Make it a Canadian Hat Trick for Jeff VanDusen, Beats Justin Barger in a Wild Finish for ESS win at Ohsweken OHSWEKEN, ON. -- In an absolute thriller of an A-Main finish, Jeff VanDusen and Justin Barger swapped the lead twice on the final lap...
Make it a Canadian Hat Trick for Jeff VanDusen, Beats Justin Barger in a Wild Finish for ESS win at Ohsweken
OHSWEKEN, ON. -- In an absolute thriller of an A-Main finish, Jeff VanDusen and Justin Barger swapped the lead twice on the final lap Friday night during the Lucas Oil Canadian Invasion Series event for the Empire Super Sprints at the Ohsweken Speedway. With the big crowd on edge, it was VanDusen's wild dive underneath in turn three while coming down for the checkered flag proving to be the winning move to collect his third feature victory in a row.
Even though he took the bridesmaid spot in the overall point standings the past two seasons, the second-generation VanDusen is out in force to improve that one spot on the tour brought to you by Jacobs Motorsports. Taking the lead from pole starting Barger on lap 15, his Maxim #56D appeared to be destined for that third consecutive victory until lapped cars came into play and Barger was able to close in to make it a finish for the history books.
"My car could only run way down on the bottom, if I moved up it would be way too loose. So when I came up to lap some cars I knew I might be in trouble." VanDusen reflected on the closing stages. "I had to go up a lane to get by one car and Justin went under me in turn one to get by. I just tried to hit my line, drive hard down the backstretch and was able to do the same to him in turn three. It was tight down there but it worked and we are able to get three wins in a row."
For VanDusen, who led the overall points coming into the event at the Glenn Styres promoted facility, it seems to be a season where there is a mission. "Of course your goal is the championship, especially since we were second two years in a row. But, we are out to do the best we car at every race, we have a good team right now where it's all clicking." said VanDusen. "Carl (Schultz, his owner) is giving me good equipment and having my dad come along this year has been a big help too. He just knows what will happen with the track, telling me where I should race or what to look for in changes. I think that little bit is helping me this year."
By virtue of the nightly pill draw a full inversion of the field found Barger and VanDusen in the front row. When the green lights came on it was Barger taking control as he took to the high side of the fast 3/8ths mile oval. The high line wasn't as good for VanDusen however as Steve Poirier swept by to the runner up slot on lap two. With his car not reacting, VanDusen took to the extreme inside and found a groove where his Gabriel's IGA Market mount would be strong. He got back by Poirier on lap 11 and the challenge was on.
As the laps clicked on, VanDusen started to close in on the Barger and when lap 15 was going in the books he came out of four inching ahead for the lead. After that it was a classic chase, VanDusen down low, Barger up on he cushion slinging his mount in the corners. When the leading duo approached the slower cars the drama hit its peek on lap 24. With the white flag waving high in the air, Barger slipped under in turn one to grab the lead but it was VanDusen's move in turn three that brought him to career win #11 on the ESS tour.
At the finish it was VanDusen by a narrow margin over Barger. Chuck Hebing came from his 12th place starting spot to third to collect the Lane's Yamaha Hard Charger bonus with Lance Yonge nipping Poirier for fourth. Rounding out the top ten were Michael Parent, Jeff Cook, Alain Bergeron, Mike Stelter with the Bliss Bros. #6 and Bubby Kerrick.
Just two cautions slowed the 25 lap A-Main: Stelter looped his sprinter on lap one collecting Fred Cade with only Stelter able to continue. On lap nine Jared Zimbardi also spun around but he too continued.
Taking the Car Mate Custom Built Trailers heats were Kerrick, Bergeron and Poirier, Poirier also won the Arrow Express/Walt's Hobby Dash with Tom Huppunen winning the KSE Racing Products B-Main.
OHSWEKEN/ESS NOTES: A total of 24 sprints in the pits on a picture perfect night...Great support from the Southern Ontario Sprints and from Western Ontario with Huppunen, Cade, Kevin Job, Rob Pietz, Daryl Turford, Brad Malloy, Stan Zanchin and Derek Jonathan all making their first ESS starts of 2007...Jamie Collard made hard contact with the turn four wall and flipped over in heat three for the only red flag of the night...With the victory, VanDusen is a guaranteed starter in the Pro-Syn Oil Scramble held on August 25th at the Genesee Speedway...Along with VanDusen, Barger and Hebing will be a part of the Village Pizza Ohsweken Shootout held during the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals...ESS will be back at Ohsweken as a part of the very successful Nationals sponsored by Arrow Express on Sept. 14 & 15 where ESS star Steve Poirier is defending Nationals champion.
Heat 1 -- Bubby Kerrick, Jeff VanDusen, Tommy Wickham, Glenn Styres, Jared Zimbardi, Rob Pietz.
Heat 2 -- Alain Bergeron, Lance Yonge, Justin Barger, Mike Stelter, Fred Cade, Daryl Turford.
Heat 3 -- Steve Poirier, Chuck Hebing, Jeff Cook, Michael Parent, Kevin Job, Brad Malloy.
Arrow Express/Walt's Hobby Dash -- Poirier.
B-Main -- Tom Huppunen, Cory Sparks, Stan Zanchin, Keith Dempster.
Did Not Qualify -- Derek Jonathan, Jamie Collard.
A-MAIN -- Jeff VanDusen, Justin Barger, Chuck Hebing, Lance Yonge, Steve Poirier, Michael Parent, Jeff Cook, Alain Bergeron, Mike Stelter, Bubby Kerrick, Rob Pietz, Jared Zimbardi, Tommy Wickham, Brad Malloy, Glenn Styres, Kevin Job, Keith Dempster, Tom Huppunen, Stan Zanchin, Cory Sparks, Daryl Turford, Fred Cade.