Race Preview: Fast Eddie Racewear 100 @ Petty International Raceway
Well, let’s try this again, shall we?
The Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour heads back to Petty Raceway for the second time in three weeks as we’ll try again to get the Fast Eddie Racewear 100 in the books.
We’ve spent the last two weekends in the beautiful province of New Brunswick and the last two weekends have provided us with some pretty awesome and memorable racing. From last lap passes to first time winners to the lights going down on us and drivers having to charge hard from the rear, we’ve seen a bit of everything and I’m sure we’re in for something more on Saturday.
One of the coolest statistics about Petty International Raceway lies in the fact that we’ve had five different winners in as many races at the track. Wayne Smith, Kent Vincent, Jonathan Hicken, Shawn Turple and Dylan Gosbee are pretty elite company right now and there are many others that will be looking to join them this weekend. Three drivers have finished in the top ten in all five races at the track - Turple, the point leader John Flemming and Jerome Kehoe. Vincent, Kehoe and Donald Chisholm own the most top five finishes at the track with three each. Chisholm, Turple and Darren Mackinnon have each finished two races on the podium.
So there are four names of drivers that could take their first win at Petty Raceway in Chisholm, Flemming, Kehoe and Mackinnon. Obviously, we know Flemming is holding a hot hand this season by winning three races and Chisholm owns one of the other two races Flemming did not grab. MacKinnon has two podium finishes this season and Kehoe was in the top five the last time we were here but both have been pretty bad fast in the other races they did not appear near the front.
Add Shawn Tucker, Craig Slaunwhite and Greg Proude to that list as well. Although they do not have the statistics of those drivers above at Petty, they ran strong here a couple weeks ago. Shawn Tucker darn near won the Lucas Oil 150 if not for a last lap pass by Gosbee. Slaunwhite was running in second before a wreck in the final five laps took him out of contention for his shot at River Glade glory. Greg Proude has been consistent all season and was in the top five when it counted two weeks ago at Petty.
We mentioned the PEI Modified class at Oyster Bed Speedway breeding future stars of our series earlier in the week and it appears we will see one more of those on Saturday. With the postponement of the race, Shawn Pierce has a wedding to attend on Saturday and will not be able to run his car on Saturday afternoon. In steps 2011 Modified champion Robbie MacEwen. The Sherwood, PE driver will make his first start on the series in the #21 South Shore Speed and Sound Toyota for Pierce to keep Pierce in the point picture, which sees him 16th after five races. He will be joined by Brodie MacQuarrie, who will be making his second Pro Stock Tour start in the #63 Island Excavators Chevy.
The Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year chase continues to tighten up with Denver Foran picking up top freshman honors in the last two events. He sits third in the Rookie of the Year points but he is just two points, or the equivalent of one feature position behind fellow 16 year old Cole Butcher. Butcher sits just 24 points off rookie leader Dylan Blenkhorn with seven events to go. Speaking of seven, that’s the position that Blenkhorn is in overall in the standings but he has Slaunwhite, Kehoe and Hicken within six points of his seventh place spot, meaning one small slip on the track could send one of the drivers back in the standings in a heartbeat.
If you can remember back, our last two races at Petty Raceway featured restarts with two and three laps to go and both races ended with a fair amount of excitement. I think we are in for the same this weekend. With our points close within the pack, I’m sure there will be a bit of a shakeup too as we cross the halfway point this weekend before heading into the IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body!
Before we close, congrats go out to 2012 Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour championship car owner Stephen Henderson on his upcoming induction into the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame. Henderson joins former Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour driver Scott Livingston, Richard Boyd, Roy Blakeney, Gerald Wheaton, Jack Way, Bob Yuille and Joseph Bolger in the 2013 class, which will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame on November 18th in Moncton. More information on the event, inductees and the Hall of Fame itself can be found at MMHF.ca. I had the opportunity to drop into the Maritime Motorsports Hall of Fame the last time we went to Petty Raceway (it’s just the next exit down from the track) and recommend you stop in for yourself to check out all the neat memorabilia they have on display.
Until Saturday, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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