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Tim's Corner
Issue 224

Race Preview: Dartmouth Dodge 200

Take a look at the clock now, because it is quarter to Turple Time as we head into the Dartmouth Dodge 200 at Scotia Speedworld.

Shawn Turple will enter the Dartmouth Dodge 200 with a comfortable 41 point lead on reigning champion Cole Butcher. Much like the situation was last year when Butcher entered with a 51 point lead on Donald Chisholm, the championship is not sealed up by any means but Turple will control his own destiny on Saturday afternoon.

The perfect storm number is 11th place for Turple to finish in the Dartmouth Dodge 200 to lock up the title. That number is based on Turple not running a heat race, which pay points in 2017 and Butcher winning his heat race, the feature and leads the most laps in the Dartmouth Dodge 200. How Turple does in the heat race will expand that 11th place number along with if Turple leads a lap or not in the main feature. Realistically, that number is about 15th place or so, but we won’t know that until the checkered flag goes in the air after the Atlantic Tiltload Heat Races.

Should the championship be tied at the end of the night, Turple would get the nod on Butcher with three feature wins. Butcher has one this year, the Atlantic Cat 250 the last time we were at Scotia Speedworld, and even if he wins Saturday he would only be at two feature wins.

Anything can happen though, case in point last weekend during the Lucas Oil 150 at Riverside International Speedway. The race opened with 82 laps consecutive green and while Butcher picked his way through the field, Turple ended up mired in traffic and about to go a lap down to Donald Chisholm and Craig Slaunwhite if it wasn’t for the caution. They threw an adjustment at the No. 0 car on the yellow and Turple put his head down, went to work and drove up to fourth place behind Butcher.

Now, if we would have given the checkered at Lap 82, Butcher was standing to gain about 20 points. The race ran full distance though, which is a great reminder that a race isn’t over until the checkered flag is flown.
It was great to see Donald Chisholm back in victory lane last Saturday night. Chisholm had to earn the win battling with Craig Slaunwhite and having to outrun Greg Proude on a late race restart. Chisholm soaked victory lane in, mentioning that it is tough to win one of these races and you never know when the next opportunity will come around to pull into victory lane.

Chisholm will be at Scotia Speedworld looking for his first win at the tough 3/10-mile oval and will be joined by Braden Langille, who had a really impressive run in the No. 88 car last Saturday night.

Proude has had a great late season charge and barring any unforeseen circumstances will finish third in the standings. It has been a while since Proude has pulled into the winner’s circle in Halifax and with the way his Atlantic Dodge Dealers Charger is running it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see Proude up front at the end of 200 laps.

At press time, Dylan Blenkhorn has opted not to run the Dartmouth Dodge 200 due to the damages sustained in last weekend’s practice crash at Riverside Speedway. The team did a masterful job putting that piece back together to get Dylan back out on track for the feature and while it didn’t look pretty on the passengers side, he still got up on the wheel and put it in the top ten after 150-laps.

With that said, the battle for fifth in the standings between Slaunwhite and Dylan Gosbee should be a battle for fourth as the curtain begins to drop on 2017. The pair only have four points between them and both have had ups and downs in the 11-races run this season. After the track bar adjuster sidelined Slaunwhite with nine to go last week, you best believe he will be determined to get his No. 99 car back up to the front of the field. Gosbee is looking to lock down his best finish in the standings after finishing sixth in 2015.

Kent Vincent will look to hold off Jarrett Butcher for what should be sixth in the standings. Vincent had a heck of a run going at Riverside Speedway but that can also be said for the runs he and his Direct Tire/Vector Aerospace team have been able to put up in the second half of 2017. Butcher, who has locked up the Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year Award, is only ten points behind “The Ironman” for the position in the standings. If either or both falter, it could open the door for Darren MacKinnon, who will look to finish off the season strong. MacKinnon is 31 points behind Vincent heading into the Dartmouth Dodge 200.

Shawn Pierce is on the cusp of his first top ten finish in the point standings with the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. Pierce has a couple of 12th place standings finishes but has yet to crack the top ten. In turn, Terry Dougay is trying to do the same after finishing 11th last season. The gap is only 24 points, so you better believe these two drivers will go all out on Saturday to break the top ten bubble.

Twenty-three points behind Dougay is Stevie Lively in his first year of Pro Stock racing but as he mentioned to me at Riverside, it won’t be his last. The team parted ways with their Mini Stock or Thunder car they ran to a pair of Scotia Speedworld championships and will be coming back for a second year in 2018. Lively is really catching on to the Pro Stock car and ran well within the top ten in the first half of the Lucas Oil 150 before being shuffled back in the second half.

We’ll be joined this week at Scotia Speedworld by Cummins 150 winner Greg Fahey and Sarah McKay. Both campaigned full time this year at Speedway 660 but we have seen both during our stop in Geary as well as the IWK 250. We would love to see them full time on the Tour in 2018. Maybe a good run Saturday would help that cause!

Tom Sim of Ace in the Hole Septic bought a Pro Stock car and the plan the last time I heard was to put Jeff Dillman in the car for the Dartmouth Dodge 200. Sim has big plans for 2018, but he hasn’t let me pull open the bag to let all the details out. Stay tuned!

If you’re in the area tonight, stop in to the CARSTAR Weekly Racing Series finale at Scotia Speedworld. Of the seven champions to be crowned, four battles come into the final night separated by seven points or less, with the Affordable Fuels Sportsman seeing three points between rookie Matt Vaughan and Jordan Veinotte. Racing begins at 7pm and you can find a full preview on the version of Tim’s Corner.

This is going to be an exciting weekend of racing - be sure to get out and scratch your itch for racing before the curtain falls on 2017.

Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!