Parts for Trucks/Lucas Oil 200 Notebook
Another race on Prince Edward Island is in the books and once again, the Island boys have successfully defended their turf!
The battles on the restarts were superb and though there were more than everyone expected, the track that lends itself to close, tight racing didn't let us down.
Many stories developed during the afternoon of racing at Oyster Bed Speedway and here is a brief synopsis of a few if you couldn't make it to the Island on Saturday night:
In the past couple of weeks, the ownership of the track in Oyster Bed Bridge changed hands. Bill Kinney, Chris Hucz, Gary Ford and Robbie MacLean purchased the race track and Saturday night was the first show for the new owners. All indications are that the event was successful and that all of the approximately 2000 fans had a fun time at the races. Robbie also had to sport a driver helmet as he piloted his #01 Universal Truck and Trailer Chevrolet to a 14th place finish after running up front for many laps at the beginning of the 200-lap event.
Speaking of the fans, the crowd at Oyster Bed Speedway on the weekend was amazing! From the wave-off lap pre-race to the fan participation before, during and after the 200 lap event was some of the best we've seen all season!
Three of your top five points drivers had rough luck this weekend. Halifax's John Flemming in his Dodge Charger made his first start at the track since the track was re-paved and in the end the #97 was a victim of the many cautions that were displayed during the race. Flemming soldiered on to finish 18th.
Meanwhile, the three time 09 winner and two time champ of the series had problems of his own. Shawn Tucker went for a wild ride down the back straight just after the 20-minute intermission break, ending the night for the Rockico Truck and Trailer/A.L. Gullison Disaster Kleenup Chevrolet as well as Mike Stevens in the #26 Extreme Window and Entrance Systems Impala. The last time Shawn and crew had to scurry to fix a car during the week was after the IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body. The week after that race, they were in victory lane at Speedway 660!
A great run turned sour for Lonnie Sommerville during the second half of the race as the #23 A.E. McKay Builders Impala ran in the top five for the majority of the race before problems put the Saint John driver behind the wall. Sommerville has posted some solid finishes at Scotia Speedworld in previous seasons, so expect the Chevrolet with Lonnie Sommerville behind the wheel to be a factor this coming Saturday!
The hardest working crew of the Parts for Trucks/Lucas Oil 200 has to go to the #55 Irving Oil Marketing Crew and driver Jason Carnahan. The crew, most of which are based out of the Miramichi, N.B. area had to thrash away at their Chevrolet Impala following a practice accident. The crew got the car back on track only to have to go back to work following damage sustained during the race. The crew never gave up and worked feverishly on the #55, eventually getting the #55 back out on track to complete laps and get the EIT Race Radio Rookie of the Year contender some experience at Oyster Bed Speedway. Great work gents!
Two other crews also had their work cut out for them as well on Saturday. Dave O'Blenis and his #48 Burger King Toyota team from Boundary Creek, N.B. had to hurry to fix their Camry following a mishap in practice. O?Blenis finished 21st in the event.
The #18 Shaw's Towing/MacKinnon Brothers Service Centre Chevrolet team also had a task on their hands after qualifying as they changed the alternator on their ride before the 200 lap event. The youngster from Sleepy Hollow got up on the wheel in the feature from his 13th starting spot and brought the First Choice Hair Cutters/Global Pet Foods sponsored machine home in one piece in 5th place. Expect more great runs from MacKinnon as we head down the homestretch of the '09 season!
Another Islander who has been turning in solid runs as of late is Montague's Roger Crane. Crane, who has won a "B" Feature already at Scotia Speedworld in 2009, came into Saturday night with momentum on his side and propelled that into a 4th place finish for the Montague Tire/Chapman Brothers Construction Chevrolet Impala. The #76 car was a part of the top five for a majority of the late stages of the race and was even battling within the top three for a while. Crane and team return to the track they had that "B" win earlier in the season this weekend with more momentum on their side!
Josh Jaillet had a career pro stock run this weekend, posting a ninth place finish and taking EIT Race Radios Rookie of the Race honors away for the Parts for Trucks/Lucas Oil 200. Jaillet, the former Sportsman standout from MacDougall Settlement, N.B. has had an uphill climb in his first season aboard the #51 On Target Courier and Cargo Limited Pro Stock machine but as he heads to Scotia Speedworld this weekend for the Atlantic CAT 250, he has one thing in his corner - the point lead in the EIT Race Radio Rookie of the Year hunt. Way to go Josh!
The battle between Wayne Smith and Greg Proude was an entertaining one all race. When asked at halfway about his chances of catching Wayne Smith, Proude responded "Wayne had new tires on during that run, we got some new ones back there. I think we have a good chance at it." Even though Wayne had new tires on, his game plan was to take it easy during the last 100-laps. "Greg's right, we have new tires on but if we pace ourselves and take it easy, we'll have a good shot at being here at the end." Even though the Oval Outlaw blew a tire during the second segment, the crew worked to get him out on the racetrack and the driver got up on the wheel and drove back to the front as he and Terence Bay's Craig Slaunwhite reeled in the #29 during the last sprint to the finish. In the end, the two Nova Scotian drivers ran out of time as the #29 Loyalist Marble and Tile Dodge drove to victory. Proude will be one to watch this weekend as he is already a 100-lap winner at Scotia Speedworld back in May!
Slaunwhite, driving the Halifax Glass and Mirror Chevrolet Impala was asked at halfway if he had anything for Smith's #44, to which he responded yes. When asked after the 200-laps of the event if he had anything for the winner if there was a late yellow, the driver from Terence Bay said "I said I thought I had something for Wayne, I never said anything about Greg! They had an awesome car all night long, my hats off to them." Slaunwhite returns to the track this weekend where he's already won a 200-lap Pro Stock event, along with two Sportsman titles where he'll look to add an Atlantic CAT 250 crown to that resume!
With that, our focus now turns to the Atlantic CAT 250 weekend. Friday's activities include qualifying for the Atlantic CAT 250 Pro Stock race along with the C&R Auto Supply Sportsman 100. Activities include a trackside party with live music and corn boil. I was also told there is a Hot Wing eating contest taking place on Friday night - which I know has a couple of people excited! Saturday night will be features only, 100 laps for Sportsman, 250 for our CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour cars along with an autograph session (full schedule available at this website!). Take a look at my corner on ScotiaSpeedworld.ca later in the week as I will be previewing the Sportsman and Pro Stock races!
Until Friday, keep the hammer down and we'll see you at the track!
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