Race Notebook - Lucas Oil 100
“I said if I ever won another one of these that I would retire.”
Well, maybe we won’t see George Koszkulics hang the helmet up just yet but the passing mention of that “r” was brought up on Saturday in victory lane as the veteran scored his first win on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour since 2005. Times have changed since that last win six years ago to the date (August 20th, 2005) at the Centre For Speed in Shediac, including the car number (#6) and scheme of the Koszkulics car. Remember, a win here last season really rejuvenated teammate Donald Chisholm, which included him revisiting victory lane in the next Pro Stock race at the track. One thing is for sure, at the end of that race Saturday, the #88 Pioneer Coal/Nova Construction Ford Fusion was the class of the field. Hats off to George on a great performance.
When you talk about great performances from Saturday night, you have to mention Kent Vincent in the same breath as well. Vincent was strong all day long during practice and qualifying and would show the way for the first 60 laps of the event before falling back to fourth place at the finish of the race. With the run, which resulted in a total of ten bonus points for leading a lap and leading the most laps kept the #8 Vector Aerospace Dodge in championship contention with two races to go.
Many crews worked their behinds off during the 100 to keep their drivers in the race but two in particular stand out. Wayne Smith’s #44 car broke a shock during the CAT 250 and once again the crew was faced this week with repairs as the car sustained crash damage during the Lucas Oil 100. Without hesitation, the crew went to work thrashing on the Jetco Contracting Impala under yellow and got the point leader back on track before the ensuing restart. The “never quit” attitude shown by this team the last two weeks could very well result in the sixth Maritime Touring championship for Smith at the completion of 2011.
Brad Brown’s quest for seat time behind the wheel of the #9 was cut a few laps short but some of those laps made can be credited to his crew. Brown’s car blew a fluid line under caution, saturating the back straightaway with spillage. The crew went to work replacing the line and sent Brown back out on track to make laps in the Brown Ventilation Toyota. Laps later, Brown found himself getting swept up in an incident in Turn Two, leaving the car with damage. The pit was a buzz with activity and before the checkers flew, Brown was back on track again making laps. Kudos to the team for keeping Brad in the race!
Darren MacKinnon has established himself as one of he hottest drivers on the Tour in recent races. Since his victory in the Parts for Trucks 100 at Oyster Bed Speedway in June, he has reeled off seven consecutive top six finishes, including six of those being top four runs. That includes a stout second place run on Saturday night.
Craig Slaunwhite also had a much needed podium finish by coming home third this past weekend. It wasn’t easy for the Terence Bay driver as he held off a pack of cars including Vincent and Shawn Tucker to capture that third place finish. With Scotia Speedworld upcoming at the end of the season and with Slaunwhite being a former champion of the event, look for the #99 to be strong at the Dartmouth Dodge 200. What a great way to build momentum for that event by continuing the good runs at Petty this weekend?
Be sure to check out the Race Time Radio FM (racetimeradio.com) show for an interview with race winner Koszkulics. The racing action continues to heat up this weekend with the International happening at Petty International Raceway – and it includes the CARQUEST 100 on Saturday night for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. Be sure to check out my preview now on the website for info on the race and also on our point race – which could very well end up altered one way or another after 100-laps on the high banks!
Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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