Race Preview - IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body
It’s that time of year again folks, the IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body is here! The race is round number one on the 2010 Triple Crown of Pro Stock Racing and round four of the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour and holds great prestige in not only the Atlantic Canadian racing community but is well known across the continent. With a packed house expected Saturday night and a field stuffed to the brim with incredible racing talent you will want to be apart of the crowd this weekend in James River!
When you look at the field that is scheduled to assemble this Saturday you have many accomplished drivers planning on adding an IWK 250 jewel to their crown. Wayne Smith of Timberlea comes in as the defending champion and as the third place point man on the Tour. With three top six finishes this season including a second place run in the Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet 100 here in June you’d have to include “The Oval Outlaw” as a favorite in the 2010 edition of the big race.
What about the winner of that aforementioned Ron MacGillivray Chevrolet 100? Greg Proude of Springvale, PEI can also be counted as one of the pre-race favorites heading into Saturday. CARQUEST Tour point leader Shawn Turple (Enfield) is coming off a big win two weeks ago at his home track. Jonathan Hicken (Brudenell, PEI) had a solid run on the high banks in June after finishing in the top ten after starting scratch on the field.
Since the re-vamping of the Riverside oval in 2006, there have been eight different CARQUEST Tour winners including Proude, Smith and Turple. Kent Vincent (Crapaud, PEI) brought home a victory in 2007 and finished second in last year’s IWK 250. Mike MacKenzie (Montague Mines) is also a previous ’07 Riverside winner that is coming off a third place run in the Lockhart Truck Center 100 at Scotia Speedworld. Fredericton, New Brunswick’s Shawn Tucker has won a race in each of the past two years at Riverside while Craig Slaunwhite scored his first Tour victory at Riverside back in 2008.
The other winner at Riverside International Speedway in the last four years is Cato, New York’s Regan Smith. Smith, who sustained a wrist injury weeks ago in a Sprint Cup Race in Sonoma, California was forced to withdraw from the IWK 250. The Nova Racing team will hand the reins of the #10 CAT Car for Kids to Australian Marcos Ambrose. Ambrose, who has two race wins on the NASCAR Nationwide Series and two V8 Supercar Championship Series titles under his belt currently drives car #47 on the Sprint Cup circuit and will be making his first visit to our beautiful province this weekend. He will be in good hands with teammates Donald Chisholm (Antigonish) and George Koszkulics (New Glasgow) rounding out the lineup for the home team. Expect them to be among the front runners on the weekend!
Also joining the field will be another home track favorite in Jerome Kehoe. The Pride of Cape Breton will attempt to put his #98 Zutphen Contracting/Ideal Concrete Chevrolet Impala to the front. After three races this season he is locked with Leonard Boutilier (Dutch Settlement) in a fight for the EIT Race Radio Rookie of the Year championship. Both have experienced success in a Sportsman car at the famed 1/3-mile oval. Brad Brown of Halifax is also in contention for the freshman battle and will be in attendance on Saturday for his first Triple Crown race of his young Pro Stock career.
We usually see a few of the Speedway 660 Pro Stockers in the mix at the big events and this one is shaping up to be no exception. Fredericton’s Brent Wiggins and Matt Harris from the Junction (Fredericton Junction that is) are on the expected entry list. Dave O’Blenis (Boundary Creek, NB) and Jason Carnahan (Stilesville, NB) have made sporadic starts at Speedway 660 this season and are planning on making it to Riverside International this weekend. A majority of Lonnie Sommerville’s schedule has the Saint John, NB driver racing down south but has made plans to be at the Triple Crown races, two of those he won one season ago. We may also see Brad Mann, the veteran driver from Glen Livet, NB at the Speedway this weekend.
Three time Pro Stock Tour titlist John Flemming had a spirited run in June at Riverside which resulted in a top ten run for the Halifax driver. He will be joined on Saturday on the high banks by fellow Tour drivers Lowell Affleck (Summerside, PEI), Darren MacKinnon (Sleepy Hollow, PEI), Shawn Pierce (Blockhouse), Mike Stevens (Salisbury, NB), Chris Hughes (Brackley Beach, PEI), Daryl Mahar (Hubley, NS) and “The King of the Road” Roger Miller (Kennetcook). Alongside them include Robbie MacLean (Winsloe, PEI), David Heino (Barrington), Marty MEGA Prevost (Fall River), Dan MacKay (Halifax) and Pete Miller (Kennetcook). Just in those thirteen drivers alone you have three Pro Stock Tour titles, a dozen Pro Stock Tour victories along with many track championships and feature wins.
So there you have it. Add it all together, combined with a super show on Friday night including the cars and stars of the Sportsman and Maritime League of Legends Tours and you have the makings of a magical weekend in Antigonish County. Can Turple escape Riverside with the point lead or will we see a new man a top the standings following the rendezvous with the high banks? Can Ambrose become the first Australian to win a CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour event? Will they paint the wall before the autograph session? The answers to these questions and more can be found this weekend at Riverside International Speedway! For more information on the race, hit up riversidespeedway.ca.
The IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body is the first of six straight weeks on Tour for the fastest Pro Stock drivers in the region. Next weekend we head into the woods – we’ll have a full preview of round five of the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour here on Tim’s Corner next week as we set up the Parts for Trucks 100 at Speedway 660.
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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