Random Thoughts Before Race Season
The off season will officially close Friday night? Why? Because Tech ‘n Tune will go green at Scotia Speedworld the next day at 12pm! Usually excitement doesn’t surround a practice session but when it is the first for most to lay down laps and shake down cars that will be racing eight days later it can be something to keep an eye on. Last season it was that dreaded “R” word that cut the Tech ‘n Tune short but early indications point towards Saturday being the end of that “R” word that’s been plaguing the Halifax area for most of the week. For those who want to take in the action, the Tech ‘n Tune runs from 12-5pm at Scotia Speedworld with pit admission being set at $5. The grandstand side will also be open for those wanting to take in the action free of charge! We’ll have a review of Saturday’s activities next week in our CARQUEST 100 preview.
How about Regan Smith winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race this past Saturday at Darlington? The 2008 IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body winner used pit strategy to get track position and held off Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards at the end of the prestigious Southern 500 for the victory. Your first win is always special and we saw that twice on the Tour in 2010 – including Mike Stevens’ win at Scotia Speedworld in August. Stevens is the defending champion of the CARQUEST 100 and will look to defend his title on May 22nd. Jonathan Hicken became a first time winner at his home track at Oyster Bed Speedway last season and also took a win at Scotia Speedworld in the Parts for Trucks 200 last September. Not to mention that team won with Cassius Clark at the helm during the Atlantic CAT 250 in August. It wouldn’t surprise me to see one or more first time winners on the Tour this season either with as many hungry drivers as we have.
Speaking of drivers, the pre-registered drivers list hovers around the magical number of thirty for the season. Those drivers include a majority of the top twenty in points from 2010 along with nine of the feature winners from last season. The top six who had a shot at the title heading into the final race last season will be back and each of those drivers will be looking to dethrone Shawn Tucker of Fredericton, New Brunswick from the top of the standings. Stick here over the next week and a half to see if your favorite driver is on that list!
My geek moment of the 2010-11 off season came last Tuesday night, May 3rd as I got to be apart of the Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge II on the iRacing simulation. Landon Cassill, driver of the #09 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series put up $2,000 for the sim racer that could lay down the single fastest qualifying lap at the virtual Darlington Raceway, similar to the format in our Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials prior to each race event. Talk about having to possess ice in your veins though to have to hit your marks for an $81 a second payday! To top that off, Deryl Morley and I were joined to call the action by FOX and SPEED analyst Larry McReynolds! To check out the replay of the Landon Cassill Qualifying Challenge, click on over to the WebRacingNetwork.com.
This time last year on Tim’s Corner I dug out the crystal ball and started making predictions for the season. Though the crystal ball was retired after my NHL Stanley Cup Playoff forecast (which sees my Vancouver Canucks going all the way in 2010-11), I can foresee us having one of the most fun and exciting summer seasons we have had in eleven years. With the competition we had last season when it comes to different race winners and the tight standings, the stage is set for a terrific follow-up. When you combine the opening of Petty Raceway, Marcos Ambrose returning to the IWK 250 and Riverside International, two trips to picturesque Prince Edward Island, a return rendezvous with tricky Speedway 660 and the season being book ended with Scotia Speedworld races, you have all the ingredients for an incredible season.
Next week, we will set the stage for the season opening CARQUEST 100 for the Parts For Trucks Pro Stock Tour. As mentioned, Mike Stevens is the defending champion of the event and will look for his second Pro Stock Tour victory on May 22nd over what is expected to be thirty of the best drivers in the Maritimes! Tickets are now available for the season opener (and all other PFTPST events at Scotia Speedworld) through TicketAtlantic. Don’t forget to keep tabs to MaritimeProStockTour.com for the latest news between now and then
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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