Race Notebook: Cummins 100 at Speedway 660
Well, compared to what we are accustomed to at Speedway 660, the Cummins 100 was a fairly tame affair.
We’ve seen races at Speedway 660 play out with numerous cautions, drivers taking trips to “the Beach” in the corners and as many bent tempers as there are bent parts after 100 laps. This one, mind you, featured only three cautions and some great racing throughout the pack.
Sure, when we look back on this race in a few years, it will be the night that Cole Butcher scored his first career victory at the track. The last time he was on the podium at 660 was back in 2010 on Speedweekend when Butcher was still in a Bandolero car. In fact, in his first two Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour appearances at the track, he hadn’t even produced a top ten. He was vocal about that during the Dash redraw, saying the key on the night would be survival.
That he did, for his second career victory on the series and second in three races.
He had to hold off two of the hottest hands in Darren MacKinnon and Dylan Blenkhorn to take that coveted win. Blenkhorn led the opening laps of the race, being challenged by Mackinnon for most of them before Butcher got by before the halfway point and controlled the race from there over a 60 plus lap green run to the end.
We’ll talk more about points next week, but if this thing comes down to the wire in Halifax in September, the big thing might be Mackinnon not leading a lap and Butcher leading the most lap. While it looked like Mackinnon may have nipped Blenkhorn on at least one lap during their battle, our electronic scoring said no, so no five bonus points for the #18. Butcher’s five extra points for leading the most laps have made this a four horse race heading into the ultimate points blender - the IWK 250 presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body.
Behind the top three was the battle late between Donald Chisholm and John Flemming, a battle we may very well see once again at our next event. Chisholm was really quick in the middle stages of that long run and it appeared to the eye that the #89 car may have hit the plateau after he got around the #97 in the late stages of the race. Once again, it was a race where we didn’t talk a lot about Chisholm, outside of his Dartmouth Dodge Heat Race win, but at the end of the race he was there.
Greg Proude set the track ablaze during the Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials. When he climbed from his car on the front straight during the Dash redraw, he asked crew member Scott Griffin “where did that come from?” The lap kind of surprised Proude himself though it shouldn’t surprise fans because the #29 has been quick all year. Proude contended for a top five all night long before having to settle for sixth at the checkered flag.
The heartbreak of the evening has to go to Dylan Gosbee. Gosbee was marching towards the front of the field and had a run going for third place when something went sour on the #91 car. That car has been quick all year though Gosbee and his Cornwall, PE team are missing some finishes that are indicative of the speed of their effort.
Steve Halpin, DJ Casey and Sarah McKay each scored top ten finishes at Speedway 660. For McKay, it is her second career Parts for Trucks Tour top ten at her home track, while it is Casey’s first in his first attempt at Speedway 660 and hard to believe, it is Halpin’s first top ten on the series at Speedway 660. For Casey, it is a dozen points he tacked on to his advantage on Joel Hickox in the Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year chase, and Casey will look to join Halpin and McKay as top rookies in the series in their first seasons.
Overall, it was a great race with lots of action from top to bottom. Sure, the car count was a bit lower than we usually have and none of the locals stepped up to try and defend their home turf, but regardless, it was still an excellent show.
Big thanks to Wade Wilson and Brad Mann for joining me on the call of the Cummins 100. Brad, who will be with us again for the Race Time Radio production of the IWK 250, provided some analysis during the race and it is always a pleasure to call a race with Wade, who is one of the announcers I looked up to going to race tracks within this region.
Next week, we’ll preview the big one, the IWK 250 presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body and I’ll offer up our “mid-season report card.”
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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