2009 Driver Preview: Lonnie Sommerville
2008 was a banner year for Lonnie Sommerville on the Maritime Pro Stock Tour. In his second full season on the Tour, the pilot of the #23 A.E. McKay Builders Chevrolet Impala won the Parts for Trucks 100 at his home track in Fredericton, NB on his way to 2nd in points and a victory in the Parts for Trucks Challenge. Lonnie Sommerville Racing (LSR) also took part in several PASS Super Late Model events in the United States including a near win at the Mason Dixon Meltdown in South Boston, VA.
But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades and though '08 was a successful season, there is one thing still missing from the trophy case — the MPST Championship Trophy! In a pre-season interview with www.maritimeprostocktour.com, Lonnie conveyed his excitement for the upcoming season. ?We are building a new racecar and rebuilding the one we raced most of this past year,? Lonnie said. ?We are very optimistic with this new car. We plan on being stronger than last season and look to improve our points position by one and add the MPST Tour Title to our win column.?
The 2006 Peterbilt 250 champion isn't just looking to add to that win column on Canadian soil, the LSR team is eyeing some of the biggest SLM events in the United States in addition to the full 12-race MPST schedule. ?We will run the Tour this year along with some PASS North and South races starting with Hickory (North Carolina) on April 11th. We are also looking at two ASA (American Speed Association) races and the Snowball Derby (Five Flags Speedway, Pensacola, FL).? For those wondering about the plans for the Rattler (the 250-lap event at South Alabama Speedway) that LSR indicated last fall that they would be attending, Lonnie had this to say: ?We weren't going to have our new motor built in time for the race. We looked at renting a car from a couple of teams but time wasn't on our side (for preparation and testing), so Hickory will be our first race.?
Returning for another full season of excitement around stock car ovals with Lonnie is primary sponsor A.E. McKay Builders of Quispamsis and associate sponsors Sommerville Flooring and Irving Lubricants. The season looks bright with other sponsors to be announced soon. Lonnie also added that the third LSR car would be available for the season as well. ?We (LSR) will also have our third car available to be rented out for any Tour race or Pro Stock open throughout the summer.?
2009 has had a good start off the track as well for the Saint John driver. Lonnie and wife Laura welcomed daughter Madison Sommerville into the world in February. Laura and Madison are both doing well and will be cheering Daddy on once racing season begins! For more on Lonnie, you can visit the LSR website at www.lonniesommerville.com along with keeping tabs here at www.maritimeprostocktour.com as we will have news when it becomes available.
Next week, we catch up with one of our EIT Race Radios Rookie of the Year contenders for 2009 and find out how he will go from the Pits to behind the wheel of a pro stock vehicle starting this season.
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