by Tommy Goudge
(July 16, 2010) – Steve Poirier visited a familiar spot on Friday night at Ohsweken Speedway – the Engine Pro Racing Winner’s Circle. Poirier, twice a winner of Ohsweken’s annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals, led every lap of Friday night’s Empire Super Sprints vs. Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprints “Battle on the Grand” twenty-five lap feature to claim his first feature win of the season. Meanwhile Jamie Cox, Steve Hess, Jesse McDonald, and Jason Powers claimed their first wins of the season in the ESSO Thunder Stocks, ESSO Mini Stocks, Bombers, and Vintage Cars, respectively.
CORR/PAK MERCHANDISING SPRINT CARS VS. EMPIRE SUPER SPRINTS “BATTLE ON THE GRAND”
Jamie Turner and Steve Poirier started the feature on the front row, but it would take five tries to get the twenty-five lapper started. The trouble began on the original start when Kyle Moffit came to a stop in turn three with a steering problem.
The next try found pole-sitter Turner having a steering problem of his own as he turned sharp right in turn four and was lucky to avoid contact with the rest of the field. Turner restarted at the tail of the field while Mikey Kruchka inherited the top spot, but on the next start, Turner again had problems and spun to a stop in turn two. Turner then took the #11 to the pits for the rest of the night.
One more try at a start found Kevin Ward making contact with Wayne Ashton who in turn made contact the backstretch wall and bouncing back into the middle of the field, where Jim Huppunen and Glenn Styres got together and flipped wildly entering turn three. Both drivers emerged from their heavily damaged machines uninjured, but done for the night.
The race finally got started with Poirier taking the lead right away, while Kruchka fell to second. Kyle Moffit benefited from the caution flags by making repairs and rejoining the field at the rear without losing a lap. Moffit went to work immediately after starting at the back of the pack, and was already up to eighth when the caution came back. This time the reason was Jared Zimbardi, who lost his right rear wheel and stopped in turn four.
Zimbardi was done for the night, and when the race went back green again, another favourite suffered problems – The wing on defending track champion Tom Huppunen’s ride came loose, forcing him to the infield.
Moffit had made his way to third by lap seven, and seemed to be on a mission. Poirier reached the tail end of the field on lap nine, while Kruchka was still giving chase from the runner-up spot. A long green flag period followed while Kruchka tried to chase down Poirier, before Moffit took over the spot on lap eleven.
More problems struck on lap twenty-one, when Moffit spun after contact with James Evans, but kept going. Kruchka went off course in turns one and two but recovered, and Keith Dempster finally brought out the caution with a spin in turn four.
Moffit appeared to be faster than Poirier prior to the caution and made a valiant effort to get by three lapped cars, but came up short in his quest for a second feature win at Ohsweken.
Poirier took the win, his fourth career at Ohsweken, while Moffit settled for second followed by Alain Bergeron, Chuck Hebing, and Justin Barger. The win was Poirier’s first of the season, something he reflected on in victory lane.
“Looks like it was tougher this year…Sometimes we had luck on our side in the past,” said the former ESS champ. “Tonight maybe we were lucky to have a good start at the beginning of the evening. At the end, the track was really tough and my starting position surely helped me a lot.”
Last Sunday Poirier suffered a mechanical failure with four laps to go in a race at Cayuga County Speedway. He and his crew were definitely happy to close the deal this time.
“It feels great. Sometimes you put in question the preparation of the car,” said Poirier. “In the past, we never had that kind of problem, so when you’re leading the race you think about those problems you had in the past, but (this win) will get the monkey off of our back.”
Again leading with four laps to go this week, Poirier was worried when the caution came out.
“I was not really confident,” he said. “I knew I was good in turn three and four, but in turn one I didn’t really know where to go in the turn. It looks like there was really no preferred line. It was safer to stay on the inside. When I tried the outside, the car was pushing a little bit. So I decided to keep a little bit conservative on the inside, and hope that nobody would pass me on the outside.”
Heat race victories for the thirty-two car field were claimed by Jared Zimbardi, Justin Barger, and Dave Dykstra, while Barger also won the dash race in track record time, and Glenn Styres got the “B” Main win.
ESSO THUNDER STOCKS
Gord Bates and Phil Nyssen started on the front row for the ESSO Thunder Stocks Mid-Season Championship feature, and Nyssen got the early lead. Sixth starter Billy Bleich quickly made his way to the front though, and was the leader when a caution flag flew for Rodney Rutherford, who lost his drive-shaft on the backstretch. The race went green for a long stretch, during which Jamie Cox methodically picked his way forward from tenth on the grid.
Cox tracked Bleich down and worked high and low to get by, finally taking over the lead just before halfway. From there Cox pulled away until a caution flag flew on lap twenty-two for an exhaust pipe that had fallen off of one of the cars exiting turn two. Bleich had one more shot, but could do nothing with Cox, who cruised to his first feature win of the season. Bleich took second, followed by Ryan Dinning, Nyssen, and Isaac Pellisero.
Heat races for the nineteen car field were claimed by Cox and Mike Thorne.
ESSO MINI STOCKS
Steve Hess started sixth in the twenty lap ESSO Mini Stock Mid-Season Championship presented by Evers Financial, but quickly made his way into the lead. Eleventh starter Trevor Goulding and fourteenth starter Dave Bailey charged to the front, but could not catch up to Hess.
Hess negotiated traffic and tough track conditions to claim the win, followed by Goulding, Bailey, Abel Castelein, and Craig Erskine.
Heat races for the twenty-four car field were claimed by Bailey, Erskine, and Goulding.
Jason Powers made his first trip down to Ohsweken from the Brockville area pay off as he went to victory lane in Vintage Car action. Powers survived a close call on the last lap when he and Brian Page made contact on the backstretch. Powers held on to get the win followed by Doug Fralick, and Page.
Eighth starter Jarrett Hutton drove to the lead in the twelve lap Bomber Mid-Season Championship feature and got through traffic to claim his first ever feature win. However, he was disqualified which gave the win to Jesse McDonald, followed by Karl Sault in second, Kacey Huffman, Dave Patton and Karl Andress rounding out the top five.
Heat races for the twenty-four car field were claimed by Kyle Andress, and Jesse McDonald, while Aaron Turkey got the “B” Main win.
NEXT WEEK AT OHSWEKEN
Outhouse Image and Design and Wiseco Pistons present “Christmas in July” next Friday, July 23, 2010. The Corr/Pak Merchandising Sprint Cars Mid-Season Championship, plus ESSO Thunder Stocks, ESSO Mini Stocks, and Bombers are all part of round eight of Friday Night Thunder, along with Autograph Night and a Toy Drive. Gates open at 6:00 with racing starting at 7:45! Please bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Toy Drive!
FRIDAY NIGHT THUNDER 2010
ROUND 7 RACE REPORT – JULY 16, 2010
EVENT SPONSORS –
GALES AUTO AFTERMARKET
AND EVERS FINANCIAL
Race Start: 7:45 p.m.
CORR/PAK MERCHANDISING SPRINT CARS VS. EMPIRE SUPER SPRINTS
“BATTLE ON THE GRAND”
HEAT RACES (10 laps each – Top 6 transfer to A-Feature):
BS&B RADIATOR HEAT RACE #1
1. 35 Jared Zimbardi (Salamanca, NY), 2. 01 Mikey Kruchka (Hamilton), 3. 21x Kevin Job (Campbellville), 4. 71 Travis Cunningham (Grimsby), 5. 90 James Evans (Beamsville), 6. 3 Wayne Ashton (Kitchener), 7. 0 Glenn Styres (Ohsweken), 8. 30g Stevin Goldner (Aylmer), 9. 10 Jeff Cook (Antwerp, NY) DNF, 10. 67 Chris Durand (Port Stanley) DNF, 11. 49 Todd Hoddick (Cheektowaga, NY). No Time.
BEST WESTERN CAIRN CROFT HOTEL HEAT RACE #2
1. 32 Justin Barger (Montrose, NY), 2. 28fm Steve Poirier (Saint-Matheiu-de-Belouil, QC), 3. 8b Alain Bergeron (Saint-Pie, QC), 4. 7x Mike Ling (Mount Brydges), 5. 21j Jamie Collard (Burford), 6. 17j Lance Yonge (Penn Yan, NY), 7. 84 Tyler Rand (Consecon), 8. 80 Chris Steele (Vineland), 9. 71jr Mike Stelter (Ontario, NY), 10. 96 Shane Butler (London), 11. 94 Stan Zanchin (Fort Erie) DNF. Time – 2:18.071.
GRISDALE RACING PRODUCTS HEAT RACE #3
1. 5d Dave Dykstra (Port Colborne), 2. 11 Jamie Turner (Caistor Centre), 3. 12c Tom Huppunen (Fenwick), 4. 7 Kyle Moffit (South Dayton, NY), 5. 45 Chuck Hebing (Ontario, NY), 6. 14h Jim Huppunen (Fenwick), 7. 5 Keith Dempster (Alton), 8. 13 Kevin Ward, Jr. (Port Leyden, NY), 9. 10m Mitchell Brown (Brantford), 10. 23 Steve Garry (Dundas). Time – 2:18.354.
1. 32 Justin Barger, 2. 01 Mikey Kruchka, 3. 28fm Steve Poirier, 4. 35 Jared Zimbardi, 5. 11 Jamie Turner, 6. 5d Dave Dykstra. Time – 54.911 NEW TRACK RECORD
“B” MAIN (10 laps – Top 4 transfer to A-Feature)
1. 0 Glenn Styres, 2. 13 Kevin Ward, Jr., 3. 5 Keith Dempster, 4. 84 Tyler Rand, 5. 10 Jeff Cook, 6. 49 Todd Hoddick, 7. 30g Stevin Goldner, 8. 71jr Mike Stelter, 9. 10m Mitchell Brown, 10. 67 Chris Durand, 11. 23 Steve Garry, 12. 96 Shane Butler, 13. 80 Chris Steele DNF, 14. 94 Stan Zanchin DNS. Time – 2:21.072.
ADDED STARTERS – 10 Jeff Cook, 71jr Mike Stelter
CORR/PAK MERCHANDISING SPRINT CARS VS. EMPIRE SUPER SPRINTS
“BATTLE ON THE GRAND” A-FEATURE (25 laps)
Position. # Name (Starting Position)
1. 28fm Steve Poirier (2)
2. 7 Kyle Moffit (12)
3. 8b Alain Bergeron (8)
4. 45 Chuck Hebing (15)
5. 32 Justin Barger (5)
6. 01 Mikey Kruchka (3)
7. 5d Dave Dykstra (4)
8. 10 Jeff Cook (23)
9. 7x Mike Ling (11)
10. 90 James Evans (13)
11. 17j Lance Yonge (17)
12. 21j Jamie Collard (14)
13. 5 Keith Dempster (21)
14. 84 Tyler Rand (22)
15. 71 Travis Cunningham (10)
16. 13 Kevin Ward, Jr. (20)
17. 21x Kevin Job (7) DNF
18. 35 Jared Zimbardi (6) DNF
19. 12c Tom Huppunen (9) DNF
20. 71jr Mike Stelter (24) DNF
21. 11 Jamie Turner (1) DNF
22. 3 Wayne Ashton (16) DNF
23. 14h Jim Huppunen (18) DNF
24. 0 Glenn Styres (19) DNF