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Smith revs up for title hunt

<p>The Oval Outlaw is keeping it legal this year — and hopes it lands him a Carquest Maritime Pro Stock Tour title.<br /></p>Timberlea’s Wayne Smith highlights the field heading into theLucas Oil 100 on Saturday at Scotia Speedworld as another Carquestseason roars out of the gates.


The Oval Outlaw is keeping it legal this year — and hopes it lands him a Carquest Maritime Pro Stock Tour title.

Timberlea’s Wayne Smith highlights the field heading into the Lucas Oil 100 on Saturday at Scotia Speedworld as another Carquest season roars out of the gates.

Smith, dubbed the ‘Oval Outlaw’, won five races last year — typically, enough to win it all — but eventually lost the Carquest title on a controversial disqualification from the Pioneer Coal 100 for having an illegal carburetor part.

The three-time MASCAR champ and 2001 Carquest winner enters this season with a fifth crown in his crosshairs.

“That would be nice, to come back and win the championship after what happened last year,” said Smith, who initially planned legal action but later accepted his disqualification.

“But me and the tour came to an agreement, both sides are happy, and we’re ready to go again this season.”

Shawn Tucker of Fredericton ended up winning last year’s title with 1,955 points. Enfield’s Shawn Turple was a close second with 1,938 points, and Smith was third at 1,934.

All three are back for this year’s 11-race schedule, along with Dartmouth’s Mike MacKenzie, rookie Craig Slaunwhite of White’s Lake, and Pictou veteran Rollie MacDonald, who edged out Smith for the title in 2005.

Halifax’s John Flemming, who is racing in the United States, is the only past Carquest winner not on the tour this year.

“It’s gonna be a hard season,” Smith said after running through the list of his toughest competitors. “We’ve got about 10 cars on the tour that are capable of winning any given night.”
Smith has a new Chevrolet Monte Carlo this year and said he and his pit crew are still tweaking the car.

The 43-year-old said he’s “becoming an antique” on the tour, but is looking forward to getting started on Saturday.

“We’re gonna go and try to win some races, there’s no doubt about that,” Smith said. “That’s our plan. Hopefully we’ll win the first one. That’s what we’re aiming for.”
Racing begins at 6 p.m. The Lucas Oil 100 is the first of three Carquest events at Scotia Speedworld. The Forbes 150 is July 5 and the Parts For Trucks 200 is Sept. 6.

matthew.wuest@metronews.ca

 
 
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