Yves McCray Steals Mighty Miramichi Modified Glory!
Yves McCray (#58) has visited victory lane many times during his career, but on Saturday night he notched one of his most impressive wins by claiming the inaugural Allstar Auto Center Triple 20’s for the Atlantic Modified Tour! With finishes of first, second, and first in the three segments of the race, McCray would claim the overall victory ahead of Braxton Stafford (#91) by one point, with Stafford taking home finishes of second, first, and second after battling with McCray for much of the night. Doug Matchett (#75) overcame an incident early in the second feature to claim third overall, with Joe Hoyt (#17) and Kim Hallihan (#97) rounding out the top 5.
Chris Wilson (#2W) originally crossed the line first in the heat race, and all three twenty-lap features, earning what would have been an impressive grand slam. However, post race technical inspection saw Wilson disqualified, handing the victory over to McCray.
The triple 20’s format made for a great show with positive reviews. Drivers duelled through three twenty-lap features, with the startling lineup for the second and third features being set by inverting the finishing order of the preceding feature. With drivers like McCray, Stafford, and Wilson having to come from the back, the racing was intense.
Despite the short features and inverted fields, the first 20-lap feature ran caution free, with Kevin Bailey (#4) leading the first 6 laps before Doug Matchett assumed control of the race. The cars and stars of the Atlantic Modified Tour battled hard, but Matchett would relinquish the lead to Wilson with four laps remaining. Given the result of technical inspections, the final lead change of segment one would actually come with 2 laps to go, with McCray nosing ahead of Matchett coming to the popsicle sticks. Stafford would follow through, with McCray, Stafford and Matchett ultimately claiming the top 3 spots.
Following the invert, segment two would get a little dicey. Joe Hoyt would get the early lead, but a multi-car pile-up on the backstretch on the fourth lap changed the game. The incident coming off turn 2 resulted in Doug Matchett spinning with Steven Curtis (#12) and Tristin Harris (#7H) piling in. While all drivers would continue after the initial wreck, the incident impacted the remainder of the race for these drivers. On the restart, Hoyt would continue to lead but Wilson made the on-track pass for the lead on lap 8. In fact, it would be Braxton Stafford clearing Hoyt on the eleventh lap to take the effective lead, which would be the final lead change as Stafford drove to the segment 2 victory over McCray and Hoyt.
The final twenty laps were initially led by Doug Matchett, but an incident between Kevin Bailey and Kim Hallihan drew a yellow flag on lap 3. Yves McCray would jump into the lead on the restart, a lead he would ultimately hold all the way to the checkers. Wilson and McCray would battle side by side for much of this race putting on an incredible display of talent and respect, and a great show for the fans. Wilson did clear McCray, but technical inspection handed the win back to McCray ahead of Stafford and Matchett. Ironically, the finish to the final segment matched the overall event finish despite the twists and turns of the event.
After technical inspection, McCray would also be awarded the win in the 10-lap heat race. Nine Atlantic Modified Tour cars were in attendance for the Allstar Auto Center Triple 20’s.
The win for Yves McCray is his 24th career victory at Speedway Miramichi, extending his advantage over his uncle Ray McCray as the winningest driver in track history. Yves has (based on available records) 19 career Sportsman wins, 4 Atlantic Modified Tour wins, and 1 open-competition win. Given the unique format, this win may be the most impressive and biggest for Yves to date and adds another chapter to his and his family’s legacy at Speedway Miramichi. Yves now has 24 all-time wins, Ray McCray has 23 all-time feature wins, with JR Lawson and Brad MacLean being tied for third with 21 career main event wins apiece.
It was a wild and unpredictable night for the Mini Stock division, which saw JR Lawson’s historic win streak come to a close after he suffered an early race setback car #81 would never recover from. The benefactor would be Mitchell Poirier (#28), who won his second career Mini Stock feature to back up his heat race win from earlier in the day. Poirier held on through a couple of restarts and would end Lawsons win streak, coming out on top over Chantel Lawson (#30) and fourteen-year-old rookie Nathan Richard (#35), who earned his first career podium finish in just his third start. Conrad Murphy (#89) and Mathieu Mallet (#80) rounded out the top 5.
It was a tense finish for Poirier, as the unpredictability of this race came right down to the checkers. Coming off turn 4 to the checkers, Poirier was coming to lap Jamie Turner (#26). On the exit of turn 4, Turner blew a right front tire and slid up in front of Poirier. Poirier would bump draft Turner across the line to take the checkers. Mathieu Mallet appeared to be Poirier’s fiercest challenger at one point, getting to the bumper on car #28 on the final restart, but Mallet’s car faded as the run went on.
Two cautions slowed the thirty-lap feature. The first caution came on the third lap when JR Lawson (#81) suffered a mechanical issue with his left front tire. Lawson would return to the track a couple of laps down to finish the race but struggled with the car for the remainder of the race. The second caution flew on the eleventh lap when Guy Basque (#27) got into the back of Calvin McLeod (#00) in turn 3, resulting in both drivers being sent to the rear and Basque receiving a warning. Despite this altercation, McLeod and Basque had a clean side-by-side battle on the restart, which would be one of the best battles on the track.
Ten cars were in attendance, with heat race victories going to Mitchell Poirier and JR Lawson. This was Mitchell Poirier’s second career Mini Stock win – his previous win coming during last October’s Halloween Spooktacular Outlaw Race. With the win, Poirier ended JR Lawson’s eighteen race win streak. While other drivers captured races in which Lawson missed, nobody had beaten JR in a feature since October 2017. The wild race is sure to shake up the point standings as we near the halfway mark of the season.
It was only a matter of time, but after several races with some tough luck, Axten MacLean (#13) finally drove his way into the history books during Saturday’s 30-lap Bomber feature, doing so in dominating fashion. MacLean earned his first feature win – and broke Travis Conroy’s record of being the youngest feature winner ever in a full-sized car – in a performance that saw the sophomore driver lap all but one other car after starting on the front row. While the young phenom would drive off into the sunset, a battle ensued for second place on back for much of the thirty-lap feature. Billy Pelletier (#18) would come home second to earn his second podium of the season. Tyson Donovan (#63) had his best performance of 2022, coming out on top over a heated battle to notch his first podium of the summer in third.
Timmy Blakely (#69) will hang on to his points lead coming home in fourth, while his wife Samantha Blakely (#96) came home fifth, scoring double top 5’s for the Blakely’s. Timmy and Samantha were able to capitalize on late misfortunes for Riley Connell (#43). For the second week in a row, Connell ended his race in the pits, with what appeared to be a flat tire in the closing laps eliminating him from what was to be a fourth-place effort. Johnathan Dickson (#3) would lose a top 5 finish having to check up when Connell’s tire went flat, but Dickson would manage to finish the race in sixth.
Thirteen Bomber cars were in attendance for the Saturday night showcase. Billy Pelletier and Timmy Blakely captured wins in the 10-lap heat races. Both heat races and the thirty-lap feature ran caution free.
As mentioned, with the feature win Axten MacLean has become the youngest feature winner in a full-sized car in the history of Speedway Miramichi. Travis Conroy previously held the record- having earned his first career win in a full-sized car on September 15th, 2018 during a 25-lap Mini Stock feature. At the time of Conroy’s win, he was 15 years, 5 months and 0 days - which broke Kenny MacKenzie Jr’s record of 15 years, 6 months, and 27 days, which he set on October 21st, 2012, in a Street Stock feature. Axten MacLean’s new record stands at 14 years, 2 months and 14 days, shattering the previous record by over a year. Note that this record is for full-sized cars and excludes winners from the Bandolero division.
The next race at Speedway Miramichi is a big one – Saturday July 23rd is T&L Abatement Firecracker Night at the Speedway! On tap for this one is the 2nd Annual T&L Abatement Firecracker 50 for the Bomber division, along with the Firecracker Demolition. Street Stocks return for round two on “The Road to The Very Best Fall Shootout”, with Mini Stocks hosting championship points racing. A fireworks display is also slated, weather and burning conditions permitting. A 6pm start time is slated for this one – don’t miss it!
AMT Allstar Auto Center Triple 20’s Overall Results (Segment finishes noted)
1. Yves McCray #58 (1 – 2 – 1)
2. Braxton Stafford #91 (2 – 1 – 2)
3. Doug Matchett #75 (3 – 5 – 3)
4. Joe Hoyt #17 (5 – 3 – 5)
5. Kim Hallihan #97 (6 – 4 – 4)
6. Tristin Harris #7H (4 – 8 – 6)
7. Kevin Bailey #4 (8 – 6 – 7)
8. Steven Curtis (7 – 7 – DNS)
DQ – Chris Wilson #2W
Heat Winner – Yves McCray #58
Mini Stock 30-Lap Feature Results
1. Mitchell Poirier #28
2. Chantel Lawson #30
3. Nathan Richard #35
4. Conrad Murphy #89
5. Mathieu Mallet #80
6. Guy Basque #27
7. Jamie Turner #26
8. Calvin McLeod #00
9. Tom Ackles #130
10. JR Lawson #81
Heat Winners – Mitchell Poirier #28, JR Lawson #81
Bomber 30-Lap Feature Results
1. Axten MacLean #13
2. Billy Pelletier #18
3. Tyson Donovan #63
4. Timmy Blakely #69
5. Samantha Blakely #96
6. Johnathan Dickson #3
7. Dan Dionne #55
8. Dylan Doucet #02
9. Kevin Tucker #87
10. Riley Connell #43
11. Blake Bransfield #60
12. Alex Duguay #11
DNS – Ericka Lesage #19
Heat Winners – Billy Pelletier #18, Timmy Blakely #69