HEADLINES TO BE MADE THIS WEEKEND
Media Races Night Preview
If you’ve been waiting for that perfect weekend to come out to Scotia Speedworld this season, this is that weekend.
The Media Race is the main attraction on the card with at least eight media personalities from the region strapping into four cylinder cars to do battle for 10 laps around our 3/10-mile oval. Morning radio queens Denyse Sibley (FX101.9) and Caroline Parker (KOOL FM) will look to build on their finishes from last season, as will Global Maritimes News Host Ron Kronstein and Live 105’s Scotty Mars. Also coming to us from morning radio include Chris Lawrence from Energy 103.5 and Live 105’s Jeff Cogswell. Representatives from The Weekly Press and Q104 have yet to announce their representatives for the race. Returning as champion is Calvin Clarke from The Chronicle Herald as he looks to once again take the crown back to the largest newspaper in the province!
Four Weekly Racing Series divisions will compliment the Media Race on Friday night, beginning with the Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros. The boys and girls put on a great show last week with ’11 champion Jarrett Butcher stealing the show from Chipman, New Brunswick’s Cole Boudreau on the final lap of the event. Boudreau leads the point standings, but is only racing a partial schedule at Scotia Speedworld, meaning if that holds true, the battle for second is really the duel to watch when it comes to points. That battle is a replay of last year with Cole Tanner leading Butcher by only three points. Luke Ettinger had a tough night last Friday, falling to seventh in points behind Braden Langille, Dylan Sutherland and leading rookie Craig MacDonald. Megan Parrott, Adam
Meehan, Joshua Langille, Nathan Blackburn and Nicholas Naugle complete the field with Waylon Farrell, who was visiting us from Saint John’s, Newfoundland last weekend, rounding out the young guns to compete at the Speedworld this season. Watch for Ettinger and Meehan to rebound this week as they look to make up for points lost last Friday.
The ACE Lumbermart Thunder cars are starting to see the top four set sail after three races. I know, thirty or forty points with seven-ish races to go isn’t a huge gap to make up and has been done in this class before, but those drivers behind now will need to begin to drive the wheels off their Civics (not literally) to put themselves in the point picture by Finale Friday.
With his big win last week, Drew MacEachern vaults himself to second in the standings, just two points behind leader Stevie Lively. Dwayne Flemming came home with a podium finish last week and moves up to third in points, ahead of Kyle MacMillan, who lost a majority of the points he is now behind in the heat race last Friday following a flat tire on his #5 car. The top four only have 11 points between them, but the gap between MacMillan and Matthew Warren in fifth is 20 points with Ross Harvie and Andrew Cluett within five points of Warren for the final spot in the top five. With that said, those guys really need to be on their game in the next few weeks to prove they are here for a championship run in 2012.
Kyle Gammon became the third different Jack Daniel’s Truck winner in as many weeks, which threw his name back in the championship talk. Vernon Brown moved to second in the standings with a strong runner up finish last week while Dan Smith is still in the lead with now a 9 point advantage. Jason Fenton finds himself in third with Derek Sutherland in fourth. The biggest surprise this season has to be the 2011 championship winning team and JP Arsenault. Arsenault finished off the pace last week and fell to sixth in the standings, 19 points away from Smith’s #39. If there is going to be a driver that will rebound, I’d put my money on JP and the #4 Pico et Bebitte Chevrolet - watch for him to start chipping away as we continue on through the season. Ryan Goldsmith completes the Truck field early in the season in seventh.
Completing the lineup on Friday night will be the Strictly Hydraulics Legend cars. While Justin MacNeill was busy winning the main feature on Strictly Hydraulics Night, the driver he passed for that win in the late laps would wind up leaving the Speedworld with the point lead. Leading Cathy Ledwidge Memorial Rookie of the Year Presented Wooden Door Bistro candidate Cole Butcher now has a two point lead on “The Legend” Cy Harvey and a seven point advantage on Opening Day winner Shelby Baker. There is a bit of separation between third and fourth place Jeff Cruickshank, but it is just a dozen points after two races. Derek MacCallum finds himself in fifth place and just five points back from Cruickshank after Strictly Hydraulics Night. Expect a healthy field of Legend cars to be at the Speedworld on Friday night to battle for the win.
When we hit the track on Saturday, the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series will be playing the undercard to the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour. The last time the Sportsman raced on the same date as the Pro Stocks at the Speedworld was “Super Sunday” on September 12th, 2010, when Aaron Boutilier went to victory lane while Colby Smith was busy wrapping up a championship. Boutilier now finds himself in the title hunt with two other Fords and a Chevrolet making up the top four. Jordan Veinotte takes the point lead into Saturday for the first time in his career by nine points over Mike Banks of Middleton. Boutilier’s Ford fell to third after rear end problems on Week Two while Mike Alexander sits in fourth, 13 points away from the point lead. One point behind the #15 Ford is Alex Johnson with Wade Slauenwhite, Laurie Hutt and Larry Fisher all within five points of that top five. The Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series will contest heat races and a 50-lap feature for valuable points prior to the big boys hit the track for the Lockhart Truck Center 100. My preview for Saturday’s main event can be found on my sister column at MaritimeProStockTour.com.
Why am I talking points this early? Simple. Look at the Thunder and Legend classes as example. I know it’s early, but those few drivers in front of their respective divisions are beginning to build what I call a “comfort zone” between them and their competition. If something big happens, that comfort zone is gone without losing a ton of positions to the “pack” behind them. You have to consider those guys favorites after consistent runs early in the year have put them where they are. Who will “lose their comfort zone” and who will pick up their game to put themselves in the points fray this weekend? The only way to find out is to be at Scotia Speedworld this weekend!
Before we close here, I want to send out well wishes to Mark Wilson. For those who don’t recognize the name, Mark (or as I call him, “the Captain”) is our pace car driver on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour, a pit official at Scotia Speedworld and is also a multiple time champion in the Hobby Stock class at the track in the #23 Mustang. He fell ill on the weekend prior to Friday’s Weekly Racing at the Speedworld and was admitted to the hospital Sunday where they completed an operation to remove his gall bladder on Monday evening. To boot, Mark is within a month away from becoming a Daddy for the first time as his wife Adena is expecting in the first week of July. Here’s to a speedy recovery Captain, we’ll keep the driver’s seat of the Hemi Powered Dodge Charger Pace Car warm for you! So get out to the Speedworld and enjoy some of the best racing in Atlantic Canada! Until we speak with you on Friday, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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