Eighteen Year Old Blake Breen up to the ESS/PSG/Black Rock Sprint Challenge; Dominates Earl Halaquist Memorial. DUNDEE, N.Y. -- It was a defense of his home turf and eighteen year old Blake Breen did just that with authority by taking home a ...
Eighteen Year Old Blake Breen up to the ESS/PSG/Black Rock Sprint Challenge; Dominates Earl Halaquist Memorial.
DUNDEE, N.Y. -- It was a defense of his home turf and eighteen year old Blake Breen did just that with authority by taking home a convincing victory in the special Empire Super Sprints (ESS)/Patriot Sprint Group (PSG) /Black Rock Speedway sprint challenge Saturday night at the Black Rock Speedway. Starting third with his Pearl Industries, J&J chassis sprinter, Breen took the lead on the very first lap and never looked back winning the event paying tribute to the famed Earl Halaquist.
A special event as a part of the Nextel Cup visit to Watkins Glen Speedway, the largest crowd of the year came to the ultra-quick oval in Dundee, N.Y. and the stars from all three groups put on a memorable show.
Breen was coming off his first ever 360 sprint win just a mere seven days prior and now the former mini-sprint competitor is starting to make some noise in his rookie effort. Along with his younger brother Bobby, the Breen family team have been fixtures at Black Rock each and every week with their cars prepared by former World of Outlaw star and ESS champion Craig Keel. The two sprinters have shown speed right out of the box and now with Blake defeating some of the best sprint drivers in the Northeast headlines are staring to be made.
The front row of the 25 lap, $2,095 to win A-Main was made up of ESS competitors Bubby Kerrick and Jeff Cook, but at the drop of the green flag the two made contact going into turn two which opened up the door for Breen to sweep around and into the lead. ESS star and former Black Rock modified champion Lance Yonge also got by to pick up the chase.
"I saw the two cars (Kerrick and Cook) get together and I just stood on the gas and hoped to get through." said Breen on the happenings of the original start. "We were lucky to get through and take the lead. Then I knew I just had to run as hard as I could because with all these good drivers here you that has to be your strategy."
Although he's a rookie on paper, on the track he took to this challenge like a seasoned veteran. Not even two early restarts on lap two and three would hinder the effort and with the final 22 laps going under the green lights it was an all out dash to the checkered flag.
Breen's outside lane was just a little faster than Yonge's on an open track who was a bit lower on the 4/10ths mile. While most drivers will tell you that it's an advantage to be second when it comes to slower traffic, the outside line of Breen saw him power his way through the field without any troubles. "The lapped cars always get you worried, you want to make sure to get by them and also you have tow worry if someone is catching up." noted the young chauffeur. "I looked at the scoreboard a few times and saw Lance was there most of the race but then I noticed that George (Suprick) got by. That wasn't what I wanted to see."
With just seven laps to go, Suprick, who leads the Patriot and Black Rock points, shot around Yonge in lapped traffic and tried to close in on the leader. But while Breen did have his doubts, the big lead he already had never shrunk and he went on to his biggest win of his young career.
"This is just amazing, to win my first ever race just last week and now to win a challenge race with all these cars in the pits. I just can't believe it." A happy winner noted. "I just have to thank my family and crew, it's our first year but Bobby and I have some of the best equipment and it's help in making us fast. Hopefully there will be some more wins before the year is out."
Breen won by a full strait away over Suprick, who clinched the Black Rock title with his runner-up finish, Yonge took third ahead of PSG regular and former ESS rookie of the year Kyle Drum and Cook hung on for fifth. The next five were United Racing Club (URC) point leader Curt Michael, R.C Faigle, the ever exciting Chuck Hebing who came from the C-Main to his well earned eighth place finish, Bobby Breen and Kerrick.
The two cautions were minor in nature; On lap one, six-time ESS champion Mal Lane and Tim Zimbardi came into contact off turn four. Lane did return to the feature event. On lap three Ray Preston looped his sprinter around in turn two, he too returned.
URC star Kevin Welsh timed the fastest at 13.938 to collect $800 in prize money. PSG regular Jared Zimbardi took home $500 for second fast time with Connecticut sprint rookie Doug Norrie getting $300 for third fastest.
Winning the heat events were ESS veteran Bobby Podolak, PSG's Tim Zimbardi, Lane, Quebec ESS star Alain Bergeron and Michael. The C-Main was copped by Hebing with Chris Muhlheisen winning the B-Main.
EARL HALAQUIST MEMORIAL NOTES: A large field of 48 sprinters filled the pit area--24 from PSG, 20 ESS competitors, Lane who is a Black Rock regular only and three from URC made up the log--With Hurricane Charley coming up the East Coast, URC's event at New Egypt was cancelled early, along with Michael and Welsh, Justin Collett made the tow North--Thanks to many that contributed, the time trials paid out $1600 to the top three fastest--ESS driver Justin Barger was the only flip victim on the night as he rolled on the front stretch during his heat event--With the quality field on hand, the drivers not qualifying looked like a who's who, some of the names were Welsh, Barger, Doug Emery, Dan Kaszubinski, Rick Wilson, Bill Coffey, John Karklin Jr., Billy Krull, Rich Swarthout and Don Sharp Jr. to name a few--Hebing hurt a rear end during his heat and was thought to be scratched for the night. Quick work by the crew got him back into competition and he then went on to pass a total 20 cars in the C & B Mains to make the A. Then he went from 21st to 8th at the checkered flag--.The next big sprint event at Black Rock will be the sixth annual Bully Hill Nationals which well be held on September 10 and 11. The winner of Saturday's 35 lap event will take home over $4,000.
Fast Time -- Kevin Welsh 13.938
Heat 1 -- Bobby Podolak, Matt Norrie, Lance Yonge, Bobby Breen.
Heat 2 -- Tim Zimbardi, Bubby Kerrick, Mike Stelter, Ray Preston.
Heat 3 -- Mal Lane, George Suprick, Blake Breen, Nick Fratto.
Heat 4 -- Alain Bergeron, R.C. Faigle, Jeff Cook, Kyle Moffit.
Heat 5 -- Curt Michael, Kyle Drum, Justin Collett, Jeff VanDusen.
C-Main -- Chuck Hebing, Gary Troutman, Phil Mott, Tom Krause.
B-Main -- Chris Muhlheisen, Hebing, Don Adamcyck, Jared Zimbardi.
Did Not Qualify -- John Karklin Jr., Bill Coffey, Kevin Welsh, Doug Norrie, Mark Bragman, Alex Mosher, Doug Emery, Bobby Parrow, Wade Dates, Gary Troutman, Brian Dumigan, Randy Years, Tim Kelly, Bryan Howland, Billy Krull, Phil Mott, Don Sharp Jr., Tom Krause, Justin Barger, Dan Kaszubinski, Rich Swarthout, Curt Shuttleworth, George Ely, Rick Wilson.
A-MAIN -- BLAKE BREEN, Suprick, Yonge, Drum, Cook, Michael, Faigle, Hebing, Bobby Breen, Kerrick, VanDusen, Stelter, Collett, Bergeron, Moffit, Muhlheisen, Lane, Adamcyck, J. Zimbardi, Preston, Norrie, Fratto, T. Zimbardi, Podolak.
Lap Leader -- Blake Breen 1-25.