By Rich Vleck
LITTLE VALLEY, NY (July 2, 2011)- With passing at a premium on Saturday Night at Little Valley Speedway, Justin Barger knew it would take a thorough maneuver to grab the lead from Dain Naida; after three laps of setting up the pass, he got out in front and scored the win in thrilling fashion.
Barger, of Montrose, NY, captured his fifth career Patriot Sprint Tour win Saturday Night at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds, taking the lead initially to complete lap 17 of the 20 lap feature and then securing the top spot for good a lap later.
“I knew it was going to be tough to pass (Naida), so I knew I just had to ‘bonsai’ him to get by,” admitted Barger in Victory Lane. “I tried to show him the nose a few times to set him up but then he crossed us up and took the lead back so I had to make sure I stayed in front the next time around.”
After moving up from fifth to third in his heat race, Barger redrew the sixth starting spot for the A-Main but quickly jumped into fourth place early in the feature. Naida would pace the field in his 07x from the drop of the initial green flag, but it was hometown favorite Jared Zimbardi reeling him in before the first caution flag of the event flew on lap nine for a Vern Wasson spin in turn four.
On the lap 10 restart, Barger executed an impressive slidejob off of turn two to take second away from Zimbardi. Barger would then try to close in on Naida, but it was to no avail before the second caution flag waved on lap 13 for a Kyle Moffit spin.
Naida was again strong on the lap 14 restart but once he got the momentum built back up in his Cortlandt Auto Body No. 32, Barger began to bid for the lead. On lap 17, Barger drove underneath Naida in turn one and slid up in front of the leader in turn two. Unfazed by the maneuver, Naida dove back underneath, thrilling the impressive crowd as they dueled down the backstretch. When the duo reached the start/finish line to complete the lap, Barger was inches ahead, but the next time by he would have four car lengths on Naida.
“He was clearly faster than us,” said Naida after the race. “We had a really good car and I was just hoping that with it being tough to pass I could do enough to hold on. Hopefully that was a good show for the fans.”
In the final two laps, Naida would have heavy competition for the runner-up spot as Jason Barney would take the position away briefly. For the second stand-alone PST race in a row though, Naida would regain a spot in the top five and would hold off Barney, who would have to settle for third.
After suffering engine issues in his No. 87 back in April, Barney admitted that he was a little rusty upon his return to his potent ride and thus was satisfied with his third-place effort.
PST Point Leader Jared Zimbardi would slide back to finish in fourth. After appearing to be the dominant car in the first half of the race, the Little Valley resident was scratching his head afterwards wondering what happened on the lap 10 restart, when Barger and Barney got by. His only theory was that perhaps his tires had sealed over under the caution period.
Bryan Howland would round out the top five in his No. 51. After dominating National Parts Peddler Heat Race One, The four-time PST Champion appeared to be the favorite come feature time, but the redraw would be unkind to the Auburn, NY driver, as he would have to start eighth. Howland quickly moved up to sixth but had his progress slowed from there.
Tim Kelly would settle for sixth after running up to as high as second in the first five laps. Scott Kreutter would rim-ride up to seventh while Don Adamczyk would cross in eighth after another unlucky redraw hurt his chances at another top-five.
Jared Fink picked up a ninth-place showing in his first PST start of the year, while sophomore shoe Shayne Ely rounded out the top-10.
Vern Wasson picked up his second Original Pizza Logs Four Laps of Fame Dash win of the year. Also of note, Kelly Woodard made his first PST start in a second Jeff Frasier entry.
A total of 18 cars helped to fill the pits on a humid night in Cattaraugus County. Clear skies gave way to ominous clouds towards feature time, but the speedway would we spared from rain until well after racing was completed.
For more information, visit www.PatriotSprintTour.com
Patriot Sprint Tour Results: 7/2/11, Little Valley Speedway, Little Valley, NY.
Kill Buck Outlet A-Main (20 Laps)- 1. Justin Barger (32), 2. Dain Naida (07x), 3. Jason Barney (87*), 4. Jared Zimbardi (35), 5. Bryan Howland (51), 6. Tim Kelly (12), 7. Scott Kreutter (52), 8. Don Adamczyk (21), 9. Jared Fink (21F), 10. Shayne Ely (V8), 11. Brad Knab (38), 12. Kyle Moffit (7), 13. Steve Collins (67), 14. Mitch Brown (10), 15. Geoge Suprick (87), 16.
Vern Wasson (5), 17. Jeff Frasier (99), 18. Kelly Woodard (99K).
Lap Leaders- Naida 1-16, Barger 17-20.
Original Pizza Logs Four Laps of Fame Dash (4 Laps)- 1. Wasson, 2. Kreutter, 3. Ely, 4. Suprick, 5. Brown, 6. Moffit.
National Parts Peddler Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: 1. Howland, 2. Fink, 3. Barney, 4. Kelly, 5. Kreutter, 6. Suprick, 7. Wasson, 8. Knab, 9. Collins.
Race 2: 1. Zimbardi, 2. Naida, 3. Barger, 4. Moffit, 5. Adamczyk, 6. Ely, 7.
Brown, 8. Frasier, 9. Woodard.