JAMES RIVER, N.S. - For most of Saturday night at Riverside International Speedway, it looked like Antigonish’s Donald Chisholm was going to defend his Lucas Oil 150 title, which would have been his fourth checkered-flag in a row at the track’s annual final event of the season. Unfortunately for the local favourite, Truro’s Dylan Blenkhorn had other ideas.
Blenkhorn made a last lap past to win his third event of 2018 Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour season, making for the most exciting finish at the James River track this season.
“You have patience,” Blenkhorn said, as a jubilant celebration went on around him.
“It definitely is not a one person deal, it takes a team and I have the best team here; that is why we’re in victory lane tonight.”
Blenkhorn, the 2017 IWK 250 winner at Riverside, talked about his style of racing suiting the track.
“It’s just the speed I think,” he said. “I like the high banks, the atmosphere … my driving style suits it.”
Chisholm, who earned the pole position and led for 116 laps, said he felt Blenkhorn’s 67 car had a little bit of an advantage on his 89 car, in the middle of the corners.
“The car was good; we needed a little help through the middle of the corners and, Dylan, that’s where he was better than us, right in the middle,” Chisholm said.
“I think on the entry and exit we were similar, but that’s pretty well where he was beating us. I might have done things differently if I had it to do it again.”
The veteran driver, who participated in a limited tour schedule this season, noted it has been a tough year for his team.
“We struggled all weekend during the [IWK] 250, had the car going a little better and then had a mechanical failure; it just seemed like [that was the story of the season],” he said.
“We had a great race car in the NASCAR race [Bumper to Bumper 300] and another mechanical failure; so it was nice everything stayed together tonight, I just needed to keep the 67 car behind me for one more lap … that’s the way she goes sometimes.”
Greg Proude of Springvale, P.E.I., tied his best finish of the season by finishing third and completing the podium. Craig Slaunwhite (Terance Bay, N.S.) and Dylan Gosbee (Cornwall, P.E.I.) also had solid races at Riverside and rounded out the top five, respectively.
The Napa Sportsman Series kicked off the race-day with their season finale, the Highland Home Building Centers 75, prior to the Lucas Oil 150.
Sydney’s Shawn Waterfield came home first followed by Aaron Boutilier (Porter’s Lake, N.S.) and Pete Miller (Kennetcook, N.S.) who rounded out the podium.
Colby Smith (Cape Sable Island, N.S.) was awarded the 2018 NAPA Sportsman Series Championship title.
The MJS Holdings/Prime Lift East Coast Mini Stock Tour also finished off their season at Riverside.
Cody Byrne (Orwell Cove, P.E.I.) was on top of the podium followed by Dave Matthews (Nine Mile River, N.S.) and Matt Watson (Miscouche, P.E.I.).
Matthew Warren (Hatchet Lake, NS) was crowned the 2018 champion.
Chisholm commented on the season, overall, at Riverside, which started with the Ron MacGillivray 150 in June.
“It was another good season for the track. It would be nice to get through a 250 weekend without rain, as well as the NASCAR race weekend; it’s two years in a row that rained out,” he said, referencing the two big events which had to be moved to the following afternoon.
“For such a beautiful summer, we seemed to have tough luck with Saturdays here in July and August. But, no, it was another great season for the track. It was a cool [temperature] night tonight but a nice turnout of fans … we just appreciate everyone coming out and spending some Saturday nights with us.”