By Dean Reynolds
GRANBY, QUE – After coming off a very strong 2010 season, Antwerp, NY’s Jeff Cook was a legitimate title contender the with the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints. But, after a dismal opening weekend the driver of the North Country Welding #10 has been climbing up high the entire season.
Friday night at Autodrome Granby a combination of a well prepared car and finally a starting position propelled Cook to his first victory of the year. The victory was important as it was an event on the Northwood 2 Construction/LaSalle Motorsports Canadian Sprint Car Series as well as the Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Five Star Series.
“Finally!” dead-panned Cook. “I’m not going to tell you how long we have been waiting to get a win this year.”
“Its just been a struggle, we had to change cars, motors, everything it seems like but tonight I had a real good car. I didn’t change much going into the A-Main, just decided to go with soft tires as it seemed everyone else wanted to run hards.” Cook continued. “I guess I did it just to be different.”
As what is becoming a tradition, defending Justin Barger had the luck of the draw and started on the pole with Cook alongside. Barger did lead lap one before Cook slung his Maxim built sprinter around the outside to lead the second the second lap. While that was the last lead change, the outcome of the race wasn’t decided then by no means.
On lap 12, while in heavy lapped traffic, Cook made hard contact with Curtis Bradshaw in turn four. With his luck in 2010 you expected something to break but he continued on.
A few laps later, both Steve Poirier (who passed Barger on lap three) and Barger was right on the rear bumper of Cook looking to make their moves. Then on lap 17, the only caution of the night sealed the win for Cook.
With the lapped cars now out of his way and his softer compound tires cooled, he easily pulled away from his foes and cruised on to victory with Poirier and Barger holding down second and third.
“I had a good car but Jeff was better” said Poirier. “I just missed a little bit, my car was looser than I wanted, maybe missed on the stagger.
While the lapped cars weren’t what Cook wanted, it sure was what Poirier was looking forward to. “When we got in lapped traffic I thought I could maybe get around the outside and pass him. But when the yellow came out and I spun my tires on the restart I was not going to catch him.”
Lance Yonge and Dan Kaszubinski rounded out the top five. The next five was made up of Alain Bergeron, 16th place starting Chuck Hebing, Granby’s own Michael Parent and Mike Stelter.
ESS/Granby Notes: A record field of 30 sprints filled the pits in front of a big crowd…Making first starts in 2010 were Lightning Sprint standout Mathieu Bourgoin who was a teammate to Steve Poirier, Mike Cushman and Jake Langlois…Engine woes for Lee Ladouceur and Normand Beaudreault as they were out after warm-ups…Brian McDonald’s wall encounter on lap 17 of the A-Main was the only caution all night…After two very successful events, look for ESS to make their return to Granby in 2011.
Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints – Northwood 2 Construction/LaSalle Motorsports Canadian Sprint Car Series
Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Five Star Series A-Main – Jeff Cook, Steve Poirier, Justin Barger, Lance Yonge, Dan Kaszubinski, Alain Bergeron, Chuck Hebing, Tommy Wickham, Michael Parent, Mike Stelter, Chris Jones, Kevin Ward Jr., Mathieu Bourgoin, Paul Pekkonen, Tyler Rand, Devin Caron, Zach Weigand, Daniel Lampron, Anthony Cain, Curtis Bradshaw, Brian McDonald, Shayne Ely, Donald Lemire.
Lap Leaders – Barger 1, Cook 2-25.
Did Not Qualify – James Hanson, Michael Forcier, Lee Ladouceur, Normand Beaudreault, Mike Cushman, Dale Gosselin, Jake Langlois.
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heats:
Heat 1 – Tommy Wickham, Justin Barger, Zach Weigand, Daniel Lampron, Mike Stelter, Chuck Hebing.
Heat 2 – Steve Poirier, Dan Kaszubinski, Kevin Ward Jr., Michael Parent, Anthony Cain, Chris Jones.
Heat 3 – Jeff Cook, Alain Bergeron, Lance Yonge, Brian McDonald, Curtis Bradshaw, Tyler Rand.
B-Main – Donald Lemire, Paul Pekkonen, Mathieu Bourgoin, Shayne Ely
Ohsweken Speedway Winners Bonus – Cook $100
Cooks Contracting Services Halfway Bonus – Cook $100
WestFront Construction Hard Charger Bonus – Hebing (9 pos.) $50
MVCC Aviation Extra – Hebing $50
HG Associates Fast Time – Cook (18.580) $25
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heats – Wickham, Poirier, Cook $25.
The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints are brought to you by: Lucas Oil, Northwood 2 Construction/LaSalle Motorsports, SUNY Canton, 730 Truck Stop, Hoosier Racing Tires, Les Constructions Ultra, Cooks Contracting Services, Fondations 4 Saisons, Car Mate Trailers, The National Parts Peddler Newspaper, WestFront Construction, Cobra Coaches, The Ohsweken Speedway, Mohawk Racing Parts, Engine Research, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Total Race Supply, Riverside Bar and Grill, Coffrage Daniel Lampron, Mohawk Valley Community College, FX Chevy and many, many associate sponsors.