From Rich Vleck, DUNDEE, NY, (August 6, 2010) – For Bryan Howland, any track he has not won at is, in his mind, not a good race track for him. Even though he has run well at Black Rock Speedway many times before Friday Night, seeing the double checkered flags first put this track on a whole new level.
Howland, 23, of Auburn, NY, captured the $4,000 top prize by winning the A-Verdi Championship at Black Rock Speedway, presented by S.P. Wilson/Lakes Gas. It was easy to detect the jubilation for the three-time ASCS Patriot Champion as he even climbed atop his No. 51 and raised his hands high in the air to the appraisal of the packed house.
“This means a lot,” admitted Howland in Victory Lane, who captured the A-Verdi King of Upstate New York Championship in the process.. “We have tried to win here for so long and to win on a night like this makes it even more special.
Howland won his heat race, an event mired by a hard wreck for NASCAR competitor Tony Stewart, who was dominating the event two laps when he made hard contact with Brad Knab’s No. 38 that had drifted back onto the track with a steering issue after it appeared he was clearing on the pit lane. Stewart’s No. 14 would flip multiple times, but he would climb out unharmed. Howland, who had to use the pit road lane to divert from the flip, would inherit the lead and would easily score the heat win.
Howland drew the pole position for the feature and after a solid battle with outside pole sitter Jared Fink on the opening lap, began to put significant distance on the rest of the pack for much of the race.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made his first career ASCS Patriot start on the night in Gary King and Fred Gormley’s No. 1k and after slipping high in his heat had to run the Vi-Kell Enterprises Four Laps of Fame, in which he won and was slated to start ninth in the feature. After Don Adamczyk dropped out with break issues, Stenhouse started seventh and quickly began to move forward.
Stenhouse, a Nationwide Series regular in the Roush-Fenway No. 6 and former sprint car standout, took the runner-up spot from Fink on a lap six restart, but just could not find what it took to get by Howland.
Stenhouse tried all sorts of lines on later restarts, including peaking low on lap 14 underneath the No. 51, but it was to no avail as Howland kept his foot in the throttle most of the way around the track on the top.
“I lifted a few times in turn three. That bank scares me just enough to do that,” Howland admitted after the race when asked how much he was lifting off the throttle. “The car was just perfect; the guys nailed the setup again.”
By the end of the event, mired in lapped traffic, Howland was able to win comfortably, with more than a five second lead over Stenhouse.
“To have someone like Ricky chasing after us for this win is pretty cool,” Howland added. “He’s a heck of a driver and I saw him coming up the leaderboard and then he peaked underneath me and I thought he might have me.”
With the win, Howland became the first three-time winner on the Patriot tour this season, all of which have been in bonus paying shows. It was the 17th ASCS Patriot win of his career. It also helped him to get a firmer grasp on the overall championship picture, with just five point races remaining. Also important was the A-Verdi King of Upstate New York.
“Any time you can win a championship, it’s a pretty cool deal,” said Howland in Victory Lane. “Joe (Verdi, of A-Verdi Storage Containers) and his whole family do a great job to put the series together and I’m proud to win it again.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was quite lucky to come across in second when his right rear developed a leak and put his quality run in peril. The Olive Branch, MS driver had just enough to hold on in his first time ever in a dirt coil-over car.
The battle behind Stenhouse for third was a fierce once, with rookie Dylan Swiernik taking home the final podium position. It was the best career finish for the Port Leyden, NY teenager, who did not even know if he could make it to BRS on Friday but found a way to get to the track and then found a way to get to the front.
Swiernik had spun around on lap eight while battling with Tim Kelly four fifth. Kelly would come to a stop, but Swiernik’s 360 degree spin would allow him to fall in line where he joined the pack.
Blake Breen and Jared Zimbardi were practically glued to one another for much of the feature, with Breen coming out on top at the end in fourth. Both 23-year-olds used the top and bottom on various occasions and would get massive runs on one another, along with other competitors.
Jessica Zemken had trouble in her heat, but would run up from 13th to sixth in her No. 14. Zemken came up through with Bobby Breen, who brought out the first caution on lap five while running in third but would rally from the back to finish seventh.
Tim Kelly also came from the back from his lap eight spin and finished eighth, with Jared Fink completing a solid showing in ninth. Shawn Donath would round out a tough top-10.
Heat race wins went to Kelly, Howland and Blake Breen. Even though 25 cars were in the pits, a B-main was not needed as four cars, Stewart, Knab, Bruce DeWick and Chris Muhleisen, were scratched after their heats.
ASCS Patriots Results: 8/6/10, Black Rock Speedway, Dundee, NY.
A-Verdi A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Bryan Howland (51), 2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (1k), 3. Dylan Swiernik (7c), 4. Blake Breen (8), 5. Jared Zimbardi (35), 6. Jessica Zemken (14z), 7. Bobby Breen (9), 8. Tim Kelly (12), 9. Jared Fink (21F), 10. Shawn Donath (33), 11. George Suprick (87), 12. Bubba Broderick (5), 13. Vern Wasson (5v), 14. Matt Tanner (56), 15. Dave Wickham (80), 16. Bob Reis (4), 17. Shayne Ely (90), 18. Austin Ely (90x), 19. Ross Vleck (2), 20. Gary Troutman (44), 21. Don Adamczyk (21).
Lap Leader- Howland 1-25.
Vi-Kell Enterprises Four Laps of Fame Dash (4 Laps)- 1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (1k), 2. George Suprick (87), 3. Jared Zimbardi (35), 4. Dylan Swiernik (7c), 5. Shawn Donath (33), 6. Vern Wasson (5v).
National Parts Peddler Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: 1. Tim Kelly (12), 2. Jared Fink (21F), 3. Dylan Swiernik (7c), 4. George Suprick (87), 5. Bob Reis (4), 6. Shawn Donath (33), 7. Matt Tanner (56), 8. Gary Troutman (44), 9. Ross Vleck (2).
Race 2: 1. Bryan Howland (51), 2. Bubba Broderick (5), 3. Dave Wickham (80), 4. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (1k), 5. Vern Wasson (5v), 6. Tony Stewart (14T), 7. Brad Knab (38), 8. Chris Muhleisen (10M).
Race 3: 1. Blake Breen (8), 2. Don Adamczyk (21), 3. Bobby Breen (9), 4. Jared Zimbardi (35), 5. Shayne Ely (90e), 6. Jessica Zemken (14), 7. Austin Ely (90x), 8. Bruce DeWick (22d).
A-Verdi Storage Containers King of Upstate New York Standings (Top-10)- 1. Bryan Howland 502, 2. Tim Kelly 488, 3. Jared Zimbardi 487, 4. Bobby Breen 485, 5. George Suprick 444, 6. Don Adamczyk 440, 7. Dylan Swiernik 436, 8. Bubba Broderick 412, 9. Blake Breen 369, 10. Jessica Zemken 334.
ASCS Patriot Points (Top Ten): 1. Bryan Howland 1,936, 2. Jared Zimbardi 1,903, 3. Tim Kelly 1,809, 4. Bubba Broderick 1,795, 5. Don Adamczyk 1,520, 6. Vern Wasson 1,378, 7. Bobby Breen 1,171, 8. Shayne Ely 1,021, 9. Blake Breen 986, 10. Kyle Moffit 905.