BY MIKE MALLETT
WEST LEBANON, NY – Before Saturday’s Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint event at the Lebanon Valley Speedway, Chuck Hebing had never laid his eyes on the prestigious, half-mile high-banked oval.
One couldn’t tell that in the 25-lap Herrington Farms/Camara Slate A-Main event as he looked like he turned hundreds of laps at the Howard Commander owned facility to go on to earn his first victory of the 2011 season.
“This is a pretty entertaining night,” said Hebing who earned $1750 on the night. “I gave the lead up early to Barger but his car was going away and it finally ran out of fuel. So they decided to make a scene and ruin the rest of the night for us Sprint Car guys. I’m happy to get a win though.”
Hebing and Anthony Cain came to the green on the front row with Hebing diving low in turn one and taking the race lead away. He set a torrid pace in the early laps of the event.
Hebing paced the field for the first five laps while Justin Barger moving into the runner-up spot after starting fourth. They were in the first two positions on lap eight when traffic became a factor.
As Hebing worked in traffic, Barger stalked him from the runner-up position. On lap 10 Barger nearly took the lead as they were side-by-side off of turn four. Hebing held him off to this point.
Barger made his move for the lead in traffic on lap 16. Hebing got pinned behind a slower car and Barger dove low in turns one and two and took the top position away.
“I had some trouble with the lapped cars and it really made it tough” stated Hebing. “I gave up the lead there to Barger because of it.”
One lap later the caution flag came out as Alain Bergeron exploded a left rear tire while coming down the front straightaway.
A double file-restart was used but the yellow quickly came right back out as Matt Tanner and Jason Herrington tangled at the bottom of turns one and two while Josh Pieniazek and Tommy Wickham both ended up in the outside wall.
Once the accident scene was cleared away Barger again pulled away from Hebing as he opened up a couple car length advantage on the field. He was the leader when another caution came out on lap 20 for Anthony Cain has he had a motor let go while running in the top five.
Another double file restart was instituted and it was Barger on point with Hebing in tow. Hebing got a great jump and stayed with Barger through turns one and two. Then down the backstretch Hebing was able to drive by for the lead.
With 21 laps complete Russ Bennett and Cory Sparks spun off of turn two and again forced the field to slow the pace. As the race went back to green Barger, who was second at the time ran out of fuel forcing the caution to quickly come back out on lap 22.
At this point Barger stopped at the flag stand and proceeded to exit his race car. His crew also brought their push vehicle onto the speedway and as a result he was disqualified from competition for the remainder of the evening.
After a delay in the program to deal with the situation by Barger and his crew the red flag had to be displayed as drivers were forced to turn over 10 more laps under caution. A fuel stop was instituted and all drivers were re-fired.
Hebing led the field to the green with Steve Poirier in second after starting the event from the 21 starting spot. Poirier did all he could in the closing laps but he was unable to challenge Hebing for the victory.
“No doubt especially with those double-file restarts,” said Hebing in regards to Poirier trying to take the win from him. “You still got to beat him at the end of the day and it was good to beat Steve (Poirier). This is a tough place and I’m glad to get out of here with a win.”
At the checkered it was Hebing securing the win in his Roush-Yates Ford powered No. 45 and Poirier, of St. Mathieu de Beloeil, QC., finishing in second.
“This track is tough to pass but I think I had the best car on the race track,” commented Poirier of his AMB Moteurs powered Eagle. “Kevin (Loveys) prepared me a really good car. I was surprised I was able to pass so many cars and it is a good feeling to be in second at the end.”
Poirier admitted after the event he drove too hard the final few laps attempting to get by Hebing and as a result lost ground before the checked flag.
“On the first restart I wanted to stay with him and try and get him on the bottom because he (Hebing) was loose on the outside,” said Poirier. “On the second lap after the restart I think I got to anxious and drove the car in too hard in the corner. I wanted to repay him for a couple of races he has stolen from me at the end but I’m happy to finish second.”
Kevin Ward Jr., started seventh and finished in third. He challenged Poirier in the closing laps for the runner-up position but he was unable to secure the spot.
“The car was real good there at the end,” stated Ward. “I found the upper-line and it was a little better than the bottom for me. The car was real fast and happy to get a third place finish.”
Young Dylan Swiernik started 22nd and moved steadily forward thrilling crowd with his wild cushion slamming run the to earn the fourth spot at the checkered flag while Bergeron, of St. Pie, QC., recovered from the flat tire to finish in the fifth position.
Rounding out the top ten were current point leader Shawn Donath, Jeff Cook, Tanner, who had many fans in the stands as he lives a mere 10 minutes from the track, Bennett and Sparks.
ESS/Lebanon Valley Notes: A good field of 26 sprints played host to a big crowd on a regular Sat. night for the West Lebanon, NY speedway…Making first starts in 2011 were Bennett, Herrington as a teammate to Donath, George Suprick, Jami Russell along with James and Lacey Hanson with Clay Dow making his first ever ESS start…A flat tire forced Poirier to the B-Main which set up his charge to the front in the A-Main…Next weekend some of the stars from the Lucas Oil Tour will head out to the Northern Summer Nationals at Ohsweken and South Buxton Raceway…Then the full point schedule will get going again on the Fourth of July weekend with stops at Can-Am and Utica-Rome.
Herrington Farms/Camara Slate A-Main – Chuck Hebing, Steve Poirier, Kevin Ward Jr., Dylan Swiernik, Alain Bergeron, Shawn Donath, Jeff Cook, Matt Tanner, Russ Bennett, Cory Sparks, Warren Alexson, Mike Stelter, Michael Parent, Jami Russell, Clay Dow, Anthony Cain, George Suprick, Jason Herrington, Tommy Wickham, Josh Pieniazek, Jared Fink, Lance Yonge, Justin Barger DQ.
Did Not Qualify – James Hanson, Lacey Hanson, Dick Spadaro.
Car Mate Custom Built Trailer Heat 1 – Sparks, Barger, Parent, Donath, Yonge, Fink.
Car Mate Custom Built Trailer Heat 2 – Hebing, Cain, Ward Jr., Cook, Herrington, Pieniazek
Car Mate Custom Built Trailer Heat 3 – Bergeron, Suprick, Alexson, Tanner, Russell, Dow
PowderTech Coatings/Cobra Coaches Dash – Bergeron
Engine Research B-Main – Bennett, Wickham, Poirier, Swiernik
Added Starter – Stelter.
Lap Leader – Hebing 1-14, 22-25.
Cook’s Contracting Services Halfway – Hebing $100
WestFront Construction Hard Charger – Poirier (19 pos.) $50
Ohsweken Speedway Winners Bonus – Hebing $50
Mohawk Racing Parts Pick 5 – Bergeron $50
Engine Research B-Main – Bennett $50
Car Mate Trailers Heats – Sparks, Hebing, Bergeron $25
HG Assoc. Fast Time – Hebing (18.899) $25
Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint Points: Shawn Donath 763, Chuck Hebing 751, Kevin Ward Jr., 703, Cory Sparks 694, Alain Bergeron 686, Steve Poirier 574, Michael Parent 450, Jeff Cook, 448, Lance Yonge 393, Dylan Swiernik 393.
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.