One To Go On '09 Season
SOMMERVILLE TAKES PETERBILT 250
Another Speedweekend at Speedway 660 is in the books and the racing put forth on track was great all weekend! Saturday night featured an action packed Atlantic Open Wheel feature which was won by Emerald, PEI's Shelly Stewart after battling side by side for many laps with Mike "Sparky" Raeburn of Hampton, NB which was followed by what many called one of the best Sportsman races seen in the Maritimes in a very long time which was won by Dan McNeil of Douglas, NB! McNeil came from fifth on a restart with only three laps to go to make a last lap pass on leaders Bradley Logan (Harvey Station, NB) and Wade Harris (Canal, NB) to win the O?Leary Pontiac Excitement 150. Forty-three Sportsman competitors attempted to qualify for the twenty-six starting spots in the 150 with a lot of strong cars having to go home before the big event!
On Sunday it was the cars and stars of the Pro Stock division taking center stage as forty-four cars attempted to qualify for the twenty-eight car Peterbilt 250 field. The qualifying was exciting and nail biting for some as it came down to the final laps in the heats and consis to see who was going to make it into the big field! Our CARQUEST Tour guys fared well with thirteen of the twenty eight cars in the main being full time tour cars - four of those finishing in the top six, including the top two! Farmingdale, Maine's Johnny Clark led a majority of the race but our point leader Shawn Turple kept up to the #54, being parked on his back bumper for a great number of those laps that Clark led in the second half of the event! When a caution came out with twenty-five laps remaining following a long green flag run, it was decision time for many of the top runners still remaining on the lead lap. The big question was if they would pit or stay on the track opting for quality track position on the start? Turple and Clark stayed on track with Lonnie Sommerville and Shawn Tucker among the drivers taking the opportunity to come down pit road under the yellow. It paid off handsomely for Sommerville as the #23 A.E. McKay Builders Impala from Saint John, NB resembled a rocket more than a racecar in the final twenty-five laps as he quickly moved to the front, gaining the lead position on lap 235 for the final lead change of the event. Turple and Clark held on to second and third though the #52 Rockico Truck and Trailer/A.L. Gullison Disaster Kleenup Chevrolet Impala was also making positions through the field behind the two. Rounding out the top five in the event was defending champ of the event Craig Slaunwhite (Terence Bay, NS), who had a rough start to the day following an accident in the practice session for the Pro Stocks on Sunday.
The under card of racing on Sunday included wins by Matt Matheson (Street Stocks, Haneytown, NB) and Ian Mollins (Maritime League of Legends, Berry Mills, NB). My hat is off to all who made the racing possible on Saturday and Sunday of Speedweekend, awesome job as always boys and girls!
SO, WHO ARE THE FAVORITES HEADING INTO THE FINALE PARTS FOR TRUCKS 200?
Simple question to the answer above would be one of the twenty six competitors to start the Parts for Trucks 200 on Saturday night! In four races at Scotia Speedworld this season, including the Atlantic CAT 250, we've had four different winners. Greg Proude (Springvale, PEI), Shawn Tucker (Fredericton, NB), Lonnie Sommerville (Saint John, NB) and Wayne Smith (Timberlea, NS) have all won races at Scotia this season and each will be looking to break through for win number two at the track outside Halifax this weekend. Each driver has win(s) at other tracks this season with Tucker having two other wins this season (Ron MacGillvray Chevrolet 100 at Riverside, Parts for Trucks 100 at Speedway 660) while Smith (IWK 250 at Riverside International Speedway), Proude (Parts for Trucks/Lucas Oil 200 at Oyster Bed Speedway) and Sommerville (Peterbilt 250 at Speedway 660) all have an extra win besides their Scotia triumph. The only other driver with a win this season is point leader Shawn Turple (Parts for Trucks 100 at Riverside International Speedway) and if he can pick up his Scotia Speedworld win this Saturday he will not only add his second win to his '09 resume, he will add the '09 CARQUEST Tour title to it as well!
The point system on the Tour is pretty easy, the race winner gets 200 points with each position in the main decreasing by two points (2nd gets 198 points, 3rd gets 196, 4th gets 194, etc.). If you lead a lap in the feature, you receive five points and should you lead the most laps, you get an additional five points. For instance, if you win the main and lead the most laps, you gain 210 points. So, let's say that second place point driver Wayne Smith wins the Parts for Trucks 200 and leads the most laps and gets 210 points, where must Turple finish in order to ensure himself the championship? If Shawn does not lead a lap, he can finish fifth to garner 192 points - eighteen less than first in this scenario. With the point spread being nineteen points at the moment that would mean that regardless where the Oval Outlaw finishes on Saturday, if Turple finishes in the top five, the championship is his. Now, if Shawn leads a lap and Wayne wins the race, that top five finishing position can become a top seven, as seventh with one lap lead gives a driver 193 points, enough Turple would need to clinch.
What about third and fourth you may ask? Though Tucker and Flemming have put up great seasons, they will need some bad luck from the top two in order to lock down the '09 championship for their respective teams. For instance, if Flemming was to take the maximum 210 points possible, Shawn Turple would have to finish with, or less than 162 points to lose the lead to Flemming. The twentieth place position in the finishing order pays 162 points but not only would Flemming need that out of Turple for the #97 to gain the '09 title, he would also need Smith to finish outside the top ten without leading a lap. The #52 would be in relatively the same boat as he is only two points in front of Flemming.
With that said, who has been the best driver at Scotia Speedworld this season out of the drivers who have attempted all four events? With four races completed at the 3/10th mile oval, only two drivers have put themselves in the top five in all four events - Wayne Smith and John Flemming. Smith has one win, a third and a pair of fourth place finishes while Flemming has a second place finish along with two thirds and a fifth. Statistically, Wayne has the better average finish over John (3 to 3.25) but with Flemming hungry for that first win this season and Smith hunting down his sixth Maritime racing crown it is bound to be a great battle between the two.
Next up statistically is the Atlantic CAT 250 victor, Lonnie Sommerville. Sommerville has an average finish at Scotia of 4.75 which includes a win, a third, a fifth and a tenth. Lonnie sits fifth in points, nineteen points behind John Flemming and twenty-five up on Jonathan Hicken (Brudenell, PEI). Dave O'Blenis (Boundary Creek, NB) and Turple are next up on the chart, with each posting average finishes of sixth. O'Blenis has yet to finish outside the top nine this season at Scotia.
Along with Smith, Flemming, Sommerville, and O'Blenis is one other driver who has not finished outside the top ten in all four events this season at Scotia and that driver is Jonathan Hicken. Though Hicken has yet to break into the top five at Scotia, his average finish sits at 7.75 and has a best finish of sixth earlier this summer. With Hicken chasing Sommerville for fifth in the standings expect to see the #5 Castle Building Centers Impala up front on race day!
Another battle that is close is the Parts for Trucks Challenge. Prizes of $2,000, $1,000 and $500 are given out to the top three drivers who excel in the four Parts for Trucks races. Currently, Smith has four points on Turple in that race, with Proude, Tucker, Hicken and defending race winner Craig Slaunwhite over twenty points out of the lead.
The EIT Race Radios Rookie of the Year will also be decided on Saturday night. MacDougall Settlement's Josh Jaillet has a fifty six point advantage on Jason Carnahan of Stilesville. The two New Brunswick drivers will look to settle the battle for that prize after 200-laps on Saturday evening.
One thing is for sure, the race will be close and the racing will be intense until lap 200. In the end we'll be giving out some trophies and prizes on behalf of Parts for Trucks and celebrating the season. You're going to have to be there to find out what happens at Scotia Speedworld in the Parts for Trucks 200 on Saturday, it is going to be a great time, don't miss it!
BANQUET MOVES TO JANUARY IN DARTMOUTH
There has been a change in scenery for the 2009 CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour Banquet. The banquet to honor the accomplishments of those who competed in the 2009 season will be held on Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 at the Holiday Inn in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - overlooking the Halifax Harbour just off the Angus L. MacDonald Bridge on Wyse Road. More information on the Banquet will be available as we inch closer to it.
RACINGSPECTATOR.CA DOTY VOTE HEATING UP
We mentioned last week that Bruce and Bea's RacingSpectator.ca has their Driver of the Year up and going and the CPST vote is tight. At this time, with one week left to go (ballot closes September 15th), Wayne Smith holds a two vote lead over Craig Slaunwhite. Lonnie Sommerville is only nine votes back with Pierce and Proude also in the running as well. Head over if you haven't already to RacingSpectator.ca to vote for your favorite!
That will do it for now. Check back next week for a review of the season finale at Scotia Speedworld. Until then, keep the hammer down and we'll see you at the track!
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