Fulton, NY — (July 4, 2015) — Make it 50 and counting for defending series champion Steve Poirier. The St. Mathieu de Beloeil, Que., driver outlasted a stellar field on Saturday night at the Fulton Speedway for his second win of SUNY Canton Central New York Speedweek presented by Einstein Construction Group and the 50th of his historic career with the traveling organization.
“That is something that I am really proud of,” commented Poirier about his 50th career win. “It seems like we are clicking. We are getting closer to Mike (Woodring) at 59. That is an amazing accomplishment.”
Poirier started on the pole but had to hold on after several restarts for the win including challenges from both Larry Wight then eventually Justin Barger in the closing stages of the 25-lap NAPA Auto Parts Tour of the U.S./SUNY Canton Series feature. He now trails Mike Wooding, the all-time winner with the series, by just nine triumphs. Poirier earned $2,100 for his run on Saturday.
“Seems like we were struggling a little bit at the beginning of the year but now we have two wins in a row,” said Poirier. “We got lucky starting on the pole with the track being a bit narrow. My car was a rocket. Honestly I wasn’t that confident in the setup that Kevin (Loveys) put in the car with the cushion like that. I closed my eyes and just drove the car and it was amazing.”
Poirier wasted little time securing the lead as the beat Wight into the first turn to secure the top spot through the middle of the first turn. From there he opened up several car lengths. By lap five he was working through slower cars at the back of the field.
The first caution of the race came on lap nine when Chuck Hebing and Larry Kelleher came together on the backstretch. Hebing bounced off the outside wall and bent the right rear tire on his No. 45. The point leader headed to the pits but was able to rejoin the field without losing a lap.
Racing resumed with Poirier one more time holding the advantage over Wight. The battle for third picked up behind Barger and Kelleher. Kelleher found his own lane above the cushion wish allowed him to fly by Barger for third on lap 11. One lap later Joe Trenca got over in turn four after hitting the cushion. He was uninjured.
Green came again with Poirier putting himself back out in front of the field. He held the lead Wight, who ran second, had to now contend with Kelleher at the green. Wight was up to the challenge as he remained in the second spot. Kelleher started to fade as he fell to fourth with Barger able to get back by him.
The final caution was for a hard flip in turn two that included Kelleher, Tommy Wickham and Danny Varin. Wickham and Varin flipped while Kelleher was left with a broken front end. All drivers were uninjured in the crash.
At the green, Poirier again fended off the challenges of all comers to remain the leader. Barger made a move on Wight to take the second position way as they completed lap 19. From there he set his sights on the leader Poirier.
Poirier caught traffic just as the raced reached the two to go stage. Barger had moved to win a couple of car lengths behind him and began applying the pressure, especially in turns three and four. On the final lap Poirier used a slower car to impede the progress of Barger allowing him to hold on for the win.
Barger, a former champion, from Montrose, N.Y., had take a second place effort on this night. A few more laps and things might have been different as Barger came on at the right time during the main-event.
“We caught the lapped car at the wrong spot,” said Barger. “We had a really good head of steam going down the back straightaway. I think if we started where we did it might have been a different result. We had a good car, Steve did good and we enjoyed it.”
Wight ended up finishing in the third position. He tried moving around late in the feature to gain ground on Poirier and it cost him a position as he had to settle for the final spot on the podium.
“We just missed the setup a little bit,” commented Wight. “We didn’t think the cushion was going to build up that bad. I just needed a little more gear to run the bottom like Justin (Barger) was. We were able to survive and that is the biggest thing.”
Shawn Donath drove Doug Emery’s No. 33 Panther Chassis to a fourth place effort while Paul Kinney worked his way up from the 18th starting spot to finish in fifth.
ESS Speedweek Night #4 Notes – Another solid field of 32 sprints in the pits…along with Kelleher, Thomas Radivoy and Jacob Muench made his first Speedweek start…Dylan Swiernik flipped hard in his heat but did get the car back together to take a provisional in hopes of a Speedweek title…After the event, a total of 51 different drivers have attended Speedweek.
SYNY Canton CNY Speedweek
Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints
Saturday July 4, 2015
1. 28 – Steve Poirier
2. 5 – Justin Barger
3. 99L – Larry Wight
4. 33 – Shawn Donath
5. 19k – Paul Kinney
6. 51 – Bryan Howland
7. 45 – Chuck Hebing
8. 87 – Jason Barney
9. 90 – Matt Tanner
10. 28F – Dave Franek
11. 7c – Dylan Swiernik
12. 61 – Parker Evans
13. 25H – Paul Habeck
14. 36 – Mike Stelter
15. 2* – Dave Axton
16. 20 – Zach Weigen
17. 10k – Rob Dietrick
18. 75 – Tommy Wickham
19. 76 – Larry Kelleher
20. 0 – Danny Varin
21. 1q – Thomas Radivoy
22. 123 – Yan Bilodeau
23. 55 – Mark Smith
24. 98 – Joe Trenca