The Notebook - Atlantic CAT 250
The action on Saturday night was pretty exciting flag to flag. Fenders rubbin’, paint being swapped and even a few tempers flared over 250-green flag laps at the Speedworld but, of course that all happened behind winner Cassius Clark. The Farmington, Maine driver had to hold off Turner, Maine’s Ben Rowe and fended off late charges from Fredericton’s Shawn Tucker to be the first one to the pay window on lap 250. Oh, and what a total waiting for him at the window at the end – over $16,000 went to the Hicken/White Racing team following the event! With that, the Island teams have captured two of the three Triple Crown races (Kent Vincent of Crapaud won the IWK 250 last month) and with one to go in just a few short weeks and teams like Greg Proude (Springvale) and Chris Hughes (Brackley Beach) hungry for a big win, the Gentle Island could be home to all three big trophies after Labour Day weekend!
As mentioned though, Shawn Tucker gave Cassius a heck of a run for his big paycheck at the end of the race. Tucker had said pre-race that his car would get a bit better the longer the green flag run went and Shawn was dead on in his prediction given during the autograph session. The AL Gullison Disaster Kleenup/Rockico Truck and Trailer Chevrolet caught a yellow with twenty-seven to go and was on the back bumper of Clark when they crossed the line to complete the final circuit. We now move to a track where Tucker runs strong at - Riverside International Speedway – a place that the Fredericton driver could become the eighth different winner on the Tour this season in as many races!
Pre-race favorite Ben Rowe put up a big challenge for Clark, Tucker and the rest of the field on Saturday evening. The team “struggled” with a brake problem on Friday night which was fixed for Time Trials. Even with the problem, Rowe wheeled his #10 Dexter Construction/Municipal Group Impala to top fives in each of the CAT 250 practice sessions on Friday. Even his teammate Shawn Turple knew he was going to be quick come race time. “They’ve been focusing on brakes all day,” said Turple during the Dartmouth Dodge Dash Draw. “When they start tuning on handling, watch out!” Turple wound up finishing fifteenth on Saturday night.
The five time PASS champ and two time CAT 250 winner wheeled all night long and came home with third at one of his favorite tracks. “I love it up here,” said Rowe. “I love the track, the people, the area – it’s a great place to come race!” Rowe, who visited us on his off-weekend from the PASS Super Late Model tour resumes his chase for a sixth title on the US based series this weekend at Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, MASS.
Dave O’Blenis had a strong piece and showed it in the late stages as the #48 Burger King/RK Buzzell Limited Toyota Camry was coming to the front faster than you could say “flame broiled Whopper.” The second place driver from ’09 brought his car home in fourth this year after making his way past Antigonish’s Donald Chisholm. Chisholm ran most of the race in the top five and had some laps in the top three after muscling his Keltic Ford Fusion past Ben Rowe. Chisholm, who will look to defend his home turf on Saturday came home with fifth.
Mike Mackenzie had a great run going on Saturday night in his #75 Chebucto Ford/R&R Kinsman Auto Salvage Ford Fusion before his exit from the Atlantic CAT 250 just one hundred laps shy of the finish. MacKenzie won a heat race on Friday night in his Ford and was optimistic about his Alexander Racing prepared car before the 250. With a great driver behind the wheel and a strong crew backing him up, MacKenzie will be a threat for a victory before this season is over!
Glad to see Mike Stevens was okay after a hard lick into the front straightaway wall. Stevens was racing toe-to-toe with another competitor for a top ten position when they came in contact and Stevens slapped the wall and went into the clover field in turn two. The Salisbury, NB driver will be one to keep your eyes on in the final races of 2010!
Leonard Boutilier took the EIT Race Radio Rookie of the Race Award at the Atlantic CAT 250. The Dutch Settlement driver is in a see-saw battle with Sydney’s Jerome Kehoe for the award and now sits twelve markers behind car #98 for that nod. Both Boutilier and Kehoe know Riverside and Scotia Speedworld well and with three of the four final events happening at those two tracks it is anyone’s guess as to who will take the coveted award.
We also saw some rivalries begin to flourish this past weekend. Wayne Smith and Lonnie Sommerville rubbed some fenders during the feature while Dodge drivers John Flemming and Greg Proude swapped some paint late in the event. Tempers also flared as the event wore on. Kennetcook’s Pete Miller saw a great run come to an end before lap 250 and was saw storming down pit road after his exit from him #92 ACL Construction Chevrolet. After all, it is short track racin’ under the lights on a Saturday night and rubbin’ is racin’, eh?
A huge pat on the back to everyone who participated in the Maritime Motorsport Hall of Fame Auction on Friday night before the Trackside Party! Just shy of $2700 was raised for the MMHoF and that doesn’t include the money that was raised to put CARQUEST Tour Race Director Danny Harvey in the dunk tank. If you are ever in the Petitcodiac, New Brunswick area it is worth the time to stop in at the Hall – you will not be disappointed!
A shoutout also goes to Cape Sable Island’s Colby Smith. Smith won the Sportsman 100 prior to the Atlantic CAT 250 on Saturday afternoon in dramatic fashion with a last lap pass! The first person to his window to congratulate him after the event was Terence Bay’s Craig Slaunwhite – someone who knows a thing or two about winning big Sportsman events at the Speedworld. Smith now has the points lead in the division and for more information about the event you can head over to ScotiaSpeedworld.ca and watch for Tim’s Corner later in the week!
That will do it for this edition. Later in the week we look at the Parts for Trucks 100 and the final stop to Riverside International Speedway in 2010!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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