By Rich Vleck
BROCKVILLE, Ontario (July 17, 2010)- Entering his rookie season behind the wheel of a sprint car, teenager Shayne Ely had modest goals. On Saturday Night at Brockville, they were easily surpassed.
Ely, a third-generation racer who hails from Factoryville, PA, pulled off one the most surprising wins in series history as he lead a talented field wire-to-wire to claim the second race in the Riverside Bar and Grill King of the St. Lawrence Series for the ASCS Patriots at Brockville Ontario Speedway. Not only was it his first career win, it was his first career top-10 finish.
“At the beginning of this season I was just worried about qualifying for A-Mains,” admitted the curly-haired grandson of veteran racer “Lonesome” George Ely. “I never expected this tonight. This is really great.”
Ely was fortunate to draw the pole position for the 25-lap A-Main, but he earned that opportunity as he charged from eighth to fourth in his heat to qualify for the redraw. Shawn Donath would start on the outside pole and be Ely’s only challenger throughout the feature.
Ely and Donath were nearly dead-even as the pair of sky blue sprinters completed the opening lap on what turned out to be a beautiful evening. Ely would establish himself out in front off the next corner and never let him get that close again.
Donath, driving Doug Emery’s Patterson Motorsports No. 33, appeared to have the better car in the battle throughout the first 10-laps, but a multitude of cautions would not allow his harder tire compound to build up enough heat to complete the pass. Like Donath, Ely was also concerned with the abundance of early race stoppages.
“I was getting pretty nervous with all those restarts,” noted Ely. “I just wanted the race to be over.”
After a caution on lap 12, Ely pulled away from Donath and the rest of the pack during the ensuing six-lap green flag session that would last until lap 18. With the possibility of lapped traffic removed, Ely had clear sailing after what would be the final restart and take his No. 90 to Victory Lane.
Prior to Saturday Night, the best finish for Ely was a 12th place showing in June at Ransomville. He had run decent at Brockville, but nothing like he did on this night.
Donath would be able to hold on for second, making himself 5/5 in top-10 finishes at the “BOS” in a sprint car. Donath noted after the race that his car was just not as strong as Ely on the restarts, in which there were seven.
Alain Bergeron would charge from the Four Laps of Fame Dash that he won to move up six spots to finish in third. The August 2009 Brockville winner had to make some fine maneuvers in the closing laps to earn the podium finish.
Bergeron moved by fellow Quebecois Steve Poirier with two laps remaining to steal away the third spot. Poirier would have his hands full with the top-two in Patriot points on the final circuit to preserve his fourth place showing.
Along with a fourth, Poirier won his National Parts Peddler Heat to go a perfect 9/9 in capturing a heat or feature checkered flag each time he has been to Brockville in a sprint.
Off the final corner, point leader Jared Zimbardi would move by Bryan Howland to round out the top-five. The pass would result in a six-point swing in the standings, which may pay major dividends as the season winds down.
Zimbardi, the winner in June at Brockville, got behind the 8-ball early when his wing tree broke just before his heat race was set to begin. He would make the dash and move from 10th to fifth in the A-Main.
Howland scored his fourth NPP Heat win of the year and tried what he deemed a radical setup to place in sixth.
Chris Jones was upside-down in his heat race, after April Wilson and he got tangled together. Wilson would bed done for the night but “Jonesy” would qualify through the B-Main and rally to finish seventh.
Rick Wilson would cross in eighth after a short time over the banking late in the race. Tyler Rand would have a steady race to place ninth, with Dave Wickham moving up nicely to round out the top-10.
A total of 25 cars were in competition on the night despite threatening skies early in the afternoon. The wind would blow the storms to the south and make for a great night for racing.
April Wilson was a scratch after her heat race flip and Jeff Cook fought an electrical issue all night long and was unable to run more than one lap of his heat or B-Main.
A slew of drivers made their first start of the year with the ASCS Patriots, including Dale Gosselin, who ran with the Patriots for the first time in his short career.
ASCS Patriots Results: 7/17/10, Brockville Ontario Speedway, Brockville, Ontario.
Riverside A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Shayne Ely (90), 2. Shawn Donath (33), 3. Alain Bergeron (8B) 4. Steve Poirier (28FM), 5. Jared Zimbardi (35), 6. Bryan Howland (51), 7. Chris Jones (11J), 8. Rick Wilson (42w), 9. Tyler Rand (84), 10. Dave Wickham (80), 11. Michael Parent (25), 12. Brandan Warner (10B), 13. Bubba Broderick (5), 14. Paul Pekkonen (98), 15. Travis Cunningham (71), 16. Normand Beaudreault (50), 17. Doug Banks (45x), 18. Vern Wasson (5v), 19. Brian McDonald (151kb), 20. Dale Gosselin (3), 21. Devin Caron (24k), 22. Bobby Podolak (90x), 23. Tim Kelly (12).
Lap Leaders- Ely 1-25.
B-Mains (Top 7 Transfer to A-Main)- 1. Devin Caron (24k), 2. Travis Cunningham (71), 3. Chris Jones (11J), 4. Michael Parent (25), 5. Normand Beaudreault (50), 6. Dale Gosselin (3), 7. Doug Banks (45x), 8. Jeff Cook (10), 9. April Wilson (15aw).
Four Laps of Fame Dash (4 Laps)- 1. Alain Bergeron (8B), 2. Jared Zimbardi (35), 3. Brandan Warner (10B), 4. Bobby Podolak (90x), 5. Rick Wilson (42w), 6. Vern Wasson (5v).
National Parts Peddler Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: 1. Steve Poirier (28FM), 2. Shawn Donath (33), 3. Alain Bergeron (8B), 4. Jared Zimbardi (35), 5. Dave Wickham (80), 6. Devin Caron (24k), 7. Dale Gosselin (3), 8. Chris Jones (11J), 9. April Wilson (15aw).
Race 2: 1. Bryan Howland (51), 2. Tyler Rand (84), 3. Bobby Podolak (90x), 4. Shayne Ely (90), 5. Paul Pekkonen (98), 6. Brandan Warner (10B), 7. Michael Parent (25), 8. Jeff Cook (10).
Race 3: 1. Brian McDonald (151kb), 2. Tim Kelly (12), 3. Rick Wilson (42w), 4. Bubba Broderick (5), 5. Vern Wasson (5v), 6. Travis Cunningham (71), 7. Doug Banks (45x), 8. Normand Beaudreault (50).
ASCS Patriot Points (Top Ten): 1. Jared Zimbardi 1,391, 2. Bryan Howland 1,360, 3. Bubba Broderick 1,287, 4. Tim Kelly 1,216, 5. Don Adamczyk 1,162, 6. Vern Wasson 908, 7. Kyle Moffit 696, 8. Bobby Breen 683, 9. Scott Bonnell 650, 10. George Suprick 649.