History Made at the 9th Annual Peterbilt 250
Sommerville becomes the first ever 2 time winner of the Peterbilt 250
Fredericton, NB-The biggest sporting event in Atlantic Canada turned out a record crowd on Sunday for the 9th running of the Peterbilt 250. A record forty-four cars made their way to the Geary woods to attempt to qualify for only 28 starting positions in front of over 8,000 fans setting a new attendance record at Speedway 660.
With lots of cars and very few spots to get, qualifying was entertaining to say the least.
Heat winners for the qualifying heats were Greg Fahey, John Flemming, Craig Slaunwhite and Johnny Clark. In the last chance, 20 cars started with only two spots remaining. Notables in the final crack at the Peterbilt 250 were Rollie MacDonald, Glenn Rasmussen and Daryl Mahar. Proude after a restart on lap 7 was able to make it to the front to secure his spot in the big race. That left MacDonald, Mahar, Rasmussen and the PEI native Darren Mackinnon to fight it out for the final entry into the event. The veteran Rollie MacDonald got a little racy with the 66M of Daryl which brought out a caution and allowed the 18M of Mackinnon to get the final spot into the Peterbilt. At this point the only thing left was the provisional starters for the event which saw Glenn Rasmussen, Matt Harris, Jonathan Hicken and Robert Tomlinson granted entry into the prestigious 250.
Greg Fahey took the pole position in the 9th annual 250 by winning the first heat in qualifying while John Flemming took the outside pole. Fahey’s front run only lasted the better part of a lap with Flemming leading the first 24 laps of the contest. On lap 25 after a restart past champion Johnny Clark took the lead with a pass on the outside. Clark dominated most of the night from this point forward leading 118 laps. Travis Kittleson, the young gun from south of the border also took his turn at the front leading 76 laps including the Bulletproof Solutions Halfway challenge which earned him a $ 1050 in prize money on top of his winnings.
After a long green flag stretch on lap 145 the 30 car, after leading for nearly 50 laps, brought out his own yellow because of a flat tire and was penalized 1 lap. With the caution, Kittleson headed for the pits and Clark assumed the lead with Shawn Turple and last years champion Craig Slaunwhite hot on his tail. Back in the pack, but staying with the leaders were two past champions that had yet to pit for fresh rubber, the 52 car of Shawn Tucker and the #23 of Lonnie Sommerville. What continued from here was an 80 lap green flag stretch which saw Johnny Clark lead much of until lap 224 when officials from the speedway had reports of oil on the track and were forced to bring out the caution flag. Ironically it was the two front runners at the time, Turple and Slaunwhite who had radioed concerning the oil. Had they not done so, things might have finished differently. Instead Sommerville got the caution he needed. Sommerville pitted on the caution and put two right side tires on for the homestretch.
With it being so late in the race, officials as per normal pulled all lapped cars leading to a 7 car shootout for the final 26 laps. Shawn Turple took the lead off the restart over Clark who seemed to have used up his rubber. “Turple Time” at Speedway 660 was short lived though because on lap 235 Lonnie Sommerville had made his way from 5th on the restart to the marquee first position, diving to the inside lane and passing cars at will. Sommerville led the final 10 laps to become the first repeat winner of the Peterbilt 250 and mark his place in history. Sommerville took home a check for $ 15,000 and a $ 750 in lap money.
Rounding out the top 3 were Shawn Turple who led 10 laps and took home the second prize of $ 5,000 and the 54 of Johnny Clark who led the most laps with 118 and took home a total of $ 8,900 for his efforts.
Two time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin qualified in his heat race for the 250 but was not a factor as he started 12th on the 28 car starting grid. Marlin pitted and was coming back through field until he was involved in a wreck on lap 51 which ended his night.
Earlier in the evening street stock feature on lap 35, points champion Brian Fox and the guy who chased him in the points race all year, Rick Cashol got a little racy on the backstretch. With the contact the two cars got hooked and that gave the no 2 of Matt Matheson the opportunity to pass both cars on the outside. From then on it was Matheson who led the charge increasing his lead to 3 car lengths as he crossed the finish line. Rounding out the top 5 was Rick Cashol in 2nd, Brian Fox in 3rd, Charles Gaddess in 4th and Smoking Joe Albert in 5th.