Rich Vleck, HAMMETT, PA, (July 5, 2015)- Justin Barger has won a lot of feature races over his illustrious sprint car career, but his win on Sunday Night at Eriez Speedway was a first a few ways.
Barger, 31, of Montrose, NY, took the lead from Kyle Drum on a lap 19 restart and pulled away to win at Eriez Speedway for the first time. It was also the first win for Barger since becoming a father over the winter.
“To have my daughter in Victory Lane it’s pretty special,” noted Barger after the race. “We’ve been nipping at this car and it’s been good the last few nights, and it didn’t let us down tonight.”
The former PST Canada Champion refused to be denied on Sunday Night. Barger drove up from eighth to third in his heat race to make the redraw, only to have the number eight starting spot for the 25-lap A-Main. He did not waste much time moving his No. 5 in to third place by lap seven and quickly began to chase down the leaders.
Canadian Chris Steele looked strong in his maiden voyage at Eriez, winning his heat and taking the lead in the A-Main from the outside pole. Fellow heat race winner Kyle Drum drove up from fourth to second and the lead duo sliced through lapped traffic, but as the race came to the halfway point, Barger was also slicing in to their advantage.
Just after lap 14, Steele was hanging on to the lead when a lapped car spun in front of the No. 80s, after losing his breaks around the fifth lap, Steele was unable to avoid and made terminal contact.
On the ensuing restart, Kyle Drum pulled out to a comfortable advantage over Barger, but the race’s second and final caution flag on lap 18 would give Barger the one more restart he needed to gain his first win of the year.
“The bottom was pretty good in the beginning, but then when I got to second I just wasn’t making any ground and I had to change it up and how I was driving and it seemed to be a little better,” reflected Barger.”
Barger charged hard in to the top of turns one and two and had Drum’s No. 47 cleared by the time they exited turn two. From that point Barger took control to score his 12th Career PST win.
“You have to carry a lot of momentum on a restart in order to make something happen on the backstretch so we were fortunate,” he added. “We had a really good car tonight so it feels good.”
As Barger drove to the win, the battle raged on for the runner-up spot. Canadian Mitch Brown was able to move up to take second place coming to the white flag for his second runner-up finish in PST action this year.
Jared Zimbardi would slip by Drum on the final lap for his ninth career podium finish at the site of his first career PST A-Main win back in 2007.
Kyle Drum was pleased to cross in fourth, and recognized that with his tires giving up late in the race, that final caution may have done him in. Still it was a solid run for the driver second in points.
Ohio’s Jack Sodeman Jr. was mired in tight battle’s throughout the night and was able to round out the top five in CJ Jones’ No. 10J.
Three-time Eriez winner Scott Kreutter took control of the Hoddick-owned No. 49 and fought back to finish in sixth. Canadian Chris Durand finished seventh in his first Eriez start, while Scott Just drove up to finish in eighth. PST America point leader Sammy Reakes IV struggled with a loose torsion arm on his No. 17 but was able to finish in ninth, while Tyler Graves moved forward one spot for the sixth time this year to round out the top 10.
An impressive total of 24 cars filled the pits on a perfect Sunday Night. Jared Zimbardi won the Evingham Site Excavation Dash4Cash for the third time this season.
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Patriot Sprint Tour America Series Results: 7/5/2015, Eriez Speedway, Hammett, PA.
Bonnell’s Collision Center A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Justin Barger (5), 2. Mitch Brown (10), 3. Jared Zimbardi (35), 4. Kyle Drum (47), 5. Jack Sodeman Jr. (10J), 6. Scott Kreutter (49), 7. Chris Durand (67D), 8. Scott Just (54JR), 9. Sammy Reakes IV (17), 10. Tyler Graves (25G), 11. Jake Muench (14), 12. Steven Hutchinson Jr. (2), 13. George Suprick (87), 14. Joe McEwen (44), 15. Dave Wickham (80), 16. Jim Porter (22), 17. Shawn Mott (5m), 18. Stan Zanchin (94), 19. Dave Just (54J), 20. Dennis Wagner (38), 21. Chris Steele (80s), 22. Gary Edwards (57), 23. Steve Collins (67), 24. Bruce DeWick (52).
Lap Leaders- Steele 1-14, Drum 15-18, Barger 19-25.
Evingham Site Excavation Four Laps of Fame (4 Laps)- 1. Jared Zimbardi (35), 2. Chris Durand (67D), 3. Tyler Graves (25G), 4. Jake Muench (14), 5. Steven Hutchinson Jr. (2), 6. Scott Just (54JR).
Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: Drum, Reakes, Barger, Zimbardi, Hutchinson, McEwen, D. Wickham, Zanchin.
Race 2: Steele, Edwards, Sodeman, Durand, Suprick, DeWick, Porter, Mott.
Race 3: Brown, Kreutter, Graves, Muench, S. Just, Collins, Wagner, D. Just.
Hoosier Tire Canada/ Mike Emhof Motorsports Recipient: Barger.
Pole Position Raceway Pole Winner: Edwards.
Patriot Sprint Tour America Series Point Standings (Top 10)- Reakes 1495, Drum 1427, Collins 1297, S. Just 1285, Hutchinson 1282, Zimbardi 1279, D. Just 1278, Suprick 1275, Graves 1069, S. Glover 870.
Evingham Site Excavation Four Laps of Fame Dash Series Standings (Top Five)- Collins 19, Zimbardi 18, Kreutter 16, Durand 15, Habeck 12.
Patriot Tank Lines Hard Charger of the Season Standings (Top Five)- Zimbardi 56, D.Just 31, Suprick 29, Reakes 28, Barney 26.
Danny Willmes Enterprises Lap Leader Standings (Top Five)- Zimbardi 79, Reakes 37, Howland 28, S. Just 19, Barney and Stillwaggon 16.