After a long, snow-filled winter, thunder is set to return to Barrie Speedway and no, not talking about weather. The Canestoga Property Maintenance Thunder Cars are set to hit the track this weekend for their opening event of the 2014 season.
Of the drivers returning in 2014, Robbie Sikes was the highest finishing of them last year as he finished fourth in his rookie season. Look for Sikes to be strong this year and perhaps take home his first career victory, as well as the division championship.
However, if Sikes wants a shot at the title, he’ll have to deal with series veteran Jim Belesky. Belesky is switching it up with a white paint scheme this year, versus the black that fans have grown used to, but expect the same result. Belesky should contend for the victories all season long and the championship as he looks for the magic that was missing last season.
Brian Penny finished eighth in points in his rookie season and there’s no reason that he should not do even better this year with the lessons that he learned last year in his back pocket. The bigger question is whether Penny will win his first feature and given how he continues to improve, it definitely could happen in the second half of the season.
Luke Gignac didn’t have the season that perhaps he was looking for last year in finishing 10th in points. However, the veteran is back this year stronger than ever. Gignac will be driving the car piloted last year by Darryl St. Onge to a third place finish in points. Given Gignac’s experience and how strong that car is, Gignac should have a much stronger 2014 season.
After making a couple starts last year, rookie Jordan Lartimer is set for the full schedule in 2014. Lartimer is an early favourite for Rookie of the Year, but also a favourite for the championship. Why? Lartimer is driving the same car for Ridge Road Racing that Rick Walt piloted last year to the championship. Given the experience of the team around Lartimer, Lartimer’s raw talent and the caliber of the car, a rookie winning a feature early in the season would not be a surprise.
Jason Elliott has announced that he will be back this season running the full 2014 schedule. Elliott is a past feature winner and no doubt will contend for feature wins and the championship this season.
Beyond these simple drivers discussed, there are many other drivers that are rumored to throw their name into the ring this year so make sure to head out to Barrie Speedway this weekend and kick off the season right.