SEPTEMBER IS COMING
Halifax’s biggest stock car weekend is now behind us and just a handful of races remain between now and the closing of Scotia Speedworld’s 25th anniversary season.
It seems like just yesterday when Craig Slaunwhite went to victory lane in a caution-free CARQUEST 100 for the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. In reality, that was in mid May and now we sit in the middle of August looking at the final five stock car events at the Speedworld for 2012. I’m not going to get all reflective here, that’s for October when we inch closer to the Awards Banquet in Truro, so let’s begin looking ahead to these final few shows of the season, and the battles that will loom as we close the book on what has been a very interesting season to say the least.
Let’s start with the Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros. They have three races left to go and it is the #3 car of Jarrett Butcher sitting atop the standings. The veteran Bando driver from Porter’s Lake will look to become the first ever two time champion in the division and will look to do so by going back-to-back after his triumph in 2011. He will have his hands completely full with Cole Boudreau though in the closing events of 2012. Boudreau, who lit the division ablaze the first half of the season has settled into second, just 13 points behind after some recent bad luck has fallen upon the #00 State Farm Insurance Bandolero. While not eliminated from contention for the title, Cole Tanner, Braden Langille and Adam Meehan all need to be on their game in the final three weeks of the season as they sit 28, 33 and 42 points out of the lead respectively.
The Ace Lumbermart Lightning championship is all but wrapped up with four races remaining. Jorden Smith has a 79 point advantage on Mike Brown and has already stated that he wanted to finish the season with a triple digit point lead. BJ Nicholson is third, just 38 points behind Brown while Marc MacMillan and “Crazy” Craig Cordeau have a battle on their hands with just five points amongst them in fourth and fifth. There are tight point battles all throughout the Lightning field and with the car counts getting up to over 20 cars a week, one small mistake on track could cost a driver huge in the standings!
While not as big of a margin as Jorden Smith, it is Kyle MacMillan’s title to lose when it comes to the ACE Lumbermart Thunder class. MacMillan has a 39 points lead on Dwayne Flemming, while Flemming has his hands full with Andrew Cluett and Stevie Lively. Cluett sits just ten points behind Flemming with Lively licking his chops after a podium finish in our last race, just three points behind the #94 in third. Thunder veteran Drew MacEachern has had a breakout season in 2012 and sits in fifth, 25 points in the rear view of Lively, but a whopping 93 points up on Jordan Pirri in sixth. It just goes to show how strong and consistent our top five in the ACE Lumbermart Thunder class have been this season.
The Jack Daniel’s Trucks do not race on Friday night, but let’s take a look at their point battle with just three nights remaining, shall we? Dan Smith is the leader and is closing in on his first championship, but JP Arsenault reminded the field on CAT 250 weekend that the defending champ is still in contention. There are just six points between your top two, and eight points between third and sixth with Derek Sutherland, Kyle Gammon, Jason Fenton and Ryan Goldsmith all in the fray for a top five finish in the points. I’m sure every driver would love to say they got a top five finish in the class, but with four drivers battling for only three top five spots, this battle will be intriguing as we head down the stretch.
The Strictly Hydraulics Legends division has turned into a battle of a young hot shoe and a seasoned veteran. Leading Wooden Door Bistro Rookie in the class Cole Butcher leads the overall standings by just ten points over former Maritime League of Legends Tour and Scotia Speedworld Legend track champion Paul Blenkhorn. There is a bit of a drop off in the standings to third, where Jeff Criuckshank is holding off Derek MacCallum and Richard Salter for third. Just ten points is the gap from Cruickshank in third to Salter in fifth with just a trio of races remaining.
Last, but certainly not least, the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series sees a Ford Fusion atop the heap with Aaron Boutilier. Boutilier has had a solid season thus far and will look to hold on in the next four races to a 48 point lead over Speedworld vet Larry Fisher. Fisher has four fast drivers breathing down his neck in Phil Barkhouse Jr., Jordan Veinotte and Mike Banks, each of whom are within eight points of Fisher. Friday marks the second last 38 lap feature for the Sportsman in 2012, as two 50 lap events in the 18th Annual Shriner’s Classic and the Dartmouth Dodge Season Finale highlight the remainder of one of the most competitive Sportsman classes in Canada.
Do yourselves a favor and get out to the track this weekend for Live 105 Night. With only a handful of races left in this season, you owe yourself to get out to Atlantic Canada’s Action Centre as much as you can before the checkers fall on the season. After all, and as much as I hate to bring this up, the snow will be flying in a matter of months, so don’t delay and get yourself out to a race before Old Man Winter makes an appearance!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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