The Notebook: Lockhart Truck Center 100
Saturday night once again became “Turple Time” at Scotia Speedworld.
Shawn Turple led the closing seventeen laps in what was a rapidly paced Lockhart Truck Center 100. Although the race only featured two cautions and was run in just over a half hour, it didn’t mean there was any shortage of action. Many drivers had to make their way from the back of the field to the front and with time not on their side and laps clicking away quickly, it made it exciting for those who were cheering on those drivers who may not had turned in a pristine Atlantic Tiltload Time Trial lap.
One of those drivers who stormed to the front and was a Vortex Brake Pads Hard Charger candidate was last week’s winner Darren Mackinnon. I had chatted with Mackinnon before his #18 Shaw’s Towing/First Choice Haircutters Chevrolet rolled through tech on Saturday and he was still excited about his big win in the Parts for Trucks 100. “It’s so hard to win a race on this Tour, but to win your first race at your home track is unbelievable,” said Mackinnon about the victory. “The crowd was nuts. Words can’t fully describe the whole experience.” Mackinnon finished sixth at the Speedworld on Saturday night.
Jonathan Hicken also made a steady charge to the front of the field. After a lap in the Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials which left him outside the top ten, Hicken consistently picked off positions in his #5 Chapman Brothers Construction/Castle Building Centres Chevrolet Impala before time ran out in the feature. Hicken would end up a strong fifth place as he was closing on the top four at the completion of the Lockhart 100.
Shawn Pierce turned heads on Saturday by qualifying his quick #21 Hercules Inspection Divison/Scotia Propane Chevrolet into the Fast Eddie Racewear Dash for Cash. Pierce drew third in the hat draw after qualifying fourth in the Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials and though he finished tenth in the Dash, he ran most of his feature laps inside the top ten until a driveshaft problem forced Pierce out of the race just under eighteen laps shy of its conclusion.
Brad Mann continues to have great runs at the helm of the Majestik ride. Mann turned in another top ten run on Saturday by working his way through the field and being around at the end of the race. We head to Mann’s home track this weekend at Speedway 660 which could turn out to be a major fire starter to vault Mann up the standings even further if he can record a top finish in the Geary woods.
We can also expect Shawn Tucker to be up front during the next Speedworld event. Tucker has been lightning quick on the Speedworld oval this season, an example of which would be that he’s led 103 of the 200 laps of feature racing on the 3/10-mile oval. An average finish of second in those two races, which includes a win isn’t too shabby either. Tucker will come out of the Halifax area with a 25-point deficit on point leader Wayne Smith with seven races to go. To put that in perspective, Tucker led the most laps and finished one spot ahead of “the Oval Outlaw,” who failed to pace the field for any feature laps on Saturday. Those twelve points Tucker gained on Smith could be very valuable as we race to crown a champion on the Speedworld oval in September.
Two drivers who desperately needed good runs this weekend got them in a big way. Turple and team rolled out the back-up car and put that #0 Dexter Construction/Municipal Group Chevrolet Impala in victory lane. Shawn told me in the pit area pre-race that mechanical problems with the new race car they have been running this season forced them to bring out the race car they ran last season. “We had a problem with the motor last week on the Island,” Turple explained before tech inspection on Saturday. “We’re not quite sure what broke in it, we have an idea but we’ll find out for sure after we get it back.”
The old car, even though it saw track time in 2010 was not the one he went wire-to-wire in during the Lockhart 100 last season. “Actually, this car didn’t race in that race last year, that one did,” as he signaled to Craig Slaunwhite’s second place car. Slaunwhite on the other hand would have liked to try another restart, something that did not happen over the last fifteen laps. “I think we may have had the better car at the end,” the Terence Bay driver commented in victory lane. “This is a great finish for us though after the season we’ve had so far. This feels like a win to me.”
One team that didn’t have luck go their way this weekend was the #98 team. Jerome Kehoe and his team developed motor problems in the practice which prevented the Zutphen Contractors/Ideal Concrete Chevrolet from participating in all but one lap of the feature. The team is one of the hardest working in the pit area and has been quite busy in this recent three week stretch of racing. Here’s hoping their luck turns around this weekend at Speedway 660!
Coming up later in the week is a preview of Round Six of the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour and the Parts for Trucks 100 at Speedway 660.
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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