Star Studded Shootout Set for Speedway Miramichi Finale!
It all comes down to this! Saturday October 5th at 2pm, it’s Speedway Miramichi’s biggest event of the year and the 2019 season finale, all rolled into one! It’s “The Very Best Fall Shootout,” a showcase of the best grassroots racing Atlantic Canada has to offer, followed up with the wild and crazy demolition action Miramichi is known for. Headlined by the Demolition Blowout and the Street Stock 100, Saturday will feature the crowning of points champions, thousands of dollars in purse money up for grabs, and for the Street Stock drivers, one massive trophy!
The Very Best Fall Shootout could be considered a Street Stock All-Star race, with the 17-car entry list representing a “who’s who” of Maritime Street Stock racing. With a dozen out-of-town heavy hitters making the trip, the Miramichi Mafia will be looking defend home turf. Leading the way will be Chris Wilson (#2W) and James Matchett (#55). Wilson and Matchett have been the top 2 competitors all season long, and while Wilson has the edge with 4 podium finishes and the points lead, Matchett has the edge in the win’s column, claiming the 2 most recent feature races. With this race also serving as the 2019 points finale, Wilson enters the Street Stock 100 with a 25-point lead, enough of a margin that he could clinch the championship simply by starting the main event, should he not lose ground during heat races.
Jamie Jardine (#10) sits 2nd in points and is the top rookie at the speedway after a respectable rookie year, and he will be making his first extended distance feature start. Jared Tozer (#51) and Bryar Ellis (#95) shook down their cars in September in preparation for this event. Ellis turned heads with a top 10 run early on in the 2017 100 lapper, before a parts failure ended his day. Tozer is fresh off his first career podium finish just a few weeks ago. Also representing the Miramichi will be Zean Dutcher (#55), fresh off a victory in September’s 50 lap Modified feature! Dutcher, the 2002 River Glade International champion, has secured a car to compete with for 100 laps of racing on Saturday
As mentioned, the field with be deep in talent and the local boys will have to beat many strong invaders to earn the win. Each of the 3 other Maritime tracks who crowned Street Stock champions in 2019 will be represented by their respective track champions. Oyster Bed Speedway’s Alex Sheehan (#06), Speedway 660’s Chris Hanley (#71), and Petty International Raceway’s Michael Cormier (#68) will all be challenging for the win. Cormier already has multiple big victories in 2019, with 10 feature wins total, while Sheehan has a victory at Speedway Miramichi in the Brunswick 100. For Hanley, this will be his first career start at Speedway Miramichi!
Several former champions from all over the Maritimes will also be in the field, with 2017 Petty International Raceway champion Logan Power (#58), 2018 Speedway 660 champion Shawn Hyslop (#99), and 6-time Scotia Speedworld Truck champion Dan Smith (#39) all expected to be making the trip to Miramichi. The most recent Street Stock winner in the Maritimes, Ryan Richard (#80) brings momentum from his Mike Stevens Memorial win just a few weeks ago. Several drivers who have had strong runs in Miramichi in the past also cannot be counted out. Justin Cole (#38) finished runner-up in this race one season ago, while Brandon Carter (#19) was a feature winner during his last trip to Miramichi back in May. Riley Goodwin (#77) put his car on the podium 2 seasons ago in October, while PEI’s Mitchell Arsenault (#51) was poised to crack the podium during last seasons 100 lapper before a mechanical failure.
With upwards of $7000 on the line, the stakes will be high for these drivers. Paying $25 a lap to lead with $1000 going to the winner, there is a possibility that with bonuses, the race winner could walk away with over $3800! Qualifying will be ever so important for this race, as the past 2 seasons, the winner was the driver who earned the pole position for the 100 lapper.
The stakes will also be high for the Atlantic Modified Tour drivers. 2 points championships will be crowned for the Modified drivers on Saturday; the Miramichi track champion, as well as the overall Atlantic Modified Tour champion. In both sets of standings, the top 5 drivers are so close you could throw a blanket over them. Leading the way for both championships is Nova Scotia’s Brandon Skidmore (#84).
When it comes to the Miramichi Modified points, Skidmore can clinch the title by finishing 2nd or better in both his heat and feature. But with the unpredictability that has been the 2019 Atlantic Modified Tour, anything can happen. Trailing him by just 5 points is the 2-time and defending Atlantic Modified Tour champion, Joe Hoyt (#17). Despite winning the tour title last year, Hoyt lost the Miramichi championship in the final race by just a single point, and one year later he has a shot at redemption. 7 points back is the most recent winner on the Atlantic Modified Tour, and the defending Miramichi Modified champion, Doug Matchett (#75)! Matchett enters the final race in a similar position to that of one year ago, when he went on to win the Miramichi title. Braxton Stafford (#91) and Kim Hallihan (#97) are 10 and 11 points back respectively, and if things go their way they could also leave as track champions.
While he is a long shot to win the Miramichi title, the newly crowned Petty Modified champion Yves McCray (#58) is eyeing an opportunity to become the Atlantic Modified Tour champion for 2019. Should McCray win both his heat and his feature, he will surpass Skidmore to take the championship. Similar to the Miramichi points, Skidmore can ensure he wins the Atlantic Modified Tour championship, but the only way for him to clinch is to win his heat and feature. Matchett, Hoyt, and Stafford all also enter the final race within striking distance for the overall tour championship.
While the points championships are top of mind for some, the talent deep field will be looking to spoil the party in victory lane. Zean Dutcher (#55) won the 50-lap feature 3 weeks ago, and he will carry that momentum into the finale. Travis Conroy (#7) has clinched rookie of the year, and he would love to end his first year in victory lane. driver Kevin Brideau (#14) will look to wrap up a year of improvements with his strongest performance yet, while Tyson Donovan (#63) will look to overcome recent mechanical issues. John Lyons (#88) and Kevin Bailey (#2) hope to wrap up their part-time seasons on a strong note by stealing a win, should they make the call for the green Saturday. Greg Butler (#10) is also considering making the haul up north, for what would be his first career start in Miramichi.
A major storyline for the Modifieds that cannot be overlooked is the entry for the 2019 McLaughlin Roof Trusses Pro Stock 250 champion at Speedway 660, Ashton Tucker. Tucker will be climbing behind the wheel of Chris Wilson’s #2W Modified with support from his Brad Silliker Motorsports team. Tucker has made 3 Modified starts at Speedway Miramichi, and he went to victory lane in every one of them. Should Tucker win on Saturday, it could complicate the points battles even more for those trying to make up ground in the standings.
When it comes to the Mini Stock class, Nova Scotia’s JR Lawson (#81) will be seeking a clean sweep on the 2019 season. He has won every feature to date and looks to cap things off during Saturday’s 50 lap feature. Lawson has Miramichi based sponsorship, making wins in Miramichi very meaningful. Despite his dominance, Lawson does not have the championship locked up. His teammate Chantel Ackles (#30) has been hot on his tail all season, finishing 2nd in every feature and keeping the points margin to just 14 points. While Lawson may need bad luck for Ackles to overcome the deficit, anything can happen.
Local driver Michael Savoie (#00) sits 21 points back in 3rd followed by Guy Basque (#27), Mathieu Mallett (#80), and Mitchell Poirier (#28). These drivers will be fighting to try and take the 3rd spot in points, and potentially capitalize in points should trouble strike Lawson and Ackles. Also expected to be in attendance is an entry out of the Dutcher Racing, with the driver not confirmed as of press time. A new driver will also be making his debut on Saturday, with 18-year-old Conrad Murphy (#89) from Sunny Corner taking to the track for the first time.
The final Miramichi Mini Stock race of the season is typically one of the best, and this is expected to be the case once again, with several heavy hitters expected to make the trip up north. Defending track champion Rob Poirier (#0) hasn’t been in Miramichi since May, but he will be in attendance to challenge for the feature win - a race he won in 2017. Passione Flooring & Interiors East Coast Mini Stock Tour champion Dave Matthews (#99) came runner-up to Lawson one year ago, and he is expected to return to try and grab a win in Miramichi! 2014 Speedway Miramichi Mini Stock champion Brad Daley (#72) will jump back behind the wheel for this race, while recent first-time feature winner at Petty International Raceway Chris Garnett (#66) will also be making the trip to compete. Ryan McKnight (#46) has been turning head in the Southern parts of the province this year, and he will make his Miramichi debut on Saturday. And rumours suggest that the JR Lawson Racing stable will have a third entry in attendance for the 50-lap feature! Even more entries for this race are expected come race time on Saturday.
The Dukes class will also wrap up their 2019 season on Saturday. With almost a full race lead in points, Robert Legere (#04) has virtually clinched the championship, barring any unforeseen circumstances. The championship will be the 5th of Legere’s career once he officially seals the deal. Despite this, the last race of the seasons promises to be a good one, as Darcy O’Neill (#68) looks to avenge his loss in September. O’Neill led the majority of the feature, only for Legere to make a last lap pass to score the victory. Rookie of the year Jonathan Dickson has sold his car and will be moving on to a different class, and as of press time it is unknown if his former car will be in attendance with a new owner.
The Demolition Blowout will also be on the card for Saturday’s event! Stay tuned for a full preview of that event, coming soon! Upwards of 2 dozen cars or more are expected to compete!
Drivers and fans will also be treated to a special Friday kick-off. There will be an open practice from 4pm to 8pm, followed up by a pit party with live entertainment by Sam Flieger! Admission is $10 per person and that covers both the practice and party afterwards.
Laps also remain on sale for the Street Stock 100! Purchasing a lap is an affordable way to sponsor the track and get your name out! Laps are $25 each and go to the leader of that lap! Message Doug Matchett (firstname.lastname@example.org) to purchase your laps today!
The green flag for The Very Best Fall Shootout will be waved at 2pm on Saturday, with pit gates opening at 10am, and grandstand gates at 1pm. Admission for adults is $15, while youth ages 8 to 17 and seniors can be admitted for just $10! All kids ages 7 and under are free, while the popular family pass can admit a family of 4 for just $35, plus $2 per additional child. Pit admission is $20, and is restricted to those aged 18 and over, and youth 8 to 17 years of age with the requirement of a signed parental waiver form being necessary to enter the pits.
For more information, stay tuned to Speedway Miramichi’s social platforms, “Speedway Miramichi Inc.” on Facebook, “speedway.miramichi” on Instagram, and our website at speedwaymiramichi.com