Preview – The 250
One of the most anticipated weekends in the Atlantic Canadian stock car season is finally here! Speedway 660’s Speedweekend roars to life with racing action on Saturday with the event culminating on Sunday with the 250 – the final Triple Crown Series event of the Summer of 2010. All the drivers will be gunning for the $15,000 on the line for first place, a prize which could grow to upwards of $28,000 with contingency awards added to the pot. Not a bad chunk of change for a Sunday evening drive in the Geary woods, eh?
Our CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour drivers will be challenged by dozens of other conductors looking to steal the glory of becoming the tenth different winner in ten races on the prestigious eleven race schedule. Headlining this year’s crop is former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champ Johnny Benson, who will be making his third appearance at Speedway 660. Five time PASS champion Ben Rowe will wheel an O’Neal Racing entry with the team’s #8 on the side and will join the likes of Travis Kittleson and Travis Benjamin in the chase for their first Pro Stock 250 trophy. Maine drivers Kirk Thibeau (Fort Fairfield), Scott Chubbuck (Dresden) and Johnny Clark (Hallowell) will be on the search for their second victory in the event on Sunday.
Chris Duncan won his second track title at Speedway 660 this season by keeping the fenders clean on his #97 ride all summer long. Duncan will lead a strong field of Speedway 660 Pro Stock regulars into battle which includes names such as Fahey, Wiggins, MacNaughton, Moore, Harris, Gillespie and more! Among those is Jordan Gahan, who will look to crack his first Pro Stock 250 field in his rookie season. The teenager impressed in his CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour debut by completing laps and bringing his #16 ride home in one piece at the end of the Parts for Trucks 100.
Shawn Tucker leads our CARQUEST Tour regulars into the fight for the twenty-eight starting positions. Tucker will look to nail down his second Pro Stock 250 crown and his first Pro Stock Tour win of the season. The #52 AL Gullison Disaster Kleenup/Rockico Truck and Trailer Chevy may have a leg up on his competition though as he won the Season Opening Pro Stock Division race at Speedway 660 waaaaaaaaay back in May. Terence Bay’s Craig Slaunwhite joins Tucker as a former champ of the event but has yet to win a Tour event in 2010. Shawn Turple came oh so close last season in his quest for the big Labour Day Weekend trophy but came up a bit shy in second. Wayne Smith is hungry for his first long weekend victory and will look to put his #44 Jetco Contracting Chevrolet Impala in victory lane but as “The Oval Outlaw” has reminded us in the past – 250 green flag laps around any short track is a long time and anything can happen before we see the end!
Prince Edward Island teams have won both Triple Crown races this season and will look for the clean sweep this weekend. Kent Vincent of Crapaud captured the IWK 250 in July in a late race pass for the victory. The Hicken/White Racing team had Farmington’s Cassius Clark at the helm to take the Atlantic CAT 250 in August. Who will be September’s hero? Can Vincent pull the feat that Lonnie Sommerville did last season and take two of the three Crown jewels or can Hicken pilot his #5 Chapman Brothers Construction Impala to victory? From the Island we are expected to see cars with Proude, MacKinnon, Affleck and MacLean etched over the drivers windows. If Chris Hughes pulls into the Geary woods on Sunday, expect the Brackley Beach driver to pick up where he left off in July and that is up front of the field battling for the top spots. No Islander has won the Pro Stock 250 on Labour Day Weekend as of yet but that could very well change this weekend!
We haven’t even mentioned drivers like Chisholm, Mahar, Pierce, Heino and Flemming yet in this article. Mike Stevens has probably the biggest momentum boost of any of the forty plus that are set to run for a feature position as Stevens is coming off his first Pro Stock Victory in the Lucas Oil 100 (not to mention the best Scotia Speedworld burnout in recent memory). Rookies Jerome Kehoe and Leonard Boutilier will look to shine under the lights of the Geary woods. What about former champs Lonnie Sommerville and Dave O’Blenis who have ran part time schedules this season on the Tour? The talent in this field runs so deep that there will be about a dozen or more drivers on the outside looking in – making the “B” feature one of the best races of the 2010 season!
Playing support to the Pro Stock boys on Sunday are the Street Stock class and Maritime League of Legends Tour. The Street Stock 50 ran many laps under the green silk in 2009 and with veteran Rick Cashol winning the championship last weekend you can bet there will be lots of action for the boys and girls trying to trump the #54 in the final event of the season. We’ve seen the Maritime League of Legends run at Pro Stock events before and with the battle we saw the last time out between eventual winner Steve Pye, Ray Cox Jr and Justin MacNeill going at it until the finish, the New Brunswick fans are in for a treat prior to the Pro Stock 250. Kyle Campbell of Salisbury will look to keep the Speedway 660 trophy on home soil against upwards of two dozen other drivers the likes of Harvey, Austin, Muir, MacCallum and Dunning.
Last season it was the Sportsman drivers stealing the show! The finish to the O’Leary 150 ranks up there with the best finishes of 2009 with Dan MacNeil taking his #80 through to victory. Over three dozen Sportsman cars are expected to storm the Geary track from around Atlantic Canada to get into the biggest race for the class this season. Also on the card for Saturday is the Atlantic Open Wheel tour where stars like Mike “Sparky” Raeburn and Mark Price will go side-by-side for the New Brunswick crowd along with the new-to-the-speedway Four Cylinder and Bandolero classes. The Bandolero class is set to be a clash of New Brunswick vs Nova Scotia as some of the Scotia Speedworld “young guns” are set to bring the battle up to the New Brunswick Capital Region track. Expect the likes of “Miss Rawdon Rocket” Emily Meehan and others to do battle with the likes of Ryan Messer, Cole Boudreau, Dawson MacIntee and Alicia Mowatt.
Folks, this is a must attend event coming up. If you are a race fan, you will not want to miss it. I invite you to head over to Speedway660.com to take a look at all the information on the festivities this weekend including Wade’s Weekly, the weekly column from Wade Wilson, the voice of Speedweekend. We will see you Saturday and Sunday in the Geary woods – I know I wouldn’t miss it!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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