Lots of Wrecking, Fun and Good Stories from North of the Border
GORVEATT AND ROLFE DON’T PLAY NICE
Prince Edward Island’s Dave Gorveatt started the Irving Oil 250 on the outside pole and dropped back slightly as the laps clicked down. Maine driver Ricky Rolfe started the event back in the 16th position and made steady progress towards the front.
While Rolfe went to the tail, Gorveatt ended up going to the pits with a torn-up racecar. He wasn’t done though. He came back out on lap 85 and made less than one lap before contacting the rear of Rolfe’s #72 car and sent him off the third turn banking.
Race officials parked Gorveatt for the incident and he declined to talk about it after the race.
“I think that I’ll take a time out on this one,” said Gorveatt when asked if he had any comment on the incident..
MR. SHERWOOD’S WILD RIDE
There were plenty of wrecks, bumping and bruising in the first half of the race, but nobody managed to put on as much of a show as Darren Sherwood did.
Dave Gorveatt (51 Photos)
Sherwood’s #38 car catapulted off the backstretch and flipped end-over-end before coming to a rest just shy of several trailers in the pit area. He emerged from his upside down car uninjured.
“I’m fine,” said Sherwood. “There wasn’t a lot of room out there. Somebody ran me off the backstretch a little bit and once the wheel dropped off into the sand, there wasn’t much that I could do then. Once I hit the bank with the front end, the weight of the motor dropped the front end down and I just started barrel rolling. Well, it wasn’t really a barrel roll, it was more of an end-o. I went over a couple of times before ending on my roof.
“It reminded me of an awesome circus ride. But every time I hit, I thought of the dollars that I would be spending.”
Sherwood’s car looked pretty well destroyed after being towed back to its proper pit spot.
“I’d say that it’s pretty much done,” said Sherwood. “I don’t know. We’ll get it home and tear the sheetmetal off. Once we take a look, we might be able to clip it, I don’t know.”
Darren Sherwood's #38 on its lid and after being towed back to his pit area.
ALEXANDER CARRIES CANADIAN FLAG
While Scott Chubbuck and Travis Benjamin both towed up to Maine and dominated the Irving Oil 250, Scott Alexander wasn’t very far behind. The Canadian did not have quite the raw speed of his countryman Sean Turple, but he used his head to stay out of trouble (for the most part) and lead a few laps. He finished a strong third.
“We had a good car all day through practice and the race, but that’s about all she had there at the end. We came in late and put some cold tires on and hoped that would help us, but it didn’t quite work out.”
American race fans might not have to venture to Canada to see Turple race. He is considering running a few races South of the Border in the future.
“We were thinking about Beech Ridge, but we’ve heard the horror stories of how it has no grip on the outside and it’s a one-groove track. That might not be the best place for me to go for my first race. But I think that maybe we’ll try one of two down there next year.”
ROLFE CLIMBS DIRT BANK NEAR END OF RACE
Ricky Rolfe took a hard hit late in the race. He hit the frontstretch earthen bank nearly head on and showered the first ten or so rows of the grandstand with dirt, dust and rocks.
Turple showed that his is worthy of the ride by not letting a mid-race incident ruin his day. Turple got together with the #54 of Dave Dion and heavily damaged the front end of the #0. However, he came back to finish fourth.
“I think that it knocked the toe out a little on the front,” said Turple. “It wasn’t quite so good after that little run-in with Dave. I heard that he broke and that would probably explain it because he just about stopped going into turn one there. It all happened so quick.”
Turple was a little bit disappointed with fourth. He was running laps times close to Chubbuck and Benjamin early in the race and who knows what would have happened if not for the damage?
Shawn Turple (L) before the race.
He didn’t walk away from the hard hit. Instead, he put the car in reverse, took a few hard turns to clear the dirt off his car and proceeded on to finish 10th.
“I’m fine,” said Rolfe. “My neck is a little stiff, but that’s why I wear the Hutchins device. It had to have helped me because we hit a ton. The #44 was on the lead lap and I was one lap down when he just whacked me in the side. He must have got loose and the way to safe it was to hit me. It was just racing in tight quarters.”
The late race problem and the already documented run
-in with Dave Gorveatt weren’t the only problems that Rolfe had at NBIS.
“We went off the track three or four times and this track is pretty forgiving when you do that. We didn’t have too much damage.”
When the two drivers met in the middle, there was trouble.
Less than a quarter of the way into the race, the two drivers got together with Gorveatt going spinning. This turned into a big pileup in turn three that also included the cars of Brent Wiggins, Paul Gahan, Dave Dion, Hal O’Neal and Jody Harris.
Rolfe was judged to be at fault for the incident and was sent to the rear of the field for the restart. As it turned out, the trouble had been brewing for a few laps.
“I got up under him two or three times and he just chopped me down and chopped me down,” said Rolfe. “Finally, I said ‘no more’ and I was going to go. They were telling me on the radio that they were telling him to pick a line. He didn’t, so I tried to pick one for him.
“I’m sorry that it hurt a lot of other cars too, that wasn’t what I was trying to do.”
“I don’t even know [what happened],” said Turner. “It was going on all night. We started towards the back and got to ninth, but it went downhill from there. Nobody really wanted to race, they just wanted to crash as you can see.”
BENSON HAS FUN DESPITE THE LONG RACE
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Johnny Benson knows a thing or two about short tracks. He owns Berlin Raceway (MI), is a former ASA champion and still plays with Super Late Models on occasion. In was only natural for Benson to go to NBIS and hop into a car given that background. Benson landed a ride for the race in a car fielded by Dave O’Blenis and sponsored by Irving.
Randy Turner and his #1 car.
Benson had fun, but the long race took its toll on him.
“The track is cool, the yellows were brutal,” said Benson. “But what can you do? All that you can do is just hang out. It made for a long race.”
The two-barrel engine that was under the hood of Benson’s #21 car took a little bit of getting used to considering its realtive lack of power.
“This was probably the least power that we’ve had, but that’s OK. It makes you work on the car and not the horsepower.
So will Benson be back at NBIS in the future now that he has gotten a taste of the track? "I hope so," he said.
“I can’t exactly say that we stayed out of trouble,” said Alexander. “It was a battle. We had a good car, we just couldn’t get going in a rhythm. There was yellow after yellow after yellow. When we came in on lap 45 and took five gallons of gas, we knew that it was going to be a long race.”
Logging caution laps wasn’t much fun for Alexander, but the rest of the race sure was.
“We had a ball,” said Alexander. “We love coming here and we love racing against these guys, I just wish that
Scott Alexander (#15) in heat race action.
we could have raced a little longer under green. We were good at the end, but earlier we would run two laps and then have a yellow, then another two laps and have a yellow.”
Alexander had a flicker of hope as the race winded down and he had second place Benjamin in his sights.
“When we first came out and had new tires, I thought that maybe we would have something for Travis. I knew that we had nothing for Scott. We had a run at Travis for second, but it got tighter and tighter.”
Alexander had some high profile help in the pit area for the race. Gary Crooks, of the #15 Billy Ballew NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series team, came to help him out. However, Brooks had to leave early when the race ran long.
“He came up to help us, but he couldn’t stay for the finish,” said Alexander. “He flew up [to Canada] and drove to the track to help us. He helped us on Friday and never thought that he wouldn’t be here for the finish, but he just left. He came on the radio and said that he had to go or he would miss the plane. He didn’t want to get fired.”
A call down to the #15 shops this week confirmed that Crooks made it back to North Carolina safe and sound.
“Yeah, he made it back alright,” said NASCAR Southeast Series driver J.R. Norris, who works out of the same shop. “He said that he had to leave during the race, but he got back here ok.”
TURPLE TURNS HEADS WITH STRONG RUN
26-year-old Shawn Turple turned some heads with his performance in the Irving Oil 250. Turple was driving the hallowed #0 Atlantic CAT car owned by Frank Fraser and formerly driven by the late great Canadian racer Scott Fraser.
Rolfe's #72 sits high on the banking.
TURNER HAS ROUGH RIDE
Randy Turner made the jaunt up to NBIS from Maine. The young Pro Stocker has been a dominant force at Unity Raceway this season and was hoping that some of his success would translate well at a track North of the Border.
What he didn’t count on was the fact that the race was going to be more than a little bit rough.
Turner dropped out early and was credited with 24th after making only 45 laps.
LIVINGSTONE HAS BUSY NIGHT
Kent Livingstone towed down from Prince Edward Island and was involved in one of the numerous early wrecks. He continued on, but fell out on lap 92. That was good enough for the 20th position.
The talk of his night was an incident with Lonnie Sommerville on lap 46 which ended with Sommerville sliding off into turn three and into the fence. This caused heavy damage to his #23 car.
Sommerville walked back to the pits and when Livingstone motored by him under caution, he walked towards the #16 car and clapped his hands and motioned his disapproval to Livingstone, who really doesn’t know why.
“He just bumped into the side of me and then they put us both to the back,” said Livingstone. “That was it, nothing more than that.”
That was par for the night though according to Livingstone.
“It was an unbelievable race, I can’t believe it took that long to run that many laps. It’s unreal. You’ll get races like that every once in awhile.”
Speed51.com attempted to catch up with Sommerville after the race, but the Saint John, New Brunswick driver appeared to have bolted after loading up his mangled racecar.
CROSSING THE BORDER GOOD FOR BENJAMIN
Last month, Travis Benjamin finished second to Mike Rowe in an IBG-PASS event at Scotia Speedworld (NS). This weekend, he finished second to Scott Chubbuck at NBIS.
This is leading to Benjamin really enjoying his trips to Canada. An added bonus is the fact that his sponsor, Irving Oil, has quite a presence in the Canadian market and sponsored the race at NBIS.
“Canada’s been good for us,” said Benjamin. “It’s big for Irving and they put a lot into this race. They sponsored this race and to run well in it is good. It’s fun to race out there in front of everyone and it’s more fun to do well. They’ve stuck with us since being in the Busch North Series. We didn’t run so strong for them back then except for one race, so it’s good to be able to pay them back now.”
PAYDAY HELPS CHUBBUCK WITH OIL BILL
The payout for Scott Chubbuck and his Cushman Engineering team for winning for $25,150 [Canadian of course]. The driver’s share of that will help with the rising price of heating oil this winter in Maine.
“It turned out good,” said Chubbuck. “This will pay the heating bill this winter. It was a lot better than I was doing.”
With $50/lap leader money, was Chubbuck thinking dollars and cents when he led nearly 200 laps during the race?
“I was trying not to think of it, but it was hard not to. Right before halfway, Travis was all over me and I was thinking of the $500 halfway bonus, that’s for sure. I stepped it up a little there.”