Spring Smash Opens 2019 Speedway Miramichi Season!
The 2018 season was barely finished for a week when snowstorms began to hit the Miramichi region. After a long 7 months, it’s finally time to crank up the heat once again. Action is slated to return to the 1/3 mile oval Speedway Miramichi this weekend, with the annual running of the Spring Smash Demolition!
It promises to be a full afternoon of action on the Victoria Day long weekend, as drivers prepare to shake the dust off and show off shiny new rides. Besides the demolition action, fans will be entertained by grassroots stock car racing from the Atlantic Modified Tour, Street Stock class, Mini Stock class, and Dukes division.
The Atlantic Modified Tour has been one of the fastest growing divisions, and the drivers are preparing to wage an intense war during the first race of their season. “Mr. Excitement” Doug Matchett enters as the defending track champion, but it could be Sportsman veterans Kim Hallihan, Yves McCray and Zean Dutcher leading the charge on Sunday. These long-time fan favorites will look to pursue wins and championships in 2019 and return to their glory from when the Sportsman class competed at Speedway Miramichi.
The stiff competition doesn’t stop there. Defending Tour champion Joe Hoyt and Brandon Skidmore will be 2 past Atlantic Modified Tour champions in the field on Sunday, along with defending Petty champion Braxton Stafford. Rising stars John Lyons, Kevin Bailey, Steven Curtis, and Kevin Brideau enter the 2019 season with high hopes of improving on great 2018 seasons, and each driver will look to breakthrough with an early win on Sunday.
The battle for rookie of the year is expected to be a close one for the Modified division, with local favorites Travis Conroy and Tyson Donovan moving up to the Modified division. Conroy is a 16-year-old Mini Stock standout, while Donovan has dabbled in various classes over the past few years and looks to make a much-anticipated return to the track. Early indications point to this being one of the best rookie of the year battles the track has ever seen.
The Street Stock class is always a fan favorite at the speedway, with Brad MacLean entering as the defending track champion. MacLean is coming off a campaign that saw him score 2 wins and lock up the title a full race early in 2018. The competition is prepped to close the gap and challenge MacLean in 2019. An early favorite to dethrone MacLean is South Esk’s Chris Wilson, who flexed his muscle with a strong outing during last October’s race, before his day ended prematurely. James Matchett will be another driver to watch, entering the season with a car that has been rebuilt from the ground up - and should be very competitive. Sophomore driver Brandon Carter, who hails from the Southern part of the province, is a possible entry who may make the trip Sunday to the track where he scored his first ever checkered flag in a heat race last fall.
As exciting as the Modified rookie battle may be, the Street Stock division may top it with a tight 3 horse race shaping up. Jamie Jardine has a fresh Street Stock ready to go for his racing debut, and he will be challenged by former Mini Stock champion JR Lawson from Nova Scotia, and local driver Jared Tozer. Tozer made his debut in October’s 100 lap race, scoring a respectable 13th place finish. More Street Stock drivers are expected to be on track as the year progresses, increasing the level of competition even higher.
Historically, the Mini Stock class has produced some of the biggest car counts and closest racing. Even with the growth of other classes, that is expected to be the case once again on Sunday. Rob Poirier enters as the defending track champion, but he will face fierce competition from 2015 champion JR Lawson, who will be pulling double duty in 2019. These 2 have been in many tight battles over the years, and fans should be in for a treat once again. But, there is a long line of hungry drivers from the North Shore looking to breakthrough in 2019. Guy Basque is coming off two consecutive 2nd place points finishes. Basque is looking for his first feature win, and the championship, and he’s hungrier than ever. Michael Savoie and Mathieu Mallett have each been top competitors in recent years, and both would love nothing more than to take some hardware home this year.
Sophomore drivers Mitchell Poirier and Michel-Andre Poirier are ready to improve on their rookie campaigns and enter 2019 looking to challenge for wins. The ladies cannot be counted out either - with Samantha Flieger and Chantel Ackles are expected to be in attendance. Both Fleiger and Ackles impressed in their lone starts in 2018, and they know their way around the track. An entry from the Conroy Racing stable is also expected, with the driver being confirmed closer to race day. And finally, Shawn Benoit will look to get his rookie campaign started on Sunday after making his racing debut last year.
After winning the title by the slimmest of margins in 2018, Robert Legere will return to the Dukes class to chase his 5th track championship. It will not be easy though, with Darcy O’Neill looking to avenge last years defeat. The pair won every race in 2018, and 2019 is shaping up to be another head to head duel. Taking them on will be an entry from the MacLean Racing stable, with the driver to be determined. A number of Dukes cars are in the process of being built, and the car count should grow as the year goes on - which should produce an exciting rookie of the year race.
The star of the show will be the Spring Smash Demolition. In 2018, Trenton Silliker dominated the afternoon before Marc-Andre Benoit bested him in the final Demo. Silliker is optimistic that he will be in attendance this weekend, pending work commitments. Meanwhile, Joey Pitre enters as the reigning Demolition champion after a thrilling conclusion to the 2018 season. Pitre has some big plans for 2019 and he promises to be exciting to watch!
A big question looms, will 2019 be Kevin Tucker’s year? The long-time veteran has been so close, so many times to capturing his elusive Demolition championship. It will not be easy, with a long list of competitors expected to challenge. Riley Harris, Jonathan Dickson, Jay Skerry, Zachary L’Hullier, and Alexander MacIntosh are among many drivers who have signaled intentions of competing in 2019. 2-time Demolition champion Jean-Francois Basque is expected to also make his return in 2019. Fans can also expect some out of town competition, with Hillsborough’s Steven Gorwill expected to be in attendance for the Spring Smash.
The fan favorite burnout competition will be contested before the Demolition. Entry into the burnout competition is limited to the first 8 competitors to register.
Action at Speedway Miramichi gets underway Sunday at 2pm sharp. Kids Rides will precede the action at 1:30pm, with pit gates opening at 10:30am and grandstands opening at 1pm. Grandstand admission prices are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and youth of ages 8 to 17 years, while children under the age of 8 are free. The popular family plan pricing is in effect again for the 2019 season, with a family of 4 being admitted for just $35! Pit passes are $20, and restricted to those 18 years or older, and those 8-17 with proper documentation.
Stay tuned to the Speedway Miramichi Facebook page, website, and Instagram page as race day closes in, for updates relating to this event, and all other events at the speedway!