CLASSIC CLASH ON DECK
Let’s try this again, shall we?
The 18th Annual Shriner’s Classic for Sportsman is up next on the agenda for the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series. Last week’s feature was certainly an interesting one. The racing gods were rough to some and generous to others, but that’s what makes this sport so interesting. Though Aaron Boutilier’s season has been almost spotless to this point, he was involved in a Lap One incident last weekend, which sidelined him early. The upside for the #4 team? Boutilier still has a 38 point lead with three point races remaining.
What it did do though is tighten your second, third and fourth place drivers in the standings. Two points sit between three drivers with Jordan Veinotte, Mike Banks and Larry Fisher are in a dogfight for the runner up spot in the division while Phil Barkhouse Jr is just nine points behind Veinotte. If that is not a point battle folks, I don’t know what is. With the way they are running, this one is sure to go down to the finale on September 8th.
But these drivers will likely not be thinking about points on Friday night with the 18th Annual Shriner’s Classic on deck. This race holds a huge amount of importance to so many drivers in this region, especially with the champions list that it boasts. The late Terry Roma has won this race thrice, more than any other driver. This Friday will see the #38 car back on track, with Terry’s son Travis Roma at the wheel in his first race in the Sportsman division. Travis tested at the Speedworld last weekend and told me the session went smooth and hopes to ride around and learn during Friday’s feature. One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to see the #38 Doug Forbes Century 21 Classic Grand Prix back on the track!
The competition on Friday night in that Sportsman event will be tough. In the last three years, the Classic champion has gone on to win the Sportsman championship, and I’m sure that’s a stat our top five in the standings we mentioned earlier want to keep as a trend. I wouldn’t be surprised to see two dozen drivers going for the coveted trophy, and we could see some part time drivers out to the track in that number. I talked to former champion of the race Tony Leonard about a month ago during the Advance Rentals 150 Pro Stock Tour race and he was eyeing the Classic, so if his car is ready, don’t be surprised to see the #74 out on the track. If you’re looking for more of a background on the race, check out my preview from the July 27th Tim’s Corner. It’s a big race that holds a special meaning to all of us at the Speedworld, if you haven’t been out to see this event in the last 17 years, get out this Friday and find out first hand what we’re talking about.
Before we leave the Sportsman topic though, have to send out a tip of the cap to Joey Livingstone and his #01 team. Joey was involved in a hard crash in last week’s Sportsman race, which saw Livingstone’s Pontiac become one with the Turn Four tires after getting airborne avoiding a wreck in front of him. I caught up with Joey at Riverside and though he said he was a bit sore, he’s determined to be back out at the track for Friday. If there’s a crew (in Joey’s case is made up of Eddie and Angela Rector) that is as dedicated to this sport with the budget that they are on, it is Joey’s. Joey’s team isn’t the only one that’s having to thrash after last weekend, Wade Slauenwhite and Tony Mason sustained big damage to their cars, so I’m sure some midnight oil has been burned in their shops as well this week.
It is a busy night on Friday as four other divisions will join the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman on what is Energy 103.5 Fan Appreciation Night. Speaking of appreciate, that’s what Jorden Smith is trying to do with the value of his point lead in the ACE Lumbermart Lightning division. By my unofficial count Smith has an 89 point lead with three races to go. There are times in the sport where a driver puts together a season that we will not forget for quite some time, this is certainly one of them.
Like his four cylinder counterpart, Kyle MacMillan has put together a dream season in the ACE Lumbermart Thunder division, as he has built a pretty big lead with four to go. The veteran has exploded this season, winning races and finishing in the top five of each feature he has ran. The title is far from in the bag with guys like Stevie Lively, Andrew Cluett and Dwayne Flemming playing chase, but however this title fight ends up, MacMillan has had a season he can look back on and smile.
The battle in the Jack Daniel’s Truck class reignites Friday night with Dan Smith having a six point lead over JP Arsenault with three to go. Only a dozen points separate Derek Sutherland, Kyle Gammon, Jason Fenton and Ryan Goldsmith in the battle for third, which has been entertaining all season long. The question down the stretch may be if Fenton can get back to victory lane. The #3 Halifax Garage Builders/Cutting Edge Construction/Hodgson Trucking Chevrolet has been knocking on the door of victory lane but is currently the only full time driver out of the super seven to not win a feature race. Watch for Fenton, and the rest of the fellow Truck Series competitors to put on a show this week for our fans on Fan Appreciation Night.
Also on the schedule are the Strictly Hydraulics Legends. When it looked like there was going to be a big sway in the points, one way or the other, it remains ten points between point leader and leading Wooden Door Bistro Rookie Cole Butcher and the veteran and former champion Paul Blenkhorn. One more week like they had though and it will kick the door wide open for Jeff Cruickshank to crash the party. Cruickshank is just 36 points out of the lead and gained 17 last week on Butcher. Two more weeks like that and the #7 Cruickshank Garage Legend is right there for the championship. Dylan Blenkhorn has lit up the division in recent weeks and will look for another win on Friday night.
That’s a very small snippet of what to expect on Friday night. It sure is set to be a special night at the Speedworld, which gets under way at 7pm.
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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