10th Anniversary Pro Stock Tour Year in Review Extravaganza - Part 3
WILD NIGHT LEADS TO SPECTACULAR FINISH IN THE GEARY WOODS
Since Halloween just passed us last weekend, this race fits into the Year in Review just fine. Whether you’re superstitious and you want to chalk it up to the full moon over Speedway 660 on July 24th or not, the Parts for Trucks 100 at Speedway 660 definitely come in as one of the most “action packed” races of 2010. With many cautions slowing the tempo of the event and many pre-race favorites being shuffled back and forth throughout the deck all night, it was anyone’s guess as to who would be the victor on the tight oval. One of the late yellows happened with two laps to go and would set up one of the most exciting finishes in recent memory on the Tour.
Scotia Speedworld Sportsman grads Craig Slaunwhite and Shawn Turple sat on the front row in anticipation from the green flag on lap ninety-eight. From lap twenty-three up to that point, with the exception of three of those laps, the #0 and #99 had occupied the top two spots with the two swapping the lead amongst each other. Meanwhile in the second row sat Lonnie Sommerville and Shawn Tucker, two drivers who call Speedway 660 in Geary their home track. Sommerville had come from the rear twice to fill the third position on the final restart while Tucker had been at the rear with twenty laps to go and had worked his #52 A.L. Gullison Disaster Kleenup Chevrolet up to fourth with two circuits remaining.
When Ralph Vokey dropped the green silk, the excitement at Speedway 660 began to climax. As Slaunwhite pulled to the lead, Sommerville slid in to take the spot on the inside of Turple which was vacated by Slaunwhite. The #23 A.E. McKay Builders Impala kept on the back bumper of Slaunwhite until the final couple of corners in the race as Sommerville planted his #23 on the inside of the #99 Halifax Glass and Mirror ride of Slaunwhite. With Tucker hot on his heels, Sommerville powered his bowtie to the victory while Tucker brought his car home behind him in second, just barely edging car #99. Slaunwhite had to settle for third while Turple was shuffled all the way back to fourth in the final tally.
Sommerville, who had been in the bulk of a busy summer schedule racing between the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour and the Pro All Stars Series was happy to put his car in Speedway 660 victory lane. “The last time this car ran a Tour race was in PEI,” said the winning pilot. “Ron Hornaday ran this car a few seasons ago in the Pro Stock 250. We used this as a parts car the past couple seasons, it feels great to put it in victory lane!”
While the LSR team celebrated in the middle of the track, the Slaunwhite team stood on the front straightaway with their third place winnings. When asked about what it would take to get a victory in the Pro Stock 250 in just over a month, he replied that “we have to beat that #23 car,” as he glanced over to victory lane.
The second place run was the second in three events for Tucker and his third consecutive podium finish. The consistency of these and future runs would catapult the Fredericton driver to his third CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour title.
CHISHOLM SCORES HOME-TRACK VICTORY, THIRD PLACE IN POINTS
After a part-time campaign in 2009, the Nova Racing team returned to full time competition on the CARQUEST Pro Stock Tour this past summer. The Antigonish based team with veteran driver Donald Chisholm at the helm kicked off the season at their home track of Riverside International Speedway with a third place run. That run set the tone for the ’10 season for the team as they set sail on a consistent tour throughout the Maritimes.
The first trip to Oyster Bed Bridge in Prince Edward Island had the team on a ride of highs and lows throughout the weekend. Chisholm set fast time in the second practice of Saturday afternoon but shortly after found himself looping the car around in turn four. The crew repaired the #89 Nova Construction/Pioneer Coal Ford and got him back out on track. Chisholm would start fifteenth on the grid for Sunday’s held over event and navigated his way up to the top ten, finishing a respectable seventh in the event on a track that position and passing was at a premium.
The team continued to put up strong runs by finishing fourth at the next event at Scotia Speedworld. Nova Racing had one of the dominant cars at the IWK 250 before winding up in 13th place with their #89 entry. Finishes of 7th, 4th and 5th in the next three races kept Chisholm firmly in the championship hunt in 2010 heading into the Parts for Trucks 100 at Riverside. With forty-one points separating he and point leader Wayne Smith heading into the final stop at the James River track, not only was this a place where Chisholm could score a top finish but could also close the gap on the point championship. Both of those were accomplished on August 14th as Chisholm would dominate the event en route to the checkered flag on the high banks! Chisholm, whose last win on the Tour came at Riverside in 2004, was relieved to finally get back to victory lane on the Pro Stock circuit.
With the win, he closed the gap to just twenty-four points with two point races to go. With both races at Scotia Speedworld, a track where Chisholm had two top fives at already in 2010, the Antigonish driver had a very good shot at bringing home the Pro Stock Tour title to the Highland region of Nova Scotia. At the Lucas Oil 100 the team came home with a respectable sixth place finish in a very close knit pack late in the race. With the point leader Shawn Tucker coming home in second though it made the hill a little bit tougher to climb for the championship.
The Parts for Trucks 200 featured many twists and turns for some of the pre-race favorites but in the end the #89 team came home in second place behind series champ Shawn Tucker. The extra distance races seem to fit Chisholm just fine as the Ford Fusion always finds its way to the top of the running order by the end of the race. With the runner-up finish, Chisholm leapfrogged to third in the standings, tying the mark he had in the 2004 point picture.
Chisholm’s season wasn’t complete though as he finished up the season running in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. After he and weekend teammate Wayne Smith had mechanical problems at Riverside, the team loaded up the #89 and headed to Kawartha Speedway in Ontario for the NCATS finale. In that event, Chisholm ran up front for many laps and even led in the event before finishing eleventh in the event.
Next week, we take a look at two more moments that shaped the 2010 season. Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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