Cole Butcher is on a roll. Of all the racetracks in Nova Scotia, the Riverside Speedway was the only one in which the Hantsport native hadn’t won a race. That changed on June 7, during the Ceilidh Honda Triple 50s, when he came in first place.
“Cole definitely is a favourite in any race the tour runs,” Paul MacLean, general manager of the Riverside Speedway, said. “It’s really not a surprise he won.”
Butcher had a healthy amount of competition in Saturday’s race, against 21 other drivers. It was a fairly close race, MacLean noted – and for good reason. As the inaugural race of the season, and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Riverside Speedway, the format of the race was tweaked a little bit.
Instead of a solid 150 laps, the races were subdivided into smaller triple-50s, in which three mini-races took place – all in the interest of shaking things up.
“There was a draw done to invert the field (every 50 laps), and a new twist for the anniversary,” MacLean said.
Before the Riverside Roulette wheel used to shuffle the order of drivers, racer Greg Proude enjoyed a 50-lap lead. The first spin resulted in Nichols Naugle leading from lap 51-100.
A second spin put Butcher in first – a position he held for the final 50 laps, albeit with some closely contested final laps with Dylan Blenkhorn keeping close at his rear bumper.
The top five drivers in the Ceilidh Honda Triple 50S were Cole Butcher (53), Dylan Blenkhorn (67), Dylan Gosbee (91), Greg Proude (29) and Jonathan Hicken (5).
“No doubt,” was MacLean’s answer when asked if that format shuffled things up a bit and changed the outcome of the races for drivers.
“It kept some guys in the lead and it put some people who might not have otherwise be in the lead, in the lead.”
“Car 29 was probably the strongest car there, but he got shuffled back 10 spots when we did the redraw,” MacLean said. “He got up to fourth when it was all over.”
All in all, MacLean said it was a great season opener, adding “we would have liked it to be a little warmer, but that’s June in the Maritimes for you.”