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Author Topic: Year-In-Review: Miller Tire/BFGoodrich Lightning Cars  (Read 879 times)

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Year-In-Review: Miller Tire/BFGoodrich Lightning Cars
« on: December 20, 2008, 05:08:38 PM »
By Tim Terry

(November 24th, 2008) - In our continuing look back at the 2008 season, we come to the Miller Tire/BFGoodrich Lightning division. The Lightning division consists of four cylinder race automobiles that are not Hondas or Volkswagens - whose season in review will come next week under the Miller Tire/BFGoodrich Thunder division.

With reigning champion Terry White from Kennetcook moving up into the Thunder division, the series championship was wide open for the taking. Former champions Russell Smith Jr. of Lakeside and Sudzy Russell of Porter's Lake would try to become the first two time champion of the division. While veterans the likes of Beaverbank's Joey Sutherland and Brian Parrott along with Middle Sackville's Dan Smith and Kevin Robar looked to extend the streak of different title holders one more year.

Dan Smith would fire the first shot in the season opener as he "doubled down" on May 30th by winning his heat race and the main feature. He would lose his points lead the next race due to mechanic problems that put him dead last in the finishing order. Kevin Robar won the second race of the season while Lee Cobb (Beaverbank) driving the #148 Covey's Auto Recyclers Saturn took command of the points lead.

June 20th's race event would see the rise of young star Andrew Starks. The driver from Truro won his first main feature of the season over Jamie Dillman (Carrolls Corner) and Timmy Geldart (Antrim) and took the points lead over from Cobb.

Geldart would then score his first feature win of the season the following week, vaulting the Town and Country Auto Salvage car to fifth in points behind Sutherland, Dillman, rookie Dan Michaud Jr. and Starks.

The Neon would show its strength to begin July, as Michaud Jr. led Dan Smith and Starks across the line for his first victory of the season. Michaud Jr. closed in on the points leader to make the deficit one point after his win, sending a message to the rest of the division that he was there to make a serious title run.

Michaud Jr.'s quest for the Miller Tire/BFGoodrich Lightning division title hit a speed bump the next week as he would record a fourteenth place finish behind feature winner Russell Smith Jr. Smith Jr. and Michaud Jr. would then see themselves tied for second in points, twenty four points in the rear of Andrew Starks.

Following the July 11th race in the division the points tightened up behind the #104 car. Thirty one markers separated second place from tenth in the points, which made it anyone's championship to take.



Strong runs by Starks and Smith Jr. paid off over the next two weeks by winning main features. Michaud Jr. took both runner up finishes those weeks. Michaud Jr. was rewarded for his consistency with a checkered flag on Atlantic CAT 250 weekend along with the thrill of winning on Scotia Speedworld's biggest night of the season!

Even though Michaud Jr. had a dominating three weeks in the Miller Tire/BFGoodrich Lightning division, he only gained two points on Starks. Starks had strong heat finishes to go with a first and second place run in the main features. With four events to go, Starks held a 22-point cushion over Michaud Jr. a 32-point spread on Russell Smith Jr. and was only 10-points behind the #144 Cavalier of Kevin Robar.

Up to this point, Brian Parrott had been having a rough season with mechanical breakdowns and bad luck - those fortunes changed on Canadian Forces Appreciation Night. Parrott "doubled down" on the night and won the feature in convincing fashion in front of Kevin Robar and rookie Cody Singer. Singer, the rookie from Kennetcook snuck into 2008 under the radar, but as the season wore on he showed that he could wheel a racecar around Scotia Speedworld with the best of them. He finished with two heat wins and two podium finishes, a stat he hopes to better in 2009 with his first main feature win.

Speaking of Singer, he would finish second the next week to his buddy (and points leader) Andrew Starks. The two had just come off a third place finish at the 4-cylinder Demolition Derby at the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition that previous Wednesday and followed it up with a one-two finish Friday night. Michaud Jr. continued his championship push by joining the two on the podium on C&R Auto Supply Night.

The last two races of the season were all about Russell Smith Jr. Russell drove a spirited race on September 5th and vowed in his Victory Lane interview that he would turn around and have the car ready to win the 50-lapper the next Friday. His strong words about being on top the next week were backed up by a win in the last race of 2008, the race Russell had "wanted to win all season long." The late season push by Smith Jr. vaulted him to second in points past Michaud Jr. who had troubles in the last race of the season. Timmy Geldart, Brian Parrott and Cody Singer battled for second behind Smith Jr. in a race some fans said was "the best Lightning race at Scotia Speedworld in recent years!"

Starks would end up fifth in the finale behind Smith Jr., Geldart, Parrott and Singer, which was good enough for the 2008 title! With their late season heroics, Russell Smith Jr. and Kevin Robar took second and third in points respectively. The rookie battle rounded out the top five, with Michaud Jr. besting Singer by seven points in the Rookie of the Year fight.

The Lightning division had twenty-six cars compete in '08, with the top seven competitors within 100-points at seasons end! One thing is certain though, Andrew Starks is not done with this division yet and he is looking to repeat in 2009 with his #104 Nova Enterprises Cavalier. He will have some tough competition in the class as the Miller Tire/BFGoodrich Lightning division continues to grow!

- Tim Terry, TimTerryOnline.com

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Year-In-Review: Miller Tire/BFGoodrich Lightning Cars
« on: December 20, 2008, 05:08:38 PM »

 


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