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Exide Batteries Rookie Preview: #63 Tom Nicholls

Prince Edward Island has brought us some great Pro Stock racers in the last few years. You don’t have to look too far in the rear view mirror to see the successes of drivers such as former IWK 250 winners Darren MacKinnon of Charlottetown and Kent Vincent of Crapaud. Brudenell’s Jonathan Hicken has lit the lamp on the circuit on more than one occasion in the past few seasons. In 2012, we can add at least one more name to that list - Tom Nicholls.

Nicholls, who began his stock car racing career one season ago in the Street Stock class at Oyster Bed Speedway, is eyeing a move to the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour in the 2012 campaign. The Sherwood, Prince Edward Island native has a busy schedule on his plate with over 30 races tentatively scheduled between the Tour and his Street Stock. It’s a plan that even the 49 year old admits will be a bit hectic. “I want as much seat time as possible,” said the second year driver. “It’s going to be a busy year for us and I am on a quick learning curve given my age. We are going to run our Street Stock full time at Oyster Bed Speedway (OBS) and Petty (International Raceway), as well as visit Speedway Miramichi and the Centre For Speed for some dates. When I can’t be there to run the car, someone else will be in the seat.”

Like most other freshmen who venture out on the Tour, Nicholls wants to log as many laps as he can this summer and see as many checkered flags as he can. “Three of our main goals this season are to get to all five tracks the Tour visits, finish races and get seat time,” commented Nicholls on the upcoming season. “We want to earn the respect of the other teams and drivers within the series. We’ll shoot for a top ten qualifying effort at home. The smart thing to do at OBS will be to follow the drivers on the Tour and learn from what they are doing in practice, run our race and see what happens.”

While Nicholls readies for his on track activities, he has assembled a crew off track that might have some ears perking of diehard Pro Stock Tour fans when they hear their names. “I feel very fortunate that I will have a super crew with me this season that has past experiences of winning on the Tour.” The crew includes former Tour front runner Kris Fournier, Greg Matheson, Tom Scully, Dave Weir and Hilary MacDonald.

Nicholls 2012 Chevrolet Impala he will pilot on the Tour this season will fly his familiar #63. “We chose the number for a couple reasons,” explains Nicholls. “Not only was it the year I was born, but it’s also our house number. The number just seemed like a natural fit.” What you may not know about Nicholls is that he is a decorated Power Lifter, winning 14 National and two World Championships to go with the Commonwealth title Nicholls won this past December, something he may hold as an advantage compared to his other competitors on track, especially in the extra distance races. “I have been trying to get down in weight along with increasing my stamina and endurance for these 100-lap races!”

Driver #63 also holds a Masters Degree in Sport/Event Management and is a Private Sector Business Owner of Vacationland RV Park and Naturally Fit Total FX (which is comprised of Naturally Fit Supplements, Studio Nine and the Island Performance Elite Strength Training Centre). Nicholls and his team are also involved with multiple charities and raising money throughout the season. “Our family owns a campground, so we are constantly doing things for kids and donating to various charities yearly,” says Nicholls. “Dawn and Jason Mosher, our business partners at Naturally Fit Total FX, are involved with the MS Society as Dawn suffers from MS. In 2011, we raced in support of MS and we raised $12,600 for the charity. This season we are racing for KidSport and are doing more with the program. Our goal for 2012 is to raise $15,000 for kids who do not have the resources to play sports as we believe every kid should have a chance to participate in sport. We have a full time person on our team who will be looking after this program, so if you’re at one of the races and want to get involved, stop by and see Hilary to get more information.”

As we know, sponsors are a very important part of our sport and Nicholls has worked hard to get a full list of sponsors on his car for the 2012 season. “I have hustled since last November for partners to make this work and I am very thankful for the great group of companies that has stepped up to the Pro Stock team for this summer.” Nicholls’ primary sponsor for this season is Island Excavators for The Island Excavators Racing for Kidsport. Associate sponsors for the upcoming campaign include PEI Home @ RV Centre, Olympic Electric, KwikKopy Design and Print Centre, Vacationland RV Park, Matheson Eyewear, Naturally Fit Total FX, Hot 105.5, Vesey’s Seeds, Scotiabank, Thrifty Car Rentals, Abegweit Outfitting, Island Performance Elite Strength Training Centre, Century 21 Colonial Realty, Rob Roy’s Country Kitchen Restaurant, Studio Nine, Mark’s Work Wearhouse, Bolger Motorsports, Hillside GM and Tourism PEI.

Can Nichols etch his name beside Geoff Boyle and Dale Holmes as the only Island based racers to win the Exide Batteries Rookie of the Year Award? The action with the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour goes green in less than six weeks on Sunday, May 20th as the drivers will attack Scotia Speedworld during the Carquest 100, Round One of 12 on the 2012 schedule!

Until next time, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!