Race Notebook - CARQUEST 100 at Petty Raceway
Petty International Raceway – a small track that produces big time excitement. The venue certainly lived up to the hype this weekend as the CARQUEST 100 left fans on the edge-of-their-seat from flag-to-flag. Some drivers handled the excitement a little better than others as we had many stories develop over the day in River Glade.
The biggest story may very well be the point battle. Kent Vincent, who entered fifth in the standings and said he was far from out of it proved that point on Saturday night by winning the CARQUEST 100. The Island driver cut the gap from 35 points to 22 points on the leader with just one event to go. “We need to do our homework for Scotia, but we’ll be ready,” said Vincent about his chances of winning the title. Vincent made the winning pass on point leader Wayne Smith with eleven laps to go as the two negotiated a tight pack of lapped traffic over a green flag run. The battle the two put on in the middle stages of the event was one we’ve come to expect from our Tour drivers as the two showed respect for one another as they swapped the lead without any contact.
John Flemming gained a small piece of ground in the standings with a fourth place run on Saturday night. With Smith leading the most laps of the event and finishing tenth and Flemming not being able to get the five bonus points for pacing the field, Flemming will now sit just 21 points back of Smith, one point closer than Vincent.
As mentioned, Smith led the first 89 laps of the event before surrendering the top spot to the #8 car. After an altercation in Turn One on a restart with another competitor, Smith had to work his way from the rear with less than a handful of laps remaining. Smith managed to break into the top ten when the checkers flew, passing Shawn Tucker to do so. In that, Smith gained two more points on Tucker to go with the ten bonus points he pocketed in the first 89 laps. With the advantage only being one point leading into Petty, Smith will now look at a 13 point margin with one race to go at the Speedworld. Smith can control his own destiny on September 10th, but the top four cannot be counted out of contention until the checkers fall on the Dartmouth Dodge 200.
The heartbreak of the night goes to Charlottetown’s Darren MacKinnon. MacKinnon entered the battle on Saturday night just nine points out of the lead but when a trailing arm broke in the heat race, the team had to thrash to just get the #18 out on track for the feature. It was tough sledding for MacKinnon during the CARQUEST 100 with his night coming to an early end on lap 46. MacKinnon now sits 37 points back of Smith in fifth place and though he is not out of the picture yet, the team will need some help from the top teams in order to have a chance at becoming the first Island champ in series history.
Shawn Turple and Donald Chisholm waged war on Saturday night at Petty International. The two swapped some paint as they battled throughout the evening, ending up with the #0 edging out the #89 at the stripe. If you’re doing the math, Chisholm is now the only driver in Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour history with two podium finishes in the first two races the series has ran at the track. He can complete his podium collection with a win when we visit Petty in 2012!
Marty Prevost has also collected two top five finishes at Petty this season. Prevost will look to carry that momentum into his home track next weekend in an attempt to take the crown in the Dartmouth Dodge 200!
A tip of the cap also needs to go to the crews of Leonard Boutilier, Brad Brown and Jerome Kehoe after a heat race wreck damaged those three cars. Kehoe got slideways out of Turn Four during their Dartmouth Dodge Heat Race, resulting in he and Boutilier making contact. While the #45 went towards the wall, Kehoe’s #98 would pancake the side of the #9, leaving a dent in the door of the Brown Ventilation #9. The crews worked hard to get all three cars out to the grid for the feature, a testament to the “never quit” attitudes of our race teams.
A weekend off is now upon us on the Tour. While it is a weekend off for some, a handful of our drivers will head up to the Pro Stock 250 at Speedway 660 on Sunday and to those teams we wish them all the best in that extra distance race in the Geary woods. Our season roars to a close on September 10th as the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour rolls into Scotia Speedworld for the Dartmouth Dodge 200. Check back here next week for a preview of the last event of 2011!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
|BACK TO TIM'S CORNER ARCHIVES|