Race Preview: Irving MAX1-150 @ Petty Raceway
The Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour point battle has come down to a three way.
After the Lucas Oil 100, three drivers have pulled away and will look to decide the title amongst themselves in the last two races of the season. As mentioned last week in my Riverside preview, all three are good at the tracks upcoming, so who has the edge at Petty International Raceway between Shawn Turple, John Flemming and Jonathan Hicken? Short answer - I don’t think any of them have a clear cut advantage heading into the Irving Max1 - 150.
The last time we were at Petty Raceway, it was Jonathan Hicken who sat in victory lane as the winner. In fact, his current championship rivals finished outside the top five when we were at Petty in June. On the opposite side of the coin, both Turple (second) and Flemming (fourth) were in the top five in this event last year while Hicken was outside the top ten. Looking back at the last three “high banked” races on the Tour, two of those were won by championship contenders (Hicken in the Advance Rentals 150, Flemming in the IWK 250), while Turple has momentum with three straight top three finishes in the last three races. One thing is for sure, our fans are set for not only an exciting race on Saturday night, the “race within the race” for the point title will be well worth the trip to Moncton.
So how about the race itself? The Irving Max1 - 150 has many storylines heading outside the point battle that we’re going to take a peek at. I think if you’re looking at favorites when looking at historical statistics at Petty, outside of winners Hicken and Kent Vincent that will be in the field on Saturday, you have to look at three drivers - Turple, Donald Chisholm and Jerome Kehoe. We talked how strong Turple is at the track and with the point battle, you should expect him to be up there come the end of 150 laps. Donald Chisholm placed in the top three in the two races at Petty Raceway last year and George Koszkulics put the #89 Keltic Ford Fusion in the top three the last time we were there in June. After missing the setup one week ago at Riverside, Chisholm and NOVA Racing will be looking to rebound and this should be the perfect venue for that team to do just that. “The Pride Of Cape Breton” recorded his first ever podium finish on the Tour here in the inaugural event at Petty back in 2011, and followed up that performance in June with a strong fourth place run in the #98 car. After a fourth place run in Prince Edward Island in the Advance Rentals 150, I think you have to include Jerome as one of the favorites for Saturday night.
Looking for a sleeper in the field? If the team has the car ready for Saturday, how about a guy like Marty Prevost as a pick for the Irving Max1 - 150? Prevost has two top five finishes at Petty Raceway in the three races we’ve been there and always brings excitement to the track when the #11 MEGA Enterprises Chevrolet rolls to the racing surface. Greg Proude may be another one to watch, with two top five finishes in the last two high banked races on the Tour, the Red Rocket might be another one to surprise us on Saturday night.
We can’t talk about Petty and high banked track history this season without hometown favorite Mike Stevens. Stevens was lightning quick in June before an accident took him out of contention. With the wave of momentum Stevens and that #4 team is on, I wouldn’t be surprised to be talking to the Salisbury native after the race on Saturday night. After all, the Stevens race shop and R. Stevens Mechanical are just a couple minute drive from Petty International Raceway, so I’m sure if they won at home on Saturday, the party would be an all night bash!
Let’s also add one more driver into the mix - Dean Clattenburg. Yes, Clattenburg will climb back behind the wheel of a race car in Atlantic Canada for the second time this season, this time on the Pro Stock Tour at the helm of the #13 King Freight Lines Chevrolet for Rollie MacDonald. It’s been well over a decade since Clattenburg has run at Petty, but when he was at Scotia Speedworld a few weeks back in the Alexander Sportsman car, he finished a hard charging third place and picked his way through a ton of traffic to do so. It’s not often we say that a driver coming in and running with us from time to time can be a favorite in this series to win, but I think the Dartmouth native has to be one of those you have to have near the top of your list on Saturday!
As we say everytime we go to a race track, there’s an easy 15 or so drivers that can win each of our races, the Irving Max1 - 150 will be no different. Do yourself a favor and get to Petty International Raceway this weekend for some fantastic racing action with the Pro Stock Tour and the Maritime League of Legends Tour. Action begins at 5:10pm with the Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials and qualifying kicks off at 6pm sharp!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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