Preview: Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet Buick GMC 100
Before we go any further, yes, I was wrong on one of my ten predictions for the tenth season of the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour. We did not beat Mother Nature on June 5th, but we will attempt to do so for the Lucas Oil 100 on August 21st. I do have to say though that after the Pro All Stars Series 200-lap event at Speedway 660 last weekend that I was spot on for one of those pre-season fortune tellings. For more information on that, you’ll need to check out a special edition of Tim’s Corner on my website!
Now we move onto the task at hand. This weekend the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour will finally open the season at Riverside International Speedway with the Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet Buick GMC 100. Last season, it was Shawn Tucker who dominated the race from pillar to post, flag to flag by leading every single lap en route to the victory. In fact, the former multi-time Tour champ from Fredericton took the victory in the 2008 version of the event as well – one of only three drivers with multiple wins at the facility since the James River track saw its revitalization four seasons ago. There are easily a dozen drivers who will have a crack at the feature win this weekend, but let us look at five of those by the numbers and see who may have a slight leg up. Keep in mind, these statistics are based off the last four seasons (eleven races), including the last two IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body Triple Crown events. By my count, sixty six drivers have attempted to qualify for an event on the high banks in that time, but who tops the list? Here’s a sneak peek of the numbers crunched!
#0 – Shawn Turple – Enfield, Nova Scotia -
Dexter Construction/Municipal Group Chevrolet Impala
The Skinny – 11 Starts, 2 Wins, 6 Top Fives, 8 Top Tens, 2 Time Trial Wins, 1 Dash Win
Turple holds “book end” victories when it comes to Riverside International in the last four years. Turple rode the #0 car to victory at the first event at the facility after the facelift in ’06. Four seasons later, he returned to the top of the podium with the Dexter Construction/Municipal Group team he would go onto win a championship with later that season. Could Shawn log his second consecutive win at the 1/3-mile and pick up where he left off last August?
#8 – Kent Vincent – Crapaud, Prince Edward Island
Vector Aerospace Dodge Charger
The Skinny – 11 Starts, 1 Win, 5 Top Fives, 7 Top Tens, 2 Time Trial Wins, 2 Dash Wins, 1 Heat Win
Vincent is always a threat for the win at Riverside. The numbers from the last four years support that statement very well. The gentleman from Prince Edward Island scored one victory at the track in August of 2007. The next two races saw the pilot of car #8 back his win up with two consecutive runner-up finishes – not to mention he finished second in the IWK 250 one season ago. Watch for the black Dodge to be a contender on Saturday!
#44 – Wayne Smith – Timberlea, Nova Scotia
Jetco Contracting Chevrolet Impala
The Skinny – 11 Starts, 3 Wins, 6 Top Fives, 8 Top Tens, 1 Time Trial Win, 3 Dash Wins
In the last eleven races, Smith leads in feature and dash victories at Riverside International with three of each. Smith is also one of the three drivers with multiple feature wins at the track in the last four years. Can the winner of the IWK 250 from last season follow up his big win at the track with a win on Opening Day?
#52 – Shawn Tucker – Fredericton, New Brunswick
A.L. Gullison Disaster Kleen-Up/Rockico Truck and Trailer Chevrolet Impala
The Skinny – 11 Starts, 2 Wins, 6 Top Fives, 9 Top Tens, 2 Heat Wins, 1 “B” Feature Win
Among the accolades listed previously for the defending Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet Buick GMC 100 winner, Tucker leads all other drivers with nine top tens in the last eleven events at the high banked, high speed oval. Watch for the #52 to be near the front at the end of 100-laps on Saturday!
#99 – Craig Slaunwhite – Terence Bay, Nova Scotia
Halifax Glass and Mirror/Archibald Drilling and Blasting Chevrolet Impala
The Skinny – 7 Starts, 1 Win, 3 Top Fives, 5 Top Tens, 1 Dash Win
Slaunwhite has a short Pro Stock history at Riverside but it has been a successful one so far. Slaunwhite scored his first Tour triumph at the track along with finishing second in the last event we had at the track in Antigonish County. Slaunwhite is also a former Sportsman titlist at the track. Could the Pride of Terence Bay win his second event on the high banks this Saturday?
Other drivers that have won Pro Stock Tour features at the track in the last four seasons include Regan Smith (Cato, New York) and Mike MacKenzie (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia). As mentioned, the “Fast Five” are above but many, many others have an opportunity to take the first checkered flag of the season. Just as an example, drivers such as John Flemming (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and local favorites Donald Chisholm (Antigonish, Nova Scotia) and George Koszkulics (New Glasgow, Nova Scotia) have each recorded three or more top fives in the last four years. Bobby White (Kennetcook, Nova Scotia) and Lonnie Sommerville (Saint John, New Brunswick) also fall in that category but are not entered for Saturday’s event.
Open up the list to drivers with five or more top tens in the last four seasons and you enter the likes of Chris Hughes (Brackley Beach, Prince Edward Island) and Greg Proude (Springvale, Prince Edward Island) into the equation. That brings the potential list of prospective winners to eleven. Combine that with about twenty other drivers with the same will and drive to win and you have a stacked field of drivers getting ready to battle on the high banks!
With that, there is only one thing left to say.
Until Saturday, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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