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Poirier wins at Fulton Speedway

(l to r) Third place Bryan Howland, winner Steve Poirier, second place Danny Varin. (ESS Photo)

(l to r) Third place Bryan Howland, winner Steve Poirier, second place Danny Varin. (ESS Photo)

By Dean Reynolds

FULTON, NY – Steve Poirier won Friday night’s opening event for the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints at the Fulton Speedway.  The St. Mathieu de Beloeil, Que., driver worked hard over the course of the 25-lap feature to first secure the lead from Danny Varin and then to hold off his advances in the later stages.

 

It was the 54th time Poirier has parked his No. 28FM in Victory Lane with the series and it was the third of his career with the club at the facility.  Poirier took home $2,050 for his efforts in the NAPA Auto Parts Tour of the States, SUNY Canton Series A-Main.

 

“This feels good,” smiled Poirier.  “The winter was long.  We didn’t do anything except the race last week.  It feels great to be back in shape.  I feel like driver wise I need to work out because I was tired at the end.”

 

The race got off to a rocky start as Will Glover caused a red flag on lap one when he clipped a tire on the bottom of the speedway in turn two.  This broke his front end and caused him to roll several times.  He walked away from the crash.

 

The second attempt at a green went smoothly with Varin able to shoot to the lead on the top of the speedway as he got around pole starter Justin Barger.  Varin used the cushion in turn four to wrestle the lead from Barger.

 

Varin encountered traffic on lap seven and before another lap could be scored the second red flag of the event was necessary as Cory Turner spun sideways which saw his tires dig into the surface.  This caused him to flop over lightly onto his side.  He suffered no injuries.

 

When action was ready to resume Varin was the leader while Poirier ran second.  Varin elected the outside for the green with Poirier down low.  Poirier got the lead slightly off of turn two on the bottom before Varin rocketed back by on the top of turns three and four to remain the leader on lap eight.

 

At that point it was a two car race at the front with Poirier chasing Varin.  Varin worked the top while Poirier worked all three grooves trying to close in on the Fonda, N.Y., driver.  His opportunity presented itself again on lap 12 as Varin caught traffic for the second time.

 

Varin made quick work of several slower cars before coming up on a car that was running his lane.  He struggled to get by the car allowing Poirier to close in.  Then, on lap 17, Poirier pulled the slide job on both Varin and the slower car to take command of the event.

 

“I found a lane in the middle of one and two where I could maneuver,” stated Poirier.  “I didn’t want to cut his line too much, I didn’t want to touch him and make him wreck.  The traffic was really hard.  Everybody was battling for the outside so finally I just got an opportunity to get by so I took it.”

 

After Poirier took over the race lead Varin stayed right with him.  The two cars remained glued together.  The race remained tight when both drivers were nearly collected in a crash.  Paulie Colagiovanni and Dave Axton made contact as they raced for position which sent Axton flipping after he spun.  This occurred right in front of the lead battle as they were attempting to put the pair a lap down.  Both just missed being involved.  Axton was not hurt.

 

“That was just luck,” said Poirier about missing the incident.  “I kind of closed my eyes and picked a hole.  There was a blue car on the inside and Dave (Axton) was flipping.  I just had enough room to get through there.  I was pretty lucky that time.”

 

Poirier selected the top lane for the restart and shot to the cushion in turns one and two.  Varin tried to slide up in front at the green but couldn’t get the momentum to beat Poirier to the top side of turn two.  Poirier opened the advantage on Varin as he worked to find a lane to get back to Poirier.  It was to no avail as Poirier went on for the victory.

 

Varin was disappointed with the second place finish after the battle with Poirier.  He felt the slower car played a factor in the outcome of the race.  Next time he plans on being more aggressive in traffic.

 

“I was trying to be too nice,” Varin said of traffic.  “Next time I’m going to have to slide him and whatever happens, happens.  We had a real fast car.  We bought this car off Freddie Rahmer and he helped us out a lot.  We learned a few things tonight, but we got a few more things to learn.”

 

Bryan Howland, of Union Springs, N.Y., finished third.  Howland was very solid on the inside lane of the speedway.  He worked the lane late in the race and it allowed him to hang with the lead duo.

 

“We set the car up for the top but the bottom was working so well for me,” commented Howland.  “I just stayed down there.  The car was worked good all night long.  My hats off to the guys in the pits.  They worked all night long.  We got a good team, we’ve worked together for a long time.  Things worked out pretty good tonight.”

 

Jason Barney worked his way from the 14th starting spot to finish in the fourth position and Barger fell back from the pole to complete the top five.

ESS/Fulton Notes – Despite threatening weather that cancelled almost every event in the Northeast, 32 sprints filled the pits for ESS’ first point show of the season…Larry Kelleher hit wall hard during timed hot laps and was out for the night…Shawn Donath was late arriving after hauler issues, his night got worse with a flip during his heat and a oil leak during the B-Main.  He turned down his provisional…David Just blew his engine during timed hot laps ending his night early as well…Next up will be a $2,000 to win event at Can-Am Motorsports Park on May 14.

Lucas Oil A-Main 25 Laps – Steve Poirier ($2,050), Danny Varin ($1,075), Bryan Howland ($825), Jason Barney ($705), Justin Barger ($565), Larry Wight ($560), Paul Kinney ($455), Tommy Wickham ($420), Matt Tanner ($435), Parker Evans ($500), Chad Miller ($585), Paulie Colagiovanni ($320), Yan Bilodeau ($425), Dan Douville ($390), Mike Stelter ($215), Jonathan Preston ($280), Denny Peebles ($275), James Hanson ($270), Dave Axton ($90), Zach Weigand ($260), Sam Reakes IV ($355), Cory Turner ($325), Will Glover ($250).

Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints
Fulton Speedway
Fulton, NY
Friday April 29, 2016

Lucas Oil A-Main 25 Laps – Steve Poirier ($2,050), Danny Varin ($1,075), Bryan Howland ($825), Jason Barney ($705), Justin Barger ($565), Larry Wight ($560), Paul Kinney ($455), Tommy Wickham ($420), Matt Tanner ($435), Parker Evans ($500), Chad Miller ($585), Paulie Colagiovanni ($320), Yan Bilodeau ($425), Dan Douville ($390), Mike Stelter ($215), Jonathan Preston ($280), Denny Peebles ($275), James Hanson ($270), Dave Axton ($90), Zach Weigand ($260), Sam Reakes IV ($355), Cory Turner ($325), Will Glover ($250).

Did Not Qualify – Pete Richardson, Derrick Juliano, Dan Bennett, David Just, Larry Kelleher, Shawn Donath, Mike Mahaney, Darryl Ruggles, Keith Granholm

Lap Leaders – Varin 1-16, Poirier 17-25

Car Mate Trailers Heat 1 – Howland, Glover, Miller, Bilodeau, Colagiovammi
Car Mate Trailers Heat 2 – Kinney, Peebles, Douville, Turner, Preston
Car Mate Trailers Heat 3 – Poirier, Wight, Barger, Barney, Weigand
Car Mate Trailers Heat 4 – Tanner, Varin, Wickham, Reakes IV, Hanson
Pitre Painting/Cobra Coaches Dash – Bilodeau, Barney, Turner, Reakes IV
Lacaillade Masonry B-Main – Evans, Stelter.
Provisonal – Axton

BONUSES:
Pitre Painting/Cobra Coaches Dash – Bilodeau ($125), Barney ($75), Turner ($50), Reakes IV ($50)
Insinger Fuels Hard Charger – Evans (11 pos.) $50
Engler Machine and Tool Halfway – Varin $50
E&V Energy – Douville $50, Douville $50
Lacaillade Masonry – Evans $50
Ohsweken Speedway 21st Anniversary – Reakes IV $50
Fondations 55 Pick 5 – Barger $35
Beard Sewer and Drain Best Time – Stelter, Turner, Poirier, Varin $25
Car Mate Trailers Heats – Howland, Kinney, Poirier, Tanner $25
911 Restoration – Tanner, Miller $25
Lucas Oil ESS 7-12 Challenge – Carries Over – $200 at Can-Am May 14.
Hoosier Tires – Miller $200
Vahlco Wheels – Wight $190.