THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN!
Guess who just got back?!
After a two week break following the Dartmouth Dodge 100, the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman are back at Scotia Speedworld this weekend for Kiddie Rides Night. Our Hydraulics Plus Bandoleros are also back this week, giving us our first five division card of racing in almost a month.
With that, comes lots to talk about and I’m going to try and do my best to cover the bases here.
Let’s start with the two returning divisions and they happen to be the two divisions with the biggest gaps between first and second in the standings. Darren Wallage leads the Dartmouth Dodge Sportsman into action with a 40-point lead on Aaron Boutilier. Boutilier has had a tough couple weeks at Riverside Speedway and Petty Raceway with mechanical failures sidelining the #4 car. Boutilier has a 27 point cushion on Harry Ross White in second, but you never want to rely on a “healthy” point lead, because that could easily diminish within a couple of races.
*Writer’s Note: Juuust as I was about to send this in, I got a message from Jeff Dillman. Dillman has lent Aaron Boutilier his car for Kiddie Rides Night after he blew the motor at Petty Raceway last weekend. Pretty cool on Dillman’s part!
The closest battles are two and three car mini duels within the pack that could turn into something bigger if someone makes a stumble. Wade Slauenwhite looks comfortable in fourth, 23 points behind HOSS and 17 up on DJ Casey, but this is where the battles begin to get interesting. Casey, the leading rookie in the series, only has an eight point advantage on Brentley Pirri. Sixteen points behind Pirri in sixth is Owen Barkhouse, who only has 14 points on Alex Johnson. A 25 point leap behind Johnson is a three way dance between Tyler Hallahan, Marie Brown and Chris Dingle with only 14 points between them. With only two top ten spots in that three way battle, you better believe that they will be on their toes in these final two point races.
Adam Meehan could virtually put his Bandolero in cruise control with the season he has had as he leads the Bandolero point standings by 39 over Braden Langille. When I caught up with Meehan at Petty Raceway last weekend, he had a slight “John Flemming-equse” outlook on the title. Yes, he has a big point lead but he also wants to go out and win races. With three races to go that mentality could pay off dividends or see the point lead crumble. Then again, it has paid off to the tune of six wins so far this season, a number that hasn’t been seen in the class since Cole Butcher put up nine on the board back in 2010. With the way he’s been running in 2013, it will be hard to top Meehan for the title.
Behind Meehan and Langille sits Cole Tanner, who has really rejuvenated his season in the second half by clicking off a couple of podium finishes. He’s got 17 points to make up and 16 points up on sophomore Craig MacDonald. Nicholas Naugle is fifth, 14 off the pace of the #9 team. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least either to see Luke Ettinger or rookie Wyatt McCulloch make late season pushes to make it into the top five in the standings.
A tip of the cap as well to Josh Langille. The last time out Langille posted his first career heat win and a top five to back it up. We’ll see if the #18 Trackside Novelties team can back it up again this Friday!
Dave Matthews is bound and determined to make this a fight for the championship in the ACE Lumbermart Thunder class. Matthews once again made a stride to catch point leader Matthew Warren and now has the gap down to 26 with three races to go. Sometimes when it comes to point championships, it boils down to a driver not stumbling. At this point in the season, Warren has averaged just shy of 102 points a race and Matthews has one blemish on his record this year when he fell out of the ACE Lumbermart 50 early with a mechanical failure. If you take that one finish out of the equation, Matthews has averaged over 102.5 points in those eight races. Point is, Matthews has three races to get up on the wheel and make this thing a show up in front and if any driver is capable of doing so, you best believe it’s the guy behind the wheel of the #99. Oh! And don’t count out Tim Webster either, he’s just five points off Matthews with three to go.
Jorden Smith slid into the window of the #140 Seagull Trucking Dodge last week and did what he had to do for BJ Nicholson to keep him in the championship lead. In fact, Smith kept it to nine points between himself and feature winner on Strictly Hydraulics Night Marc MacMillan. MacMillan and Smith each scored 107 points between heats and features. With Nicholson back and MacMillan continuing to light it up, this will be a classic battle to the finish!
Chevy MacDonald and Jamie Dillman’s championship hopes hang in the balance this Friday night in the ACE Lumbermart Lightning class as well. MacDonald sits 24 points behind the leader with three races to go while Jamie Dillman, who had a spirited run to third in the feature last week, is eight points behind the #172 for third in the standings. While these two, I’m sure, are concerned about taking third place, a little more steam in their train could very well insert themselves into the championship battle in these final three races.
Another intriguing battle is the four way battle for fifth led by Richie Moore. Moore leads Marshall Bezanson by five points, Earl MacDonald by six and Donovan Gaudet by eight. These four are great talents in this division and it will be exciting to see who will come out with the fifth spot in these final three races in 2013.
The Strictly Hydraulics Legends championship chase has been fantastic to watch this season. After seven races, we have six drivers within 25 points. Of those, we have two drivers who have won track championships at Scotia Speedworld that bookend this tilt with defending champion Cole Butcher leading the points and former champion Cy Harvey entering the battle in sixth. Tied with Butcher is Matt Moore, who has poured on the pressure in the second half of the season and is determined to make this championship his in the closing events of 2013.
Jeff Cruickshank and Danny Harvey are fourth and fifth in the standings and have had great seasons thus far both gaining one Strictly Hydraulics Weekly Legend feature win. They are separated by two points and Cruickshank is 17 points out of Butcher for the lead.
We close off with a driver change in the #75 car to watch for this Friday night. Emily Meehan has tonsillitis and will be sitting out this week to fully recover from the effects. Sliding in the seat (though the team tells me they had to put a different seat in the car) is former Legend champion and leading rookie on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour Dylan Blenkhorn. The #75 car enters the night third in the standings, 16 points behind Butcher and Moore. For more on the driver change, visit my website at timscorner.ca.
It is going to be an exciting night of racing you’ll definitely want to be a part of, especially when there are only three weeks left of this season. Be sure you are at the Speedworld at 7pm this week for Kiddie Rides!
Until next week, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
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