Race Notebook: Lucas Oil 100 @ Scotia Speedworld
In just the select starts he has made at Scotia Speedworld, Cassius Clark is quickly making a case as one of the best in Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour history.
Clark captured his fourth win at the track with the win in the Lucas Oil 100 and made it look relatively easy. Clark saw the seas part in front of him on the start and by the third lap he was up front. As he said in victory lane, being the control car up front let him run his own pace in the race, something only a few looked like they could match over the 100-laps.
Of course, he had at least three competitors that tried to run in lockstep with the #13 King Competition Parts and Fabrication Chevrolet.
Craig Slaunwhite led the 60th lap of the race when he bested Clark to the line on that lap. Slaunwhite was a whisker away from clearing Clark and if he was up front and the roles were reversed, it could have been Slaunwhite leading the pack. Clark was quick to fight back and was able to take the lead back on the next lap, a spot he would not relinquish to the finish of the race.
Proude had his shot too, but after a restart which saw him shuffled from second to seventh, the hopes were all but dashed. Proude and the #29 Atlantic Dodge Dealers Dodge fought his way back up to second but couldn’t march any closer to Clark at the end.
Shortly after taking second place early in the race, Marty Prevost was peeled up against the wall after a hard hit. Allison MacKinnon had the steering column related parts failure as he was being lapped and, of course, when something like that breaks, you are just along for the ride as you cannot control the car. Unfortunately, Prevost was to the inside of MacKinnon’s #07 Chevrolet when the column broke, turning Prevost into the front straight wall and ending his day. I hate it for Prevost and MacKinnon having to go out of the opener that way but it’s a long season.
The opening day for MacKinnon was even longer when their truck they were pulling the race car hauler with quit en route to Scotia Speedworld. The team showed up to the back gate at the track with minutes to spare in final practice with a familiar face pulling their rig in fellow Islander Robbie MacEwen. We’ll see the #07 team in at least five more races this season with the next one scheduled for our next round at Riverside.
It seems like the four championship contenders from 2015 do not want to separate themselves from each other. Darren MacKinnon, Donald Chisholm, Dylan Blenkhorn and Cole Butcher occupied positions fourth through seventh on Saturday after fighting tooth and nail for the championship a season ago. If last season is any indication, expect these four to continue this battle throughout the year and with the way Proude and Slaunwhite ran last year and in the opener, we could have the early signs of a dogfight for the championships this season.
Let’s take a quick chat about our rookies for the season. Now, we had four freshmen at Scotia Speedworld on the weekend but indications are, at least at this point, that Nicholas Naugle and Jarrett Butcher are only running with us part time. I’ll tell you what though, Naugle, who was the top newcomer to the series on Saturday, looked really comfortable behind the wheel of his #08 Brycon Construction Chevrolet. Now, they are holding their cards close to their chest and say they are not sure when their next race is, so whether we see them at Riverside or not is a question. Naugle is running for an International Semi Pro Legends championship and already has five feature wins to his credit and a spot at Asphalt Nationals in Waterford, Connecticut sealed up. The kid showed a ton of promise on Saturday and will be one to watch as he continues his progression up the ranks.
Harry Ross White struck first in the battle for the season long Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year Award over Nevin Scott. Both drivers did great in their first Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour race. For HOSS, it was only his second start in this type of car, while Scott has zero experience on track in the car prior to the first practice on Saturday. While Scott got a little free and spun the car to the high side of Turn Four in his heat, he kept the car off the wall and in one piece for the day, ultimately finishing in 19th, one lap down. HOSS fought mechanical issues throughout the feature but kept his #49 on the lead lap to finish 15th.
The driver that probably had the biggest smile on his face Saturday was Rothesay, New Brunswick’s Byron Bartlett. While transmission issues ended his Lucas Oil 100 early, he was grinning from ear to ear on Saturday as he got accustomed to the car and track. Bartlett had some great runs in a Sportsman car last year at Petty Raceway, so you would think he would excel at the high banked tracks upcoming but he reminded me Saturday that the Sportsman car is way different than a Pro Stock.
Tough break for Jerome Kehoe after practice as he expired a motor in the #98 Zutphen Contractors/Ideal Concrete Chevrolet. It was great seeing the team back at the track and hopefully they can plop a motor in the car for our next race at Riverside in a few weeks.
Hats off to Terry Dougay and his team for a sold run Saturday in the Lucas Oil 100. With the field so close, Dougay and his team raced many laps within the top ten before a carburetor issue surfaced in the last 30 laps or so of the race, relegating him to what is still a solid 12th place run. With a lead lap finish and the car in one piece, you best believe the team is chomping at the bit for the Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet 150 at Riverside.
The Atlantic Tiltload Heat Races were a resounding success from everyone I spoke with. We had Sarah McKay and Jarrett Butcher draw the pole for their respective heats, while drivers like Donald Chisholm, Shawn Turple and DJ Casey had work to do from the drop of the green in their 15-lap heats thanks to subpar position draws. The excitement climaxed when the Butcher boys went over the bank in Turn One after their front row start did not go as planned. It put both behind the 8-ball to begin the day and both had to put their rally caps on to get back to the front. What will Riverside have in store?! Stay tuned!
Quick notes when it comes to statistics after the Lucas Oil 100. Clark’s fourth win at Scotia Speedworld has him tied for sixth overall for wins in the Tour era (2001 to present) at the track and tied for 13th on the overall wins list. Flemming holds the most wins at the track with nine. Speaking of Flemming Motorsports, DJ Casey became the 61st driver in Tour history to score a top ten at Scotia Speedworld with an eighth place finish Saturday. Chisholm’s 17th top five at the track ties Mike MacKenzie’s mark for fifth overall in series history at Scotia Speedworld.
We have a couple weeks off now before we head to Riverside International Speedway, but get ready because the Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet Buick GMC 150 starts a stretch of four consecutive races that will see us also return to Scotia Speedworld and head to New Brunswick for 100-lap features at Petty Raceway and Speedway 660. Rest now, because the season is about to get cranked up tenfold beginning on June 11th.
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track.
|BACK TO TIM'S CORNER ARCHIVES|