Race Preview: Lockhart Truck Center 150 @ Scotia Speedworld
If the first two races on this season have been any indication, Saturday’s Lockhart Truck Center 150 should be a barnburner.
I had a couple of fans tell me that the Lucas Oil 150 was one of the best races they had seen at the Speedworld in years. Who can blame them for saying it? The race had a bit of everything. A few wrecks, some close racing, bent tempers and a determined John Flemming taking the victory.
We now head back to the 3/10-mile oval after what was called by some as one of the best races Riverside Speedway has ever seen at the Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet Buick GMC 150. Great racing throughout the 28 car field highlighted a great night under the lights on the high banks. How can we top it? We’re soon to find out when the green drops on Saturday.
Without further delay, here are my top five picks for the week. This time, I went with trends in the last three Scotia Speedworld races. These five drivers have the best average finish of all series drivers in the last three races at the Speedworld (May’s Lucas Oil 150 and 2012’s Dartmouth Dodge 200 and Atlantic CAT 250). It just so happens that these five are also in the top ten in points after two races in the current season and will look to stay there after the third race on Saturday.
(Picks sorted by numerical order)
#0 - Shawn Turple - Dexter Construction/Municipal Group Impala
Stat Line at Scotia Speedworld: Three wins, nine podiums, 17 top fives, 24 top tens
Last Three Races at Scotia Speedworld: Average Finish - 3rd
While he snapped a 15 race consecutive top ten streak at Riverside last weekend, Shawn Turple enters Scotia Speedworld Saturday with another streak intact. Shawn has not finished outside the top ten (or top seven for that matter) in the last 10 Pro Stock Tour races at Scotia Speedworld! The last time Shawn did not finish in the top ten at his home track was August 7th, 2010 in the CAT 250, where he finished 15th. Shawn's average finish in the last ten races at the Speedworld? 3.6.
Need I say more?
#5 - Jonathan Hicken - Castle Building Centres Chevrolet
Stat Line at Scotia Speedworld: One win, two podiums, six top fives, 15 top tens
Last Three Races at Scotia Speedworld: Average Finish - 8.3
A trailing arm bolt may skew the numbers a bit, but Jonathan Hicken has put up some pretty impressive ones at the Speedworld in the past. The former Dartmouth Dodge 200 winner has four top ten finishes in his last five races, the only blemish being that mechanical failure back in May. Of those, two of them are top five finishes, one in the Dartmouth Dodge 200 back in September. Hicken comes off a top five finish last week at Riverside and hopes to keep moving forward from seventh in the standings.
#72 - Brad Eddy - Samuel Metals/Dana’s Collision Centre - CSN Ford
Stat Line at Scotia Speedworld: Three top tens
Last Three Races at Scotia Speedworld: Average Finish - 9th
Three drivers have finished each of the last three Scotia Speedworld Pro Stock Tour races in the top ten. John Flemming and Shawn Turple have five Pro Stock Tour championships and 25 series wins amongst them, 11 at Scotia Speedworld.
Then, there’s Brad Eddy.
Eddy has quietly been clicking away impressive finishes on the Tour. In fact, the last six races he has six top tens, a number he shares with Flemming as the longest current active top ten streak. Another top ten run last week at Riverside has the Lower Sackville hotshoe sixth in the standings and just a dozen points out of second. This weekend has bred some first time series winners in the past and it could do so once again if the cards fall in Brad Eddy’s hands!
#97 - John Flemming - Action Car and Truck Accessories Dodge
Stat Line at Scotia Speedworld: Eight wins, 19 podiums, 25 top fives, 34 top tens
Last Three Races at Scotia Speedworld: TWO WINS. Average Finish - 3.3
The stats will show that John Flemming is the hottest driver on paper heading into the Lockhart Truck Center 150. Flemming has won the last two races at the Speedworld and finished second in a classic battle one week ago at Riverside International Speedway to Donald Chisholm. The second place run gave the #97 car the point lead by 22 points over Turple. That’s a pretty big margin when you consider we are only two races in. John has finished four of the last five races in the top ten at the Speedworld, including a third place run here last year to Shawn Tucker and, you guessed it, Donald Chisholm.
#98 Jerome Kehoe - Zutphen Contractors/Ideal Concrete Chevrolet
Stat Line at Scotia Speedworld: Four top tens
Last Three Races at Scotia Speedworld: Average Finish - 10.6
If it wasn’t for running out of fuel on the last lap, Jerome Kehoe’s average finish at the Speedworld would be better than the 10.6 it reflects. Kehoe finished eighth in this race last year and after a top ten run at Riverside has the team seventh in the standings, he will look to wheel the #98 car back up to the front of the field on Saturday. Don’t be surprised to see Jerome sneaking up to take his first top five finish at Scotia Speedworld when Art Steeves drops the checkers on Lap 150!
THE SIXTH MAN
#18 Darren MacKinnon - Shaw’s Towing/MacKinnon Brothers Service Centre Chevrolet
Stat Line at Scotia Speedworld: Two top fives, five top tens.
HIS Last Three Races at Scotia Speedworld: Average Finish - 9.3
While he’s only run in three of the last five races at the Speedworld, Darren MacKinnon has been pretty impressive in all of them. Like Kehoe, if he didn’t run out of fuel at the Lucas Oil 150, he would have been well within the top five at the end of the night. MacKinnon was on the other side of the inch last week when the car began to sputter at the end of the Riverside race AFTER the checkered flag and the third place finish. What’s even more impressive? He did it by getting the free pass and running back through the field to that podium finish.
Watch for Darren to try and put his first Speedworld win on the board this weekend in the Lockhart Truck Center 150.
Honorable mentions go out to guys like last week’s winner Donald Chisholm, Craig Slaunwhite, Greg Proude and Shawn Tucker. Except for Chisholm, these names are proven winners at the track but their average finishes in the last few races at Scotia Speedworld leave a lot to be desired. For example, Shawn Tucker has three top six finishes in the last five races at the Speedworld, including a victory in this race last year but also has two finishes outside the top 15. Greg Proude has a third place finish here in May and was a top ten car at Riverside but also sports two finishes outside the top 20 here last year. Chisholm has been lightning quick here but doesn’t have much to show for it in the last year, except for a runner up finish to Tucker in this race last year.
All four of our Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year contenders had very respectable runs here in May with Dylan Blenkhorn and Denver Foran each getting top ten runs and Colby Smith and Cole Butcher also getting finishes within the top 13. Steve Ross scored his first series top five here the last time out at the Speedworld. Although the team was searching for an engine after the Riverside race, Terry Dougay’s #14 team has a seventh place run here from May. We could go on and on about drivers who have ran well here in the past - the point is, with the way the competition is with this series, every driver who pulls in that back gate on Saturday has a fighting chance at a good finish and if the hand falls in their favor, they could end up being dealt that royal flush that puts them in victory lane at the end of the Lockhart Truck Center 150.
If you’re in town for the weekend, be sure to head up to the track on Friday night for AMP Energy Night. We have four divisions of racing in town on the evening, including the Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros, Strictly Hydraulics Legends and ACE Lumbermart Thunder and Lightning. All four have had close competition through two races and a preview of those can be found on my column at ScotiaSpeedworld.ca. That is where you’ll also find a bit of a preview on the support classes we will see Saturday night with the Pro Stocks, as the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman and Coors Light Trucks take to the track for their third point paying main features of the season.
It’s going to be a dandy on Saturday night and we hope you can join us for it!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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