Courtney O’Blennis came from the back of the field to win Atlantic Canada’s biggest street stock race of the season July 13 at Speedway 660 in Geary, N.B.
“She can flat out drive a street stock,” said Tom Nicholls, who co-owns the Taylor Built Rentals Brain Injury Awareness car No. 63 with his wife Gineen. “Man, she would not give up and muscled her way to the front in the end to get the win.”
The Nicholls of Charlottetown operate the car under the Big Poppas Motor Sports (BPMS) banner.
The Ricky Bobby 150 memorial race is held in memory of New Brunswick street stock driver Rick Arbeau, who passed away last year with his fight with cancer. It was the richest race of the year with a purse of more than $15,000.
O’Blennis started the second half of the 150 laps near the back of the pack after finishing the first 75 laps in the top three. Race promoters inverted the field after the first 75 laps were complete. With 40 laps to go, O’Blennis got loose going three wide and saved the car from leaving the race track, but lost valuable track position.
Coming from last place, she ran down leader Drew Greenlaw with 20 laps to go. O’Blennis tried a few times with no avail to get by the No. 68 car. With three laps to go, she dove under the 68 entering Turn 3 and drove on to claim the victory by two car lengths.
“That was the biggest win for us in racing,” Tom said, noting they purchased the car three years ago from Courtney’s father Dave. “I knew if we could get it back to their race shop and the right set-up in the car for 660 then our chances were as good as anyone else’s.”
Tom said the win wouldn't have been possible without O’Blennis Motorsports out of Boundary Creek, N.B., and more than 30 corporate sponsors from P.E.I.
“Without either we likely don’t finish where we did. We race with the help of our sponsors. If not for them, we wouldn’t be out here racing.”
The post-race tech inspection was exhaustive.
“I have never been through tech after a race where so many items were checked,” Tom said. “The officials had a lengthy list. When you get through Donny Greer’s tech building with no issues then it’s a solid, deserved win.”
The third- and fourth-place finishers failed tech and lost any purse money or lap leader money they had earned.
The Nicholls will be bringing the 63 back home to P.E.I. to race out the remainder of the season at Oyster Bed Speedway with veteran driver Kenny Snow at the wheel.
“Kenny is one of the best around,” Tom said. “So, we are excited to get back home. We have not raced very much to this point due to our busy schedules. However, we will finish out the year at home and do a few big lap, big purse races in September.”
BPMS had a second entry in the race, the No. 80 car driven by Ryan Richard. He won the first heat race and claimed the pole position in the Ricky Bobby 150. He finished in 11th spot after battling power-steering issues.