Race Notebook: Advance Rentals 150
Hello Jonathan Hicken!
The #5 Castle Building Centres Impala has re-entered the point picture in a big way following a huge win at his home track of Oyster Bed Speedway in the Advance Rentals 150! Hicken led all but five laps in the race, but had his hands full in the first two thirds with John Flemming of Halifax, who eventually blew the motor in his Dodge in the final 50 laps of the race. With that, Flemming fell from the lead to become co-leader in the standings with Hicken with just four races remaining. The good thing about the next four races? Flemming and Hicken are strong at all the remaining tracks, which should bring us right down to the wire once again when crowning a champion. We’ll have more on the point picture on Friday.
I joked around with Jonathan’s father David prior to the race on Saturday afternoon. David had told me he had got a GoPro camera for Christmas and was planning to mount it on the windshield for the race. “It’d be nice to not have to go back and look at the tape afterward,” David told me after the first practice. “Lapped cars and the back of the pace car on the recording would tell us we had a good night,” he said with a smile. He was right, that’s likely all that’s on that tape. Great run by the #5 team and Jonathan Hicken, it sets up well for a race that this team has won before coming up to the CAT 250 on Saturday.
Shawn Turple and Kent Vincent had great runs in the race as well. Turple finished second but past a lot of cars after a mechanical problem on Lap One saw the #0 Dexter Construction Impala slow to a crawl on the backstraight. At the same time, Dave Pierce (who was subbing for his son Shawn) had problems on the #21 car and the caution flew on the first lap. Turple got his car fixed and back out to the track and worked his way back up to the front to take second place.
Another driver who had a very strong run on Saturday was Jerome Kehoe. Kehoe was top five in the practice sessions and backed that up with a fourth place run. I think if Jerome would have got a yellow with about 20 to go, or the race was 10-20 laps longer under green, then the #98 Ideal Concrete/Zutphen Contractors Impala would have been right there at second place. It looked like it took about five laps after a restart (and we had a few of those) for “the Pride of Cape Breton” to really hit its stride, but when it did, it looked racy. You best believe that first win is right around the corner - and so is Riverside in two weeks!
Sterling Marlin was in the field on Saturday night, but only lasted about two fifths of the feature. In his words, Marlin got a bit “high, wide and handsome” off the fourth corner in the 313 King Freight Lines Chevy and slapped the wall on the front straight. After going to pit road, Marlin emerged a few laps later only to circle the track and head back to the pits. I talked to Marlin earlier in the day (which can be heard on my podcast at timscorner.ca) and he seemed excited for the day and was loving the Island hospitality and seafood (who doesn’t, right?!). Marlin was a real good guy to talk to and we hope to see him back sometime real soon!
Two full time drivers who weren’t in attendance on Saturday were Brad Eddy and Leonard Boutilier. I’ve been told the #45 team has been chasing a motor issue and they could not find the culprit prior to the Advance Rentals 150 while Eddy’s grandfather underwent surgery on Friday and rightfully so their minds were at a different place than a race track. Both are on the expected entry list for the Atlantic CAT 250 and we are eager to see the pair back on track!
One last note about the race itself, I believe those extra 50 laps in that race is something the Tour should consider doing to all of our races in the near future. The stands at Oyster Bed were pretty full and I saw a lot of fans from Halifax, Fredericton and other regions who showed up at the Speedway to watch our race. I’m sure teams like the #89 and #97 who broke in the last 50 laps would probably like to have them back, but it sure added to the show.
Another thing that added to the program was the incredible racing in the support classes at Oyster Bed. I mentioned a couple weeks back that the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman undercard at Speedway 660 last month was one of the best races I’ve seen all year of a support division, but the Mini Stock and Street Stock classes on the Island sure gave them a run for their money. Over a dozen cars in each class and never a dull moment on track - congrats guys and gals!
On Friday we will preview the 13th Annual Atlantic CAT 250. If you haven’t already, make plans to be at Scotia Speedworld this Saturday night (and Friday too for the Sportsman 100), but if you can’t be there on Saturday, tune into Sirius/XM Channel 157 for the live broadcast of the Atlantic CAT 250. Joe Chisholm and I will call the action from the booth while Joe Jr will be down on pit road with all the action from the infield. The show begins at 6pm Eastern/7pm Atlantic and can also be heard on RaceTimeRadio.com.
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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