Poirier Wins ESS Sprints Feature on Rain-Shortened Valley Night

Date: 6/21/2015 9:33:54 PM

Poirier Wins ESS Sprints Feature on Rain-Shortened Valley Night
by Phil Allaway

Saturday dawned with sunny skies and low humidity.  It looked like the perfect day to have a race.  Then, the clouds moved in and the wind picked up.  Unfortunately, the Modified feature and the 23-lap Bubba Tanner Prostock Classic were not run due to persistent rains.  Since the heat races for both classes were completed, they will be made up as part of a double feature night at a later date.  Stay tuned to lebanonvalley.com for more information.  Luckily, some action was completed before the rainout.


A small field of 18 Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints gathered for the evening, and the field began whittling down before the feature even began.  In warm-ups, Pete Richardson went hard into the wall in turn 3 and nearly rolled over before drifting down the banking and onto the berm, ending his night.  Later, during the second heat race, Etienne Girard spun and backed into the wall.  Neither would start the feature.


As a result, a depleted field of 16 took the green with Kory Gurney on the pole.  ESS points leader Steve Poirier stated alongside and wasted no time in snagging the lead away from Gurney and pulling away from the pack.

The night ended up being a very tough one for the Axtons.  On lap 5, Tim Axton hit the wall in turn 3 and rolled violently, bringing out the first red flag of the race.  Tim walked away uninjured, but his evening was over.  On the restart, teammate Dave Axton tangled with Jason Barney entering turn 1 and rolled out of the track, taking down some of the catch fencing in the process.  Dave was ok as well, but a significant cleanup was required.


While the cleanup was ongoing, the rains returned to Lebanon Valley, forcing a one hour interruption in the card so that the track could be run back in.  Once the track was run back in, the Modifieds did their Hot Laps session and the Pure Stock teams ran their extra distance third feature.

Following the Pure Stock feature, the ESS Sprints Feature continued.  Poirier continued to lead, but two-time winner Chuck Hebing was the man on the move.  Hebing moved up to second a couple of laps after the restart and proceeded to run down Poirier in a hurry.  However, the two leaders ran up upon the lapped car of Mike Stelter, driving in place of Kyle Dutcher.  Poirier went high to pass Stelter, which forced Hebing over the cushion, into the wall and upside-down.  Hebing would walk away, but was very disappointed.


During the red flag for Hebing’s crash, the rains returned once again.  After a short delay, during which officials noted that the rain was going to continue for at least 45 minutes, the race was called, giving Poirier his second straight ESS Sprints feature win at Lebanon Valley.


Afterwards, Poirier was happy to earn his victory, but wished that Hebing had not crashed.


“The car was pretty good; I had another good starting position,” Poirier said in the pits.  “I was running the inside [line], but I heard Cobra [Hebing] was coming and making the top work.  We might have had a ‘visit’ later in the race had he not crashed.”

Poirier did voice frustration with the start-and-stop nature of the feature.

“I don’t know what happened tonight with all the wrecks and red [flags],” Poirier continued.  “We were always stopping the momentum and that gave the storm clouds the chance to ruin the race.”


Paul Kinney inherited second-place as a result of Hebing’s crash.  Paulie Colagiovanni was third.  Matt Tanner was fourth, followed by Shawn Donath.  Hebing was classified 11th.


In the Pure Stock class, feature No. 1 saw Tim Thompson start from the pole and outdrag the returning Travis Hengen to open up an advantage.  Clifford Booth, who started fourth, moved up the order quickly and passed Thompson on lap 3 for the lead.  From there, Booth held off Jeff Meltz, Jr. for the win.

Pure Stock Feature No. 2 saw the Street Stocks of John Denue and Gary O’Brien on the front row.  O’Brien blitzed Denue on the first lap and pulled away to take the overall win.  Larry Perez, who started third, held onto third for the whole feature and claimed the Pure Stock win.

Pure Stock Feature No. 3 saw some early incidents.  First, Phil Wood, driving in relief of Lou Gancarz (Gancarz crashed his Pro Stock during a heat race earlier in the evening), spun in turn 3 to bring out a yellow.  Shawn Perez caused another yellow with a spin of his own.  Jesse Murphy had the right rear wheel come off, leading to a spin and another yellow.

Through those issues, O’Brien’s Pure Stock came into his own.  He charged up from the 11th starting spot, took the lead from Dave Stickles on lap 8 and pulled away to take his third Pure Stock win of the year.


Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Feature Results (shortened to 12 laps due to rain): 1) Steve Poirier, 2) Paul Kinney, 3) Paulie Colagiovanni, 4) Matt Tanner, 5) Shawn Donath, 6) Jason Barney, 7) Jeff Cook, 8) Tommy Wickham, 9) Kory Gurney, 10) Zach Wiegand, 11) Chuck Hebing, 12) Mike Stelter, 13) Parker Evans, 14) Dave Axton, 15) Tim Axton, 16) Jimmy Peebles.  DNS: Etienne Girard, Pete Richardson


Pure Stock Feature No. 1 Results: 1) Clifford Booth, 2) Jeff Meltz, Jr., 3) Tim Thompson, 4) Bill Deak, Sr., 5) Matt Cross, 6) Travis Hengen, 7) Zach Sorrentino, 8) Jim Groncki, 9) James Hatch, 10) David Olds, Jr., 11) Harold Robitaille, 12) Dennis O’Connor, 13) Wuggie Burdick


Pure Stock Feature No. 2 Results: 1) Larry Perez, 2) Bill Deak, Jr., 3) Scott Morris, 4) Dylan Fachini, 5) Jeff Kreutziger, 6) Brian Vandenburg, 7) Joe Wolcott, 8) Jason Caron, 9) Martina Martin, 10) Keri Vandenburg, 11) Aaron Fachini


Pure Stock Feature No. 3 Results: 1) Gary O’Brien, 2) Jason Meltz, 3) Dave Stickles, 4) Doug Olds, 5) Jeff Meltz, Sr., 6) Al Relyea, 7) Phil Wood, 8) Ed Hatch, 9) Ray Hall, Sr., 10) Phil Sherman, 11) Dan Cote, 12) Shawn Perez, 13) Brian Walsh, 14) Joe Cheneil, 15) Jesse Murphy


Street Stock Feature Results (run with Pure Stock Feature No. 2): 1) Gary O’Brien, 2) John Denue


For more information, the 2015 schedule, and links to what's on tap for 2015, visit our website at www.LebanonValley.com, and click on “Speedway”, or call the LVAR Offices during regular business hours at (518) 794-9606 or (518) 794-9965.


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