Justin Barger Claims Inaugural PST Canada Championship
Rich Vleck, BROCKVILLE, Ont., (October 13, 2012)- In his mind, Steve Poirier considers 2012 an off year for him; but after an impressive performance Saturday Afternoon at Brockville Ontario Speedway, he appeared to be as on as ever as he put the cap on what was still a strong sprint season.
Poirier, of St. Mathieu de Beloeil, QC, led all 25 laps to bookend the Patriot Sprint Tour season with a win six months after his win at Fulton in April in the season opener. It has been a wild season in between for Poirier, who missed much of the summer events recovering from knee surgery but also scored the Canadian Nationals win. His win Saturday gave him 10 wins in just three starts.
The seven-year sprint car regular drove from ninth to fifth in his heat race, just good enough to get him in the A-Main redraw, where he selected the pole position. With the track taking rubber early in the 25-lap event, that starting spot would pay major dividends on the brisk afternoon.
An amazing field of 31 cars took the green flag for the final sprint feature in the Northeast this season, and did quite well early on with the first seven laps running caution free. By lap three, Poirier had caught the tail end of the field but would have difficulty getting by. This allowed outside polesitter to close in and make a pair of bids for the lead. When the first caution flag flew it appeared as if Howland was the car to beat, but as the race went along, Poirier’s No. 28FM got better, the rubber on the track began to build up, and the cautions fell right into the leader’s hands.
“I thought the lapped cars would make a big difference,” admitted Poirier after the event. “I was a bit tight on turn entry with lapped cars and it was tough to get around them so probably if I would have raced with them a long time I would have had a problem but every time we got to traffic we got a yellow so it played out in my favor today.”
In the final 18 laps, Poirier was never in lapped traffic for more than a lap. A caution would fly with one lap remaining though and force the veteran to reflect on his racing past to guide him to his third sprint win at “The BOS”.
“I remembered on the last lap that my first sportsman race I lead the whole race and I got passed in the final corner and I felt that I learned from that mistake from like 15 years ago.”
In this his 12th sprint start at Brockville, Poirier’s fifth place finish in his heat was only the third time he has not won his qualifier at the ¼-mile; interestingly enough, on two of those three occasions now he has gone on to win the feature.
Bryan Howland’s runner-up finish was a solid showing for a multi-time champion that had a season not up to his team’s standards. Howland appeared to have a car capable of chasing down Poirier early on, but in the late stages his No. 51 tightened up and noted afterwards that he was riding the brake the entire way around the track to keep his car turning.
While the front row drivers remained in the top two spots, Jason Barney drove up from eighth to get in the top three early on and round out the podium. Barney had second late in the race but a caution flag would appear before he could complete that lap. Michael Parent started and finished fourth but had to work his way back up after a slow start.
Justin Barger finished in fifth, which was more than enough to claim the Inaugural PST Canada Championship. Barger was the talk of the heat races as he drove from 10th to the win, but a seventh place starting spot on a track that was difficult to pass on prohibited the Montrose, NY driver from repeating at “The Beast of the East”.
Past Brockville winners Alain Bergeron and Jamie Collard were sixth and seventh, respectively, while Patrick Vigneault drove up to eighth. Former modified star and Canadian Tire Series standout Martin Roy scored an impressive ninth place finish in a second Poirier entry, just ahead of 2009 Fall Nationals winner Glenn Styres, who completed the top 10.
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Patriot Sprint Tour Results: 10/13/12, Brockville Ontario Speedway, Brockville, Ontario.
A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Steve Poirier (28FM), 2. Bryan Howland (51), 3. Jason Barney (87), 4. Michael Parent (25), 5. Justin Barger (5), 6. Alain Bergeron (8B), 7. Jamie Collard (7x), 8. Patrick Vigneault (55), 9. Martin Roy (20FM), 10. Glenn Styres (0), 11. Keith Dempster (5k), 12. Devin Caron (24k), 13. Lee Ladouceur (51L), 14. Jeff Cook (10), 15. Sammy Reakes IV (1), 16. Charlie Sandercock (57), 17. Scott Kreutter (49), 18. Rick Wilson (42w), 19. Paul Pekkonen (98), 20. Darren Zumpe (11z), 21. Sean Durand (67), 22. Kyle Fraser (01), 23. April Wilson (15aw), 24. Conor Mahoney (5c), 25. Kevin Ward Jr (13), 26. Etienne Girard (422), 27. Mario Clair (22), 28. Tyler Rand (84), 29. Doug Bowman (57x), 30. Brandan Warner (10B), 31. Dale Gosselin (3).
Lap Leaders- Poirier 1-25.
National Parts Peddler Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: 1. Justin Barger (5), 2. Jamie Collard (7x), 3. Michael Parent (25), 4. Sammy Reakes IV (1), 5. Etienne Girard (422), 6. Paul Pekkonen (98), 7. Martin Roy (20FM), 8. Brandan Warner (10B), 9. April Wilson (15aw), 10. Darren Zumpe (11z), 11. Kyle Fraser (01).
Race 2: 1. Bryan Howland (51), 2. Jason Barney (87), 3. Devin Caron (24k), 4. Mario Clair (22), 5. Steve Poirier (28FM), 6. Scott Kreutter (49), 7. Charlie Sandercock (57), 8. Conor Mahoney (5c), 9. Doug Bowman (57x), 10. Tyler Rand (84).
Race 3: 1. Jeff Cook (10), 2. Alain Bergeron (8B), 3. Patrick Vigneault (55), 4. Keith Dempster (5k), 5. Glenn Styres (0), 6. Lee Ladouceur (51L), 7. Kevin Ward Jr. (13), 8. Dale Gosselin (3), 9. Rick Wilson (42w), 10. Chris Durand (67).
Patriot Sprint Tour Canada Series Final Standings (Top 10)- Justin Barger 1153, Jamie Collard 1014, Scott Kreutter 957, Alain Bergeron 947, Dain Naida 928, Lee Ladouceur 843, Jared Zimbardi 832, Keith Dempster 819, Bryan Howland 806, Glenn Styres 766.