(CHARLOTTETOWN, PE) – September 25, 2023
Three new champions were crowned and a new name was plastered on the Piston Cup trophy at Oyster Bed Speedway this past Sunday afternoon. The 2023 season finale was nothing short of spectacular and it was all under a beautiful sun in honour of former co-track owner Bill Kinney.
2023 Central Engine Services Street Stock Division champion Tyler Gauthier (#11) earned his first-career Piston Cup win in a heated battle with 2015 race champion Colton Ford (#35) and two-time Piston Cup runner-up Jeff MacInnis (#29). Initially, defending race champion Mike Duskey (#42) had won in dominant fashion (and accepted the $200 Kris Fournier RE/MAX Pole Challenge), but a post-race tech decision gave the win to Gauthier.
Inaugural race winner Doug MacEwen gave the command to fire the engines and waved the green flag for the 75-lap feature. Gauthier won the pole after winning the heat race and led five laps until an early yellow was thrown as first-time Piston Cup runners Tyler Doucette (#24) and Randy Millar (#77) got together in Turn 4. For the next 15+ laps, three cars battled for the lead, and on Lap 22, a lap traffic fiasco almost had Gauthier spin in front of the field, but the biggest save of his career kept him going. Duskey would charge to the lead from third a few laps later, leading for under 30 laps before a competition caution occurred.
Duskey shot away from the field all the way up until the checkered flag. Considering his DQ, the lead battle was truly going on far behind him between Gauthier, Ford, and MacInnis, who unknowingly were battling for a name on the Piston Cup plus $1000. Gauthier and Ford fought side-by-side for 25 laps while MacInnis waited to pounce on any potential mistake, but none would happen as the two leaders crossed the line in a photo finish.
Andrew Thompson (#4) finished fourth and Randy Snow (#26) rounded out the top-five. Millar finished sixth while Doucette’s race was marred by a flat tire, finishing three laps down in seventh. Sept. 4 and 9 feature winner Brandon Albert (#37) and Ethan Albert (#38) headed to the pits prior to the finish.
In the Moore Well Drilling Outlaw Division, Ricky Millar (#17) finally returned to championship glory at Oyster Bed Speedway for the first time in four years. He concluded a dominant campaign with a runner-up finish in the feature plus a heat #2 win and a runner-up finish in semi #2. Altogether, he earned 11 wins in 24 races (5 wins in 11 features) this season.
Millar fell just short of a perfect surge to the front in the feature as Jordan LeClair (#47) earned his first feature win since mid-2022 after starting seventh. After Kendall Palmer (#45) started second and led every lap until six laps remaining, LeClair caught up and took the lead. As co-track owner Kris Fournier put it afterward, the “herd were coming” in LeClair’s rearview mirror with Millar and Ryan McKnight (#46m) ready to strike, but both failed to beat LeClair, who beat McKnight for second in points.
Sunday was McKnight’s last race day at the track, so on behalf of Oyster Bed Speedway, we’d like to thank Ryan for his contributions and commitments to the track, especially with the Mini Stock/Outlaw Challenge and the RE/MAX Rumble. We also can’t forget Alicia for her delicious cookies.
Palmer and Jamie Cummings (#81) rounded out the top five. Jessie LeClair (#46), Layton Delaney (#7), Matt Palmer (#5), Gerald Gallant (#99G), Bradley Richard (#49), Harley Cornish (#13), and Rick Millar (#71) round out the rest of the field. Richard won heat #1 while Cummings and Delaney won the semis.
In the Reliable Motors Beginner Bandolero Division, Mason Gillis (#9) hung on to what was a five-point lead heading into Sunday’s action, claiming the championship in his first full-time season. Gillis was en route to a triple win after winning heat #1 and semi #2, but a lap traffic mishap coming to the checkered flag led to points runner-up Andrew O’Connor (#63) stealing the feature win by mere feet. O’Connor also won heat #2. Oliver Rayner (#23) earned his first-career win in semi #1 after Irelyn Rose (#47) dealt with issues.
Hudson Linzel-Waddell (#57) finished third in the feature and finished third in points. Rhyan Burke (#01) had a similar case by finishing fourth in the feature and in points. Gillis wraps up his 2023 campaign with 12 wins in 24 starts (two in nine features), while O’Connor ends with nine wins (three features).
In the Reliable Motors Outlaw Bandolero Division, Landon Pierce (#19) was unable to visit victory lane for any of Sunday’s three races, but he did visit it due to what mattered the most; earning a well-deserved Oyster Bed Speedway championship. After finishing runner-up in 2022 points, Pierce let the previous year’s memories fade away by dominating his 2023 campaign, wrapping up with 10 wins in 22 starts (four in 10 features)
Cole Doyle (#12) fell short of the championship but scored his second triple win of the season and improved his final finish in points from fourth in 2022 to second. The rest of the finishing feature results include Simon Doyle (#91), Wyatt Peters (#33), and Hunter MacKinnon (#07). Doyle, MacKinnon, and Peters finished third through fifth in points, respectively.
In the Chris’s Bobcat Services Mini Stock Division, Brandon Forsyth (#3) dominated the 30-lap money feature, leading every lap en route to his fourth feature win of the season. Heat race winner and 2023 champion Jeff Bridges (#95) did everything he could in a mid-race restart after cousin Cash (#69) slowed to a halt in Turn 3, but Forsyth’s speed was unmatched.
Rather surprisingly, Jeff finished his 2023 campaign with zero feature wins, which is quite the statistic for a champion, but his consistency was the key to success. Two-time 2023 feature winner Randy MacTavish (#76) and September 4 triple winner Ricky Bedell (#2) rounded out the Mini Stock results while two Bombers battled nose-to-tail in an entertaining back-of-the-pack showcase.
With that, another historic and thrilling season of racing at Oyster Bed Speedway has officially come to a close. To all drivers, crew members, staff, and fans, we’d like to thank each and every one of you for your integral support and contributions to the track this year. Without all of you, none of what we accomplish every weekend would be possible.
Once again, congratulations to Mason Gillis, Landon Pierce, Jeff Bridges, Ricky Millar, and Tyler Gauthier on becoming Oyster Bed Speedway champions. To every other driver in every division, congratulations on every one of your accomplishments and we thank you for giving our fans an entertaining show every weekend.
We’d like to thank all of the regional tours who came out and gave the fans spectacular “spotlight” shows alongside our house divisions, including the all-new Super Late Model Series, the East Coast International Pro Stock Tour, the Cross Roads Maritime League of Legends Tour, and the Heart of a Champion Hot Rod Classics. Thank you to every Legends and Bomber driver who participated in their respective occasional house division races.
Thank you to each and every one of our sponsors for being part of the Oyster Bed Speedway team. All of you were essential for keeping our business up and running every weekend. Every 2023 sponsor can be found on our partners page. Thank you to Reliable Motors, Chris’s Bobcat Services, Moore Well Drilling, and Central Engine Services for being our 2023 house division sponsors.
With a long offseason on the horizon, we won’t be fully going away just yet. The 2023 awards banquet is already in the works and will be announced once details are finalized. More race replays, highlights, and photos will be released in the coming days and weeks to fully wrap up the 2023 season. Stay tuned.
Stay up-to-date on our social media platforms and the website as we continue to reveal news and information.
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. You can also check out our merchandise website at obsmerch.ca. Shop Samantha Busch merch is available there and will be at the race track every race weekend.
About Oyster Bed Speedway:
Oyster Bed Speedway is Prince Edward Island’s premier auto racing facility and features fun and excitement with weekly stock car racing special events throughout the season. The 1/3 mile paved oval is located in Oyster Bed Bridge at the intersection of routes 6 and 7, halfway between Cavendish and Charlottetown on beautiful Prince Edward Island.