From Dean Reynolds
GRANBY, QUE – Taking his first career Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint (ESS) victory Friday night at Autodrome Granby was South Onondaga, NY’s Shawn Donath. The driver of the Doug Emery Motorsports #33 passed crowd favorite Alain Bergeron on lap 14 and won by a comfortable margin in front a big crowd at the popular half-mile oval collecting $1875 in the process.
The victory was the first event on the lucrative four race Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Super Star Series and also Donath gained valuable points in the Northwood 2 Construction Canadian Sprint Series as well as the overall Lucas Oil Cup where he was third in points coming in.
While the large distance over Bergeron made it look like an easy road to victory, it was anything but. “I had a good car, a real good car but I’m learning that you still have to take some chances if you want to win with these guys.” said Donath. “It’s a fine line, you have to be aggressive but when if you go over the limit you can get in trouble big time.”
There were some “on the edge of your seat moments” for Donath, none more exciting than the three-wide battle for the lead on lap three. Jeff Cook was the leader when Bergeron and Donath decided to split the #10 on the front stretch. “That was wild, he (Jeff) gave me a little room on the bottom and I saw Alain go high at the same time.” Donath said on the wild lap three. “Alain’s line was better than mine and he got the lead.”
Donath did eventually get second on lap eight and then set his sights on Bergeron. “I was pretty sure I had the faster car and I could close in but just didn’t have enough to get by… yet.” said Donath emphasizing yet.
The only caution of the race was on lap 13 for a slowed Brian McDonald. On the double-file restart, Bergeron chose the inside lane, Donath was surprised. “I was kind of surprised he did chose the inside, we were both fast up top but I wasn’t going to complain.”
Indeed at the drop of the green flag, Donath dragged Bergeron’s #8B down the front stretch and dove into turn one harder to take the lead, a lead that he wouldn’t surrender.
For the St. Pie, Quebec driver it was a disappointing second, but he knew he got beat by a better car/driver combo on this night. “Second isn’t bad but not what we wanted, he (Shawn) had a better car.” Bergeron said shortly afterwards. “My car got loose and his didn’t, I tried but just couldn’t catch him after he passed me. Oh well, we got second.”
That second place finish actually came down to a photo finish with defending ESS champion and fast closing Steve Poirier. It had to be decided by the transponders only with Bergeron only three thousands of a second ahead.
Poirier was in for third followed by Chuck Hebing and Kevin Ward Jr. Rounding out the top ten were Cook, who started on the pole, Cory Sparks, Lee Ladouceur, first time ever in a sprint for Quebec SpeedSTR veteran Patrick Vigneault and Anthony Cain.
ESS/Granby Notes – A solid field of 27 sprints were in the pits on the first of two events in Quebec…Joining the surprising Vigneault as first time 2011 entrants were Daniel Lampron, Dale Gosselin, Sylvain Erickson, Donald Lemire, Curtis Bradshaw, Jim Porter, Francois Bernier and Kayle Robidoux…Lance Yonge was aboard the Tyler Rand entry and was closing in on a top five finish when the motor let loose…Motor woes also hindered Porter and Robidoux as they didn’t answer the call for the heats…The winged warriors from ESS will visit Granby again on August 5th.
Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Super Star Series A-Main – Shawn Donath, Alain Bergeron, Steve Poirier, Chuck Hebing, Kevin Ward Jr., Jeff Cook, Cory Sparks, Lee Ladouceur, Patrick Vigneault, Anthony Cain, Chris Jones, Devin Caron, Daniel Lampron, Michael Parent, Mike Stelter, Dale Gosselin, Lance Yonge, Dylan Swiernik, Brian McDonald, Tyler Rand, Sylvain Erickson, Matt Tanner.
Did Not Qualify – Donald Lemire, Curtis Bradshaw, Kayle Robidoux, Francois Bernier, Jim Porter.
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 1 – Cain, Tanner, Donath, Ladouceur, Sparks, Caron
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 2 – Poirier, Hebing, Yonge, Cook, Ward Jr., Rand
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 3 – Bergeron, Swiernik, McDonald, Vigneault, Lampron, Parent
Engine Research B-Main – Jones, Gosselin, Stelter, Erickson
Lap Leaders – Cook 1-2, Bergeron 3-13, Donath 14-25.
Cook’s Contracting Services Halfway Bonus – Bergeron $100
WestFront Construction Hard Charger Bonus – Jones (11 pos.) $50
Ohsweken Speedway Winners Bonus – Donath $50
Mohawk Racing Parts Pick 5 – Ward Jr. $50
Engine Research B-Main – Jones $50
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers – Cain, Poirier, Bergeron $25
HG Assoc. Fast Time – Donath (18.221) $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, Jasmin Peloquin Sport, FX Chevy and many, many associate sponsors.