Featured Photo by Tanya Everett Photography
(FREDERICTON, NB – June 2nd, 2021) – With the temperatures warming up, the Atlantic Modified Tour is getting set to embark on a 14-race adventure throughout the Province of New Brunswick in search of a 2021 champion. The quest to find that champion will begin in June and conclude in mid-October. Over that time, the Series will visit all four paved oval tracks in the Province, conducting 12 point events and two exhibition races full of thunderous open wheel stock car racing action!
Even with a shortened 2020 season, the Atlantic Modified Tour was the only Atlantic Canadian based touring series to officially crown a point champion. After starting strong and finishing with a win at the Keswick Kitchen Season Finale at Speedway Miramichi, Yves McCray of Neguac, New Brunswick will return in 2021 with his sights set on defending the championship crown.
Only two drivers in Series history have successfully defended their point title in the next season. Mike “Sparky” Raeburn (Hampton, NB) did it twice, first in 2009 and 2010 and again in 2012 and 2013. Mark Price (Saint John, NB) was the first to go back-to-back with championships in 2007 and 2008. Add Joe Hoyt (Waasis, NB) and his two titles in 2011 and 2018 along with Brandon Skidmore (Springhill, NS) with a pair in 2015 and 2019 and you have only four drivers in 18 years that have multiple championships.
McCray has proved himself as a true “Triple Threat” on the Series, leaving the driver of the No. 58 as one of the pre-season favorites to win it all again. In 2019, McCray won at all three tracks that host point paying races and won two of the last four races in 2020 en route to his championship. Wins at Speedway 660 on SpeedWeekend 2020 and The Very Best Fall Shootout at Speedway Miramichi solidified his spot in the history books as a champion. While he did not win at Petty International Raceway in 2020, he was the track champion for Modifieds in 2019 after winning the first two races on the high banked bullring that season.
Should McCray be successful in a title defense, he will have beaten a healthy mix of stock car veterans and relative newcomers all in search of season long glory.
Travis Conroy, Zean Dutcher and Braxton Stafford all found themselves locked into a battle for the runner-up spot in the 2020 standings late in the year. The trio from the Miramichi area are all returning for the 2021 season and each will look for their first Series championship.
Conroy, the youngest driver on the Atlantic Modified Tour, won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2019 and continues to kick at the door to victory lane. In his second season of Tour competition he finished runner-up in the overall championship chase, edging Dutcher by just two points. Dutcher, the decorated Sportsman driver with accolades throughout the Province during his Late Model days, has one Atlantic Modified Tour victory to his extensive resume. Stafford is the 2018 Petty International Raceway track champion for Modified division and is a contender at the front of the field during every Atlantic Modified Tour race the No. 91 enters.
Hoyt will be on the hunt for a third Atlantic Modified Tour championship and his first since 2018. Hoyt, the 2019 Speedway Miramichi track champion, has 16 feature wins to his credit. Among those wins include at least one at Speedway Miramichi in each of the last four seasons but will need to find consistency over the 12 race season to re-kindle his 2018 magic.
Returning to the seat of his No. 75 Modified in 2021 is Doug Matchett (Miramichi, NB). “Mr. Excitement” was kept out of his car in 2020 due an off track accident but the competitive fire burns just as bright as it did when he won the 2018 Speedway Miramichi Modified championship. Recognized by Tim’s Corner Motorsports in 2020 as the EIT Race Radios Hometown Hero in Memory of Robert Tomlinson for his off-track contributions to the sport, Matchett has nine Atlantic Modified Tour victories in his career that began in 2006. Matchett’s last victory came during the Mike Stevens Memorial at Petty International Raceway in September 2019.
The 2020 season saw the return of Jamie Weston (St. Martin’s, NB) to the Atlantic Modified Tour. It is a homecoming after first racing with the Series in 2004 with one Atlantic Modified Tour feature win in his back pocket. When he is not behind the wheel, Weston is a familiar face at the track during wrenches with Lonnie Sommerville Racing and their Late Model racing program. Weston returns to the Atlantic Modified Tour looking for a return trip to victory lane in 2021!
The rookie crop may start out at two drivers in 2021 but is expected to grow throughout the year. Leading the pack are former Four Cylinder drivers Brody Levesque (Lincoln, NB) and Michael Savoie (Tracadie, NB). Levesque established himself as one of the drivers to beat every evening his Sharp Shooter entry pulled into the back gate at his home track of Speedway 660. Savoie quickly gained attention and speed as a favorite as he honed his skills at Speedway Miramichi. The pair will provide an exciting freshman battle to follow throughout the year!
As is the case with every season, several drivers are planning on joining the Tour throughout the year. Chris Wilson (South Esk, NB) has quickly become one of the favorites at every track the Tour visits and the No. 2W will be re-joining the Tour this Summer after two victories last September. Kim Hallihan (Renous, NB) will be skipping the season opener but fans will be able to see the No. 97 at select Tour stops throughout the season. Steven Curtis (South Esk, NB) and two-time champion Skidmore have yet to officially announce plans for their racing programs for 2021.
The previously released schedule, which can be found at AtlanticModifieds.com, begins in June at Petty International Raceway. Petty International Raceway, Speedway Miramichi and Speedway 660 will host four point races each throughout the season to comprise the 2021 championship. Additional exhibition races will be held at Speedway 660 (Friday, September 3rd) and the CENTRE For Speed (Sunday, October 10th) to make 14 events on the 2021 calendar.
For more information about the Atlantic Modified Tour, please visit AtlanticModifieds.com.
About the Atlantic Modified Tour:
The Atlantic Modified Tour is a New Brunswick based open wheel modified touring series. Founded in 2003 by Jim Duke, the Atlantic Modified Tour continues to thrill fans across the Province. You can keep up with the Atlantic Modified Tour by liking the Series on Facebook and following the Tour on Instagram (@AtlanticModifieds) or by visiting their website at AtlanticModifieds.com.