Rich Vleck, WOODHULL, NY, (July 21, 2012)- Up until 9:00 A.M. Saturday morning, Justin Barger and his crew were unsure if they would venture down to Woodhull; at 9:15 the decision was made to make the six-hour-drive and 13 hours later he was smiling in Victory Lane of the High Banks glad he made the decision he did.
Barger, of Montrose, NY, became the first repeat winner on the Patriot Sprint Tour this season as he dominated the 25-lap event as part of the PST/Sprint Xpress 360/410 Challenge. By showing his power in his 360, Barger was able to collect a cool $2,500 for his dominance.
“We just hit the setup pretty much right from the get go,” said the 28-year-old in Victory Lane. “The track was really fun here tonight. You could use the top, bottom and middle grooves. It made the drive down here really worth it. We couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Barger started in fourth in his heat race and took the lead by the second lap to dominate in his first competitive laps the 1/3-mile oval since 2008 to make the redraw. After selecting the eighth starting spot though, the driver of the No. 5 knew he had his work cut out for him.
“Starting back (in eighth) you know 25 laps is a long time around here so I just had to make sure everything was clean and pick your spots in lapped traffic and here we are,” he added.
Barger had taken fourth place by the second lap of the feature, and was in that position when the first caution of the event occurred on lap seven. On the ensuring restart, Barger, along with Chuck Hebing, who had driven to third from sixth in the opening stages, used the top of the track to rim-ride around early leader Bob Howard for second and third. The second time around though, Hebing washed up high in turn two and Barger drove underneath.
Coming to complete lap 10, Barger began to chase down Alan Cole, who had taken the lead from Howard just before the first caution. Cole was just too free in turns three and four and when his No. 4A drove up the track in turn three, Barger dove underneath and took over a lead he would not relinquish.
The only other caution of the event would occur on lap 13 and after that point Barger would set sail on the field, clearing through the lapped traffic without issue and stretching his advantage to a full straightaway when he crossed underneath the double checkered flags for his seventh career PST win.
As Barger was slicing through the lapped traffic over the final seven laps, Alan Cole was having a more difficult time navigating through the pack with a car that did not have the perfect setup. With two laps remaining, Chuck Hebing, was able to move by him and score his seventh top-two in his eight starts at Woodhull. Hebing was disappointed not to win, noting after the race that he did not make enough changes to his No. 45 after winning his heat. That heat race was an event that will leave the throng of fans that packed Ted White’s facility talking for months as “Cobra” drove to the win with the nose wing vertical and blocking his vision.
Cole was able to hang on for his second podium finish in as many appearances at Woodhull after being a runner-up in this event in 2010. Cole noted after the event that he was just hanging on in the closing stages so third was acceptable.
Tim Kelly fought a tight condition which turned out to be a shock issue but battled hard as he drove from 10th to a fourth place his showing, his fourth such showing in his last six Woodhull starts.
Perhaps the drive of the night was turned in by Bryan Howland, who thrashed all night before he could earn a remarkable fifth place finish. Howland was leading his heat race when his steering wheel became disconnected on his No. 51, forcing him to smash into a tractor tire. After fixing multiple parts including the front axle, Howland drove from 18th near the top 10 in the first seven laps when he developed a flat tire. After the crew made the change in under two minutes, the four-time PST Champion slowly moved forward early on, getting back to 13th by the lap 13 caution. In the final 12 laps, he would drive up to fifth without the aid of a caution.
Tracy Potter put on a solid performance to cross in sixth. Potter, who has raced sparingly in the last two years, was able to hold off fellow Pennsylvanian Jamie Bodo, who fell out of his heat race with a fuel pump issue but would drive from 19th to finish seventh in the A-Main.
Defending PST Champion Jared Zimbardi won his heat race for the second straight Woodhull appearance and was able to parlay that into a eighth place showing. Defending PST Rookie of the Year Steve Collins charged late to finish in ninth while Canadian Mitch Brown scored another solid top-10 finish.
Bob Howard starting on the pole for the feature and was in fourth on the final restart when he hit a tractor tire going for third the lap following the green flag, forcing him to the infield. Don Adamczyk, who once again won the Original Pizza Logs Four Laps of Fame Dash at Woodhull for his fourth dash win in the last five races, was knocked out after contact with Tommy Wickham under caution. All of the other cars were able to finish the event.
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Patriot Sprint Tour Results: 7/21/12, Woodhull Raceway, Woodhull, NY.
A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Justin Barger (5), 2. Chuck Hebing (45), 3. Alan Cole (4A), 4. Tim Kelly (12), 5. Bryan Howland (51), 6. Tracy Potter (11), 7. Jamie Bodo (76), 8. Jared Zimbardi (35), 9. Steve Collins (67), 10. Mitch Brown (10), 11. Scott Kreutter (52), 12. George Suprick (87), 13. Brandan Warner (10B), 14. Steve Hutchinson Jr. (2), 15. Clint Ide (3), 16. Dave Wickham (80), 17. Tommy Wickham (75), 18. Bob Howard (49), 19. Don Adamczyk (21).
Lap Leaders- Howard 1-6, Cole 7-9, Barger 10-25.
Original Pizza Logs Four Laps of Fame Dash (4 Laps)- 1. Don Adamczyk (21), 2. Tim Kelly (12), 3. Scott Kreutter (52), 4. Tommy Wickham (75), 5. Brandan Warner (10B), 6. Clint Ide (3).
National Parts Peddler Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: 1. Jared Zimbardi (35), 2. Mitch Brown (10), 3. George Suprick (87), 4. Scott Kreutter (52), 5. Tommy Wickham (75), 6. Steve Collins (67), 7. Jamie Bodo (76).
Race 2: 1. Chuck Hebing (45), 2. Tracy Potter (11), 3. Tim Kelly (12), 4. Don Adamczyk (21), 5. Clint Ide (3), 6. Bryan Howland (51).
Race 3: 1. Justin Barger (5), 2. Alan Cole (4a), 3. Bob Howard (49), 4. Brandan Warner (10B), 5. Steve Hutchinson Jr. (2), 6. Dave Wickham (80).
Patriot Sprint Tour America Series Point Standings (Top 10)- Bryan Howland 810, Tim Kelly 794, Scott Kreutter 768, Tommy Wickham 752, George Suprick 733, Jared Zimbardi 721, Steve Collins 706, Chuck Hebing 674, Brandan Warner 639, Don Adamczyk 620.
Original Pizza Logs Four Laps of Fame Dash Series Point Standings (Top Five)- Don Adamczyk 24, Tim Kelly 14, Todd Hoddick 10, Tommy Wickham 9, Bryan Howland 7.
Gater Racing News Hard Charger of the Season Point Standings (Top Five)- Bryan Howland 41, Chuck Hebing 23, Tim Kelly 22, Charlie Donk 21, Jeff Cook 18.