RACE PREVIEW: DARTMOUTH DODGE 100
Halifax’s biggest stock car weekend is finally upon us!
The Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman Series takes centre stage on Friday night for the Dartmouth Dodge 100. This is the longest race of the season for our Speedworld season and is one of two races that our regulars really want to add to their racing resume (along with the Shriner’s Classic, which will be run on August 24th). A full field of Sportsman cars from across the region are expected to vie for the title, including three time and defending champion Frankie Fraser. Fraser is expected to drive the #0 car that Jeff Dillman drove to victory here earlier in the season and will look to bump his current record up to four Dartmouth Dodge 100 titles this year.
He will have some stiff competition in this race though. We’ve seen a total of 31 cars race in our point races this season and a majority of those drivers are expected to run with us on Friday, which means we may have to send cars to the trailer if we have over 28 roll through the gates this weekend. You have to believe Aaron Boutilier is one of the odds on favorites to win this one. He’s been up front in every event this season except for one 38-lap event in which a rear end problem sidelined the #4 CARSTAR Collision Centre Ford Fusion. Phil Barkhouse made his return last year to a Sportsman car but this Dartmouth Dodge 100 was a short one for the Beaverbank driver and will look to rekindle some magic to take away the big dance. Jordan Veinotte has a 100-lap victory under his belt in Prince Edward Island and tends to run well in these big shows while Mike Banks from Wilmot completes the top five in points this season. The Valley Auto Chevrolet has performed well this season and will look for a big win this weekend. After all, Colby Smith broke through in 2010 to win this race for his first Speedworld Sportsman victory, and then went on to win the championship the next month.
Woah, hold the boat, we’re missing someone from the top five! Speedworld veteran and former Hobby Stock champion Larry Fisher of Porter’s Lake has quietly been putting together a fantastic season and sits second in the standings. Besides Boutilier lighting up the series this year, Fisher’s second place run to date really has to be the story of the Sportsman class of 2012 to date. A lot can happen in a season and in a 100-lap race, as we saw last year, a lot of twists and turns can take place. Don’t be surprised to see Larry Fisher near the front in his #33 Chebucto Ford Fusion by the end of 100 laps on Friday.
We’re going to see some teams we haven’t seen all season and some teams we’ve only seen sparingly in 2012. The aforementioned Smith may be one of those we see for the first time this season and will be a threat to win in his #17 Wade’s Wire Traps Chevrolet. Jerry Hayes and his #6 B&N Distributors Chevrolet team have been preparing for the race and we may see the Speedworld debut of the AR Bodies Camaro package. I saw the thing run last weekend at Petty International Raceway and can tell you the thing looks sharp! Russell Smith Jr will be at the Speedworld with winning in mind on Friday night and we usually see some guys such as a Dale Richardson or a Dave Timmons come down to test their luck at the Speedworld 3/10-mile oval.
The biggest addition to the night may be the driver behind the wheel of the Alexander prepared Ford on Friday night. Dartmouth native Dean Clattenburg is coming home to race for the first time in well over a decade in the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman 100. As the Speedworld celebrates its 25th season, it’s only fitting a driver like Dean is coming home to race, after all, he was one of the drivers who were swapping paint in the opening years of the track! He is up for some stiff competition, but combining his talent and a well prepared race car out of the Alexander stable and you have a combination that could find itself in victory lane at the end of Friday evening.
With well over two dozen cars expected, there is well over two dozen different storylines entering the race and only so much space and time to cover them all here. This is going to be an awesome show on Friday night and I can’t wait to call it!
Also on the docket for Friday is the Jack Daniel’s Trucks. Ryan Goldsmith comes in to this race off his first division win while Jason Fenton, who is the only one of the seven full time trucks yet to win this season, is the defending champion of this event. Fenton told me last week that they continue to make swings at the setup and they feel like they are getting closer to where they should be. Dan Smith extended his point lead to eight over JP Arsenault with Derek Sutherland sitting in third. Fenton, Kyle Gammon, Goldsmith and Vernon Brown complete the lineup of regulars who race in the class with Jim and Cale MacMillan also having one start at the Speedworld this season.
Saturday the Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros join the Maritime League of Legends and Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour at the track on Atlantic CAT 250 day. Jarrett Butcher will look to inch closer to becoming the first two-time Bando champ at Scotia Speedworld. Who will end up on top of the young guns division on Saturday?! Be at the track to find out!
For the preview of the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour Atlantic CAT 250, please visit MaritimeProStockTour.com. If you can’t be there on Saturday, tune into Sirius/XM Channel 157 for the live broadcast of the Atlantic CAT 250. Joe Chisholm and I will call the action from the booth while Joe Jr will be down on pit road with all the action from the infield. The show begins at 6pm Eastern/7pm Atlantic and can also be heard on RaceTimeRadio.com.
Get out and enjoy this weekend. The atmosphere of a big race like this is electric and it is something you must experience first hand!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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