Race Preview: Air Show Atlantic 100, Oyster Bed Speedway
The IWK 250 Presented by Steve Lewis Auto Body rocked the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour point standings to its core last Saturday night. In fact, the top five drivers exchanged positions and each find themselves on different ground heading into Saturday’s Air Show Atlantic 100 in Prince Edward Island. With this being the eighth round of the series, someone is bound to take off in flight point wise and more than one will likely find themselves grounded after 100 green flag laps at Oyster Bed Speedway.
Realistically, here is where we stand with five races to go. Seven drivers are beginning to break away from the pack and they want to decide the championship among them. Now, don’t get me wrong, eighth on back through our 17 full time drivers are not mathematically eliminated from competition, but they need some major problems from each of the top seven to capitalize on championship dreams.
There are no mulligans or do-overs on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour, meaning a driver cannot afford a bad race. Wayne Smith and Donald Chisholm struggled last Saturday while Darren MacKinnon, John Flemming, Shawn Tucker, Shawn Turple and Kent Vincent found themselves in the top six after 250-laps at Riverside. MacKinnon is riding a huge wave of momentum and with the #18 Shaw’s Towing Impala heading back to the Island, it could mean big things for MacKinnon. Tucker, who took the point lead after Riverside, has been consistent all season and joins MacKinnon as the only two drivers to win a pair of races this season on the Tour.
Smith may be the biggest threat to make up points this weekend as he has won three of the last four fall races at Oyster Bed Speedway. Keep in mind that the 2009 race was a 200-lap affair, the Oval Outlaw has won the last three fall 100-lap races dating back to 2008. John Flemming is coming off a dominant performance in the IWK 250 and came close to winning at Oyster Bed Speedway one season ago.
So the picture is painted – Tucker leads Smith by 13 points heading into Saturday night. There is an 18 point gap back from the #44 car of Smith to MacKinnon with the Charlottetown driver having just nine points on Vincent. Chisholm, in turn is just nine points behind Vincent for the fourth spot. Chisholm has the closest battle on his hands though as its two point drops from Chisholm to Turple and from Turple to Flemming – meaning that those three positions could easily dance around after Saturday night.
The gap from seventh to eighth place Craig Slaunwhite is 64 points, not impossible to overcome but he and his cohorts battling for eighth on back will need five good races and for someone in the top seven to falter. Brad Mann (two points), Marty Prevost (eight points) and Daryl Mahar (ten points) are all within five feature positions of Slaunwhite and could each solidify a top ten spot with four races to go leaving Prince Edward Island. Jerome Kehoe started his strong finish to the 2010 season with this race last year and with a strong run to close this season he could end up within the top ten. The #98 sits 30 points out of Mahar for eleventh place after seven races.
Leonard Boutilier had a fantastic run going in the IWK 250 but was credited with a 20th place finish and finds himself thirteenth in points, just two points ahead of Jonathan Hicken. Shawn Pierce, Greg Proude and Mike Stevens round out the drivers who have competed in all of the races in 2011.
The Air Show Atlantic 100 is setting up to be one of the most exciting and action packed race of the season. With a track that always brings us close quarter racing and lends itself to fireworks and short tempers – this race is set to be one of the most exciting PEI races in recent history. You’ll want to be there at 6pm on Saturday evening!
Until then, keep the hammer down and we’ll see you at the track!
FAST FACTS – AIR SHOW ATLANTIC 100
The Track: Oyster Bed Speedway, high banked, ¼-mile oval located in Oyster Bed Bridge, Prince Edward Island.
Last Five Winners at Oyster Bed Speedway: Darren MacKinnon (June 25th, 2011), Wayne Smith (July 31st, 2010), Jonathan Hicken (June 26th, 2010), Greg Proude (August1st, 2009*), Wayne Smith (August 19th, 2008)
*Denotes extra distance event (Parts for Trucks/Lucas Oil 200).
Smith strong in second Speedway appearance: It should be noted that Wayne Smith’s four wins at this track have came in this race and not the first visit to the track. In fact, Smith has won three of the last four fall PEI races.
Season Sweep: MacKinnon can become only the second driver to sweep the season at Oyster Bed Speedway – it hasn’t been done since John Flemming did so in 2002!
Four “double dippers” at OBS: Only four drivers have won more than one feature at the Island track, including Wayne Smith (four), Greg Proude (three), John Flemming (three) and Kent Vincent (two). Twelve drivers have won over the first nineteen races held at the track.
First time winners: Add MacKinnon to the list of first time winners at his home track! MacKinnon becomes #5 to win his first race of his Tour career at OBS, joining Jonathan Hicken (2010), Brad Mann (2006), Dale Holmes (2005) and Kent Livingston (2004).
FALL OYSTER BED SPEEDWAY WINNERS:
2010: Wayne Smith
2009: Greg Proude
2008: Wayne Smith
2007: Wayne Smith
2006: Brad Mann
2005: Dale Holmes
2004: Kent Vincent
2003: Gordie Ryan
2002: John Flemming
2001: Wayne Smith
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