Parts for Trucks 100 Notebook
Consistency had rewarded the #0 team with the point lead through the bulk of the 2009 schedule. The driver, Enfield's Shawn Turple, had put the Dexter Construction/Municipal Group Chevrolet Impala in position many times this season near the top of the scoring pylon at the end of the main features. One thing was missing though, that elusive checkered flag in a CARQUEST Tour main event - until Saturday night!
Turple scored his first win of 2009 in Saturday's Parts for Trucks 100 on the same track he scored his first ever Pro Stock win on just a few short years ago! Not only did Turple win the race, he scored the Coast Tire Most Laps Led Award for the feature after taking the lead and holding it at the halfway mark as well as setting fast time in the Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials earlier in the afternoon. Turple wrestled the lead away from Timberlea's Wayne Smith as the drivers roared underneath the crossed flags and had to hold off one of his friends, Terence Bay's Craig Slaunwhite, to win the event. Both agreed in Victory Lane after the race that it was pretty cool to finish one-two in one of the CARQUEST Tour events.
With winning the event and pacing the field for the most laps, Turple padded his point lead to nineteen points over Smith. With former champs Shawn Tucker (Fredericton, NB) and John Flemming (Halifax) both within 50 points (45 and 47 respectively) of Turple, this championship chase is far from over. I'll be making my "educated guess" at a couple of possible championship outcomes in my column before the Parts for Trucks 200 finale and just a word of warning - Scott Fairman and the boys at the Sim Racing Network didn't give me the nickname "Numbers" for nothing!
As mentioned, a great run was turned in by Craig Slaunwhite. The Terence Bay driver was the defending champion of the Parts for Trucks 100 and finished a solid second in the event on Saturday. Now the focus shifts to the Peterbilt 250 at Speedway 660 and the Parts for Trucks 200 at Scotia Speedworld - two races Slaunwhite won last season. The Halifax Glass and Mirror Chevrolet Impala looked racey on Saturday night, not leaving the top three during the 100-lap event after starting P1 on the grid! Slaunwhite also finished second in the 50-lap Sportsman race at Riverside before the 100-lap Pro Stock race but following tech was rewarded with the win in the Sportsman feature! The team has hit its stride coming down to the homestretch of the 2009 season, which could be a bad thing for the rest of field in the final two events of '09!
Before the cars hit the track for practice on Saturday, I caught up with Nova Racing drivers Donald Chisholm and George Koszkulics as they made their way down pit road under the sunny morning skies we had in James River. "We're gonna try to finish one behind the other tonight," they told me when I asked where they were going to finish on the night, and for a long while it was looking like their wishes were going to come true. Donald and George ran inside the top ten for the majority of the event with George coming home in tenth while Donald methodically made his way to the front of the field, eventually settling for third. "We didn't need that late caution," Chisholm said after climbing from the #89 Nova Construction/Pioneer Coal ride. "We were reeling them in and I think we would have had a good chance at catching them, but we needed the green laps." Chisholm will be racing with the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series boys in September as they invade Riverside International Speedway for a 300-lap event, for more information on that event visit RiversideSpeedway.ca!
A driver making his first start on the CARQUEST Tour can be an exciting time. Enter Sportsman standout at Riverside, Jerome Kehoe. Kehoe, a resident of Sydney, Nova Scotia has won many races on the high banks aboard his black, white and yellow #98 Zutphen Contractors/Ideal Concrete Chevrolet and rolled out a nearly identical Pro Stock racecar to run the Parts for Trucks 100 with last Saturday. "We had it out a couple of times in practice but this will be the first race for us with it," said Kehoe of the Pro Stock car. With all drivers, Jerome completed my "announcer information sheet," and with that comes the question: What would others be surprised to know about you? Jerome's answer was "I'm scared right now." He explains "It might take me a few laps to get comfortable, so I'll probably be a little scared until then," and with a smile, Kehoe and team pushed the #98 towards tech. All rumors indicate Kehoe may be making a run at the EIT Race Radio Rookie of the Year title in 2009.
Speaking of rookies, Josh Jaillet was a little sore following an incident during the Parts for Trucks 100 at Riverside on the weekend where he was transferred to a local hospital. We wish Josh well as he will attempt to lock up the EIT Race Radio Rookie of the Year championship in the final two races of 2009!
Many took in the Ken Schrader appearance at Scotia Speedworld the night before the Parts for Trucks 100 at Riverside, including Brackley Beach, PEI driver Chris Hughes. Hughes was part of the Alexander pit crew for the event and had a great time. "I had a blast last night," Hughes said Saturday. After a week where the Pauley Equipment Toyota Camry blew an engine at Scotia, the team rebounded and Chris drove it an eleventh place finish.
Speaking of Ken Schrader, more information on last week's visit by the Fenton, MO driver can be found on my weekly column on Friday at ScotiaSpeedworld.ca! If you are looking for something to do this weekend, Scotia has racing on Friday as well starting at 7pm with five divisions in action. Geary's Speedway 660 also has racing this weekend as their drivers run in their final points race before the big Peterbilt 250 weekend. For more information on their racing this weekend and next, visit Speedway660.com!
Enjoy the off weekend folks, next week here on MaritimeProStockTour.com I will offer up a preview of the final jewel on the Triple Crown in '09 - the Peterbilt 250! Until then, keep the hammer down and we'll see you at the track!
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