Last Friday night at Autodrome Granby A FIRST CAREER WIN FOR MARIO LAJOIE GRANBY, Que., June 26, 1999 -- It was a night of Â¨premieres Â¨ last Friday at Autodrome Granby. In fact, for Mario Lajoie of Upton, it took five seasons in the Modified...
Last Friday night at Autodrome Granby A FIRST CAREER WIN FOR MARIO LAJOIE
GRANBY, Que., June 26, 1999 -- It was a night of ¨premieres ¨ last Friday at Autodrome Granby. In fact, for Mario Lajoie of Upton, it took five seasons in the Modified class to finally have the feeling of a first presence in the winner's circle. The other ¨premieres ¨ concerned the appearance of the Empire Super Sprints. A new record was established with 32 drivers on hand for this spectacular evening and Mike Stelter, the feature winner, like Lajoie had his first career win with the ESS.
In the 30-lap feature for Modified, Pierre Hebert, the pole sitter, took advantage of his position to take the early lead at the green flag. After a few minutes, Hebert saw Denis Labonte in his rear bumper within the first 8 laps, Mario Lajoie and Steve Poirier battled for the 3rd place. Then, Labonte started to slow down giving the chance to Lajoie to get in 2nd position, the next lap. A few moments later, precisely on lap 14, Lajoie was able to get by Hebert for the lead which he never gave up till the end.
Lajoie concentrated himself on his leading position and certainly tried to avoid the mistake of last week race. During the second half of that race without any yellow flags, it's with success that Lajoie was able to resist to the pressure of veteran Claude Brouillard. Again, Brouillard who is still looking for his first win since the 1993 season, saw the opportunity go away and had to please himself with the second place finish. Steve Poirier finished third followed by Alain Boisvert, Hugues Mercier and American driver, Dave Camara, the defending champion at Autodrome Granby.
Due to an eighth place finish in this feature race, Marco Potvin was not able to remain in first place in the Molson standings and was replaced by Poirier. There is nothing sure so far because Poirier has only a point's lead on Potvin and 16 on Camara. Brouillard is still a serious candidate with 420 points, only 35 points behind Poirier in this early stage of the season.
For the third consecutive week, Clement Therrien was the winner in the Modified 358. With a 9th place finish overall and a 22nd for Luke Plante, Therrien was able to take back part of lost ground in the standings. Therrien also won the special 15-lap feature for Modified 358 and is now assured of a starting position for the Super Dirt Week in Syracuse. Earlier in the evening, Pierre Hebert, Mario Lajoie and Alain Boisvert were the winners in their respective heats.
Playing smart paid a lot for Louis Bouthillier in the Sportsman division. The Roxton Falls driver was able to clinch his 6th success of the season after an 11th place start in the 20- lap feature. Like he did so well since the beginning of the season, Bouthillier concentrated himself to gain positions and with four laps remaining, he was able to take the lead from Mario Moreau who finished second followed by Roch Poulin.
For Jocelyn Roy, every race is different. Last Friday, he was in the winner's circle for the first time this season while a week before, he was disqualified by DIRT officials for misconduct. Ian Bussiere was second followed by Daniel Messier.
As mentionned at the beginning, Granby's fans were witnesses to two ¨premieres¨ as the 9th appearance of the Empire Super Sprints is concerned at Autodrome Granby. After seeing the most important field ever of sprint cars, they had the privilege to witness the first career win of Mike Stelter in the ESS organization in a 20-lap feature without any caution flag.
Sixth on the grid, Stelter took only one lap to get by Wes Link, the pole sitter. Then, he never had to look back and fans focussed on watching the ascension of Craig Keel and Mike Woodring, two favorites at Granby. By lap 7, Keel was already in second place after a tenth place start while Woodring was still caught in traffic. But a few laps later, the ESS champion was able to move in 3rd position and concentrate his efforts on Keel's second spot. He came close to achieve his goal but, it was already too late.
MODIFIED (30 laps)
1- 72, Mario Lajoie 2- 3, Claude Brouillard 3- 28, Steve Poirier 4- 66, Alain Boisvert 5- 50, Hugues Mercier 6- 26, Dave Camara 7- 1, David Hebert 8- 25, Marco Potvin 9- 39, Clement Therrien 10- 71, Pierre Hebert 11- 27, Robert Ranger 12- 7, Denis Labonte 13- 57, Gerry Patenaude 14- 11j, Jerry Pinnock 15- 44j, Gino Clair 16- 13, Richard Chauvin 17- 22, Mario Clair 18- 16, Eric Sundborg 19- 02, Mike Reyell 20- 23, Renald Daoust 21- 4, Leon Gonyo 22- 24, Luke Plante 23- 21, Jacques Poulin 24- 85, Alain Langlois 25- 75, Gene Munger 26- 61, Marc Nadeau 27- 46, Kayle Robidoux 28- 24l, Carl Labonte.
EMPIRE SUPER SPRINTS (20 laps)
1- 36, Mike Stelter 2- 9, Craig Keel 3- 19, Mike Woodring 4- 41, Mike Lauterborn 5- 10, Rob Dietrick 6-11, Chris Shuttleworth 7- 12, Tim Kelly 8- 20, Dan Kaszubinski 9- 57, Tom Taber 10- 21, RC Faigle 11- 91, Scott Holcomb 12- 5, Lance Younge 13- 44, Gary Troutman 14- 45, Todd Bauer 15- 14, Doug Emery 16- 61, Bubby Konrick 17- 56, Mike Van Doren 18- 7, Bobby Podolak 19- 80s, Kris Don 20- 27, Rick Wilson 21- 82, Tim Zimbardi 22- 34, Bud Liuk 23- 6, Rich Wood.