robert Legere #04
Darcy O’Neill #68
Brad MacLean #13
Chris Wilson #2W
Deryk Murphy #33
AMT Make-up Feature Lineup will be set by Tour procedures.
About Speedway Miramichi
Speedway Miramichi is Eastern Canada’s Oldest Active Motorsports Venue, and Northern New Brunswick’s only paved oval track. Located in the city of Miramichi, New Brunswick, and just 5 minutes away from all city amenities, Speedway Miramichi hosts stock car racing and demolition events throughout the summer. There is no other facility in the world where you can watch a stock car race, burnout competition, figure-8 race, and a demolition derby during the same event. Visit our website (speedwaymiramichi2016.com), check us out on Facebook (Speedway Miramichi Inc.), or find us on Instagram (speedway.miramichi) for more details, and join us as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary in 2018!