DRUMMONDVILLE, QC – When Quebec’s own Steve Poirier spun around to miss an accident on the first lap of the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint A-Main at Autodome Drummond, many counted him out on getting his first win of 2014. What transpired before a manmouth crowd was one of the most exciting 25 lap finales in the 31 year history of the organization.
Kevin Ward Jr. jumped out from his pole position to claim the top spot at the green. With one lap in the books, James Hanson spun around and there was Poirier spinning to avoid making full contact. His car was ok, but he had to start the event in the rear.
As the green lights shined again, Ward quickly opened up a big lead on what is become one of his favorite tracks on the Tour. As Ward was out by himself, drivers like Alain Bergeron, Michael Parent, Jeff Cook, Jason Barney and Etienne Girard were putting on a torrid battle behind. Oh yea, and here came the #28FM.
Poirier was clicking off competitors at a rapid rate and when the race reached the midway stages he was up to second. Second was a masterful comeback but catching the high flying Ward was another story.
“I was driving very agreesively, I really wanted to put a show on for the fans. Many are here to watch us (Quebec drivers) that race in ESS.” said the defending champion. “I was able to use all of the track to make the passes and my car was working super. I got up to second but I just couldn’t catch Kevin, he was real fast.”
In racing the great equalizer is lapped traffic and as the mid portion of the race went caution free slower cars did figure into the outcome. Not only did it enable Poirier to close in but also Bergeron who was running the extreme inside of the track to make some good moves.
Then on lap 17, Poirier made his move coming down the front stretch getting under Ward’s #13 and taking the lead. The leading trio was dicing it out before the final yellow was thrown on lap 20.
This set the stage for one of the most exciting five tours any sprint fan could see.
When starter Eric Pivin waved the green flag, it was Poirier to the top, Bergeron down low and Ward looking for any lane he could get. With the fans cheering loudly for their favorites, many times the cars were three wide!
At all came down to the last corner of the last lap with Poirier’s high line looking to bbe strongest. Bergeron did get a run on the bottom and Ward was blasting off the top and looking to split the two.
When the double checkered fell, it was Poirier home for the win with Ward actually making contact on his rear bumper with Bergeron just a mere one car length behind.
“I was comfortable up top but when the green came out I saw Alain under me. I was real surprised that he was that good down there.” Poirier continued. “Then with three laps to go something happened to the motor, I think I dropped a cylinder. I couldn’t really come off the corners strong so I think we were lucky. I am not sure if it would have lasted many more laps.”
For Poirier who just collected his 42nd career ESS victory this was special. “This does mean alot, its always good to be home in front of friend and fans. I hope they saw a good race and I want them to see what kind of racing we have with ESS. That was fun with Kevin and Alain and it was good to get a win with our new GF1 chassis.”
For Ward, second is always good but this is his track and he wanted another win here. “Second is ok, but when I come here I want to win. I just like this place, it’s a track where you can stay hard on the gas and that’s what I like to do.”
Ward went on, “Steve got me on the lapped cars. It’s just always good to be second when it comes to that. I thought I could get him with one to go and I tried a hard slider on him but just a little short. Hopefully next time.”
For Bergeron who has cut his schedule down considerably the past few seasons, but he always comes ready to grab the checkered.
“The car was good on the bottom, I tried the top but it was OK.” Bergeron bottom lined. “I was trying hard to get by Steve and the win. I had a good night, this F5 (Chassis) has always been a good car. I really like it.”
At the finish, it was Poirier over Ward Jr. and Bergeron. Then it was Parent with a fine run in front of his native Quebec fans with Cook home for another top five finish. The next five were Barney, Girard, Mario Clair, Dale Gosselin and Yan Bilodeau.
ESS/DRUMMOND NOTES: Making first starts in 2014 were Clair as a teammate to Girard once again, Gosselin and Alain Boisvert…The event at Autodrome Granby the night before was rained out…Next week it’s the tale of two surfaces…Friday night at Mohawk International Raceway on the dirt and then Saturday it’s the second annual Asphalt Assault at Evans Mills Raceway. a $2500 to win, $500 to start event.
Lucas Oil ESS A-Main – Steve Poirier ($1825). Kevin Ward Jr., Alain Bergeron, Michael Parent, Jeff Cook, Jason Barney, Etienne Girard, Mario Clair, Dale Gosselin, Yan Bilodeau, Alain Boisvert, Chris Jones, Lee Ladouceur, Patrick Vigneault, James Hanson.
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heats – Vigneault, Poirier, Parent.