Race Preview: Ron MacGillivray Chev Buick GMC 100
Four races on consecutive weekends. Four race tracks. Four hundred feature laps. Three provinces.
It all begins this weekend at Riverside International Speedway!
I said it Sunday at Speedway 660 when talking to Wade Wilson during the PASS 200 that this stretch of races for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour will do a couple of things. These four races usually separate the men from the boys. You usually have drivers who begin to light it up in these four races and (combined with their first two races) begin to pull away in the point standings. Find yourself in a hole after these races and you only have half the season left to gain it back - and with the competition we have, you may not get the chance to do that if that point deficit is big enough.
We also go to four very unique race tracks in these four races. We go to the high banks of Riverside International Speedway for the first race, the flat track at Scotia Speedworld in week two, the high banked/tight configuration of Oyster Bed Speedway in the third event and the lightning quick confines at Speedway 660 host the last event in this stretch. The driver that can come out of each of these races with a clean car and at least a top ten finish in every race will likely find themselves near the, if not at the, top of the standings after six races.
So let’s set our sights on the third race on the 12 race series, the Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet Buick GMC 100 at Riverside International Speedway. It’s really hard to pick a winner, especially at a race track that has produced so many different ones in the last few years. When you factor in the first two races and the fact that each race had a different top five when the checkers flew, a big question mark looms over victory lane and will do so until someone crosses the line first on Saturday night after the completion of Lap 100!
The last six races have produced five different winners at Riverside with only Donald Chisholm having two victories on the James River oval since the beginning of 2010. Chisholm is the defending champion of the Ron MacGillivray 100 and will look to become only the second driver in event history to win back to back Riverside spring races. The only other driver to do so is Shawn Tucker when he won this race in 2008 and 2009. He also won the event in 2002, making him the only three-time winner of this event.
Let’s back up here a bit though. With Chisholm out of town for the last Tour event of this current season, George Koszkulics was the one driving a #89 car out of the NOVA Racing stables, and he drove it to a second place run at Petty International Raceway. Koszkulics is the most recent winner at Riverside in Pro Stock Tour competition and will make a bid to keep it that way on Saturday night. Last season’s IWK 250 winner Darren MacKinnon was also impressive on the high banks of Petty and told me that “his car knows its way around Riverside.”
One of the impressive stats I’ve been able to dig up about Riverside - in the last eleven Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour races at the facility, we’ve had ten different winners with the only repeat winner being Chisholm. The winner list is pretty impressive with the names of Koszkulics, MacKinnon, Chisholm, Kent Vincent, Greg Proude, Shawn Turple, Wayne Smith, Tucker, Craig Slaunwhite and Regan Smith on it since mid-2008, but there are some names missing that could make a big statement on Saturday. John Flemming has been to victory lane at Riverside, but it’s been a few years since the #97 Dodge has been there. How about our most recent winner on the Tour (and new point leader) Jonathan Hicken. With his win at Petty, Hicken closes in on a feat only one driver has accomplished before him - and that is winning on every track the Tour competes in during a Tour sanctioned event. Hicken has wins at Petty, Scotia Speedworld and Oyster Bed Speedway and just needs victories at Riverside Speedway and Speedway 660 to complete the feat. Wayne Smith is the only driver to win a Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour feature at all five active tracks on the schedule with his win at Petty last season capping off the “five track sweep.”
Watch the point picture on Saturday night as well. As mentioned, Hicken leads, but only by one over Slaunwhite. Third, and only eight points behind the #5, is Chisholm with MacKinnon and Tucker rounding out the top five. Of note, all four former champions that are competing this season are in the Top Ten in the standings after two events and each driver in the top ten has won at least a pair of Pro Stock Tour main features in their careers. Tied for 11th includes leading Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year contender Frankie Fraser and former Rookie of the Year Jerome Kehoe, who comes off a strong Top Five finish at Petty. Kehoe could easily be a driver who could capture his first Tour victory at his home track this weekend while Fraser will look to preserve his 14 point lead he has in the Rookie chase over Steve Halpin after two events.
The excitement all gets underway this Saturday at 6pm with the Fast Eddie Racewear Dash for Cash, which follows Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials at 5:10pm at Riverside International Speedway. Should you not be able to make the race, you can catch it on Sirius/XM Channel 157 with Race Time Radio. Either way, there is no excuse to miss the action this weekend, wherever you may be!
Until Saturday, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
FAST FACTS – RON MACGILLIVRAY CHEVROLET BUICK GMC 100
Track: Riverside International Speedway; 1/3-mile high banked oval located in James River, Nova Scotia
Last five winners at Riverside:
George Koszkulics (August 20th, 2011),
Darren MacKinnon (July 23rd, 2011*),
Donald Chisholm (June 18th, 2011),
Donald Chisholm (August 14th, 2010),
Kent Vincent (July 17th, 2010*)
*indicates extra distance race (IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body)
Share the trophy! – Riverside has seen ten different Pro Stock winners in their last eleven races, including Koszkulics, MacKinnon, Chisholm, Vincent, Proude, Turple, Smith, Tucker, Craig Slaunwhite and Regan Smith.
PAST WINNERS OF THE SPRING RACE AT RIVERSIDE:
2011 - Donald Chisholm
2010 – Greg Proude
2009 – Shawn Tucker
2008 – Shawn Tucker
2007 - Mike MacKenzie
2006 – Not Held (first RIS event in 2006 was a 200-lap race in August, won by Shawn Turple)
2005 – Rollie MacDonald
2004 – John Flemming
2003 – Wayne Smith
2002 – Shawn Tucker
2001 – Wayne Smith
Shawn Tucker has won this event three times, more than any other driver in series history.
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