Each year, Speed51 does our best to cover the wide variety of short track series that build the backbone of grassroots racing across the country. But due to editorial constraints and the busy year-long schedule, sometimes there are various series we simply don’t get to devote as much attention to as we’d like.
This week, we’re partnering with our racing history partner, 51’s Third Turn, to honor a wide variety of 2014 champions in some of these entry-level divisions and series. Today we’re looking at some of the grassroots racing series that make up the New England/Northeast region. To view all the stats, races and results for these 2014 tours, click on the series name to view their information on 51’s Third Turn.
Joe Mancuso won the 2014 title in the Big 10 Super Stock Series, which races in western New York and Pennsylvania. Mancuso won 2 of the 8 races during the season and tacked on 4 more top-five finishes to pull away from Jake Lyon and Nathan Peckham. Main championship rivals Jake Wylie and Joe Fetzer won two races also but were derailed down the stretch by some missed races. The series will return with an approximately 10-race schedule for 2015.
Ontario’s biggest tour for Sportsman-style cars had another consistent season in terms of competitiveness and car counts. Shawn McGlynn did something that has never happened in the history of the 8-year series, collecting four straight victories at mid-season. Kevin Allen kept it close and won the final race of the year, but McGlynn’s runner-up finish in that finale was good enough to eke out the title by 8 points. McGlynn’s brother Chad also won a race as did Jake Ott and Dave Connelly.
Eastern Canada’s primary Legends touring series also produced a nailbiter in the final championship tally. Justin MacNeill failed to reach victory lane but his 6 podiums in the 7 MLOL races was enough to push past three-time winner Nicholas Naugle by just three points. They raced door-to-door in the closing laps of the series finale, the road course in Shubenacadie, but Naugle failed to finish ahead of MacNeill. Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour youngsters Cole Butcher (2) and Dylan Blenkhorn (1) also accounted for victories with Jarrett Butcher being the only other driver to crack victory lane in 2014.
Further south, Legends racing remained strong in New England with the NELCAR AMSOIL teams racing 22 times at 8 different venues. Mathew Bourgoine was the undisputed hero of the tour in 2014, picking up 13 victories and finishing every race in the top-ten. Shawn Buffington was the only other driver to win more than one, turning the road course at New Hampshire Motor Speedway into his own personal playground. Kevin Girard, Trevor Sanborn, Wyatt Alexander, and Bob Weymouth also visited victory lane.
There’s not much more you can say about Randy Cabral’s season that hasn’t been said in recent seasons. He’s been the champion 5 of the last 7 NEMA seasons (finishing 2nd the other two years). He led the series again in wins (6), his most since his first title (8 wins, 2008). He didn’t finish any worse than 6th place from the start of June to the end of the season. While Cabral dominated again, some rising stars in the tour did begin to make their marks. Avery Stoehr picked up his first two career victories and finished 2nd in points while Seth Carlson also won twice to double his career win total. Todd Bertrand, John Zych Jr., and Ryan Bigelow were the other faces to claim a 2014 NEMA victory.
NEMA’s entry-level division produced the kind of young talent one would hope to see to keep the racing body thriving well into the future. This year’s surprise champion was Ryan Krachun. Krachun, 16, won at Star Speedway (NH) in August and finished in the top-ten 12 of 14 races. A brief hiccup in the late summer allowed Danny Cugini to close the gap before the Star swung the title chase Krachun’s way for good. Scott Bigelow was the only repeat winner in 2014 as he claimed three victories.
It may go down as Andy Lindeman’s sixth NETS title, but it was certainly the toughest one yet in Lindeman’s run on the tour. Despite winning three races and finishing in the top-ten in all but one race, Lindeman was hounded by Corey Coates all season long. It came down to the World Series of Speedway Racing for Lindeman as his third-place finish was just enough to beat Coates by two digits in the final standings. Chris Turbush won three times while both Corey and Allen Coates won twice. Roger Turbush won once.
Toby Wells did so well early in the year that NEMST officials laid a bounty to beat the driver. Wells was eventually stopped but by winning 6 of 9 races on the season he cruised to the victory over two-time series winner Emerson Cayer. Justin Larsen was the only other winner, capturing the series’ inaugural event on the full-mile of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a race in which a record 36 cars started.
The DIRTcar-style Modifieds completed their sophomore season by bringing the popular Devil’s Bowl Speedway division on the road to Airborne Speedway (NY) and Thunder Road (VT). The tour also raced on the Devil’s Bowl clay for the first time to close out the season. But in spite of the changes Jessey Mueller lifting the crown was no surprise. He may be just 19, but Mueller has already earned a reputation as a Modified stalwart and his 3 victories proved to carry him to the title by 11 points on Leon Gonyo. Inaugural champ Vince Quenneville Jr. did what he couldn’t do in 2013 – win a race – before finishing 3rd in points. Ronald Proctor, Adam Pierson, and ACT regular Bobby Therrien were the other winners during the 8-feature schedule.
Three years OSCAAR has sanctioned a division for the popular IMCA-style Ontario Modifieds but only one name has been engraved onto the champion’s trophy. Gary McLean had an inconsistent season by his standards – getting knocked out of four races – but his six wins were enough to boost him over three-time winner Max Beyore for the crown. Beyore was keeping even with McLean until he was unable to start a late season race at Sunset Speedway (ON) and finished 50 points behind. Chad Strawn, Brent McLean, and Terry Baker were the other drivers to win by season’s end.
Andrew Gresel had sniffed the title in recent years but staked his claim early and often to winning the championship in 2014. He finished each and every race in the top-five, including 5 victories. He won three straight in the middle summer to lock up the title and then put an exclamation point on his season with a victory in the series’ most prestigious race, the Autumn Colours Classic at Peterbrough. Kevin Cornelius hinted he may follow Gresel’s trajectory to champion as the sophomore racked up 3 victories. Dwayne Baker won twice with Jeff Owen and Jeff Hanley winning once.
This new series brought back the popular Outlaw Late Models to a touring series in the state of Maine. Kris Watson dominated the tour in every category but one with 5 wins. Where he didn’t win though was the title. He missed the opening race of the series and the winner of that event, Kris Matchett, won the title. 4 of the 6 races were held at Speedway 95 with Spud Speedway and Oxford Plains Speedway also hosting a race apiece.
Andy Shaw has won PASS Modified titles before in the most dominant ways imaginable. Shaw leads the tour in 21 career wins and he’s won the title four times now including 2014. But the ’14 title was very different. Shaw won the season opener and then rode a wave of consistency best he could when he was unable to claim any more wins. Inaugural series champ Mark Lucas won three races and rode Shaw’s heels to the finish. Shaw never cracked despite Lucas’ onslaught and by finishing 3rd in the finale was able to claim the trophy by 2 points. Defending series champ Scott Alexander claimed his first 2 career PASS Mod victories in 2014 and finished 5th in points.
Joe Pastore won 4 of 8 races and cruised to his first career title after finishing 3rd in each of the last two seasons. All-time series great Dan McKeage kept it interesting with three wins but a rough weekend in the penultimate PASS 400 made his victory in the finale moot. Rusty Poland also won a race with 37 drivers competing during the season’s course.
Phil Lausier finally found his way to the top of this series for entry-level modified division. He won two times, including the Thompson World Series, and finished all 12 races in the top-ten. His effort was so dominant that he could have skipped the last race and still handily won the title. The Berghman combination of Robin and Dave combined for five wins to lead the series.
The primary Late Model Truck racing circuit in Quebec ventured to America for the first time as part of the ACT International 500 weekend and featured four winners in 8 events. Joey Ladouceur and Marc-Antoine Demers combined for five of the victories, with Ladouceur getting the edge by 8 points. Ladouceur got the edge by only finishing off the podium once.
Serie Sportsman Quebec
Celebrating their 8th season in 2014, SSQ delivered a solid season with 44 competitors starting a race and fields routinely filled with 20-24 cars. Philippe Poulin had an unprecedented season, not only winning for the first time but winning 5 times overall. Combining that with his finish in the top-ten in every race carried him to the crown by 18 points over two-time winner Dominic Jacques. The series’ premier event, the Karl Allard 150, was won by Mr. Allard himself with Steve Lesage and Gerry Bilodeau finishing out the winners’ list.
J.J. Pack had a career year in racing as he ran his first SCSCS season and won half (3 of 6) races to easily claim the crown over Kevin Kromer. Kromer won at Midvale but had to settle for second as he’s been in the top-three in points the last five season but has yet to win a title. Brent Nelson and Codie Rohrbaugh were the other winners on the tour. The series will be the only series to run the old Pro Cup-style cars in 2015 and have already released an eight-race schedule to try to seize on this opportunity.
To see all of the series stats and winners 51’s Third Turn covered for this year, click this link.
-By Tim Quievryn, 51’s Third Turn – Twitter: @TimmyQuivvy