|Date: 8/28/2016 1:05:37 AM|
Dale Gosselin Hangs on at Autodrome Granby for First Lucas Oil ESS Victory
By MIKE MALLETT
GRANBY, QUE – Dale Gosselin drove the best race of his career on Friday night at Autodrome Granby to score his first ever Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint A-Main feature victory. The St. Pie, Que, driver was challenged throughout the 25-lap affair, but he maintained his composure and more importantly the lead.
Gosselin never gave up on what he thought was the best groove which to him was the outside of the speedway. He worked that lane throughout the entire distance to park in his Mach 1 Chassis No. 3G in Victory Lane. Gosselin also had some luck on his side as the left rear tire on his car exploded as he came down the backstretch on the cooldown lap.
“This is awesome to win my first race,” said Gosselin in his best English. “I don’t have any words for this good night. This is awesome.”
Parker Evans opened the race by leading the first two circuits before Gosselin got a run on the outside of turns three and four to take the lead on the third circuit. From there Gosselin began to open up the advantage on Evans as well as the rest of the field.
By lap nine Gosselin found himself working cars running at the tail of the pack. Although some were in his preferred lane, he never moved off the top side as he waited for an opening to get by. This allowed Evans as well as Jason Barney to move themselves into contention for the lead.
“The traffic was really tough,” commented Gosselin. “The car just worked on the top so I did the best I could and stayed up there.”
As the lap clicked higher Evans closed while Barney was fighting off challenges from Yan Bilodeau and Alex Vigneault. The young Quebec duo where all over Barney as they each searched for the fast line around the half-mile oval.
Evans began making his move as the field took the five to go signal. Evans moved in to the back-side of Gosselin just waiting for a chance. He stalked Gosselin before pulling up next to him at the exit of turn four. They raced down the frontstretch with Evans in front as they reached the first corner.
Before another lap could be scored Dave Axton slowed with mechanical issues bringing out the first yellow of the race. A double-file restart placed Gosselin on the outside with Evans to his left. At the green Gosselin got the jump with Barney sailing into second only to have the move negated as Alain Bergeron spun in the first corner.
With the second caution coming on the same lap a single-file start was called for. Gosselin now had the advantage of being out in front all by himself at the green. He paced the field through turns one and two before Evans shot underneath him in turns three and four. He came up but was unable to grasp the lead from Gosselin.
“I knew the bottom line didn’t have a lot of forward bite exiting the corners,” said Gosselin. “I knew I was okay on the top.”
Gosselin went on to secure the $2,100 Mach 1 Chassis A-Main victory over Evans. For the Owego, N.Y., driver, Evans the second place finish was a much needed pick me up for him and the team after a tough outing on Tuesday night at the I-88 Speedway where he got upside down.
“I just waited too long to make my move I guess,” commented Evans after the feature. “I knew he was going to think I was going to wait until last lap there. I could see that he was blistering his tires running the top. I saw the rubber coming in so I tried to save a little bit for the end. Jason got underneath me on the first restart so I knew we were out of tires. I had to go sooner rather than later. If I was going to take a shot I had to take it there because I couldn’t have waited another lap. It’s just the way it shook out. He (Gosselin) drove a heck of race through lapped traffic. That was fun.”
Barney, of Brewerton, N.Y., finished the race in the third spot. The look of disappointment was obvious on the face of the veteran as he had a shot at the win taken away by the second caution on the 22nd lap. Even though he didn’t win, he was able to earn a couple more points on Steve Poirier as the two battle for the 2016 championship as Poirier finished sixth.
“Coming in here we were trying to just stay as close to Steve (Poirier) as we could,” mentioned Barney. “This isn’t a place that we come expecting to get an edge up on him. We had a good race car tonight and a good opportunity and didn’t make the best of it. We’ll take the third and move on to tomorrow.”
Bilodeau was able to keep Vigneault at bay to finish in the fourth position while Vigneault had to settle for a career best finish with ESS in fifth.
ESS/Granby Notes - A good field of 25 sprints in the pits in front of a packed house....Anthony Cain made his first ESS start in many years but motor issues saw him a DNQ...Shawn Donath's hard luck 2016 continued with rear-end issues during his heat. He went to the back up mount and pulled in early during the A-Main.
Mach 1 Chassis A-Main – Dale Gosselin ($2,100), Parker Evans ($1,225), Jason Barney ($1,025), Yan Bilodeau ($855), Alex Vigneault ($790), Steve Poirier ($905), Paul Kinney ($655), Michael Parent ($645), Jeff Cook ($685), Devin Caron ($675), Tommy Wickham ($610), Paulie Colagiovanni ($595), Tim Axton ($525), Matt Tanner ($565), Lee Ladouceur ($510), Brandon Kidd ($705), Alain Bergeron ($550), Dave Axton ($500), Chris Jones ($500), Chuck Hebing ($550), Shawn Donath ($550), Chad Miller ($500)
Did Not Qualify – Guillaume Neiderer ($250), Anthony Cain ($250), Dan Douville ($250)
Lap Leaders – Evans, (1-2) Gosselin (3-25)
Car Mate Trailers Heat 1 – Hebing, Bilodeau, Vigneault, Evans, Wickham, Jones
Car Mate Trailers Heat 2 – Cook, Poirier, T. Axton, Tanner, Kinney, D. Axton
Car Mate Trailers Heat 3 – Gosselin, Parent, Barney, Bergeron, Kidd, Caron
Lacaillade Masonry B-Main – Colagiovanni, Miller, Donath, Ladouceur
Beard Sewer and Drain Best Time - Hebing, Poirier, Gosselin - $25
Insinger Fuels Hard Charger – Caron (9 pos.) $50
Engler Machine and Tool Halfway – Gosselin $50
Lacaillade Masonry B-Main – Colagiovanni $50
E&V Energy – Bergeron, Tanner $50
Ohsweken Speedway 21st Anniversary –Donath $50
Fondations 55 Pick 5 – Vigneault $35
Car Mate Trailers Heats – Hebing, Cook, Gosselin $25
911 Restoration – Cook, Wickham $25
Lucas Oil ESS 7-12 Challenge – None - $400 Aug. 27 at RPM
Hoosier Tires – Kidd $200
Vahlco Wheels – Poirier $190
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