By: Ashley McCubbin
Each week, I am going to try and put together five thoughts on something in relation to short track racing based on what happened on track. Some of these will be positive, and others will be….well, not as pretty. Hopefully there is lots to talk about this year.
Heading into the last break before the stretch to end the season, some drivers are looking to carry their momentum forward so their final results match their performance, while others want to end on a strong note after some mid-year struggles. With that said, here are your five thoughts……
The last time that we spoke about the St. Onge Recreation Super Stocks in a five thoughts edition, it was all the way back in June. Crazy, huh?
Looking back to then, there was mention of the championship points battle heating up despite being early in the year. Since then, Jordan Howse has been solid with no finishes worse than sixth, allowing him to extend his advantage to 37 markers ahead of Ryan Semple. And effectively, the pair have left the field behind so to speak, as the gap from Semple to Herb Walters in third is now 68 points. Entering the tail of the year, the focus will be on that battle for third, as the third through sixth are just separated by 36 points.
Dan Archibald has returned since his three first starts of the year, and performing much better. After scoring just one top-five in the first three events, he returned to score a victory and a pair of fifths. Notably, his focus this year has mainly been Peterborough Speedway, battling for the championship against the likes of Anthony Dibello and James Townsend.
Johnny Morrison’s season has been up and down since his runner-up ad seventh to start the year, but has featured four podiums over five weeks in the mid-summer, including a victory on July 15.
Everybody can recall Miles Tyson scoring his first career victory on June 10. His pair of starts since then, though, haven’t been so hot. He had an incident en route to finishing 14th, before blowing his motor and placing 19th. Stefan Semeraro has also continued riding the roller coaster, but posted three straight top-six finishes entering the break.
The solid results have continued for Ryan Semple, though, having posted 13 top-10’s in 13 races, including a victory on August 5.
Justin Holmes seems to be figuring out his new car, and could easily become our next feature winner. He has posted a pair of runner-ups over the past three weeks, and was running second the night he failed to finish there prior to a mechanical issue.
Okay, so this should be in our remember when…. section, but the number is remarkable enough that it becomes its own separate discussion.
Remember how I predicted nine different feature winners prior to the season? Okay, that wasn’t that far off as we’ve had eight competitors score a win to date this year.
Now, we haven’t pulled the big streak of different winners lately like we were earlier this year, and you can thank Howse as he has won three of the last four features. Still, there’s a good possibility to get just one more winner before the season is over.
Johnny Morrison. Ryan Semple. Dan Archibald. Jordan Howse. Miles Tyson. Gerrit Tiemersma. Jade Franklin. Coltin Everingham. Who becomes the ninth driver to join these eight?
Out of all the drivers that were in the prediction sheet for June, we’re only missing two of those – Mike Weeda and Herb Walters. Weeda hasn’t had the luck he would’ve preferred this season, with only two top-five finishes. However, he won last year and a possible late season victory could make the blues disappear. Meanwhile, Walters has found success with five top-five’s and 10 top-10’s this year, and led the first half of last week’s event. Could he find the missing puzzle piece?
In addition to those two, there’s another pair you have to consider. I’ve already discussed Justin Holmes and his runner-ups, so that says enough there. Then you have to place Chris Allard in the discussion, based on the recent success. He isn’t the most consistent competitor this year, but four top-fives, including a third last week, have to place him on the potential list.
Finding His Groove
When the season began, it was evident that Brandon Passer was struggling to find the handle of his car the way he wanted through the opening events – including just four top-10’s across the first six events.
Though the past couple of weeks, Passer has been able to make more of his own moves in the feature and run with the front runners, and it is showing in the finishes. He placed eighth on August 5, and then backed it up last weekend with a fifth. A couple more adjustments, combined with another good starting position, and there’s a good chance he could score his best career finish.
With only two heat top-fives and one feature top-10 last season, it was evident that Dustyn Mombourquette was going through a learning curve as a young driver, getting used to being behind the wheel.
Now a year later, it appears he could be the most improved driver in the division as he has posted eight feature top-10’s including three top-five’s, along with a heat victory to date. He has also proven that he can run with the best, as evident by leading a good chunk one night before a mid-race spin following contact.
Heading into next week after scoring five straight top-10’s including a runner-up, keep an eye on the 6m as he could be the underdog for the closing weeks.
Needing a Strong Finish
Gerrit Tiemersma entered the Super Stock division looking like someone who belonged right there with the best of the best, scoring no finishes outside of the top-10 in the first six races, including a win and three top-fives. Though like most rookies, he found his rocky section of the year and the following four weeks proved to be a struggle, with incidents around each corner hindering his performance.
Now re-grouped, it appears he’s getting things back on track with a third and eighth in his most recent starts. The best way to forget the summer? Make another trip to victory lane before the year is done, and that could be quite possible here.