By Rich Vleck
CORNWALL, Ont., (July 18, 2010) – Steve Poirier took a solid starting spot, found a ribbon of good clay and used his experience to hold off a hungry competitor to move his sprint car batting average at Cornwall back over .500.
Poirier, of St. Mathieu de Beloeil, Qbc., took the lead from Vern Wasson at the completion of lap five with an impressive three-wide pass to score his second Patriot A-Main win of the season, his fourth career at the Cornwall Motor Speedway.
“I have always liked this track, even when I raced modifieds and tonight the car was comfortable,” noted Poirier in Victory Lane after the third leg in the four race Riverside Bar and Grill King of the St. Lawrence Series.
Poirier won his National Parts Peddler heat and drew the outside pole for the feature. The fifth year sprint car competitor was unsuccessful in capturing the lead at the start of the race, as Vern Wasson pulled away from the bottom in his No. 5v. Things would change though on the first race restart on lap five.
When the field restarted, Jeff Cook made a bid for second on Poirier and appeared he might have Wasson sized up as well with the head of steam he had built up on the top; just as Cook applied pressure to the leader, Poirier found bite on the bottom and surged into the lead.
“I expected the track to be super tacky tonight,” admitted Poirier after the event, alluding to the brief shower that hit the rotund ¼-mile oval as the A-Main was getting fired off. “There was a lot of black on the track, but when I went to the bottom behind (Wasson), the car get a super bite and had a great run off the corner.”
It was not clear sailing for the Fondations 4 Saisons No. 28FM the rest of the way though, as Cook was pressuring him for the lead in search of his first Patriot Win. After locating a mechanical issue that had plagued the team all season and forced him to miss the feature the night before at Brockville, the Antwerp, NY veteran was on a mission at the site of his first career sprint win.
On the lap 12 restart, Cook peaked underneath Poirier coming through turns three and four, but could not complete the pass and had shown the leader his hand with half the race remaining. Cook would close back in with five laps remaining when the top two reeled in a lapped car but when Poirier completed the pass with three to go, he could finally cruise to the win.
Poirier and Cook would walk away satisfied with their efforts at the end of the night, but what they had missed behind them on lap 11 made the evening a miserable one for a half dozen teams.
Just before halfway, Vern Wasson, Alain Bergeron and Michael Parent were engaged in a three-wide battle for third down the frontstretch when slight contact would result in heavy contact. Parent was on the bottom and had to move up to avoid a mound of mud entering turn one; Bergeron, who was in the middle did not expect this and attempting to keep his No. 8B in the mix to gain third, but when Parent’s right rear made contact, it would fold up Bergeron’s front axle and send the defending Cornwall winner helplessly skating across the track.
As Bergeron washed up, Bryan Howland tried to slow to avoid Bergeron, but would get turned as the No. 8B flipped. With the field barring down, Jared Zimbardi spun and made hard contact with Howland with his right rear. When the dust settled, Bubba Broderick, Tyler Rand, Normand Beaudreault, Doug Banks, Paul Pekkonen and Devin Caron had all been collected, making only six cars on track that had missed the incident.
After a lengthy cleanup, the field restarted on lap 12 and would go green the rest of the way, with Tim Kelly darting into third and gaining a much-needed podium finish. After a horrific last two months, the Rock Stream, NY driver caught a break he needed to avoid the big wreck and move forward for his best finish of the year since the season opener at Black Rock.
Lee Ladoceur would finish in fourth for his best career ASCS Patriot finish. The local driver had run sparingly in 2010 but did what he needed to keep his No. 51L clean all night.
Vern Wasson also earned his best career finish, as he rounded out the top-five. The Jersey Shore, PA driver won his first career heat race early in the night and did a solid job leading the field around for the first five circuits.
Shawn Donath would cross in sixth after starting in 20th in his first trip to Cornwall due to a fuel pump issue in his heat race. His fine run, coupled with Zimbardi’s problems, propelled the wheelman of Doug Emery’s No. 33 to the point lead in the Riverside Bar and Grill King of the St. Lawrence Series with one race remaining.
Devin Caron was another driver to earn a career high finish as the teenager scored a seventh place showing at his hometown track. Caron led a foursome of drivers that continued after being involved in the lap 11 wreck to finish in the top-10, as Michael Parent, Bubba Broderick and Doug Banks also made it to the end.
Shayne Ely, fresh of his surprising feature win the night earlier at Brockville, won the Four Laps of Fame Dash. A total of 21 competitors pulled into the pits for the easternmost and northernmost race on the 2010 schedule. Chris Jones was scratched for the feature with a rear end issue.
ASCS Patriots Results: 7/18/10, Cornwall Motor Speedway, Cornwall, Ontario.
Riverside A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Steve Poirier (28FM), 2. Jeff Cook (10), 3. Tim Kelly (12), 4. Lee Ladouceur (51L), 5. Vern Wasson (5v), 6. Shawn Donath (33), 7. Devin Caron (24k), 8. Michael Parent (25), 9. Bubba Broderick (5), 10. Doug Banks (45x), 11. Alain Bergeron (8B), 12. Bryan Howland (51), 13. Jared Zimbardi (35), 14. Shayne Ely (90), 15. Tyler Rand (84), 16. Normand Beaudreault (50), 17. Paul Pekkonen (98), 18. Bobby Podolak (90x), 19. Rick Wilson (42w), 20. Brian McDonald (151kb), 21. Chris Jones (11J).
Lap Leaders- Wasson 1-4, Poirier 5-25.
Four Laps of Fame Dash (4 Laps)- 1. Shayne Ely (90), 2. Devin Caron (24k), 3. Michael Parent (25), 4. Tyler Rand (84), 5. Paul Pekkonen (98), 6. Doug Banks (45x).
National Parts Peddler Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: 1. Vern Wasson (5v), 2. Rick Wilson (42w), 3. Shayne Ely (90), 4. Devin Caron (24k), 5. Paul Pekkonen (98), 6. Normand Beaudreault (50), 7. Bobby Podolak (90x).
Race 2: 1. Jared Zimbardi (35), 2. Lee Ladouceur (51L), 3. Tim Kelly (12), 4. Tyler Rand (84), 5. Doug Banks (45x), 6. Brian McDonald (151kb), 7. Shawn Donath (33).
Race 3: 1. Jeff Cook (10), 2. Steve Poirier (28FM), 3. Michael Parent (25), 4. Alain Bergeron (8B), 5. Chris Jones(11J), 6. Bryan Howland (51), 7. Bubba Broderick (5).
ASCS Patriot Points (Top-10)- 1. Jared Zimbardi 1,495, 2. Bryan Howland 1,466, 3. Bubba Broderick 1,400, 4. Tim Kelly 1,351, 5. Don Adamczyk 1,162, 6. Vern Wasson 1,033, 7. Kyle Moffit 696, 8. Shayne Ely 690, 9. Bobby Breen 683, 10. Scott Bonnell 650.
Riverside Bar and Grill King of the St. Lawrence Standings (Top-10)- 1. Shawn Donath 389, 2. Jared Zimbardi 379, 3. Alain Bergeron 365, Tie-4. Shayne Ely and Bubba Broderick 352, 6. Rick Wilson 338, 7. Bryan Howland 330, 8. Chris Jones 327, 9. Tim Kelly 318, 10. Tyler Rand 317.
Gater Racing News Hard Charger of the Season (Top-Five)- 1. Shawn Donath 26, Tie-2. Jared Zimbardi and Bubba Broderick 25, Tie-4. Don Adamczyk, Tim Kelly and Alain Bergeron 24.