By: Ashley McCubbin
As we continue to approach the 2017 season, this series will take a look at some storylines to watch in different series and tracks this season. Feel free to add what you’re hoping to see via commenting on the post, facebook, or twitter.
Sunset Speedway’s Thunder Car division has proven to be top-shelf over the past couple of years, with lots of race winners and close finishes. This year looks to be the same once again based on a quick glance at the roster. With that in mind, keep an eye on the following……
Number of Race Winners
This was discussed with relation to the Late Models, but the same plays true for the Super Stocks as well. In 2015, there were eight different race winners. Last season, there were seven different race winners. What does the number become in 2017?
Dan Archibald, Stan Coe, Jordan Howse, and Ryan Semple each won a feature last year, and have stated intentions on returning – so mark them down for four. Also, Matt Bentley said he wants to return and defend his championship, but isn’t sure whether that’ll be feasible with the current lack of sponsorship. If he is in the field, that makes five winners right there.
There’s the possibility of seeing some young kids break into victory lane for the first win. Jade Franklin had some strong runs last year, before winning the b-main at the Autumn Colours Classic. Coltin Everingham is debuting a new Streamline Race Products Chassis. Miles Tyson showed speed last season en route to three top-five finishes. Pick your favourite from the list and give us six winners.
Veterans Frank Davey, Mike Weeda and Herb Walters each failed to win a feature last season – crazy when you think about their resumes, but bad luck was out there. You could also mention Brandon McFerran here. He has a feature win – scoring it in 2015 filling in for Cayden Lapcevich, but has yet to do so with his own car despite running up front. Out of this list, pick your favourite and that’ll give you seven winners.
The trend shows that we will have six winners, but a baseline of logic gives us seven winners. However, there’s many possibilities within this list with more than one person on each list getting to victory lane. Therefore, I say we’re going to break through and go over the mark set in 2015 – nine or more winners for this season.
Does your guess go along the same number? Let me know!
New Cars for Holmes & Everingham
With competition increasingly getting tougher each year, the growth of the division continues with drivers debuting new cars each season. Both Justin Holmes and Coltin Everingham revealed to Short Track Musings in previous interviews that they are building new for the 2017 season, with Everingham sharing some photos via social media.
Holmes was solid last year, posting five top-fives and 13 top-10 finishes – and found himself leading a couple nights. So the logic says new equipment should result in him being a championship contender.
Meanwhile, Everingham battled some bad luck over the course of 2016, posting only one top-10 finish. The car he had been driving was piloted by Steve Cashmore awhile before he had it,so it makes sense with the ever-changing times that an upgrade was on course.
“My thoughts going in to 2017 are unbearable; I’m nervous and excited to hit the track,” he told Short Track Musings in February. “Building a car out of the Streamline race shop, Scott Wylie and Shaun McWhirter have done a phenomenal job working on this car! It sure is going to be a hot rod!”
A Familiar Face
After spending the past two seasons in the Late Model ranks, Jordan Latimer and JL Motorsports will return to the Super Stock division in 2017. They have been hard at work since the season finished, converting the late model over to run as a Super Stock.
Latimer has experienced success to date in his racing career, winning Barrie Speedway’s Thunder Car Rookie of the Year Award and a couple features there, before winning Sunset Speedway’s Late Model Rookie of the Year Award in 2015. After three top-fives in 2015, this past season didn’t go as planned with bad luck plaguing the team. However, they still managed to have a couple solid nights with three top-10 finishes, highlighted by a sixth-place finish on July 2. He capped off the year by running Ken Semkin’s Super Stock at Peterborough Speedway’s Autumn Colours Classic, qualifying sixth en route to a 13th place finish.
Returning back to the division which delivered him the most success, Latimer isn’t expecting to jump back in and light the class on fire, but rather just consistently run towards the front of the field.
“My expectations this season are just to get this car figured out and I would like to be running in the top-five week-to-week,” Latimer said. “As for goals though, all I want this season is that checkered flag in my hand at least once I’m hungry for a win. I’m not really focused on points right now.”
DiBello Coming into His Own
Anthony DiBello picked up the Thunder Car Championship at Peterborough Speedway in 2015, and was set to take his winning terms on the road last year with a switch to Sunset Speedway. Ultimately, the plan didn’t come to fruition as thought out as he only scored three top-10s in the first 11 races of the season.
Things began to turn around on August 27 when he finished fifth in the feature. He was then able to close out the year with three more top-fives in the final five races.
With everything working in order, DiBello may surprise some people as a title contender for 2017.
Bentley vs Howse
Rivalries get people talking, and let’s just say that everybody was talking at the end of 2016 after seeing the back and forth battle between Matt Bentley and Jordan Howse. The pair ran hard against each other all year at Sunset, battling for the division championship. However, it seems everything went over the top when it came to the playoffs.
After battling back and forth throughout the event, everything came to a head with 10 laps to go at Sunset Speedway’s Velocity 250. The late-race restart saw a battle for the lead continue between Bentley and Howse, with the pair making contact off of turn four and then going into turn one. The contact slowed both cars up on the bottom, allowing Treyten Lapcevich to take the top spot with eight laps to go. Another caution flew a couple laps later, resulting in another late-race restart. The restart saw a battle for the lead between Lapcevich and Bentley as Howse moved into third. The leaders ran side-by-side through the final five laps, with Bentley edging out Lapcevich by 0.091 seconds to pick up the victory.
Then a couple weeks later at Peterborough Speedway’s Autumn Colours Classic, with two laps to go, Howse made his move, putting the bumper to Bentley. The result was Bentley sliding up the track, allowing Howse to slip by for the lead. Jordan Howse then led the rest of the way en route to scoring the victory in the Autumn Colours Classic Thunder Car 50. Bentley crossed the finish line in second, though was DQ’d post-race for bumping Howse on the cool down lap. As a result, it’d be Semple getting second ahead of Tyson, Joe Adams and McFerran.
So what’s in store for 2017? You’ll just have to wait and see.