FREDERICTON, NB – The sound of engines and the smell of rubber are sure signs of Spring in the Province of New Brunswick for race fans. The roar returns to Speedway 660 this Sunday, May 16th with the Riverview Ford Lincoln Season Opener, beginning the 28th consecutive season of racing at the 1/3-mile Geary, New Brunswick oval. The four staple divisions that comprise the Speedway 660 roster will be competing, headlined by a 75-lap RE/MAX East Coast Elite Realty Pro Stock feature. The Late Model Sportsman, DMR Auto Street Stocks and Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters will play support to the Pro Stocks during the season opener. The racing gets underway with heat races at 2pm on Sunday.
The Pro Stock 75 takes the place of the previously scheduled Petty Raceway/Speedway 660 Pro Stock Series race due to travel restrictions surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While drivers from neighbouring provinces will not be competing in the 75-lap feature on Sunday, the bar has been raised with the best New Brunswick has to offer set to take the track in the early season showdown.
Two-time Pro Stock 250 champions Ashton Tucker (Lyttleton, NB) and Lonnie Sommerville (Barnesville, NB) lead the stout field into battle. Of note, Tucker, the 2020 Petty Raceway/Speedway 660 Pro Stock Series Champion, has won every Pro Stock race he has entered at Speedway 660 dating back to the Pro Stock 250 in September 2019. Ryan Messer (Harvey, NB) and Dave O’Blenis (Boundary Creek, NB) each have a victory in the marquee event at Speedway 660 and will be contenders during the 75-lap lid lifter on Sunday.
Former track champion Chris Duncan (Hampton, NB) returns with his familiar orange No. 97 car. Duncan and marketing partner EasyKleen Pressure Systems celebrate 25 years together in 2021 and will kick off their anniversary season Sunday at Speedway 660. Veteran racer Kevin Moore (Fredericton, NB) will look to start the season on a high note with a good run. Tucker Racing is also slated to get their season started on Sunday. Shawn Tucker (Fredericton, NB) and his son Dustin (Darlings Island, NB) have split driving duties in the iconic No. 52 car over the past several seasons.
Saint John, New Brunswick’s Devin Snell is coming off a 2020 season where he won the pole and led laps in the River Glade International as a part of the Petty Raceway/Speedway 660 Pro Stock Series. Andrew Rodgers (Smithtown, NB), Ben Pelletier (Saint John, NB) and Jeff Doherty all hope to find speed out of the gate and write headlines of their own on Sunday afternoon.
In short, the field taking shape for the 75-lap Pro Stock feature on Sunday is talented top to bottom. It will be difficult to select a winner from the 11 drivers who have signaled their early intent of taking the checkered flag first.
Both the Pro Stock and Late Model Sportsman races will be the first Late Model division races in Eastern Canada in the 2021 season. The Late Model Sportsman will see eight scheduled races in 2021 at Speedway 660 with the Pro Stocks running a half dozen times over the Summer. The full 2021 schedule of events is available at Speedway660.com.
The Late Model Sportsman, DMR Auto Street Stock and Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooter divisions will embark on their 2021 championship chases beginning this Sunday. The opener is the first point race of the season with champions being crowned in all three classes in September. While a championship cannot be won on Opening Day, a strong start can go a long way in adding a driver’s name into the history books as a Speedway 660 track champion.
Old faces emerged as favorites on a regular basis during the shortened 2020 Late Model Sportsman season at Speedway 660. Reigning champion Curtis Collins (Barnesville, NB) and “The Old Musket” Richard Atkinson (Geary, NB) continued their friendly rivalry on track and were joined by several emerging stars including multi-time feature winner Clark Moore (Saint John, NB) and Luc McLaughlin (Geary, NB). With the first race of the season for Late Model Sportsman in the Province taking place on Sunday, you may see some familiar names making the trek to Geary to shake down their cars for the season. Could it lead to a title run?! Only time will tell.
The Street Stock class has some big races on the horizon. With the Urquhart Construction 100, SpeedWeekend and the Ricky Bobby 150 anchoring the middle-to-end portion of the year, a statement run in the opener can go a long way in a long season. In 2020, Rick Cashol won the Street Stock feature, adding to a winning career that began in the 1970s for the Saint John driver. Cashol will look to defend his spot against a host of regulars hungry for a win after a long winter.
The “unpredictable at best” Sharp Shooters division is expected to boast the biggest car count of any class at the opener. With over 30 pre-season registrations, some of which are part time or are still tweaking their racing rides for later in the year, fans can expect upwards of 20 drivers to take the first green flag of the year on Sunday. With a healthy mix of veteran drivers and a handful of rookies who will begin their racing careers this weekend, storylines will be abound as the four cylinder division begins their quest to crowning a champion.
Competitors can take advantage of a pre-season practice and pre-tech day on Saturday, May 15th. The event will run from 12pm to 5pm and give competitors a chance to shake down their racecars and cut their wait in the tech line Sunday by getting their car inspected on Saturday afternoon.
Please note, due to COVID-19 regulations in the Province of New Brunswick, Speedway 660 is required to collect contact information from every individual that attends this event. An updated list of COVID-19 facility protocols for the 2021 season will be available at Speedway660.com and on the track’s Facebook page later this week. For more information about the Saturday’s racing card, or any event at Speedway 660, visit Speedway660.com, like @Speedway660 on Facebook or call the Speedway 660 Raceline at (506) 454-7223.
About Speedway 660: Speedway 660 is one of Canada’s premier stock car racing facilities. Located in New Brunswick’s Fredericton region, it has attracted race teams and fans from the Maritimes, New England and Quebec since 1994. The Speedway 660 racing season runs from mid May until late September. SpeedWeekend, one of the most prestigious short track events in eastern North America, is the marquee event of the Speedway 660 season on Labour Day Weekend.