Modified Mayhem Thunders to Miramichi Saturday Night!
Saturday night stock car racing is back at Speedway Miramichi this Canada Day weekend! A special show is on tap for July 2nd at 7pm – the Atlantic Modified Tour thunders into the historic oval to celebrate a little history of their own! The All-Star Auto Center Triple 20’s will be a unique race with a unique format – the stars and cars of the Atlantic Modified Tour will run three twenty-lap features, with the overall results being determined by a points system being kept. A complete inversion will occur after each feature, and the winner will be the driver who survives with the lowest points total (which equals the best average finish).
Drivers will be forced to get up on the wheel during each feature to maximizing their finish position, and leading the way is the defending Speedway Miramichi Modified champion Chris Wilson (#2W). Wilson carried his strong momentum in 2022 by winning at the Spring Smash – the first AMT race in Miramichi in 2022 – and Wilson currently leads the overall AMT points through three events. In May, it was Yves McCray (#58) coming home in the runner-up finish in Wilson’s mirror. McCray is one of the most accomplished drivers in Speedway Miramichi history, and a win would add to his already impressive resume. Joe Hoyt (#17) rounded out the podium on opening day – and “Joe Dirt” has been the most consistent driver in Miramichi in the past four seasons. The 2019 Speedway Miramichi champion, Hoyt has notched a podium finish in eight of his last ten starts in Miramichi, and has overcome adversity for each of those trophies. The inversion format could lend itself to the veteran competitor to have a strong run.
Braxton Stafford (#91) will be a driver to watch, having won the most recent feature for the Modifieds at Speedway 660 - and having won two of the last three races at Speedway Miramichi. Stafford also notched a heat race win in May before his car faded in the feature. Another local young star in defending AMT champion Tavis Conroy (#7) will vye for the win. Conroy missed the opening round at Speedway Miramichi, but captured a podium last weekend at Speedway 660. Michael Savoie (#00) is also rumored to be joining the field representing the young talent, while rookie Tristin Harris (#7H) looks to do battle in the big show.
Local favorite “The Racing Ranger” from Renous Kim Hallihan (#97) has been on the hunt for a feature win in Atlantic Modified Tour competition. Hallihan is a nineteen-time winner in Sportsman competition at Speedway Miramichi, and the past week has marked twenty-nine years since one of his bigger wins in the 1993 Firecracker 50. Opportunity knocks again for Hallihan on Saturday. Opportunity also knocks for “Mr. Excitement” Doug Matchett. The 2018 Speedway Miramichi champion looks to turn his season around in the biggest race of the summer. Steven Curtis (#12) is setting up to make his 2022 Atlantic Modified Tour debut after running his Pinto style car with the Hot Rod Classics a few weeks ago, and former Miramichi feature winner Kevin Bailey (#4) will haul to Miramichi for the big event.
The winner of each of the first two segments of the event will receive a $100 gift card to All-Star Auto Center, and a lucky fan will also be chosen to win a $25 gift card. An autograph session and driver introductions for the Atlantic Modified Tour will be held on the front stretch leading up to the first twenty lap feature.
Bomber drivers will contest their third round of the 2022 season one week after Timmy Blakely (#69) earned his first feature win of the summer and opened a massive lead in points. Blakely sits nineteen points ahead of his closest competitor, while second through twelfth are wadded up in a tight battle – being separated by just nine points! A championship has been a long-time coming for Blakely, but there is a lot of racing ahead and a lot can still happen between now and October.
Riley Connell (#43) finds himself second place in points in his sophomore season. After beginning racing late last year, Connell has proven himself fast – he was en route to a feature victory last weekend before running out of gas – so redemption will be in his mind on Saturday. Third place in points is just one point behind Connell, and it’s a tie between Billy Pelletier (#18) and Corey Barton (#995). Pelletier and Barton each have a podium finish to their names, Pelletier took third in May before heading pit side early at The Day of 8’s, while Barton notched his first podium finish in just his second start one week ago. They look to keep up their early season successes.
Barton wasn’t the only driver who came away with his first podium last Saturday. Fourteen-year-old Alex Duguay (#11) drove to an impressive second place finish in what was also his second start. The youth movement as a whole is swamping the Bomber division. Dylan Doucet (#02) grabbed a heat race victory – the first heat race win of his career to go with his feature win from last year. Axten MacLean (#13) showed speed and ran up front, but bad luck put him down several laps. MacLean is poised for a breakout performance any event. The most accomplished young driver in the division has been Blake Bransfield (#60), who had a solid fourth place effort at The Day of 8’s in his back-up car. Ericka Lesage (#19) has not had much luck in her rookie year for Bombers, but bring a wave of confidence after winning the most recent Powder Puff race.
Tyson Donovan (#63) was runner-up in points one season ago, but 2022 has not been so kind to the driver. However, Donovan continues to make the most of every race and brought home a top 5 finish this past weekend. Kevin Tucker (#87) has also been persevering, nearly winning a heat race and scoring a sixth-place finish to find himself in fifth in points. Johnathan Dickson (#3) made his first Bomber start of the summer this past weekend, and showed a lot of speed before suffering damage in the heat race. Samantha Blakely (#96) has been itching to match her husbands success, and come Saturday looks to rebound from a flat tire which cut her run short. Dan Dionne (#55) will make the haul to make his second start of the season.
The Harris and McKenzie family will be well represented for the Saturday night showcase. Riley Harris (#1) makes his 2022 debut with a brand-new car. Harris was last on track when he came just one point shy of a championship in Demolition action. The grandson of Maritime Motorsports Hall of Famer Frank McKenzie, Riley will carry on the legacy of the #1 car. Riley’s father Eugene (#40) and brother Ransen (#71) will join him, making a three-car day for the Harris team!
JR Lawson (#81) has now won eighteen consecutive Mini Stock starts at Speedway Miramichi and has claimed control of the division early in the season. With each race that passes, there is a heightened level of anxiety amongst drivers to try and do the unthinkable – and beat the unbeatable. Rob Poirier (#0) put forth perhaps his best effort to date to end the streak last weekend – Poirier started up front and grabbed the lead early on, leading 20 laps of the feature. However, Lawson would catch Poirier with 10 laps to go and after a heated side-by-side battle, Lawson would emerge victorious yet again.
Early on it appears there is a “big three” – a trio of competitors putting themselves ahead of the competition has threats to Lawson. In addition to Rob Poirier, JR’s wife Chantel Lawson (#30) and Miramichi’s Mitchell Poirier (#28) have stepped it up and thus far have been the biggest threats. Chantel Lawson has finished second and third in the two features so far and has been riding momentum since her first feature win in a non-points race last October. Similarly, Mitchell Poirier has been hot since a win during the Outlaw race in October, having a third and a fourth-place finish in features in 2022 – and Mitchell will have the added lure of not having to start at the back this week for finishing on the podium.
Guy Basque (#27) has been in the mix early in 2022 but is busy going to the drawing board trying to find improvements and work bugs out of the car. Conrad Murphy (#89) is also trying to improve his results – the first two races of the year have not been kind to Murphy after a strong end to 2022. A young driver is impressing early on – fourteen-year-old Nathan Richard (#35) had a strong top 5 finish at The Day of 8’s and is set for what he hopes will be another strong run. Jamie Turner (#26) has struggled lots thus far in 2022, but hopes the third time will be the charm on the season. Rookie Kevin Kinney (#17) looks to continue improvement, while Tom Ackles (#130) will be back on track. Mathieu Mallet (#80) missed The Day of 8’s, but is hoping a week off will bring the #80 back to it’s glory.
A note that Demolition competitors will have the night off – but will return to action on July 23rd as part of T&L Abatement Firecracker Night and the Firecracker Demolition.
Pit gates open at 4:00pm on Saturday with grandstands opening to spectators at 6:00pm. Racing begins at 7pm with stock car heat racing. Grandstand admission is $20 for adults, $10 for youth ages 8 to 17 years old and seniors over the age of 65, while kids 7 and under are free. Pit passes are $25 and pit access is restricted to those over the age of 18, and those aged 8 to 17 with proper parental waiver forms.
A crew from Tim’s Corner Motorsports will be at the facility with a LIVE Broadcast from Speedway Miramichi. The racing action and the TimsCorner.tv (TCMtv) live broadcast begins at 7:00pm Saturday. A portion of sales go back to support Speedway Miramichi and the race tracks the TCMtv crew visits. Please note, all pass prices will be listed in USD. TimsCorner.tv is a member of the Speed Sport TV network.
For more information, stay tuned to Speedway Miramichi’s social platforms, “Speedway Miramichi Inc.” on Facebook, “speedway.miramichi” on Instagram and Tik Tok, and our website at speedwaymiramichi.com.