By Tim Baltz
AKWESASNE – Steve Poirier took the checkered flag in a hotly contested Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints race Friday night at Mohawk International Raceway to move into second place on the all-time tour wins roster.
Kevin Ward Jr. jumped out to the early race lead from the pole. It didn't take long for the red to come out as Dylan Swernik continued his rough two-month stretch by flipping in turn four. The car sustained minimal damage and Swernik was able to rejoin at the back of the field.
On the restart Ward continued his great run but the man on the move was Steve Poirier. Poirier charged up to the second spot getting by Jeff Cook and immediately ran down Ward.
On lap six Dylan Swernik's rough night came to an end as he broke a front end on the front straightaway.
On the restart Poirier was able to take away the top spot leaving Ward, Jason Barney, Jeff Cook and Cory Sparks to round out the top five positions.
Poirier had one of the dominant cars all race long and built up a full straightaway lead just past the halfway point. Traffic came into play with nine laps to go as Jason Barney tried reeling in the leader and the battle was on. The final yellow flew on lap 21 for Alain Bergeron as he slowed on the front stretch.
On the final restart Barney tried keeping pace with the leader but nobody was going to stop "FIreball" as Poirier cruised to his fourth win of the year to take sole possession of second on the all time tour win list with his 39th checkered flag.
Barney finished second, Cory Sparks third, Michael Parent and Kevin Ward Jr. rounded out the top five.
The Seaway GM and Performance/Frenchie's Ford "Drive One" Sportsman series was ready to do battle for 40 laps on the night. 40 cars entered and 30 cars made the show. Mathieu Desjardins and Martin Pelletier led the field to the green flag and raced side by side into turn number 1. Pelletier and Desjardins compete weekly on the Quebec circut and would race side by side for the opening 6 laps before Pelletier took control of the event. Lapped traffic played an early role as Pelletier got caught up in the mix allowing Desjardins to take the top spot on lap 12. Darryl Nutting has been competing every week at MIR and after starting in 3rd he silently worked his way to the top spot on lap 14 and started to open up a comfortable margin. Nutting was able to pace himself perfectly through the lapped cars as behind him Shane Pecore was starting to move forward. After drawing the 7th spot earlier in the night Pecore made his way to 2nd and came within 3 car lengths of the leader as the top 5 worked throught lapped traffic with just 10 laps to go. With 5 to go Pecore would get caught in the heavy traffic and that was all Nutting needed as he scored his first Mohawk feature win in the caution free 40 lap affair over Pecore, Corey Wheeler, Pelletier and Desjardins.
In 358 Modified action defending track champion Billy Dunn has been the man to beat having won 4 times including the last 2 in a row, but Jordan McCreadie and Travis Stacey would try to show their muscle at the head of the field as the led all drivers into turn 1. Stacey would get the early advantage as McCreadie, Jeff Sykes, Billy Dunn and Tom Conklin completed the top 5. McCreadie had a strong race car and would use the bottom side off turn 2 to take over the top spot bringing Billy Dunn with him into the number 2 position. The first and only caution flew on lap 8 for Justin Lalancette who slowed in turn 4. On the restart McCreadie held the lead but Dunn was ready to battle. On lap 10 heading into turn 4 McCreadie was committed to the bottom but Dunn had a stronger race car and went to the outside to take over the lead with McCreadie Tom Conklin, Chris Raabe and Carey Terrance rounding out the top 5. Once in front Dunn was able to open up a huge lead on the rest of the field but 2011 track champion Chris Raabe was charging hard. Raabe was able to grab the number 2 spot away just past the halfway point but still had a straightaway to make up on Dunn. Without the aid of a final caution flag Raabe and the rest of the field had no luck in catching Billy Dunn as he recorded his 5th win of the year and 3rd in a row over Raabe, Terrance, Conklin and Mario Clair nipped McCreadie at the line to finish in the 5th position.
In Mod Lite action Dan and Tim Reif led the field to the green in the 12 lap feature go. Dan would get the advantage as the field headed off into turn 1. Joel Hargrave has been the man to beat in the Mod Lite division in 2013 and he quickly charged from his 4th starting spot to grab the lead early on. Behind the leader Mathieu Robinson, a former Mod Lite champion, was working his way forward taking the 2nd spot just past halfway. However Hargrave was able to survive 2 late race cautions and a fast closing Robinson for his 3rd win of 2013. Robinson came home the runner up followed by Dan Reif, Eric Varin and Scott Waldrif.
Next week The Brass Horse Pizzeria and Lounge will present a full program in all five divisions. The green flag flies at 7:30 p.m.
Mohawk International Raceway is in Akwesasne, midway between the Seaway International Bridge and the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino. From Route 37, turn south onto Frogtown Road.
More info: (518) 358-9017.
The Friday night rundown:
Empire Super Sprints
STEVE POIRIER, Jason Barney, Cory Sparks, Michael Parent, Kevin Ward Jr., Paul Kinney, Jeff Cook, Tyler Rand, Sammy Reakes, Lance Yonge, Chuck Hebing, Etienne Girard, Devin Caron, Lee Ladouceur, James Hanson, Alain Bergeron, Dylan Swernik, Patrick Vigneault
BILLY DUNN, Chris Raabe, Carey Terrance, Tom Conklin, Mario Clair, Jordan McCreadie, Brian McDonald, Jeff Sykes, Lance Willix, Zack Aubertine, Ryan Arbuthnot, Travis Stacey, Luke Stewart, Justin Lalancette, David Papineau, Casey Swamp, Matt Woodruff
DARRYL NUTTING, Shane Pecore, Corey Wheeler, Martin Pelletier, Mathieu Desjardins, Brent Kelsey, Dylan Evoy, Reny Montmigny, Louie Jackson Jr., Wyatt Mullin, Mike Arquiett, Joey Ladouceur, Mike Maresca, Sheldon Hoogwerf, Nolan Swamp, Chris Herbison, Ricky Thompson, Jenna David, Jonathan Desilets, Sebastien Bourque, Trevor Arquiett, Zack Arquiett, Pat Dumochel, Mike Stacey, Ronnie Tyo, Bill Mullin, Billy Cook, Delbert Legrow Jr., Robert Delormier, Matthew Larimee
JOEL HARGRAVE, Mathieu Robinson, Dan Reif, Eric Varin, Scott Waldrif, Rejean Lemieux, Harley Brown, Brad Reif, Dave Bell, Derek Ellsworth, Tim Reif