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Tim's CornerISSUe 103

Race Preview - Lucas Oil 100 @ Petty International Raceway

Photos By Mike McCarthy

After an off weekend following a fast paced, action packed CARQUEST 100, the cars and stars of the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour are back at it Saturday on the high banks of Petty International Raceway! By virtue of leading the most laps in Round One, Greg Proude leads us into competition on Saturday evening atop the point standings with CARQUEST 100 winner Craig Slaunwhite just a single point behind in second. The Petty configuration is different than that of the Speedworld 3/10-mile oval we raced at two weeks ago and will provide edge-of-your-seat action for every moment of the Lucas Oil 100. With that type of excitement, we may also see our first caution in a feature race this season.

With ’11 Lucas Oil 100 winner Wayne Smith in semi-retirement, who will be able to step up their game and take the crown as race winner this season? Let’s take a look at the (brief) history book of Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour races at Petty Raceway to get a gauge of who could be strong. Here’s the “Fast Five” when it comes to average finishing position at the River Glade bullring!

Fast Five: Top average finishers at Petty International Raceway (2011)

1st - Donald Chishom, Antigonish, Nova Scotia; #89 Keltic Ford Fusion
Average Finish - 2.5, Finishes: June - 2nd, August - 3rd
Notes: Donald Chisholm and his NOVA Racing entry knows its way around high banked tracks. Chisholm, who is the defending champion at the Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet 100 at Riverside International Speedway will look to capture his first series victory at Petty International Raceway this weekend. A strong run here combined with a good run at Riverside could really vault the #89 up the standings and closer to the team’s first championship - but who’s talking about points, right?

Waaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiit a minute, stop the presses. Due to a prior commitment, Donald Chisholm will be out of town this weekend, so his NOVA Racing teammate George Koszkulics of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia will be at the wheel of the #89 car. While Koszkulics doesn’t have a start at Petty since the track was re-opened, he does own a 2011 win at Riverside International, another track with big banking in the corners. Don’t be surprised to see Koszkulics near the front when the checkers fly on Saturday night.

Okay, behind Chisholm, who were the best five drivers at Petty statistically that are expected to take the green flag on Saturday? Let’s try this again!

1st - Kent Vincent, Crapaud, Prince Edward Island; #8 Vector Aerospace Dodge Charger
Average Finish - 3.5, Finishes: June - 6th, August - 1st
Notes: The winner of the CARQUEST 100 last season at Petty International will look to continue his winning ways at Petty this Saturday. After all, Slaunwhite is two-for-two at Scotia Speedworld in the last two races, wouldn’t it be fitting for Vincent to repeat at Petty?

2nd - Marty Prevost, Fall River, Nova Scotia; #11 MEGA Enterprises Chevrolet Impala
Average Finish - 4.5, Finishes: June - 4th, August - 5th
Notes: Consistency was the name of the game from Prevost and his #11 team last season at Petty. Prevost was persistent in each of the two races, kept his car clean and came home with two top five finishes, one of only two drivers to do so in 2011 at that track. Prevost also finished fifth at the Petty 150 open Pro Stock show in September, making him the only driver to record top five finishes in all three Pro Stock type events at the track since the re-opening last June.

3rd - Shawn Turple, Enfield, Nova Scotia; #0 Dexter Construction/Municipal Group Chevrolet Impala
Average Finish - 5.5, Finishes: June - 9th, August - 2nd
Notes: If you can remember back to the start of last year, Turple and his team were trying to dial in a new race car and their finish in that race reflects this. Turple and team were strong early in the CARQUEST 100 before falling back

4th -Jerome Kehoe, Sydney, Nova Scotia; #98 Ideal Concrete, Zutphen Contractors Chevrolet Impala
Average Finish - 5.5, Finishes: June - 3rd, August - 8th
Notes: Kehoe scored his first ever podium finish on the Tour in this event one year ago. Could this be the race “The Pride of Cape Breton” not only returns to the podium but collects his first career Pro Stock Tour victory?

5th - John Flemming, Halifax, Nova Scotia; #97 Dodge Charger
Average Finish - 5.5, Finishes: June - 7th, August 4th
Notes: After a forgettable performance at Scotia Speedworld during the CARQUEST 100, Flemming will look to notch his first victory of the season at a track where he won an Open 150 last September. Flemming also won at Oyster Bed Speedway at 2011, a track in which features high banks and a tight configuration similar to the characteristics of Petty International Raceway.

Those five will be tough on Saturday, but with 20 other drivers expected to take the green silk along with these five above, any one of our starters could take the victory on Saturday night. Cassius Clark returns to the #13 car and will look to make better on his 1.5 average finish position in two career Pro Stock Tour starts. You have to believe hometown boy Mike Stevens will be a favorite on Saturday night with the speed he has shown at Petty in the past combined with the top five run in the CARQUEST 100 at Scotia Speedworld. Proude and Slaunwhite ran strong at Petty last season but with both missing out on top five finishes at the track last season, you better believe your point leaders will be charging hard to the front. Former series champions Shawn Tucker and Shawn Turple will look to become the third different winner at Petty Raceway since the re-opening last season. Don’t count out Island boys Jonathan Hicken or Darren MacKinnon either, they cut their teeth at Oyster Bed Speedway and know how to fling a Pro Stock car around a tight bullring with the best of them. Combine those drivers with six Exide Batteries Rookies who will be looking to make a splash and you have the makings of a race you will not want to miss come Saturday evening.

It is sure to be an exciting card of racing Saturday night. Along with the Pro Stocks, the Maritime League of Legends, Eastern Super Mini Cup Series and Mister Transmission Four Cylinders will be playing on the high banks on Saturday evening. Tickets for Saturday are available in advance at TicketAtlantic.com if you want to avoid lineups at the gate. Meanwhile, Friday night also provides fantastic racing with the GT Enterprises Sportsman going 100 laps in the big feature with the Leisure Days RV Bandoleros, Street Stocks and Atlantic Open Wheel Modifieds taking to the track. For more information on the host track of the Lucas Oil 100, visit PettyRaceway.com.

Until Saturday, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!

Fast Facts:

Champions of Lucas Oil 100 at Petty Raceway:
2011 - Wayne Smith (Timberlea, NS)

Last Five Winners at Petty Raceway:
Kent Vincent (Crapaud, PE/August 2011)
Wayne Smith (Timberlea, NS/June 2011)

Top Five in Points:
1st - Greg Proude - 206 (#29 Atlantic Dodge Dealers Dodge, Springvale, PE)
2nd - Craig Slaunwhite - 205 (#99 Halifax Glass and Mirror Chevrolet, Terence Bay, NS)
3rd - Rollie MacDonald - 198 (#13 King Freight Lines Ford, Pictou, NS)*
4th - Mike MacKenzie - 194 (#02 Bruce Sutherland Associates Chevrolet, Dartmouth, NS)
5th - Mike Stevens - 192 (#4 R. Stevens Mechanical Chevrolet, Salisbury, NB)

*Cassius Clark drove the #13 at Scotia Speedworld for car owner Rollie MacDonald.

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