Rich Vleck, DUNDEE, NY, (May 3, 2013)- 10 years ago, when the Patriot Sprint Tour began, Justin Barger was a up-and-coming teenager that still had a lot to learn about sprint car racing; but on Friday Night, the 10th Anniversary of the first Patriot Sprint, event, he put on a clinic to reinforce why he one of the best in the Northeast.
Barger, of Montrose, NY, led all 25 laps of the Patriot Sprint Tour America Series opener at Black Rock Speedway for his fourth career win at the 4/10-mile oval. Barger was able to keep a healthy lead throughout, even though some late-race restarts made his task a little more tenuous.
“We pretty much nailed it from the beginning tonight, we didn’t change too much,” declared Barger in Victory Lane. “I love coming to this race track, you can move around a lot even for a small race track. It is pretty racey.”
The defending PST Canada Series Champion won his heat race from the outside pole, easily qualifying him for the A-Main redraw, where he once again drew a starting spot on the outside of the front row. At Starter Scott Hixson’s green flag, Barger used his momentum on the top to move around Polesitter Bruce DeWick off the second corner and set sail around the speedway.
By the fifth lap, the Carillo Rods/ JE Pistons/ King Motorsports No. 5 was already in lapped traffic, but it did not seem to phase him as he continued to grow his advantage over the DeWick, Scott Kreutter, Jason Barney and Robbie Stillwaggon, the four drivers that would covet the runner-up position at a point in the feature.
Stillwaggon had command of second place and was making ground on the bottom line when a caution flag on lap 23 for contact between Chuck Hebing and Clint Ide. This would result in one last restart that Barger would have to endure.
“I didn’t like to see the last yellow or red (for a Steve Collins soft tip on to his side),” noted Barger. “Robbie drove up next to me on that last caution and I had already seen that his wing was in his trunk so I knew he was sliding around there so I just rode out the last few laps.”
In the final two laps, Stillwaggon was solid on the bottom, but did not have enough time to get the drive built up that he needed to contend for the win. Barger would hold on for the win by three car lengths.
“This is pretty cool 10 years later,” added Barger in reference to the anniversary of the first Patriot Sprint event. “That race was by my girlfriend’s father (Tom Taber), so this is pretty special.”
With the win, Barger has now extended his streak of top-five finishes at BRS to seven straight.
Robbie Stillwaggon was pleased with his runner-up showing at a track where in his last appearance there did not qualify for the feature; the run was especially gratifying for the Burlington, NJ driver after starting back in seventh place.
For the second week in a row, as well as the second-straight race at Black Rock, Jason Barney completed the podium in third. The Constantia, NY driver noted afterwards that he played it safe with his setup which inhibited his ability to chase after the win, or even hang on to second place.
The battle from fourth place on back was ever-changing, but Jared Zimbardi was able to drive up from eighth starting position to hold on to the position. Zimbardi looked impressive winning his heat race after starting in fourth, as did Bryan Howland, who rounded out the top five.
Scott Kreutter faded back to sixth, just ahead of Tommy Wickham, who lost two spots on the final lap to place seventh. Original Pizza Logs Four Laps of Fame crossed in eighth while nine-time BRS winner George Suprick was ninth. Brad Knab would complete the top 10.
Brandan Warner and Dave Just were unable to start the feature as engine failures in their respective heat races would knock them out of competition on a beautiful spring evening.
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Patriot Sprint Tour America Series Results: 5/3/13, Black Rock Speedway, Dundee, NY.
A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Justin Barger (5), 2. Robbie Stillwaggon (89), 3. Jason Barney (87*), 4. Jared Zimbardi (35), 5. Bryan Howland (51), 6. Scott Kreutter (52), 7. Tommy Wickham (75), 8. Kevin Ward Jr. (13), 9. George Suprick (87), 10. Brad Knab (38), 11. Derek Jonathan (81), 12. Vinnie Vitale (X1), 13. Clint Ide (3), 14. Chuck Hebing (45), 15. Steve Collins (67), 16. Dave Wickham (80), 17. Bruce DeWick (22D), 18. Geoff Quackenbush (25), 19. Scott Just (54JX), DNS: Dave Just (54J), 21. Brandan Warner (10B).
Lap Leaders- Barger 1-25.
Original Pizza Logs Four Laps of Fame Dash (4 Laps)- Ward, Hebing, Collins, Suprick, Knab, Jonathan.
Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: Barger, Stillwaggon, Barney, T. Wickham, Vitale, Ide, Warner.
Race 2: Zimbardi, DeWick, Hebing, Knab, Jonathan, D. Just, D. Wickham.
Race 3: Howland, Ward, Kreutter, Collins, Suprick, Quackenbush, S. Just.