Kevin Ward Jr. Rim Rides to First Ever Lucas Oil ESS Victory at Autodrome Drummond

Empire Super Sprints ESS Logo

By Dean Reynolds

Drummondville, Que – If you ask Port Leyden, NY’s Kevin Ward Jr. what his favorite track is, I’m sure he will quickly respond Autodrome Drummond. The seventeen year old, 2010 rookie of the year with the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (ESS), took to the extreme outside lane to sprint to his first career ESS victory.

Ward Jr. made his first sprint car headline last August during the Quebec Sprint Car Nationals when he challenged eventual winner Lance Yonge for the victory. On this night, he inherited the lead when Steve Poirier made contact with a lapped car on the sixth circuit and then would hold off good friend and teammate Dylan Swiernik for the win. It was a jubilant victory lane in front of the Drummond crowd.

Not only did the driver of the Westward Painting Co. #13 collect important points for the overall championship but also the Northwood 2 Construction/LaSalle Motorsports Canadian Sprint Series and the Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Five Star Series.

“Wow, this is pretty cool!” exclaimed the teenage sensation. “I just like this place so much and tonight I had such a good car. I like it up top here and the top was real good. I just ran the car as hard as I could.”

Local favorite and defending ESS champion Poirier jumped out from his outside pole starting position to lead the first six laps. However, he made contact with the front end of Mike Stelter and broke his left rear suspension ending his run.

This put Ward in the lead and he took full advantage. “I was chasing Steve down. He is just so good and it would have been a fun race but when he pulled out it was a big break.” said Ward on his good fortune. “When I had the lead I knew what I was going to do, I wanted to go to the top and stay there.”

While Ward Jr. had his plan, so did the other 17 year old Swiernik and that was to duplicate Ward’s. He also took to the cushion with the other WPC backed mount and he kept his sites on his good friend.

When the red flag came out for a flipped Patrick Vigneault, the two were on the front row for the restart which under 2011 ESS rules is double file. Ward Jr. chose outside but that didn’t prove to be the best.

When the green lights shined, Swiernik pulled ahead. “I saw that there was still some moisture down low and he (Dylan) got me coming off.” Ward noted. “But, when he slid up in front that took his momentum away, I just waited and got back around.”

Ward Jr. then went right back up top to lead the final ten laps and the win that netted him just shy of $2,000. For Swiernik, it was all smiles as well. “To take second behind Kevin is great. I just have to thank his whole family. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t even be here as they helped sponsor my trip.” said the happy runner-up finisher who hails from the same town.

“We worked together on the set-up, our cars were real close and it really worked.” Swiernik said. “This is just a great night…now next time I’m going to have to get my first win!”

Shawn Donath backed up his win the night before with a solid third place finisher which also put him atop the overall point standings. Rounding out the top five were Cory Sparks and Quebec’s own Alain Bergeron.

The next five was Kayle Robidoux, who won the modified feature just prior, Chris Jones, Chuck Hebing, who earned the WestFront Construction Hard Charger bonus coming from 21st., Michael Parent and Matt Tanner.

ESS/Drummond Notes: A total of 25 sprints on hand for night two of a picture perfect weekend…Hebing flipped his sprint in the first heat and went to the back-up car and qualified through the B-Main…Not returning from the previous night were Lance Yonge (his first missed event in many years) and Brian McDonald who also had engine troubles…Taking two top ten finishes over the weekend were Ward Jr., Donath, Sparks, Bergeron and Hebing…Curtis Bradshaw’s mount couldn’t fire all night, after tearing the car apart it was found an electrical problem was the culprit…Next weekend the Lucas Oil Tour will head to Mohawk International Raceway on Friday and then down to the Fulton Speedway on Saturday.

Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Super Star Series A-Main: Kevin Ward Jr., Dylan Swiernik, Shawn Donath, Cory Sparks, Alain Bergeron, Kayle Robidoux, Chris Jones, Chuck Hebing, Michael Parent, Matt Tanner, Devin Caron, Jeff Cook, Anthony Cain, Sylvain Erickson, Dale Gosselin, Lee Ladouceur, Tyler Rand, Francois Bernier, Jim Porter, Patrick Vigneault, Steve Poirier, Mike Stelter.

Did Not Qualify – Daniel Lampron, Donald Lemire, Curtis Bradshaw

Lap Leaders – Poirier 1-6, Ward Jr. 7-25

Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 1 – Poirier, Ward Jr., Donath, Vigneault, Caron, Gosselin
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 2 – Jones, Bergeron, Tanner, Sparks, Bernier, Ladouceur
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 3 – Cook, Parent, Swiernik, Cain, Porter, Robidoux
Fusion Electrique/Ventillation Stallair/Cobra Coaches Dash – Parent
Engine Research B-Main – Stelter, Erickson, Hebing, Rand.


Cook’s Contracting Services Halfway Bonus – Ward Jr. $100

WestFront Construction Hard Charger – Hebing (13 pos.) $50

Ohsweken Speedway Winners Bonus – Ward Jr. $50

Mohawk Racing Parts Pick 5 – Bergeron $50

Engine Research B-Main – Stelter $50

Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heats – Poirier, Jones, Cook $25

HG Associates Fast Time – Ward Jr. (15.661) $25

Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Points: Shawn Donath 553, Alain Bergeron 528, Cory Sparks 519, Chuck Hebing 519, Kevin Ward Jr. 509, Steve Poirier 447, Jeff Cook 370, Michael Parent, 340, Dylan Swiernik 326, Matt Tanner 323.

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, Jasmin Peloquin Sport, FX Chevy and many, many associate sponsors.