Race Preview - Lucas Oil 100
A blank sheet of paper.
That’s what most teams will go into Petty International Raceway with on Saturday. An open practice on Friday will be the only pre-race day practice the cars and stars of the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour will have prior to the Lucas Oil 100. The high banked oval outside of Moncton will play host to racing for the first time in ten years and the Pro Stock Tour will be one of the first, along with the Atlantic Open Wheels and four cylinders to rechristen the facility.
So, who’s the favorite to win? Your guess would be about as good as mine. You could go to the veterans who have raced at Petty, led by track co-owner and most recent Petty feature winner Wayne Smith. Smith finished third at the CARQUEST 100 and could be a threat to win the second race of 2011. How about Mike Stevens? The hometown boy from just down in Salisbury had a rough start to the season but had a smile on his face after the Scotia Speedworld race when the Petty track was mentioned. Kent Vincent and Greg Proude have run well on high banked tracks in the past.
In essence, like last season was with ten winners in eleven races – this race is wide open for the taking! If the opener told us anything, we are in for some of the most intense and exciting fender-to-fender racing New Brunswick has ever seen.
If you’re in to quirky statistics – here’s another one for you. John Coyle and the fine folks at Lucas Oil are heading into their fifth year of involvement with the Pro Stock Tour and have been involved in some of the most action packed and historic races on the tour in the past four seasons. Think back to one season ago when Lucas Oil was the sponsor of the race that the aforementioned Stevens finally broke through to victory lane at Scotia Speedworld. Smith also has history on his side when it comes to Lucas Oil branding, winning last season’s race at Oyster Bed Speedway and one at Scotia Speedworld in 2009. Proude also has won a pair of Lucas Oil races in the past two seasons.
Many drivers are also looking to build momentum from the first race of the year at the Speedworld. Darren Mackinnon turned heads by running up in the top five for ninety eight of the laps in the CARQUEST 100. Craig Slaunwhite, Shawn Turple, Proude and Donald Chisholm had spirited charges to the front of the field before time ran out in the 100-lap event. Vincent and Jonathan Hicken had a fantastic side-by-side battle for most of the race which ended up being the duel for fourth place when the checkers flew.
One thing is for sure, this race will write a new chapter in the history of Maritime stock car racing. The action kicks off at 5:10pm with the Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials, something Proude will be gunning to go two for two in. He’ll also look to draw hat #1 for the Fast Eddie Race Wear Dash for Cash, which goes at 6pm. If for some reason you cannot witness history in person, follow the Pro Stock Tour on Twitter (twitter.com/prostocktour), but I suggest you make plans to be in River Glade for Saturday if you have not already!
Until Saturday, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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