Steve Poirier Wins ESS Thriller at Autodrome Granby

ess 2011 empire super sprints

By Dean Reynolds

GRANBY, QUE – The exciting 25 lap Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (ESS) Friday night at Autodrome Granby came down to a lap 23 restart with leader Chuck Hebing and Steve Poirier ready to take the green on the double file restart. What happened at the drop of the green flag led to the Quebec fans standing on their feet cheering wildly…The FM Industries #28FM got the jump, took the lead and on to the very popular victory.

The win for the defending champion from St. Mathieu del Beloeil, Quebec was his sixth on the 2011 season and not only gave him important points towards the overall championship but also the Northwood 2 Construction/LaSalle Motorsports Canadian Sprint Car Series and also the Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Super Star Series.

“The double file restarts helped me for sure. I had a good car but when the track is nice like tonight everyone can be fast and tough to pass.” noted Poirier. “The restarts late helped me a bunch. This was Chuck’s (Hebing) race, it was all on the restarts.”

Hebing’s Wilkins RV Center #45 led from the start of the event and during each caution he choose the outside lane for the restart. “I thought he would take the outside again and I thought that might be good for me, there was some good bite down low coming out of turn four and was hoping it would work for me.” Poirier said.

When the lights turned green the two came off side by side and then Hebing’s car moved to the outside but he didn’t have the run down the front stretch. That was enough for Poirier to lead at the start/finish stripe and going into turn one he went to the cushion, the line that Hebing preferred.

With a clear track Poirier opened up a slight lead on the final lap to take what was a very popular victory in front of the huge Granby crowd. For Hebing, second what wasn’t the end result, but being the currect ESS point leader it was still needed.

“That was a tough one, Steve did what he needed to do on that last restart.” Hebing noted on not getting the edge. “His right rear touched my left rear just a little bit and that was enough for him to get a jump on me. Hey, we are going for the win and he got me on this one. Next time it could be different.”

“But, for the point deal it didn’t hurt us to much, we are doing what we need to do is finish each race and finish up front.” noted the Ontario, NY star “It’s getting down toward the end of the season and when you’re leading the points you start looking at the championship and that would be nice. We will see what happens.”

The winner here in June, Shawn Donath, started in third, finished in third and held on to his third place in the overall points as well. “This is nice but when the guys you’re chasing in points finished ahead of you, that’s not good. We will see what happens tomorrow.” said the driver of the Doug Emery Motorsports #33.

Rounding out the top ten were hometown favorite Michael Parent and Cory Sparks who earned the hard charger honors after starting in 17th. The next five was made up of Alain Bergeron, Mike Stelter, Patrick Vigneault, Matt Tanner and Jeff Cook.

Two yellows and one red slowed the pace, Kevin Ward Jr. hit the turn three wall hard while running second to Hebing on lap five causing the red lights to come on. The defending Rookie of the Year climbed from his car. Tyler Rand had a flat tire on lap 21 and Brian McDonald spun on lap 23 making for the yellow lights to come on.

ESS/Granby Notes – 20 cars in the pits for the second visit to the Dominic Lussier promoted half-mile…Jake Langlois and Michael Forcier made their first start of 2011…Several competitors had problems and were either in the pits or didn’t make it to the track. Curtis Bradshaw’s hauler broke down on the way, Kayle Robidoux drew for his starting position but found an engine problem in the shop late and his car never made it to the field. Daniel Lampron had a tire and rim explode in his shop causing for surgery on his right hand. Anthony Cain is still waiting on his motor to come back from the shop and he was a spectator…Mike Stelter was getting crew help from former ESS regular Donny Sharp Jr.

Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Five Star Series A-Main – Steve Poirier, Chuck Hebing, Shawn Donath, Michael Parent, Cory Sparks, Alain Bergeron, Mike Stelter, Patrick Vigneault, Matt Tanner, Jeff Cook, Dale Gosselin, Paul Pekkonen, Donald Lemire, Francois Bernier, Brian McDonald, Devin Caron, Tyler Rand, Kevin Ward Jr., Michael Forcier, Jake Langlois.

Lap Leaders: Hebing 1-23, Poirier 24-25.

Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 1 – Ward Jr., Cook, Hebing, Rand, Pekkonen, Forcier, Langlois

Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 2 – Poirier, Donath, Parent, Bernier, Vigneault, Sparks

Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 3 – Bergeron, Tanner, Gosselin, Stelter, Caron, Lemire, McDonald.

Westward Painting Corp. Halfway – Hebing $100

WestFront Construction Hard Charger – Sparks (12 pos.) $50

Ohsweken Speedway Winners Bonus – Poirier $50

Mohawk Racing Parts Pick 5 – Sparks $50

Car Mate Custom Built Trailers – Ward Jr., Poirier, Bergeron $25

HG Associates Fast Time – Hebing (17.518) $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, Westward Painting Corporation, 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, Riverside Bar and Grill, Coffrage Daniel Lampron, Jasmin Peloquin Sport, FX Chevy and many, many associate sponsors.