ANTIGONISH – A new winner has been crowned for the IWK 250.
The Maritime Pro Stock Tour announced late Tuesday that due to post-race inspections at the IWK 250, the race’s top two finishers have been disqualified, as well as third car in the field, for unapproved carburetors.
Cassius Clark, who drove Pictou’s King Racing Team’s #13 to victory lane for his first time at the IWK 250 on Sunday, and New Brunswick’s Dave O’Blenis, were both penalized as well as J.R. Fitzpatrick, #84, of Ontario.
The Pro Stock tour declared Clark the winner and O’Blenis second at the end of the race, but following technical inspections of the top cars, the tour announced that the results were unofficial until tech issues could be straightened out.
Two days later, the top three podium finishers are officially announced as Kenny Wallace, Cole Butcher and Craig Slaunwhite.
Andrew Hicken, crew chief for Cassius Clark and King Racing, said the rule in question involved the air bleeds on the carburetors.
He said the air bleeds on the top of the carburetor didn’t pass their gauge. He said after talking with other carburetor manufacturers, including his own, if the usual tolerance of two to four thousand was allowed, the team would still have a victory to its name. The Holley carburetor that he used was supposed to be a stock and he wanted more information from the carburetors manufacturers before the decision was made on the race’s results.
“I am not the guy that builds the carburetors,” he said, knowing some people won’t buy that argument, but it is true. “I know when they work and don’t work.”
He said he never had any concern over the size of the bleed because it was never an issue in the past.
“King Racing has won six 250 lap races since 2012 and many other notable shows, but this is the first time this part has been looked at,” he said.
King Racing team owner Rollie MacDonald of Pictou said his crew has been using the same carburetor in the pro stock races for three years and similar products before that and the size of the bleed was never called into question in all those years.
“They have the rule that the air bleed screws have to be a certain size and have a ‘go (or) ‘no go’ gauge that has been in existence for years here and we forgot about it,” he said. “We have been using and selling these carbs since Andrew came with me and we can’t ever remember them checking this gauge. They check other things, but can’t ever remember if they checked this because if there was a problem with it, we would have changed it.”
He said several calls have been placed to Holley manufacturer to determine if it changed the size of the bleeds, even slightly, which could put the tour’s tools out of date.
He added that the size of the bleed used by King Racing, as well as O’Blenis (which bought its carburetor from King), would have produced no more than three horsepower in the car’s engine. He said no other tour that King has raced with, from Florida to Nova Brunswick, checks the bleeds because there are other areas where crews can make changes to produce much more speed.
“This race cost us about $6000 to compete,” said MacDonald. “Why do they wait for a big race and not tech the carburetor before the race?”
MacDonald said when he brought his questions to the tour officials, they responded by saying that it was up to the car’s crew to ask to have the carburetor checked before a race, but since it hasn’t been an issue for years, he questions why was it suddenly an issue now?
“If it wasn’t right, we would have made it right,” he said. “These are high profile races and they should be checking the cars to make sure they are all legal when we are going out. We are racing for big money.”
On the first night of racing (July 13), Colby Smith and Cory Hall garnered victories.
Smith won his third consecutive Henry’s AUTOPRO 150 for the Napa Sportsman Series, while Josh Collins and Dylan Blenkhorn finished second and third, respectively.
Hall won the Celtic Air Services Maritime Legends Challenge, with Will Farrell and Paul Goulden rounding out the podium finishers.