Benoit, Wilson, Poirier Big Winners Of Saturday's Return to Racing!

The 2020 Atlantic stock car season got underway Saturday at Speedway Miramichi with a unique format and restrictions in place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A last-minute announcement on Friday meant changes could be made to accommodate spectators in the grandstands, but the format remained the same for the day’s events. With one division competing at a time and a double feature format followed by a full contingent of Demolition events, it was a stellar day to see stock car action back!

2018 track champion Rob Poirier (#0) had a memorable day as he picked up a grand slam in the Mini Stock division, taking his 10-lap dash race and both 30 lap feature races. The day was even sweeter for Poirier, after a tough 2019 season marred by engine issues. However, the wins would not come easy.

The first Mini Stock feature was a bit of a wild affair marred by some aggressive driving and cautions. While Poirier started in 3rd and quickly jumped out to the lead, the action heated up behind him. About 8 laps into the race, the first caution would fly as Mitchell Poirier (#28) came together with Guy Basque (#27), sending Basque into the infield ultimately ending his day. This would be the first of four cautions, but the only one directly caused by contact. On each ensuing restart, Rob Poirier dueled with BJ Gillespie (#69), but Gillespie couldn’t find a way around the Irishtown driver. In the end, Gillespie held on for second beating Mathieu Mallett (#80), who rounded out the podium after pitting part way through the race. Ryan Bernard (#22) went to the back several times after having to pit multiple times - and narrowly stayed on the lead lap thanks to a well-timed caution – and rebounded to finish 4th, while Randy Storey (#92) rounded out the top 5.

The second feature was a much cleaner affair, being slowed by only a single caution which was for a mechanical issue. Plenty of action occurred nonetheless, as the finishing results from the first feature was inverted for this race. But, Rob Poirier managed to go “from the outhouse to the penthouse” to capture the feature victory! The top 4 was the same, with BJ Gillespie, Mathieu Mallett, and Ryan Bernard finishing second through fourth after starting at the back, while rookie Mini Stock driver Mathieu Brideau (#99) impressed en route to a top 5 finish in his Mini Stock debut.

A pair of dash races kicked off the event. Rob Poirier held off Ryan Bernard in the first dash to pick up the victory, while BJ Gillespie and Randy Storey battled side by side for most of the second dash before Gillespie made the pass in the closing laps to pick up the victory. Fifteen Mini Stock drivers were in the pits for the first race of 2020. Evan Gallon (#9) was unable to start the day after mechanical issues during practice.


Despite a lower car count, the Street Stock division had an eventful afternoon that produced twists and turns all throughout the day. The first dramatic moment came before the green flag for the first feature. Michael Cormier (#68) put on a clinic to win the 10 lap dash race, and was heavily favored to pick up a feature win – which would’ve been his first at the North Shore oval. While crossing up for the initial start, Cormier pitted from the pole position before returning to the track. After pitting again, Cormier barely made it out to take the green flag, only to head to the pits for the final time, his day cut short by mechanical issues. With the door opened up, defending track champion Chris Wilson (#2W) took the lead early and drove away to take the victory over Bryar Ellis (#95) and Christian Savoie (#25). For Ellis and Savoie, their finishes were both career bests and their first podium finishes.

The second 30 lap feature produced an entertaining race. With the field being inverted, Bryar Ellis took advantage and charged to the lead on the opening lap, while first feature winner Chris Wilson was marred in traffic. Within laps Ellis opened a straightaway lead and set sail. With time being of the essence, Wilson ended up making a 3-wide move to advance his position, before setting his sights on Ellis. Over the next portion of the race Wilson began to make ground as Ellis’s car began to lose handling. On the 18th lap, Wilson got to Ellis and capitalized on lapped traffic to take the lead and never look back en route to victory. While Ellis drove to second once again, Christian Savoie and Robert Legere put on an entertaining battle for the 3rd position for the entire race, with Savoie getting the upper hand to claim the final podium place.


Julien Benoit (#47) captured the final Demolition victory after runner-up Marc-Andre Benoit (#81) had his car catch fire when the field was narrowed to 2 cars. Jonathan Leclair (#10) picked up 3rd place. Eleven out of the fifteen cars in the pits started the final Demolition, which featured many classic hard hits. For Benoit, an 18-year veteran of Demolitions, it was his first victory in an overall Demolition Derby.

Jean-Francois Basque (#21) cruised to victory in the 8-lap Dash for Cash, while Sam Jardine (#12) was victorious in the 4-car powder puff race. Mathieu Brideau (#99) was pulling double duty on Saturday, and he put on a driving clinic during the Back-up race by capturing a convincing victory in the 5-lap affair. A race-time decision was made to incorporate a 5-lap Kidney race into the evenings card, and it was Marc-Andre Benoit (#81) making a late pass to capture the victory. The popular Figure-8 race proved thrilling once again, with many near misses in the centre of the “X.” When the checkers flew after 8 laps, Mitch Brideau (#22) would be victorious.

A camera crew from Tim’s Corner TV filmed all events from Saturday, which will air online early in the week! Stay tuned for the on-demand race replays!

With the new regulations announced by the Province of New Brunswick on Friday June 19th, Speedway Miramichi will resume semi-normal operation for the remainder of the 2020 season. Some regulations, including physical distancing and limited capacity operation will remain in place under the current yellow phase of COVID-19 recover. The next scheduled event at Speedway Miramichi is Saturday July 25th! More details to come soon! In the meantime, stay tuned on our website (speedwaymiramichi.com), Facebook (Speedway Miramichi Inc.) and Instagram (speedway.miramichi).

Mini Stock Feature #1

1. Rob Poirier #0

2. BJ Gillespie #69

3. Mathieu Mallett #80

4. Ryan Bernard #22

5. Randy Storey #92

6. Maggie Suttie #41

7. Conrad Murphy #89

8. Bryan Suttie #61

9. Matthew Martin #33

10. Mitchell Poirier #28

11. Grayson Dutcher #55

12. Mathieu Brideau #99

13. Tyler Lannan-McLeod #24

14. Guy Basque #27

DNS - Evan Gallon #9


Mini Stock Feature #2 (Revised June 24th, 2020)

1. Rob Poirier #0

2. BJ Gillespie #69

3. Mathieu Mallett #80

4. Ryan Bernard #22

5. Mathieu Brideau #99

6. Zean Dutcher #55

7. Conrad Murphy #89

8. Maggie Suttie #41

9. Bryan Suttie #61

10. Tyler Lannan-McLeod #24

11. Mitchell Poirier #28

12. Randy Storey #92

13. Matthew Martin #33

DNS – Guy Basque #27, Evan Gallon #9


Street Stock Feature #1

1. Chris Wilson #2W

2. Bryar Ellis #95

3. Christian Savoie #25

4. Robert Legere #04

5. Jamie Jardine #10

6. Michael Cormier #68


Street Stock Feature #2

1. Chris Wilson #2W

2. Bryar Ellis #95

3. Christian Savoie #25

4. Robert Legere #04

5. Jamie Jardine #10

DNS - Michael Cormier #68


Final Demo Podium

1. Julian Benoit #47

2. Marc-Andre Benoit #81

3. Jonathan Leclair #10


Dash for Cash – Jean-Francois Basque #21


Powder Puff – Sam Jardine #12


Back-Up Race – Mathieu Brideau #99


Kidney Race – Marc-Andre Benoit #81


Figure 8 Race – Mitch Brideau #22

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Background Photo Credit Mike Francis (Used with permission)