Saturday, September 10, 2011
Hebing Closes in on his First Ever Lucas Oil ESS Championship with Can-Am Victory
by Dean Reynolds
LaFARGEVILLE, N.Y. -- It had been a well documented battle between Chuck Hebing and Steve Poirier for the 2011 Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint championship. Saturday night at the Can-Am Motorsports Park, Hebing made a huge step toward his first ever title by leading all 25 laps for his sixth victory of the year and inching out his lead on Poirier and collecting over $2,400 in the process.
In an event that was added to the schedule just a little over a month ago as part of the tribute to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 was also the final point event towards the Northwood 2 Construction/LaSalle Motorsports Canadian Sprint Series in which Poirier took the title over Cory Sparks and Hebing.
Usually when you’re leading the points, an added event isn’t welcomed but for the driver known as “The Cobra”, he took full advantage. Not only did he open up the lead in the overall points but also jumped from third to first in the SUNY Canton points ahead of Poirier by a single point going into the final event at Fonda.
“This was a big night for the whole team. What can I say, they give me just such a great car every race.” said the happy Ontario, NY driver. “Sure we got lucky with the draw tonight but you still have to race 25 laps and anything can happen. But, that’s been the difference between this year and others, I just have such a good car and can take less chances”.
By virtue of the A-Main redraw, Hebing drew the pole with local favorite Jeff Cook alongside and as soon as the green flag dropped from Austin Swamp, Hebing took control. One red on the original start and a caution on lap nine slowed the pace but it didn’t slow Hebing’s charge.
“I could run the car hard and there was a good lane down low where I could really carry my speed, I didn’t try to move from there unless I had to.” noted the driver of the Wilkins RV Center #45. “I just drove hard and got through the slower traffic the best I could cause you never know what is going on behind you. Once again it all worked out, we now just have one race to go and we will see what happens”
What was going on behind the potent #45 was a good battle between Lance Yonge, Sparks and soon to be invited to the party the 11th starting Poirier who was up to fourth on lap 11. Yonge was comfortably in second until the lap nine restart where Sparks went from fourth to second and Poirier made his moves as well.
Sparks was trying to catch the high flying Hebing but that eventually let Yonge finding a lane to get back by for second. “I was seeing that I was closing in on Chuck but tried to hard to get by a lap car and missed by lane, that’s all a guy like Lance needs. He got me” Sparks said afterwards.
In the closing laps, Yonge was soon all by himself in second with Poirier now having his sights on Sparks as every position moved up keeps his distance on the point leader closer. But, the Farrell Oil #9 didn’t move off the fast lane and home for third.
At the checkered flag it was Hebing, Yonge, Sparks and Poirier with Cook holding on for third.
For Yonge, a car change found a very familiar result. “This is the new car I got last year that we wrecked real bad at Utica-Rome late last season. I replaced the whole front clip and wanted to use it next week for the Canadian Nationals so this was a perfect time to try it out.” said the Penn Yan veteran. “This car is good, real good. Other than the wreck it’s never finished out of the top ten. I didn’t have much for Chuck as he was out front by a good margin but it was a good car.”
Yonge also echoed the same remark about the pass on Sparks. “Yea, he just slipped up just enough going into three and I had room. I just stuck it on the bottom and got by. When the cars are so equal sometimes you need just a little break like that.”
For Sparks, it shook off a bit of a bad luck streak he was having. “We needed this, it was a tough weekend last weekend with the engine problems we had.” said the Edinburg, NY pilot who is having his best year of his career. “That’s been the difference this year, the team just doesn’t give up and it shows in the results and I’m a better driver because of it.”
Rounding out the top ten were Matt Tanner, Tommy Wickham, Michael Parent, Steve Collins and B-Main winner and WestFront Construction Hard Charger Alain Bergeron.
The red flag on the initial green did find several cars involved but with no injuries. Both Matt Billings and Jason Barney found their mounts upside down and heavily damaged. Also involved were Tyler Rand, Donath, Tim Kelly and Paul Habeck. Rand, Donath and Kelly did return to the action but the lap nine caution was for Donath who stopped in turn one ending a rough night.
ESS/Can-Am Notes: A big field of 31 sprints turned out on a beautiful night…Billings was making his ESS start of 2011 in the Brian McDonald entry…Donath did a wild series of flips in his heat but with hard of work from Doug Emery lead crew and others he made repairs in time for the B-Main. Then they had to replace the rear end before the A-Main which ended on lap nine…A special 9/11 tribute dash sponsored by Riverside Bar and Grill was a big hit with Tommy Wickham taking the win…A total of $660 in lap money was contributed by many sponsors making the win by Hebing very lucrative…The added event proved successful and promoter Tiger Chapman as invited ESS to be back for the same three events in 2012…Next week many of the ESS stars will head to the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals with the final point show on Sept. 24th at Fonda.
Lucas Oil ESS A-Main - Chuck Hebing ($2,410), Lance Yonge, Cory Sparks, Steve Poirier, Jeff Cook, Matt Tanner, Tommy Wickham, Michael Parent, Steve Collins, Alain Bergeron, Dylan Swiernik, Tim Kelly, Charlie Donk, Billy Dunn, Kevin Ward Jr., Mike Stelter, Rick Wilson, Patrick Vigneault, Chris Jones, Shawn Donath, Tyler Rand, Matt Billings, Paul Habeck, Jason Barney.
Did Not Qualify - Devin Caron, April Wilson, Kory Gurney, Dave Wickham, Sammy Reakes IV, Kyle Fraser, Paul Pekkonen.
Lap Leader - Hebing (1-25)
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 1 - Parent, Poirier, Collins, Cook, R. Wilson, Vigneault
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 2 - Tanner, Hebing, Sparks, Dunn, T. Wickham, Kelly
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 3 - Yonge, Stelter, Swiernik, Ward Jr., Billings, Habeck
SUNY Canton/Cobra Coaches Dash - Tanner
Riverside Bar and Grill 9/11 Dash - T. Wickham
Engine Research B-Main - Bergeron, Donk, Barney, Jones.
Added Starters - Donath, Rand.
Can-Am Lap Money - Hebing $660
Westward Painting Corp Halfway - Hebing $100
WestFront Construction Hard Charger - Bergeron (8 pos.) $50
Ohsweken Speedway Winners Bonus - Hebing $50
Mohawk Racing Parts Pick 5 - Cook $50
Engine Research B-Main - Bergeron $50
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers - Parent, Tanner, Yonge $25
HG Associates Fast Time - Hebing (18.827) $25