TCM Three Stars + Weekend Agenda – July 7th, 2016
Last week provided many worthy candidates for the TCM Three Stars list and while we had a couple of drivers who nearly cracked the list for a second time this season, we once again have three different names to bring to the table for 2016 based on their performances this past weekend.
It appeared at one point that we would have an all Late Model edition of the TCM Three Stars but one Mini Stock driver who got up on the wheel was able to break up what would have been. For all three drivers in the TCM Three Stars this week, they earned their spot by taking their first feature wins of 2016 and for one, it was his first feature win in six years.
Here are the TCM Three Stars for the seventh weekend of the Atlantic Canadian racing season!
Greg Proude of Springvale, Prince Edward Island
Proude photos by Max Roy of Speedway 660
It was a long week for Greg Proude and his #29 team on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour, but it ended with his first victory at Speedway 660 and first win on the Series in over six years.
The team had some late week motor issues with their Atlantic Dodge Dealers/Loyalist Marble and Tile Dodge and scrambled as late as Friday getting the car back together for Speedway 660. After a second place run in their Atlantic Tiltload Qualifying Heat for the Cummins 100, Proude wasted little time getting to the head of the field. Once there, Proude led the final 81 laps uninterrupted en route to his first win on the Tour since Riverside in June of 2010. He was far from unchallenged though as he had Cassius Clark, Cole Butcher and Donald Chisholm, among others, challenge him for the top spot in the final 80 laps of competition.
Proude’s win is also historic in the fact that he become the first Prince Edward Island driver in the Tour era (2001 to present) to win a race at Speedway 660. Proude now has six wins and is only missing a Tour victory at Petty International Raceway to seal up wins at all five active venues on the circuit.
For his return to victory lane on the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour, the work the team had to do to get there and the run by the driver to keep his competition at bay, Greg Proude receives a spot on the TCM Three Stars list!
“Rational” Richard Drake of Halifax, Nova Scotia
Rational Richard photos by McCarthy Photographic
Two races, two feature wins. Sure, it looks easy on paper and sounds like an easy task but for “Rational” Richard Drake, it was far from a walk in the park on Canada Day.
In both Toursec Lightning feature events at Scotia Speedworld last Friday, one for a makeup from the feature lost on May 22nd and one scheduled for that evening, Drake did not lead the feature until the second half of the race. Restarts were key in both wins too but in both cases, Drake got up on the wheel and ran to the front when it counted to score his first two feature victories on the season to match the division leader in main event wins.
In the first feature, it appeared that Deven Smith was well in control for what would be his third win of the year. It was a pair of restarts that saw Drake move, ultimately passing the point leader and holding him off to take what would be his first win on the night.
The second feature might have been the more impressive of the two. Drake used a perfectly timed yellow flag to catch up to the field after moving from mid pack in a fast paced first half of the 25-lap main feature. On the restart with 11 laps to go, Drake wasted little time to get to the front, coming from fourth to eventually passing Jamie Dillman to take the lead, with the three passes to get to the front being completed on the outside line. Drake held off the field on a restart with four to go to take another win on the night while the rest of the field scrambled behind for second.
With a competitive division such as the Toursec Lightning class at Scotia Speedworld, it is hard to win one feature but to win two, back-to-back and on the same night is tremendously difficult. With his drive on Canada Day and the two first place trophies to back it up, “Rational” Richard Drake has earned the second star on the TCM Three Stars for the week!
Mark LeClair of Oyster Bed Bridge, Prince Edward Island
Mark LeClair overcame everything that was thrown at him to win the MacCallum’s Waste Management Late Model Super Series event last Saturday night at Oyster Bed Speedway.
While his heat race was calm, he won that, the Semi and the Feature had LeClair reeling at times but still came out on the other end with the big checkered flag of the evening. In the Semi, LeClair made contact with Darrell Ford’s #35 car while battling for the lead, which resulted in Ford pancaking the wall out of the second corner on the tight, high banked oval. Ford’s car, with significant right front damage, limped to a stop in Turn Four as the caution flag waved. While the field worked under caution and LeClair drove by Ford’s battered #35, Ford stepped on the gas and never let up. The result was Ford full throttling the #48 on the front straight, under caution, lifting the #48 car up off the ground about four feet. Ford proceeded to storm off the track, nearly hitting track safety vehicles in the process and would not return to the race track because of damage. LeClair, meanwhile, would continue and finish the semi scored as fourth at the finish.
The team went to work on LeClair’s car between the Semi and the Feature. The car was hit so hard under yellow that it bent the rear clip and dislodged the fuel cell bars to the point where they were all but dragging on the ground.
That did not stop LeClair and his team though, as they lined him up for the feature and LeClair got up on the wheel in the extended 50-lap feature.
The final 20-laps of the race gave fans a show worth the price of their admission. LeClair battled hard with defending division champion Matt Palmer, which resulted with rubber marks up the side of both cars. That contact would eventually result in both going for a spin and a trip to the rear of the field. Between drivers pitting and another altercation in front between previous feature winners on the season in Chris Hughes and Jason MacCallum, LeClair and Palmer found each other back up front with a lapped car and Brodie MacQuarrie for a final restart.
After four green flag laps, LeClair had completed a comeback and pulled a feat few thought would be possible after the semi. When the dust settled, the #48 car ended up in victory lane for the first time this season.
Like him or not, Mark LeClair got up on the wheel and earned his win with a bent race car. He may be aggressive but he gets to job done for his team and sponsors. For the night he had at Oyster Bed Speedway last Saturday, Mark LeClair is the top choice on the TCM Three Stars for the week!
The Weekend Agenda takes a bit of a different look this year, but will give you a quick glance at the basics. If a track is racing, you’ll see the track name and location in green and if a track is not running an event on a weekend, their name and location will be red. The line proceeding will display the divisions running on the weekend and a start time, or a date of when the next event is at the track.
Cape Breton Miners Memorial Speedway in Sydney: OFF – Next Event on Saturday, July 30th.
Lake Doucette Motor Speedway in Salmon River (outside of Digby): OFF – Next Event on Sunday, July 17th
Riverside International Speedway in James River: OFF – Next Event on Friday, July 15th
Scotia Speedworld in Enfield: $20 Carload Admission Night on Friday, July 8th @ 7pm; Strictly Hydraulics Legends, Affordable Fuels Sportsman, Toursec Thunder, Toursec Lightning, Coors Light Trucks | TRACK RELEASE
Valley Raceway in Kingston: OFF – Next Event on Sunday, July 17th
Petty International Raceway in River Glade: MetalCore and D.R. Scrap Metal Night of Destruction on Saturday, July 9th @ 6pm; Sportsman 100, Extremem Window and Entrance Systems Street Stock, Mister Transmission Mini Stock, Leisure Days RV Bandolero, Atlantic Modified Tour, Women on Wheels, Second Annual Petty Demolition | TRACK RELEASE
Shediac CENTRE For Speed in Grand-Barachois: OFF – Next Event on Saturday, August 6th
Speedway 660 in Geary: Street Stock 75 on Saturday, July 9th @ 6:30pm; Re/Max Group Four Realty Pro Stocks, Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman, DMR Auto Street Stocks, Fredericton Gun Shop Sharp Shooters | TRACK RELEASE
Speedway Miramichi in Miramichi: OFF – Next Event on Saturday, July 16th
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Oyster Bed Speedway in Oyster Bed Bridge: OFF – Next Event on Sunday, July 17th
Eastbound Park in Avondale: NASCAR Whelen All American Series Race #6/A1 Automotive 75 on Sunday, July 10th at 2pm NT; NAPA Auto Parts Sportsman, Atlantic Dodge Dealers Hobby Stock, Hanlon Realty Legends, Islander RV Bandoleros | STANDINGS HERE
Thunder Valley Speedway in Bishop’s Falls: OFF – Next Event on Sunday, July 24th
TCM Coverage Schedule – Weekend Eight of 2016
Friday, July 8th – $20 Carload Admission Night – Scotia Speedworld – 7pm AT (TCM Race #20 of 2016)
Saturday, July 9th – Street Stock 75 – Speedway 660 (NB) – 6:30pm AT (TCM Race #21 of 2016)
Sunday, July 10th – Race #6 / A1 Automotive 75 – Eastbound Park (NL) – 2pm NT (TCM Race #22 of 2016)
**Schedule Subject to Change Without Notice