Notebook: Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet Buick GMC 100
Three races this season, three different winners. The past twelve races at Riverside, eleven different winners. The latest addition to those lists is Salisbury, New Brunswick’s Mike Stevens, who returned to victory lane for the first time since late 2010 in pretty convincing fashion on Saturday night. While Donald Chisholm looked like he was going to go back to victory lane for many laps in the Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet Buick GMC 100, a flat tire ended any chance of a repeat win in the event he won in 2011 and dampened what would have been an incredible battle for the lead which began very quickly in the opening laps.
Stevens and Chisholm started on the front row and within the first two laps, the #4 R. Stevens Mechanical Chevrolet let Chisholm and his #89 Keltic Ford Fusion know he was there, giving him a small shot in the rear and subsequently took the lead. A couple laps later, Chisholm did the same and returned his car to the lead. Folks, this was all within the first five laps of the race! Stevens then let Chisholm run, especially during the early stages of what would turn out to be a green flag run to the finish from Lap 12. There was a method to his madness though. “I wanted to lead at the start,” explained Stevens in victory lane. “But my spotter told me to “let him (Chisholm) burn it up,” and you know what? The spotter was right! They said it was 30 to go and he had it burnt up and I was just ridin’.”
As mentioned, Chisholm blew a tire in the late stages after contact between his #89 and a car that was about to be put a lap down. Donald was as dejected as I’ve seen him in a long time but still made time to talk to me after the event on Race Time Radio. Watch for this team to rebound this Saturday night during the Lockhart Truck Center 100. Though Donald hasn’t won a race at the Speedworld in his Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour career, he’s come run strong there before and this weekend could potentially be that magic moment in Halifax for the #89 Ford.
Kent Vincent had a strong night as the #8 Vector Aerospace Dodge came home second at the end of the night and maybe more importantly, the Crapaud, PE driver came out of Riverside with the point lead. With Jonathan Hicken having to spend many laps in the pits with crash damage and Craig Slaunwhite’s crew having to replace a control arm that ripped off the frame, Vincent capitalized for his second straight top five finish and the top point spot to boot.
Cassius Clark brought the #13 King Freight Lines Ford Fusion home with another top three run on the Tour this season and has Rollie MacDonald’s #13 in a tie for second in points with Darren MacKinnon after three races. Clark had a great battle with George Koszkulics (who had the brakes fade on the #88) throughout the race and looked to be gaining on Vincent at the close of the event, but ran out of time to catch the #8. Clark will now begin a major stretch of races in the #77 Hight Chevrolet on the PASS North Tour, leaving the seat of the #13 vacant. Will we see MacDonald back in the seat or will we see a surprise at the helm of the Ford? We’ll find out Saturday at the Speedworld.
The Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year battle tightened up on Saturday night as well. Frankie Fraser won his Dartmouth Dodge Heat Race and looked poised for, at the very least, a top ten finish to back up his tenth place starting spot, but it wasn’t meant to be. “The motor started laying down on us,” Frankie told me after the race. The #15 car finished the race seven laps down and fifth when it came to the freshmen in the race. Steve Halpin finished 12th and took top rookie honors for the Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet Buick GMC 100 while youngster Brad Eddy was one spot behind in 13th. What does this mean? It put us with a tie for the top spot in the rookie standings between Halpin and Fraser with Eddy, Terry Dougay, Steve Ross and Dylan Gosbee not far behind the two heading into Scotia Speedworld for the second time this season.
Greg Proude had a tough night at Riverside Speedway on Saturday night. The “Red Rocket” got swept up in a wreck out of Turn Two on Lap 12, which saw the #29 Atlantic Dodge Dealers Dodge Charger impact the concrete wall on the driver’s side. After a couple of anxious moments, Proude emerged from the car with the help of the Riverside safety crew. He was later checked over in Antigonish at a local hospital before being cleared to head home with the team. The wreck also ended the night of Gosbee and gave David Heino and Hicken damage to both of their Chevrolets, but the important thing is that everyone is alright following the incident.
As I mentioned on the Sirius/XM Satellite Radio broadcast, we had 88 laps of consecutive green to the end, but the race was nothing short of exciting. You had side by side battles all around the high banks of Riverside, which gave the fans who packed the stands something to watch from start to finish. The drivers and teams should once again be proud of the show they put on and we’re hoping for much of the same this week as the drivers head to Scotia Speedworld for Round Four of the season and the second stop to the Speedworld in 2012. We’ll preview that stop on the schedule later in the week!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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