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Tim's Corner

Issue 93

Looking Back At 2011 - Part 3

The Races

Originally, I had this piece planned as the “Races of the Year” story. When looking back at the year we had though, it is really unfair to leave certain races out. Let’s be honest, each race wrote its unique chapter in the history book that was the 2011 season. So, with that said, I have decided to summarize the year for you here with highlights from each race and information as it pertained to the grand scheme of things when it comes back to looking back on the event at season’s end. What are we waiting for?


TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

John Flemming of Halifax, NS led the most laps (80) but it was Shawn Tucker (Fredericton, NB) who edged by Flemming in the late going, taking the lead for good on Lap 82 of the opener.

This race was a coming out party for Charlottetown’s Darren MacKinnon. MacKinnon ran second to Flemming for a majority of the event before Craig Slaunwhite (Terence Bay, NS) and he got together battling for third in the final five laps of the event. MacKinnon would finish 20th in the event.

1) #52 Shawn Tucker (1)

2) #97 John Flemming (1)

3) #44 Wayne Smith (1)

4) #5 Jonathan Hicken (1)

5) #8 Kent Vincent (1)

Point Picture After Race One: Flemming by three over Tucker.



TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

Jonathan Hicken (Brudenell, PE) crossed the line first in the historic first race at the reborn Petty International Raceway, but it was Wayne Smith (Timberlea, NS) who was awarded the win after Hicken’s car failed post-race inspection.  

Donald Chisholm (Antigonish, NS) and Jerome Kehoe (Sydney, NS) put on a show for what was second in the event as the two traded paint multiple times in the closing laps. The podium finish was the first in Kehoe’s career.

Hometown favorite Mike Stevens (Salisbury, NB) established the Pro Stock Tour qualifying record at the track in Time Trials with a 13.437 second lap.

Race was first at track since 2001 after Smith, Craig McFetridge and Brett Benoit purchased the track in the winter of 2010-11.

1) #44 Wayne Smith (2)

2) #89 Donald Chisholm (1)

3) #98 Jerome Kehoe (1)

4) #11 Marty Prevost (1)

5) #52 Shawn Tucker (2)

Point Picture: Tucker by one over Flemming and Smith



TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

Donald Chisholm won his second consecutive Pro Stock Tour race at Riverside International Speedway with the win in the third race of 2011.

The event was shortened to 90 laps due to light rain.  

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series driver Jason Hathaway (Appin, ON) raced in the event, finishing 20th after a run-in with three time champion Tucker.

1) #89 Donald Chisholm (2)

2) #44 Wayne Smith (3)

3) #5 Jonathan Hicken (2)

4) #18 Darren MacKinnon (1)

5) #8 Kent Vincent (2)

Point Picture: Smith by 13 over Chisholm



TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

Kent Vincent (Crapaud, PE) and Tucker looked to have this one under wraps in the first half until contact just past the mid-way point sent both to the rear.

Enter Darren MacKinnon. MacKinnon set up on the back bumper of Wayne Smith for the late laps before diving under the #44 out of Turn Two with five to go and had the pass complete by the time he hit the front straight. A textbook pass on the veteran sealed the deal for MacKinnon’s first win in front of a huge hometown crowd.

Vincent was storming back to the front in the #8 Vector Aerospace Dodge but came up short in second.

This was the Tour’s 20th race on the Island track.

1) #18 Darren MacKinnon (2)

2) #8 Kent Vincent (3)

3) #44 Wayne Smith (4)

4) #5 Jonathan Hicken (3)

5) #89 Donald Chisholm (3)

Point Picture: Smith by 18 over Tucker

Quote this: “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.”



TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

Shawn Turple (Enfield, NS) and an old friend returned to victory lane on the Tour by successfully defending the Lockhart Truck Center 100. Turple had been running a new car for the first four races but after motor problems in PEI, the team returned to the old car for the mid-summer Speedworld race.

The race was also the first top five of the season for Craig Slaunwhite (Terence Bay, NS). Ironically, the car Slaunwhite drove to the second place run on the night was the car Turple drove to victory in the Lockhart 100 in 2010.

The race pace was rapid in this one as the checkers flew 31 minutes after the green with just two cautions slowing the race.

Smith extended his lead to 25 points – the largest point lead of the season.

1) #0 Shawn Turple (1)

2) #99 Craig Slaunwhite (1)

3) #52 Shawn Tucker (3)

4) #44 Wayne Smith (5)

5) #5 Jonathan Hicken (4)

Point Picture: Smith by 25 over Chisholm and Tucker (tie)

Quote this: “Actually, this car didn’t race in that race last year, that one did,” as Turple signaled to Craig Slaunwhite’s second place car. “I think we may have had the better car at the end,” Slaunwhite 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.”



TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

Shawn Tucker took the win at his home track of Speedway 660, but it was Greg Fahey (St. Stephen, NB) who turned heads. Fahey, multi-time Pro Stock track champion at 660 won the Linde Group Most Laps Led Award, the Fast Eddie Racewear Dash for Cash and the Atlantic Tiltload Time Trials.

Tucker became the season’s first two time winner,

1) #52 Shawn Tucker (4)

2) #20 Greg Fahey (1)

3) #18 Darren MacKinnon (3)

4) #48 Dave O’Blenis (1)

5) #44 Wayne Smith (6)

Point Picture: Smith by 12 over Tucker



TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

Darren MacKinnon backed up his first career win with a victory in the biggest event of the season – the IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body at Riverside International Speedway.

John Flemming dominated the event, leading 227 laps of the race before MacKinnon got by on the outside of a restart with three laps to go.

Sprint Cup star Marcos Ambrose returned for the event and showed muscle in the event before a late pit stop relegated the #11A to 10th place.

The race made Canadian Motorsports history by becoming the first to ever be aired live, flag-to-flag on Sirius Satellite Radio via The Score and Race Time Radio.

Wayne Smith would lose his point lead he had held since Race Two in the event after mechanical problems put him laps down. Tucker assumed the point lead with a third place finish.

1) #18 Darren MacKinnon (4)

2) #97 John Flemming (2)

3) #52 Shawn Tucker (5)

4) #88 George Koszkulics (1)

5) #0 Shawn Turple (2)

Point Picture: Tucker by 13 over Smith.

Quote this: “This is huge,” said MacKinnon after the race. “This race is our Daytona 500! He [Flemming] had schooled me, schooled me on those previous restarts, I knew I had to be ready for him if I wanted a chance at winning it.”



TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

John Flemming returned to victory lane for the first time in a Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour race since 2006 by winning the Air Show Atlantic 100. Flemming had to hold off a huge charge from Jonathan Hicken, who stormed to the front of the field but ran out of time to make a bid for the lead on Flemming.

Darren MacKinnon moved into second place when it came to top fives for the season, one behind Wayne Smith, who now only trailed Tucker in the standings by four.

The race was a turning point for Donald Chisholm’s season. Chisholm was involved in a Dash for Cash wreck and the team pieced together the #89 to get him out for the pace lap in the feature to collect points. As I’ve mentioned before on Tim’s Corner, I firmly believe that NOVA Racing crew is one of the hardest working and quickest teams in the pits when it comes to having to repair a race car.  

This race was the first top five finish on the Tour for Cornwall, PE’s Dylan Gosbee. Gosbee is a former PEI Modified champion and has shown lots of promise in his limited schedule on the Tour in 2011. This kid is the real deal folks and will be a star you’ll be hearing more about in the future!

1) #97 John Flemming (3)

2) #5 Jonathan Hicken (5)

3) #18 Darren MacKinnon (5)

4) #44 Wayne Smith (7)

5) #16 Dylan Gosbee ® (1)

Point Picture: Tucker by 4 over Smith.



TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

Ben Rowe (Turner, ME) took his third event win in the 12th Annual Atlantic CAT 250 at the Speedworld. This was Rowe’s first Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour sanctioned win in the historic career of the short track ace.

The first half of the race was ran at a torrid pace with no caution flags in the first 125 laps.

Race Time Radio went live-to-air from Scotia Speedworld with flag-to-flag coverage of the event.

As announced at the event by Tour owner Cecil Vance, Atlantic CAT will be back to sponsor the event in 2012.

The event saw the debut of Speedworld star Russell Smith Jr (Lakeside) in one of his uncle’s cars. Mechanical problems kept the former Lumbermart Lightning car champ from completing the CAT 250.

1) #10R Ben Rowe (1)

2) #97 John Flemming (4)

3) #44 Wayne Smith (8)

4) #18 Darren MacKinnon (6)

5) #02 Mike MacKenzie (1)

Point Picture: Smith over Tucker by 9 points

*This race is the final time the point lead changed hands in 2011.




TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

George Koszkulics returned to victory lane for the first time since 2005 when he took home the Lucas Oil 100 in front of a huge crowd of friends, family and fans at Riverside International Speedway. Darren MacKinnon recorded his seventh top ten of the season while Craig Slaunwhite had to hold off a hungry pack of cars behind him to take the final podium spot.

With Smith finishing in ninth and Tucker fifth, it tightened the point lead by the slimmest margin seen all season – one point.

1) #88 George Koszkulics (2)

2) #18 Darren MacKinnon (7)

3) #99 Craig Slaunwhite (2)

4) #8 Kent Vincent (4)

5) #52 Shawn Tucker (6)

Point Picture: Smith over Tucker by 1 point.




TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

The race with likely the most twists and turns when it came to the point battle, Kent Vincent kept his championship hopes alive by winning the CARQUEST 100 on Riverglade International Weekend at Petty International Raceway.

Wayne Smith led the most laps of the race but a late race altercation while battling for the lead moved Smith to the end of the lead lap cars with less than 10 to go. The bright spot for the team was that he finished one spot up on Shawn Tucker, who did not lead a lap in the event. Smith went to the final event with a 13 point lead.

The event was a heartbreak for MacKinnon as the Island driver experienced rear end problems in the heat – which returned in the feature. MacKinnon dropped to 32 points behind the leaders heading into the Dartmouth Dodge 200.

1) #8 Kent Vincent (5)

2) #0 Shawn Turple (3)

3) #89 Donald Chisholm (4)

4) #97 John Flemming (5)

5) #11 Marty Prevost (2)

Point Picture: Smith over Tucker by 13 points




TOP FIVE (# of top fives to date)

Craig Slaunwhite returned to victory lane for the first time since this event in 2008 when he won the Dartmouth Dodge 200 at Scotia Speedworld. Slaunwhite, using his old car after the new car was destroyed in a wreck the week before, dominated the event and flexed muscle when he had to come from the rear after not answering the call to return to the track from the halfway break.

With a fifth place finish, Wayne Smith locked up his third title in the PFTPST era (2001-11), tying him with Flemming and Tucker for the most titles. The championship was Smith’s sixth regional touring crown – establishing a new Maritime record. Smith announced after this race he would retire from full time competition at the end of 2011.

1) #99 Craig Slaunwhite (3)

2) #0 Shawn Turple (4)

3) #52 Shawn Tucker (7)

4) #5 Jonathan Hicken (6)

5) #44 Wayne Smith (9)

Point Picture: Smith wins title by 14 over Tucker.



So there you have it, a brief glace back on the season. It was a season of drivers returning to victory lane, future stars making their debuts and a champion going out on top of the sport. It all made for a summer to remember and one that will be toasted this weekend in Charlottetown.

Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the Delta Prince Edward!