By Rich Vleck
RANSOMVILLE, NY, (June 6, 2014)- Jared Zimbardi won his second-career Patriot feature at Ransomville back in 2007, the weekend following his first win. On Friday Night, on the weekend following his first PST win of the season, Zimbardi went back to Victory Lane at the “Big R”.
“I’m glad to get another one here,” declared Zimbardi, of Bradford, PA, in Victory Lane. “2007 was a long time ago so I’m pretty happy to update it.”
Zimbardi led all 25 laps of the Patriot Sprint Tour A-Main, but it was the mad dash by Stewart Friesen from the back of the pack that had the packed house on the edge of their seats as the local favorite tried to chase down the defending series champion.
“You are always thinking that someone is back there and I was pretty sure someone was on that last lap and we kind of got slowed up by a lapped car but that’s where you can get too impatient and too excited, or get too conservative, so you have to find a happy medium, and I guess we found it tonight.”
Zimbardi was quick out of the hauler in hot laps, and followed it up with an impressive win in heat race two, where he made a bold three-wide pass to take the lead. He then drew the pole and got to work at the start of the feature.
The first attempt to complete a lap in the feature did not go as planned. Local favorite Dave Just spun coming through turn two on the opening lap and collected his son, Scott, ending in soft rolls for each. Also involved in the incident were Four Laps of Fame Dash winner Charlie Donk and rookies Dane Lorenc and Parker Evans, who were all done for the night. Stewart Friesen and Paige Polyak would also get caught up in the incident, and visit the work area, meaning that two of the favorites would have to charge from the back.
Friesen started in 14th place on the second original restart, and would waste no time surging to the front, he was up to fifth place by lap six, where he would have to spend some time getting by past champions Bryan Howland and Scott Kreutter. Once clearing them on lap 13, he set his sights on second-place Tommy Wickham, who had hung with Zimbardi for much of the race. Friesen cleared the No. 75 with four laps left but still had more than four seconds to reel in “The Juice”. Friesen would cut the gap down each lap but on the final lap, Zimbardi would hit solid lapped traffic and have to switch up his line, Friesen would close right in heading down the backstretch, but as Zimbardi passed the lapped machine, it in effect set a pick on Friesen, who tried to thread the needle on a three-wide pass, which was too much to handle and allowed Zimbardi to hang on for the win.
“My plan was not to get off the top, I was pretty good up there but it was hard to tell where the fast line was,” added Zimbardi in Victory Lane. “I’d tried to gauge the lapped cars coming off of turn two and I’d try to pass them but they would get back by me coming off but I kept running my race until the final lap when I almost lost the race going to the bottom but it worked out.”
The win was the 14th of Zimbardi’s illustrious Patriot career, moving him in to a tie for third on the all-time wins list with legendary drivers Rick Wilson and George Suprick.
“Our team has been together three years and they say it takes a team three years to get good, so maybe there is some truth to that,” noted Zimbardi, who has now expanded his point lead to more than a race-worth as he appears poised for his third series title.
Stewart Friesen put on quite a show for the fans at his family’s facility, as he came from the work area and from the back, but still wanted more as he parked one spot behind Zimbardi in Victory Lane.”
“One measly more lap we would have had something there,” Friesen, the 2010 PST Ransomville winner stated. “I’ve got to thank my guys for getting this thing fixed, we knocked the throttle linkage off but Doug (Emery, car owner) got it fixed up. Running second sucks but running against these guys, we’ll take it.”
Completing the podium was Tommy Wickham, the other driver making his first PST start of the year on Friday. Wickham has always run well at Ransomville and outside of two wild excursions with the frontstretch moat stayed stride-for-stride with Zimbardi.
Bryan Howland was fastest in hot laps but after that point, his potent engine was not running up to full song. Still, the four-time champion was able to come home with a fourth-place effort.
Friesen clearly made a noteworthy charge from the back, but so too did Paige Polyak, who came from 15th up to finish in 5th in her first trip to Ransomville.
Scott Kreutter finished in sixth, but after the race it was discovered that his engine was broken, impacting his team’s efforts going forward.
Brad Knab would finish in seventh, his best result at Ransomville, ahead of local Don Adamczyk. Paul Habeck and Tyler Graves put together solid top 10 runs.
After the initial incident, the race would run without caution, thanks in part to swift driving like heat one winner Steve Collins showed, as he looped around in turn two but stayed on the gas and brought it home 11th,even though the right sideboard on his wing was flapping due to contact in the opening lap crash.
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Patriot Sprint Tour America Series Results: 6/6/, Ransomville Speedway, Ransomville, NY.
A-Verdi A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Jared Zimbardi (35), 2. Stewart Friesen (33), 3. Tommy Wickham (75), 4. Bryan Howland (51), 5. Paige Polyak (19), 6. Scott Kreutter (10B), 7. Brad Knab (38), 8. Don Adamczyk (21), 9. Paul Habeck (25H), 10. Tyler Graves (25G), 11. Steve Collins (67), 12. Steve Glover (121), 13. Stan Zanchin (94), 14. Derek Jonathan (81), 15. Jeremy Barnard (86), 16. Dave Just (68), 17. Scott Just (54jr), 18. Charlie Donk (99), 19. Dane Lorenc (00), 20, Parker Evans (61).
Lap Leaders- Zimbardi 1-25
Four Laps of Fame (4 Laps)- 1. Charlie Donk (99), 2. Paige Polyak (19), 3. Brad Knab (38), 4. Don Adamczyk (21), 5. Derek Jonathan (81), 6. Dane Lorenc (00).
Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: Collins, D. Just, Howland, S. Just, Graves, Zanchin, Barnard.
Race 2: Zimbardi, Kreutter, Adamczyk, Loren, Polyak, Habeck, Evans.
Race 3: Friesen, Wickham, Knab, Donk, Jonathan, Glover.