The Notebook - Lucas Oil 100
After seasons of trying and so many “oh so close” moments on the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour, Mike Stevens can call himself a feature winner! Stevens bested a stout field of drivers on Saturday at Scotia Speedworld for the Lucas Oil 100 and though the records will show that the Salisbury, New Brunswick driver led 95 laps, the win was far from easy to come by!
“I knew Shawn (Tucker) was back there and when we got to those lapped cars I was hoping that they would hold him back there,” said an elated Stevens after the event. After the race, Stevens lit up the tires in one of the best burnouts the Speedworld has seen in many years. “This is awesome! I finally get to thank my crew and my sponsors.” The season wraps up in a few weeks at the Enfield track with the Parts for Trucks 200 – an event that Stevens came home second in during the 2009 edition!
Meanwhile, Shawn Tucker came home in the second place position for the fifth time this season and the third time in as many races at the Speedworld in 2010. “I think we had a little more car than Mike but he drove a great race and didn’t open the door,” said the Tour point leader following the race. Tucker’s advantage is now sixteen points heading into the final Triple Crown Event at Speedway 660.
Wayne Smith was happy with a third place finish but the #44 Jetco Contracting Chevrolet Impala looked racy in the final few laps as he kept pace with the top two. “Great racing tonight,” remarked Smith following the race. “This is a brand new car and to bring it home in one piece after those first few cautions is great.” Smith will be one of those to watch next weekend as he tries to capture the top spot at the 250 lap event at Speedway 660 after taking home the IWK 250 one season ago!
If the Lucas Oil 100 was the, let’s say, Lucas Oil 125 the outcome may have been very different. The Roofing Connection Dodge driven by John Flemming resembled that of a rocket ship in the late stages of the event and was well on his way to the front when Art Steeves and Ralph Vokey threw the checkers. Flemming had to start deep in the field and by the looks of the #97 car the long green flag run to the finish definitely helped the Halifax driver. With two events to go, Flemming is one of the front runners to become the tenth different winner in ten races this season!
A tip of the cap needs to go out to Greg Proude and Shawn Turple. The two drivers had been involved in early cautions and saw their cars positioned near the back of the running order before the Lucas Oil 100 had a handful of green laps in. Proude wheeled his racecar back up to third before a slide up the track opened the door back up for Wayne Smith to take the advantage. The #29 APM Dodge wound up coming home with a top five run in the race he won in 2009. Meanwhile, Turple methodically made his way back up to the front of the field after being lodged atop of Jonathan Hicken’s car in an early yellow. Turple came home with seventh in a field of tough competition. “I know we all say this every week, but the top ten is so close here every week that it really is anyone’s race,” said Turple during the Dartmouth Dodge Dash Draw. With two races to go, Enfield’s Turple is very much alive in the title hunt as he sits in second behind Tucker with just sixteen points between him and a repeat performance as champ!
Donald Chisholm and Mike MacKenzie both showed muscle early in the event. MacKenzie got the draw in the Dartmouth Dodge Dash Draw and rode the #75 R&R Kinsman/Chebucto Ford Fusion to the pole position in the Lucas Oil 100. MacKenzie led the five of the first six circuits before Stevens took over but it was MacKenzie who shadowed Stevens for many of those opening laps. Donald Chisholm was also up there with the trio for many laps and in the end both came home with very respectable top ten finishes!
The other man who showed some muscle early in the race was Sydney’s Jerome Kehoe. The leading EIT Race Radio Rookie of the Year contender quickly worked up from his mid-pack starting position and ran many laps in the top five before coming home with an eighth place finish. The #98 Zutphen Contractors/Ideal Concrete Chevrolet will be one to watch in the Parts for Trucks 200 in September. His rookie counterpart Leonard Boutilier from Dutch Settlement also had a respectable run at his home track Saturday night. Boutilier made his first Dartmouth Dodge Dash for Cash and preformed well as he started fourth in the feature after starting third in the dash. “I need to thank my sponsors, Alpine Auto Glass and Streamline Auto Services,” Boutilier mentioned during the Dash Draw. “Thanks to Bert (Ettinger) and the rest of the crew for helping us this season.”
One noticeable absentee this past Saturday was Chris Hughes. The Brackley Beach, Prince Edward Island driver is looking for some sponsors to get his #32 Toyota Camry back out to the track this season. When asked about next weekend at Speedway 660, he replied “Nope. I won’t be there unless I can find a ride or a sponsor or two. There are cars around that might need a good experienced pilot.” Remember, Hughes drove his Camry to the pole position back in July at Speedway 660 and came home with a 6th place finish after leading seventeen circuits of the event. I know there has to be some local businesses out there that want to get on board with a front running driver – this is the chance to do it!
Next time, we take a look at the final Triple Crown Event of the season. Who are the favorites and ones to watch on the weekend? Find out next time on Tim’s Corner. Enjoy the Pro Stock Tour off-weekend and remember, if you are looking for your racing fix, all four tracks the tour visits are in action. The Weekly Racing Shows at Scotia Speedworld, Speedway 660 and Oyster Bed Speedway are coming down to their final point races while Riverside International Speedway has the Super Truck and Tractor Pull on this weekend. Get out and enjoy some great racing and we’ll see you on Labour Day weekend.
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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