Rich Vleck, WOODHULL, NY, (May 9, 2015)- Bryan Howland started from the Pole Position Saturday Night, but he had to wait until the white flag was in the air that he saw the lead, which was just fine with him as he was able to park in Victory Lane.
Howland, 28, of Auburn, NY, made a late-race pass on New Jersey’s Robbie Stillwaggon to score his third-career win at the Woodhull Raceway. The four-time Patriot Sprint Tour Champion always has a good car when the series travels to the high banks, but on a hot spring night, he needed to scrap his plans to score the win.
“We set the car up for the bottom and that just obviously didn’t work at all,” proclaimed Howland in Victory Lane, reflecting on his early-race fade from the lead. “I got back to fourth place and figured I’d just put it up on the top and just run that the rest of the race. I couldn’t do any worse than I was doing. I had to put the wing in “the trunk” and the car actually came to life a little bit, but the only way I was able to run down the 89 (Stillwaggon) was in lapped traffic, he was fast all night long.”
After winning his eighth career heat race in 13 appearances at Woodhull, “Flyin’ Bryan” landed the top starting spot for the second straight race by virtue of the Pole Position Redraw. Most drivers were convinced that on this Saturday Night, the bottom line would prevail and for most of the race, that’s where the majority of the field presided.
The race got off to a slow start, with four cautions in the middle of the event, including one on lap seven when Chuck Hebing slid off of turn three. The final caution occurred on lap 12 and on the restart, Howland bolted back in to third by using the high line. While the top groove of the high banks was successful for drivers like Robbie Stillwaggon on restarts, Howland decided to stay in that line as he went after early race leader Shawn Donath for the runner-up spot.
Howland spent nearly five laps trying to complete the pass on Donath and when he did, he was two seconds behind Stillwaggon with just seven laps remaining. He started to cut down the margin by about a quarter-second each lap and was within a car length as the duo began lap 24. Howland made a strong move underneath the No. 89 in to turn one and made his presence known.
“I figured he’d smoke around me on the outside,” admitted Howland after the race. “I was waiting for him.”
As it turned out, Stillwaggon looked to claim the bottom groove entering turns three and four but missed his mark just slightly and pushed up the track, opening up the door for the No. 51 to get on by and hold on for the final 1/3-mile to claim his 26th career PST win.
“It is a terrific feeling. I just love coming down here to Woodhull,” Howland added in Victory Lane before grabbing a photo with his lucky fan that drew the pole position for him for the second time in as many years at the Steuben County bull ring.
Howland now has 12 top five finishes in 13 starts at Woodhull, a record which he now holds.
Robbie Stillwaggon was gracious after the event, as he came home with a runner-up finish for the second-straight May Woodhull event. Shawn Donath would cross in third place, his third-straight top-six finish in the spring race at the track that he once again declared on Saturday that he absolutely loves.
Justin Barger won heat race one and was competitive to finish in fourth at a track where he had two career wins. A strong run was turned in by Larry Kelleher of Scranton, PA, who rounded out the top five despite laying eyes on Woodhull for the first time on Saturday.
Jared Zimbardi won the Evingham Site Excavation Four Laps of Fame Dash4Cash for the second time this season and parlayed that in to a sixth-place showing at a track that he has never had extreme success at.
Sammy Reakes IV was another driver running Woodhull for the first time that had a quality run, as he came home in seventh. Kyle Drum, Jeff Cook and Ryan Stillwaggon each used their knowledge from the ESE Dash to drive forward and round out the top 10.
A full field of 24 sprint cars were in the pits on a hot early season night. Scott Just scored his first career sprint car heat race win, holding off Chuck Hebing in the second qualifier. Hebing came in as the odds-on favorite but after a spin on lap seven could only rally to finish in 13th. Tommy Wickham was the clear-cut hard-charger, driving from 24th up to finish 12th.
The feature was brought under red flag conditions on two occasions. The first incident came on lap eight when Dane Lorenc’s 00 was stuck on Scott Kreutter’s No. 52. Both cars were able to finish the race. The second red occurred on lap 12 when the track became block after a 6-car jingle.
Next up for the Patriot Sprint Tour is a trip to Black Rock Speedway on Friday Night. For more information, visit www.PatriotSprintTour.com.
Patriot Sprint Tour America Series Results: 5/9/15, Woodhull Raceway, Woodhull, NY.
A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Bryan Howland (51), 2. Robbie Stillwaggon (89), 3. Shawn Donath (53), 4. Justin Barger (5), 5. Larry Kelleher (76), 6. Jared Zimbardi (35), 7. Sammy Reakes IV (17), 8. Kyle Drum (47), 9. Jeff Cook (10c), 10. Ryan Stillwaggon (11), 11. Matt Tanner (90), 12. Tommy Wickham (75), 13. Chuck Hebing (45), 14. Scott Kreutter (52), 15. Scott Just (54JR), 16. Steven Hutchinson Jr. (2), 17. George Suprick (87), 18. Dane Lorenc (00), 19. Paulie Colagiovanni (10), 20. Steve Collins (67), 21. Dave Just (54J), 22. Steve Glover (121), 23. Kelly Hebing (10LC), 24. Tyler Graves (25G).
Lap Leaders- Donath 1-7, Rob. Stillwaggon 8-23, Howland 24-25.
Evingham Site Excavation Four Laps of Fame (4 Laps)- 1. Jared Zimbardi (35), 2. Kelly Hebing (10LC), 3. Jeff Cook (10c), 4. Kyle Drum (47), 5. Ryan Stillwaggon (11), 6. Steve Glover (121).
Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: Barger, Reakes, Zimbardi, Cook, Ry. Stillwaggon, Collins, Lorenc, D. Just.
Race 2: S. Just, C. Hebing, Kelleher, Drum, K. Hebing, Hutchinson, Colagiovanni, Suprick.
Race 3: Howland, Donath, Rob. Stillwaggon, Glover, Graves, Tanner, Kreutter, Wickham.
Hoosier Tire Canada/ Mike Emhof Motorsports Recipient: Howland.
Pole Position Raceway Pole Award- Howland
Patriot Sprint Tour America Series Point Standings (Top 10)- Howland 291, Donath 279, C. Hebing 264, Reakes 261, Cook 246, Collins and T. Wickham 234, Drum 231, D. Just and S. Just 224.
Evingham Site Excavation Four Laps of Fame Dash Series (Top Five)- Zimbardi 12, Collins 6, Brown and Lorenc and Stelter and K. Hebing 5.
Patriot Tank Lines Hard Charger of the Season (Top Five)- T. Wickham 22, D> Just and Tanner 12, C. Turner and R. Turner 9.
Danny Willmes Enterprises Lap Leader of the Season (Top Five)- Barney and Stillwaggon 16, C. Hebing 14, Poirier 10, Donath 7.