Proude Starts Season With Win

June 20, 2010

JAMES RIVER, NS - PEI's Greg Proude pushed his way to a win Saturday night at Riverside Int'l Speedway - much to the chagrin of second-place finisher and former series champion Wayne Smith. Two late-race restarts saw sparks fly between the two contenders as they battled fender-to-fender for the first checkered flag of the Maritime Pro Stock Tour season.

And the war - of words - continued after the engines stopped.

"I raced him the same way he races me, bumping and banging" said Proude whose car had pushed high through the last couple corners moving Smith, who was to his outside, toward the concrete retaining wall. "He's a hard guy to beat."

Smith, who had led laps 56 to 86 of the 100-lap contest before being overtaken by Proude on the second last restart, was
disappointed and made no bones about letting the PEI driver know the outcome may be different the next time the two rub fenders.

"I tried to race him clean," said Halifax's Smith, who had backed off after touching Proude's car coming off turn two with less than five laps to go. "I just hope I'm on the inside the next time we're lined up beside each other."

That next restart is likely to happen next week when the series stops at Proude's hometrack in PEI where both drivers have wins.

Antigonish's Donald Chisholm was third at Riverside with defending series champion Shawn Turple finishing fourth and PEI's Kent Vincent rounding out the top five.

The race got off to a good start and a record pace as the first 53 circuits were "clean and green" with polesitter Turple at the point after retaking the lead from second-place starter George Koszkulics who was credited with leading the first lap. Smith, who had followed Turple since lap two, stayed high on the first restart of the night taking two laps to overtake Turple. Proude followed Smith to the front and stayed with him until taking the lead for the win on lap 87. The race stats will show four lap leaders (Koszkulics, Turple, Smith and Proude).

Five more cautions slowed the event which took approx. one hour 10 minutes to complete before a crowd estimated at 3,500.

Proude served notice he had a fast car earlier in the evening "winning" time trials with a blistering lap of 14.102-seconds averaging just over 85 mph around the 1/3-mile oval. Turple won the Dash to earn the pole for the feature. Craig Slaunwhite and Kent Vincent won the two heat races; a semi-feature was not necessary with 24 teams entered.

Darren Wallage won the 50-lap sportsman feature, a race that did go "clean and green" the entire distance. Steve Ross was second and Frank Fraser Jr. finished third. Wallage, Kevin MacLean, Paul Blenkhorn and Jerry Hayes won sportsman heat races with Adrian Verhagen winning the semi-feature.

Riverside Int'l Speedway returns to action July 15-17 with the IWK 250 Super Race Weekend when NASCAR's Regan Smith makes his fourth trip to the historic oval to battle the best short track stock car racers in the Maritimes for their share of a purse expected to exceed $100,000. Advance tickets for the IWK 250 weekend go on sale June 30. Details will be posted at as available.

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