Race Notebook: Irving MAX1 - 150
Photos By: Ray Brown (www.speedshots.ca)
Shawn Turple reminded us again at Petty International Raceway, the second half of the 2012 season has really been “Turple Time.”
The Irving Max1-150 was everything a diehard short track fan could ask for. The first half of the race was run under green with some late race cautions mixing up the flow of the event, including one which set up a green-white-checkered finish to the event. The race wasn’t dominated by one driver and at the end it was the #0 leading just the final 14 laps to take the win on the high banks of Petty International Raceway. It was three cars who paced the field for the first 138 laps of the event, until the first of two big turning points in the race and point championship took place.
On Lap 137, Jonathan Hicken looked like he was going to make the championship really interesting heading into Scotia Speedworld. The #5 car was leading and, to that point, the #0 car hadn’t led a lap and was running third with John Flemming running a couple spots behind him. If it was the Irving Max1 - 137, Hicken would have went to the Speedworld with a single digit point deficit to Turple in the standings. On the ensuing restart though, Hicken’s car began to slow and after exiting Turn Two, the car spun around and was collected by another driver. It ended up being the panhard bar breaking, ending the night for Hicken. The #5 team now sits 48 points out of the lead, and though not “mathematically” out of the title hunt, he’ll need some help from the top two to put himself in the title picture during the Dartmouth Dodge 200.
Enter John Flemming. Flemming was poised for a top five finish, and even though Turple was leading with two laps to go, the #97 was looking to only be about 17 or so points off Turple heading into the finale, until Shawn Tucker and Dean Clattenburg tangled in front of the #97 Dartmouth Dodge Charger, which ended up collecting Flemming and sending him to the rear as an involved car under Pro Stock Tour rules and procedures. Flemming finished eight, and after it could have been third or fourth with two to go, those points are big.
Grabbing the win was far from easy for Turple though. Craig Slaunwhite, who had dominated the first half of the event, restarted on the upside of the #0. Turple’s final restarts were pristine though and kept the #99 from getting his second win of 2012. Upon further review after the race, Turple and his team found a broken left front shock. “The eye broke right off it,” said Turple when I caught up with him after the race. “It must have been just floating around in there but luckily it stayed in there well enough to keep us going. I noticed it would bottom out pretty good into (Turn) One over the bumps. It would bottom out pretty good into one; it would bottom out almost three times going into the Turn. Lucky.” You can hear my full interview with Shawn on my website, TimsCorner.ca, on my weekly podcast (Tim’s Corner Unplugged #44).
We’ll look a bit more into that championship picture next week when we preview the 200, but let’s talk about some guys now that had good runs on the weekend, and we can’t start without mentioning the run Brad Eddy had. Eddy, with mentoring from 2005 champion and Hall of Famer Rollie MacDonald, drove his #72 car to second at the end of that race after qualifying third for the event. Eddy is really starting to get comfortable with his Pro Stock car, which could spell trouble for his competitors. When I think of young guns coming up through the ranks, I think of guys like Turple and Slaunwhite (the driver Eddy beat by inches on Saturday), who came into the series from the local ranks and lit it up within their first two years on the series. After his first podium finish, we may be talking about Eddy in that same group before long!
Kent Vincent had a fairly quiet night, well, as quiet as a fourth place finisher can have. The #8 Vector Aerospace Dodge charged at the end to finish in that fourth place spot. Donald Chisholm rebounded from a spin to complete the top five. Great to see Brad Mann in the top ten as well. The veteran from Northern New Brunswick is one of those drivers who tends to finish the season strong and it looks like 2012 will fall into line with previous seasons.
Was also great to see Jason Carnahan back out on the track. The runner-up for the Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year Award in 2009 finished 14th on Saturday night in his return to the Tour and kept the car clean all night long. Jason, from Moncton, is keeping busy these days with Speedway Miramichi, which he purchased last fall, but hopefully Jason doesn’t become a stranger on the Tour with that full plate he has!
Before we close for the week, we need to send out a special thanks to the group at COASTAL Blending & Packaging for coming on board for the Irving Max1-150 this weekend. Without sponsors, the racing we enjoy each week would be hard to finance; so as I say at the track each week, go out and support our sponsors. Whether it’s putting Irving Max1 motor oil into your truck or car, renting your hauling gear from Atlantic Tiltload, buying automotive additives from Lucas Oil, or shopping for your next car purchase at Dartmouth Dodge, we really have a sponsor that can take care of your needs! Of course, when you are in their stores, be sure to tell them you saw them at the track with the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour!
Next week, we preview the Dartmouth Dodge 200 at Scotia Speedworld.
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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