Steve Poirier Strides to his First Empire Super Sprint Championship with Well Earned Victory at Utica-Rome. VERNON, N.Y. -- Taking the lead on a lap 18 restart from Jeff Cook, St. Mathieu de Beloeil, Quebec's Steve Poirier moved closer ...
Steve Poirier Strides to his First Empire Super Sprint Championship with Well Earned Victory at Utica-Rome.
VERNON, N.Y. -- Taking the lead on a lap 18 restart from Jeff Cook, St. Mathieu de Beloeil, Quebec's Steve Poirier moved closer to taking the overall Empire Super Sprint (ESS) championship with his second victory of the Labor Day Weekend Sunday night at the Utica-Rome Speedway. In a wild three-car battle which included past Utica winner Chuck Hebing, Poirier's FM Industries Eagle wasn't going to be denied and he took home his eighth career ESS triumph.
There was some irony in Poirier's victory. Back on July 1st, he was leading the 25 lap A-Main late in lapped traffic when Hebing took charge and on to the win. Poirier was quick to blame his conservative style in traffic...he made sure that wasn't going to happen a second time in a row. "I can tell you, I was running as hard as I could. I wasn't going to beat myself tonight." said the driver of the colorful #28FM. 'The track was perfect, you could run anywhere and the crew gave me a great car. When you can run as hard as you want, anywhere on the track, it's a good feeling. We switched back to the Eagle and got two wins this weekend which is good for us in the points."
Going into the big three race weekend, Poirier had a slim lead on Jeff VanDusen. But, with the two wins and another top ten the advantage has grown by virtue of VanDusen's lap one incident at Autodrome Granby on Friday. "This is a big step to the championship. This is our goal for the season and it's getting close." Poirier noted on the 20007 tour brought to you by Jacobs Motorsports. "But, we have two point shows left and Jeff as well as Lance (Yonge) is still right there. I could have bad luck also and it's all different again. We just have to make sure the car is good and luck stays on our side."
Cook brought out his brand new Maxim after a wall encounter also at Granby and immediately took off from the pole to take command of the Utica A-Main. The extreme outside of the track was to the liking of Cook and his North Country Welding #10 as he too was looking for the third win of '07. Alain Bergeron, Jessica Zemken, VanDusen and Poirier broke through traffic early on to make it was fun battle behind Cook.
A lap ten restart bunched up the field and enter 13th and 14th place starting Hebing and Jason Barney to the battle which pleased the large crowd on hand. When the green was displayed by Matt Burdick, the top runners were all now under a blanket. The action hit its peek when a wild three wide battle for the lead with Cook, Poirier and Hebing the players just as lap 18 was being scored.
However, the final caution came about just a few seconds after for a spun Normand Beaudreault. This had the field in single file restart formation and this played right into the hand s of Poirier. Getting a good run on Cook, he dove underneath in turn one and he took over the front spot. Poirier then showed some power in make the final five laps a battle for second place.
At the finish, Poirier was home first. Hebing made a last turn, last lap pass on Cook for another fine ESS outing with Cook in for third. VanDusen took fourth with a late charging Jared Zimbardi in for fifth with another strong ESS run for himself. Zemken had to battle a loose front wing for most of the event but a well earned sixth place finish was the end result aboard her Maxim. Barney was seventh as his owner Jeff Walton sponsored the night's action, Tommy Wickham was eighth followed by defending ESS champ in Bergeron and Lance Yonge rounding out the top ten.
Three cautions slowed the action on the fast half-mile. Dan Kaszubinski lost a front end in the Brad Davis #3 on lap two; Michael Parent fell to the same fate on lap 10 with the Beaudreault spin on lap 18.
Taking the $25 to win Car Mate Custom Built Trailer heats were Barney, Bergeron and Justin Barger with Bergeron also winning the Walt's Hobby Dash. Tim Kelly won the KSE Racing Products B-Main.
ESS/UITCA-ROME NOTES: A very talented field of 24 sprints were in the pits on a crystal clear night...A big welcome back to George Suprick for his first ESS start since 2003, but handling problems found him a DNQ. Former ESS A-Main winner Bryan Howland was also on hand for his first start of 2007 along with young up-and-comer Scott Kreutter making his first ever ESS event...Next up for the stars and cars of ESS will be the third annual Arrow Express Canadian Sprint Car Nationals at the Ohsweken Speedway on Sept. 14 and 15. ESS star Steve Poirier is defending champion of the event which will pay $7,000 to the winner...A final two race weekend will wrap up the ESS full point season with a Sept. 21, $2,000 to win stop at Autodrome Edelweiss Speedway followed by a Saturday night visit to the Frogtown International Speedway.
Heat 1 -- Jason Barney, Tommy Wickham, Russ Bennett, Jared Zimbardi, Jessica Zemken, Bubby Kerrick
Heat 2 -- Alain Bergeron, Steve Poirier, Jeff VanDusen, Dan Kaszubinski, Michael Parent, John Karklin Jr.
Heat 3 -- Justin Barger, Jeff Cook, Chuck Hebing, Lance Yonge, Jami Russell, Bryan Howland
Walt's Hobby Dash -- Bergeron
B-Main -- Tim Kelly, Scott Kreutter, Mike Stelter, Cory Sparks
Did Not Qualify -- George Suprick
A-MAIN -- STEVE POIRIER, Chuck Hebing, Jeff Cook, Jeff VanDusen, Jared Zimbardi, Jessica Zemken, Jason Barney, Tommy Wickham, Alain Bergeron, Lance Yonge, John Karklin Jr., Cory Sparks, Bryan Howland, Mike Stelter, Tim Kelly, Scott Kreutter, Bubby Kerrick, Russ Bennett, Jami Russell, Normand Beaudreault, Justin Barger, Michael Parent, Dan Kaszubinski