Colossal Championship Clashes Set
for Finale Friday
It’s hard to believe that the final racing event of the 2012 season at Scotia Speedworld is upon us!
It seems like just yesterday when Craig Slaunwhite took the checkers in a caution free CARQUEST 100, but that was nearly four months ago and now we are talking about the final checkered flags and championship battles with one race to go.
Six divisions will decide championships this weekend at the 3/10-mile oval while one has already been crowned. Jorden Smith locked up the ACE Lumbermart Lightning car title one week ago with his fourth consecutive ACE Lumbermart 50 win and takes a 157 point lead into the finale. Can Smith take another win and extend that record point lead? We’ll have to find out Friday!
The two hottest drivers at Scotia Speedworld now sit second in their respective divisions - but they have a steep hill to climb if they want to take their championships in 2012. Let’s start with Stevie Lively. Three consecutive feature wins to go with his season opening win have put Lively second in the standings heading into Friday’s ACE Lumbermart Thunder car finale. If it wasn’t for mid-season struggles with the multiport setup on the #32, we may be talking about a 3 point lead for Kyle MacMillan as opposed to a 30 point lead, but that’s how racing goes. MacMillan has had an incredible season at the helm of the #5 Scotia Tire Wyse Road Honda, completing all the race without any bad luck this season. Consistency is what champions are made of and if MacMillan can complete the season the way he has run all season, it will be difficult to beat the #5 car come Friday night.
Braden Langille is the other driver holding a hot hand in the second half of the Hydraulics Plus Bandolero season. Three feature wins in what has really become Langille’s breakthrough season in the Bandolero class, but it is defending champion Jarrett Butcher atop the standings with one race to go. Last year, Butcher was on the opposite side of the fence as he looked at gaining points on Cole Tanner to put his name on the big trophy. Now the #3 Top Construction Bandolero sits on the other side with a 23 point lead over Langille and just 24 over Cole Boudreau, who has also been solid this season and is coming off a win at Speedway 660 Speedweekend last Sunday. The youngsters are set to put on a show one more time as they kick off Friday night’s festivities.
The Strictly Hydraulics Legends has a colossal confrontation upcoming between a rookie and a former champion - both of whom will likely not give each other an inch on Friday night. Cole Butcher leads the standings by 19 over Paul Blenkhorn. Blenkhorn has had a few chances to gain points this season but it has been the Wooden Door Bistro Rookie of the Year that has been solid as a rock up front. Jeff Cruickshank sits third in the standings and is just 33 points out of the lead.
The closest battle on Friday night will be the Jack Daniel’s Truck Series championship tilt between Dan Smith and defending champion JP Arsenault. The number is six, a slim six point lead for Smith over Arsenault and in such a close division, this could go either way. Should something happen big to your top two, Jason Fenton is only 17 points out, which could be overcame with a strong run by the #3. These guys have put on some of the best racing all season out of our Weekly Racing Series divisions and Friday’s final feature will be one not to miss.
Saturday’s Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series tilt will be one for the ages as well. Aaron Boutilier holds onto the point lead but if something happens that luck is not on the #4 CARSTAR Collision Centre Ford Fusion’s side, then the title hunt is wide open for guys like Jordan Veinotte, Larry Fisher and Mike Banks. That second place point battle will be tight with Banks and Veinotte tied for the spot and Fisher only one point behind in fourth. Can the Fords from Porter’s Lake take the top three spots or can Banks put his Chevrolet in the second spot? You’ll have to be at the Speedworld Saturday to find out.
How about Dylan Blenkhorn making his Tour debut on Saturday night? Blenkhorn will take the maiden voyage in the #67 Champion’s Bar and Grill Chevrolet in the Dartmouth Dodge 200 on Saturday. Blenkhorn is the second Hydraulics Plus Bandolero driver to graduate from that division to run on the Pro Stock Tour, the first being Brad Eddy, who is coming off a second place finish at Petty and a fourth place finish at the Auto Value 250 at Speedway 660. These youngsters are the real deal folks!
I finish the article this week by sending condolences out to Gary MacDonald’s family on the loss of Gary on Friday. Gary’s son Craig MacDonald is in his first full-time season in the Hydraulics Plus Bandolero class and he raced with a heavy heart on the weekend not only at Scotia Speedworld but on Sunday during 250 weekend at Speedway 660. Craig drove the wheels off his car on Sunday, putting the #9 car up in third and battling for second at one point. We’ve seen it all season, Craig is a talented kid and has the potential to be racing with Eddy and Blenkhorn in the very near future. Our thoughts are with the MacDonald family.
Until Friday night, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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