GRANBY, QC. – By his own admission, Steve Poirier has run “thousands” of laps around Autodrome Granby. The St. Mathieu de Beloeil, Que., driver has multiple wins and championships at the facility and friday night he used that home track knowledge to fly by Jason Barney en route to the win, his fifth of the 2014 season.
“Feels really good,” said Poirier. “We haven’t had good draws the last couple of races but we’ve had a good racing machine. Thanks to Kevin Loveys’ he gave me a good car. Tonight I told him to set the car up how he wanted to. He gave me a good car tonight and I had to do my job.”
It was an all Quebec front row as Dale Gosselin and Yan Bilodeau started out front of the 25-lap, Le Groupe Ultra Tour of Canada/Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Series, feature event. Gosselin got the initial jump to take the lead.
Gosselin’s lead was short-lived as on lap three Bilodeau was able to nab the lead as they exited turn four. Jason Barney moved into the second spot one lap later and began chasing Bilodeau for the lead.
On lap six Bilodeau was working traffic with Barney in pursuit when he made contact with Tim Beard as they raced down the frontstretch. The contact caused Beard to spin and then turn lightly over onto his side. The red flag was needed. He wasn’t harmed in the crash.
Bilodeau and Barney made up the front row for the restart. Barney quickly bolted by Bilodeau as they came down to the green flag assuming the lead. Bilodeau fell back through the field with Barney running away. At this point Poirier found the top lane.
“On that first restart I was like eighth and I felt like I was going nowhere,” stated Poirier. “I was racing Cory Sparks on the inside and the car was not working great. I was thinking under that yellow that I have to try something. I knew if I continued driving like that I would barely finish in the top ten. I got lucky on that restart that I was on the outside and I found something deep in turn one.”
Barney remained out in front at the halfway point as a new challenger emerged in the runner-up spot in Poirier. Poirier had worked his way forward from the 11th starting position to second with Barney now in his sites.
The race for the lead heated up on lap 15 as Poirier closed in on Barney with Poirier working the top in turns one and two allowing him to rapidly close in on Barney who was running the bottom of the speedway at both ends of the track.
It was lap 18 when Poirier made his move. Poirier went to outside of turns one and two with Barney still glued to the bottom opening the door for Poirier. Poirier blasted by around the top to take the lead as they exited the second turn.
“When I got to Jason (Barney) he was running in the inside,” commented Poirier. “My car was better on the outside, so I just floored it and I went for it. In turn one the more the laps were clicking the more the inside went away. I felt like I was gaining on him before that. I just needed the clean air.”
After taking the lead Poirier drove away from Barney as he continued to use that high groove to his advantage in turns one and two. Poirier drove away to a half-straightaway lead at the checkered flag for the $2,050 win.
Barney, of Brewerton, N.Y., came home in second again driving his Jimmy D’s powered X-1 Race Car. Barney thought he had the car to beat and he didn’t realize the top was so good in turns one and two.
“I think we should get sponsorship from Mr. Seconds,” joked Barney. “I think we’ve been second the last four or five races in a row. It is hard to swallow. Sometimes you’d rather run eighth or tenth then keep finishing second. We had a great race car. We made the right changes and brought the right race car here, but the driver left a little bit out there. When you get out front you feel so good you don’t want to change anything. You don’t want to give away the race changing something.”
Paul Kinney finished in the third position. The Canastota, N.Y., driver fell back a few spots early before rallying late to complete the podium in third continuing his strong showing at Canadian facilities.
“Third place is good,” stated Kinney. “We always do well when we come here. It is always a lot of fun to come up here. It was cool being in third with the whole podium thing with the champagne. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
Michael Parent, of Granby, Que., finished in the fourth position with Matt Tanner, of Stephentown, N.Y., finishing in the fifth spot at the checkered flag.
ESS/Granby Notes: A nice field of 20 sprints in the pits to share the night with the MIRA Foundation for the blind, a record crowd filled every seat in the house…Tim Beard and Billy Applebee were new ESS entries for 2014…Motor woes after hot laps saw both Alain Bergeron and Patrick Vigneault miss their heat events.
Le Groupe Ultra/Fondations 4 Saisons A-Main – Steve Poirier ($2,075), Jason Barney, Paul Kinney, Michael Parent, Matt Tanner, Tommy Wickham, Yan Bilodeau. Cory Sparks, Jeff Cook, Alain Bergeron, Dale Gosselin, Chris Donnelly, James Hanson, Patrick Vigneault, Etienne Girard, Tim Beard, Billy Applebee, Dave Axton, Paul Pekkonen, Will Hull.
Lap Leaders – Gosselin 1-3, Bilodeau 4-6, Barney 7-18, Poirier 19-25
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 1 – Barney, Tanner, Wickham, Hanson, Hull, Bergeron, Vigneault.
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 2 – Kinney, Poirier, Gosselin, Sparks, Donnelly, Paul Pekkonen, Dave Axton
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 3 – Parent, Girard, Bilodeau, Applebee, Beard, Cook
Westward Painting Company Halfway – Barney $100
Josh Jordan Remembering Kevin Ward Jr. – Hanson $100
Insinger Performance Hard Charger – Poirier (10 pos.) $50
Fondations 55 Pick 5 – Tanner $50
Lacaillade Masonry in Memory of Kevin Ward Jr. – Hanson $50
Go Nuclear Late Models Go Fast – Poirier $25
Bitner Automotive Blistering Fast Time – Barney $25