ST. MARCEL, QUE – It indeed was a night of firsts Sunday at the Le RPM Speedway in St. Marcel, Quebec. It was the first ever appearance by the stars and cars of the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (ESS) and when the final checkered flag was flown it was Syracuse, NY’s Dan Kaszubinski standing in victory lane, his first on the 2010 season.
The event was the final point shows for the Northwood 2 Construction/LaSalle Motorsports Canadian Sprint Car Series as well as the Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Five Star Series.
The quarter-mile oval held full blown sprint cars for the very first time and it couldn’t come at a better time for the driver who amassed 30 career victories coming into the evening. Winning the dash and getting the pole for the A-Main, the driver of the Aquacut, Inc #20 was hoping to make some headlines.
Kaszubinski’s front row mate was rookie sensation Kevin Ward Jr. and it was Ward who got the jump on the veteran. With the high speeds and tight confines, it was on lap five when the leaders reached slower traffic and the entire outcome of the race change.
Coming off turn two with a car in the middle, Kaszubinski went high, Ward low and when both passed the lapped car they occupied the same space. Contact was made with Ward losing his front suspension while Kaszubinski’s mount bounced several times, never went over and he continued.
“I just got such a good run on the outside and we both got by the slower car we ended up in the same place.” said Kaszubinski. “I hate for it to happen as Kevin is a great kid, he has an awesome future with ESS but it was a racing deal and we go lucky that we didn’t go over.”
For Kaszubinski, it was sort of turning back the clock as he was using the extreme outside to slip by slower cars and keep his competition who then became Alain Bergeron in second.
“The water they laid down on the top made the whole difference. I didn’t think it was going to be an easy track to pass on but they (the track crew) gave us a real good top.” Kaszubinski noted on his line. “I just stayed up there which was good for me as most of the slower cars were low. I had a few real close calls but it just feels good to finally get a win.”
Kaszubinski had a strait away lead when the checkered flag fell. Bergeron capped off an emotional night to claim second with a big cheer from the crowd. Bergeron has announced his retirement from sprint racing and the local mini-sprint club where he was many-time champ retired his #8B during intermission.
“I would like to get the win here close to home but Dan was too fast.” Bergeron said afterwards with a smile. “I was hoping lapped cars would slow him down but he got by them real well and I just couldn’t catch him.”
For Bergeron, he was ESS’ first Canadian winner and also Canadian champion, it was a roller coaster of emotions all three days. “I just can’t do it on my own anymore, I’m just too tired so I am going to finish the season and sell my cars.” said a teary eyed Bergeron on the possible ending of his career. “If someone wants to be an owner I could drive again but if not, I will retire. It’s been fun, I have had a great time with ESS and made a lot of friends. Its great to see so many people come over to shake my hand.”
Behind the leading duo was defending ESS champion Justin Barger, then Steve Poirier who clinched both championships and now has the lead in the overall Lucas Oil points. Brian McDonald nipped Shayne Ely by inches for fifth at the stripe.
Following Ely for seventh was Lance Yonge, Tyler Rand who earned the hard charger bonus after starting in 20th., Rand’s neighbor Chris Jones in ninth and Michael Parent.
In a very special Canada vs. USA dash sponsored by Coffrage Daniel Lampron took place that had the top three drivers in points from the two nations going for bragging rights. It was Yonge passing Kaszubinski on lap one to claim the victory.
ESS/Le RPM Notes – A good field of 25 sprints were in the pits on a picture perfect night…Mike Cushman was back behind the wheel of Brian McDonald’s back-up car…The entire staff from Le RPM Speedway welcome the Lucas Oil ESS tour with open arms and talk about next year were starting before the night ended.
Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Five Star Series A-Main – Dan Kaszubinski, Alain Bergeron, Justin Barger, Steve Poirier, Brian McDonald, Shayne Ely, Lance Yonge, Tyler Rand, Chris Jones, Michael Parent, Dale Gosselin, Mike Stelter, Paul Pekkonen, Tommy Wickham, James Hanson, Daniel Lampron, Anthony Cain, Zach Weigand, Jeff Cook, Donald Lemire, Devin Caron, Kevin Ward Jr.
Did Not Qualify – Michael Forcier, Jake Langlois, Mike Cushman.
Lap Leaders – Ward Jr. 1-4, Kaszubinski 5-25.
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heats:
Heat 1 – Brian McDonald, Justin Barger, Alain Bergeron, Mike Stelter, Daniel Lampron, Lance Yonge
Heat 2 – Kevin Ward Jr., Michael Parent, Steve Poirier, Tommy Wickham, Chris Jones, Anthony Cain
Heat 3 – Dan Kaszubinski, Shayne Ely, Dale Gosselin, Zach Weigand, Paul Pekkonen, James Hanson.
Coffrage Daniel Lampron Canada vs. USA Dash – Lance Yonge
Cobra Coaches Dash – Dan Kaszubinski
B-Main – Devin Caron, Tyler Rand, Donald Lemire, Jeff Cook.
Ohsweken Speedway Winners Bonus – Kaszubinski $100
Cook’s Contracting Services Halfway Bonus – Kaszubinski $100
WestFront Construction Hard Charger Bonus – Rand (12 pos.) $50
MVCC Aviation Extra – Yonge $50
HG Associates Fast Time – Ward Jr. (12.524) $25
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heats – McDonald, Ward Jr., Kaszubinski $25