Excitement Builds for Tenth Season
Two months and change from today we will be throwing the green flag out on the tenth season of the CARQUEST Maritime Pro Stock Tour.
The preparations for the season have been ongoing for what is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and highly anticipated seasons yet. Drivers and crews are busy prepping their teams and cars for the '10 campaign while officials are working behind the scenes well in advance of the June 5th lid-lifter at Scotia Speedworld. Though we do know the usual suspects will be back to contend for the title this upcoming Summer, most teams have been fairly quiet as they ready for event number one, the Lucas Oil 100. We have heard that Brad Eddy and Lonnie Sommerville plan on visiting us on a part time basis as they have schedules which include races South of the Border. One thing is for certain – the series will be chock-full of talented drivers looking to leave their mark on history by winning races and for some the goal will be to etch their name beside Smith, Flemming, Tucker, MacDonald and Turple as Tour champ!
One place that the saw its share of race fans coming through the doors was the Halifax Metro Centre. For nine days in early March, the Met Centre was home of the 2010 Tim Horton's Brier Canadian Men's Curling Championship. I had the opportunity to take in the action during the event and did some bench racing with some fans throughout the week to get their thoughts on the season and most echoed the same sentiments of excitement for the warm weather and the races to begin.
Among those taking in the action was “The Oval Outlaw” Wayne Smith and his wife Ellen. The team had just returned from Florida where they raced in the 44th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in February and though the result wasn't what they expected, a good time was still had by all. “It was cold down there,” said Wayne of the Florida weather before the Brier's fifth draw on Sunday evening. “Warmer than it was up here but still cold.”
The #44 team will be chasing their sixth Maritime Touring title this season which would also mark their third in the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour era. The Oval Outlaw Racing team took home the first CARQUEST Title in 2001 along with the big trophy in '08. The feat would be a great one to accomplish but will be difficult with the caliber of drivers in the field. “There may be a few less cars this year (full time) on the Tour but the competition and races will be as good as its ever been.”
One fan that had the chance to watch Wayne and crew win the IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body in '09 was John Strowbridge. John's first trip up to the James River track was last July and was impressed by what he saw. “The track did a great job and the racing was great from start to finish,” said John as we took in the Wednesday night Northern Ontario vs PEI match in downtown Halifax. “It was great to meet guys like (David) Reutimann and J.R. (Fitzpatrick) and see them drive local cars and hang with our guys. We have some great talent around here,” commented John on the last Maritime racing season, which included the likes of Reutimann, Fitzpatrick, Regan Smith, Sterling Marlin and Ken Schrader visit local tracks. John, who is engaged to be married a few weeks after the checkered flag falls on this seasons IWK 250 was also the victor of the huge 50/50 draw during the Brier final on Sunday night – which could make for one big bachelor party in Antigonish County this summer!
To close this edition of Tim's Corner, I'll quote one fan I met up with a few days before the Brier. While stopping in at one of the Sports Card shops in Halifax in late February (sports cards make for a great winter hobby) I met up with a gentleman who has been a race fan for a number of years and summed up last season like this. “I was impressed with the Pro Stock Tour last year. The presentation was great and the racing was the best I've seen in years. I'll be up at Scotia for the first race, I wouldn't miss it!”
If you have any questions or comments about Tim's Corner, if there is something you'd like to see or if you have any off-season news, photos or pre-season predictions, feel free to email me at email@example.com. Just keep thinking thoughts of warm weather and it will soon be time to crank the motors and go racing on the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we'll see you at the track!
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