Rich Vleck, WOODHULL, NY, (May 19, 2012)- Chuck Hebing entered Saturday’s Patriot Sprint Tour event at Woodhull with four wins in six starts, a good reason why he was a clear-cut favorite entering the night. When “Cobra” took the lead on lap six it looked as though he would cruise to another win on the High Banks; even though that is how it will go down in print, it was anything but a leisurely Saturday Night drive for him in the No. 45.
Hebing, of Ontario, NY, scored his series-high 36th career Patriot Sprint Tour A-Main of his career on Saturday Night despite losing the lead for four laps to Scott Kreutter and battling a difficult race track over the second half of the 25-lap feature before he could claim his first win of the year.
“Cobra” finished second in his heat, which was good enough for a spot in the A-Main redraw where he received the fourth starting position. He put his Wilkins Recreation Vehicles-sponsored No. 45 up to third in the opening set of corners as polesitter Tim Kelly held off Jamie Bodo to lead the first lap. Bodo would take the lead on the second lap and soon after Hebing was also around Kelly and going after the lead.
On lap four, Bodo and Hebing exchanged slide jobs in each set of corners, with Hebing finally prevailing after the fourth exchange to complete lap five. As the duo entered turn on lap six though, a lapped car got crossed up in front of Bodo, leaving him nowhere to go and flipping his No. 76. Bodo was uninjured but dejected by the opportunity lost.
With Hebing in front five laps in, most of the massive crowd on hand felt he had the race in the bag, but Scott Kreutter was not among that contingent and he proved it as he stalked the No. 45 on the three laps following the restart and eventually taking the lead on lap nine when Hebing bobbled in turn two. Over the next half-dozen laps, Hebing would move his line on the track down one groove and get his bearings reset. He would later admit, “I had to get off the top side because I couldn’t run the top anymore.”
On lap 13, as Kreutter and Hebing were working through heavy lapped traffic, Kreutter closed on a car too fast in turn one and wheel-hopped him, nearly sending his No. 52 for a wild ride. Kreutter was able to maintain the lead, but four laps later, the duo was once again in lapped traffic, which is where Hebing made a nifty three-wide move to drive around Kreutter and another car to take the lead back. A lap later, Kreutter broke the left front torsion arm, reducing any ammunition he might have for a rebuttal.
“First it was me and (Bodo) going at it, that was pretty good. Then it was me and Kreutter having a good race, he just made a couple bad choices in the lapped traffic,” noted Hebing.
The biggest challenger for the two-time PST Champion down the stretch would be the cushion. On multiple occasions, Hebing nearly lost control of his No. 45, including with a lap and a half remaining when he started to spin back down the track before correcting it.
“The track was definitely a challenge tonight,” admitted a wore-out Hebing in Victory Lane. “The track was interesting but it was tough. You couldn’t get near that cushion but I kept getting on it. But that was the only way it was fast.”
The win was Hebing’s third straight in the May Woodhull event and fifth at the 1/3-mile.
Just as Hebing’s heroics on top of the track were amazing, so too was Scott Kreutter’s ability to drive his No. 52 to a second place finish despite having the left front torsion arm dragging over the final seven laps. Rarely is Hebing passed at Woodhull and Kreutter knew without that issue he had a chance.
“First I had methanol leaking early in the race then just after Chuck got by me I heard a clicking and even though he kept messing up towards the end but I knew I couldn’t push it to get by him or I’d end up in the fence and I want to race next weekend,” said Kreutter after the grueling 25 lap feature.
Bryan Howland’s third place showing was another championship-caliber run as he darted forward from his tenth place starting spot in to fourth by lap five. He would move by Tim Kelly on that following restart and even those though two would stay in contact with the leaders the rest of the way were unable to gain on them enough to apply any serious pressure. Kelly won his heat and stayed on Howland’s bumper all the way to the finish, recording his fourth top five in his last five races at Woodhull.
Don Adamczyk won the Original Pizza Logs Four Laps of Fame Dash for the second race in a row and again went forward in the A-Main, coming home in fifth.
Todd Hoddick, a teammate to Scott Kreutter was sixth, holding off two-time Woodhull Winner George Suprick, who crossed in seventh. Canadian Jamie Collard and New York’s Paul Habeck were eighth and ninth, respectively, in their first trips to Woodhull, while Geoff Quackenbush drove up from 19th to 10th in his first sprint car start in nearly three years.
On a Chamber of Commerce day, 25 sprint cars helped to fill the hillside pits at the Southern Tier facility. Among the heat winners was Derek Jonathan, who claimed his first heat win and subsequent trip into the redraw in PST action. Along with Tim Kelly, Jared Zimbardi won his heat race but was unable to shrug off his Woodhull struggles, as the defending PST Champion would cross in 13th.
Bobby Breen, who entered the night as the point leader, relinquished his ride back to his older brother Blake, as the Black Rock winner remained at college in Ohio for the weekend. Blake would battle magneto issues and finish in 12th.
Next up for the Patriots are the traditional Memorial Weekend stops at Stateline and Eriez on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit www.PatriotSprintTour.com.
Patriot Sprint Tour Results: 5/19/12, Woodhull Raceway, Woodhull, NY.
A-Main (25 Laps)- 1. Chuck Hebing (45), 2. Scott Kreutter (52), 3. Bryan Howland (51), 4. Tim Kelly (12), 5. Don Adamczyk (21), 6. Todd Hoddick (49), 7. George Suprick (87), 8. Jamie Collard (7x), 9. Paul Habeck (25H), 10. Geoff Quackenbush (25), 11. Charlie Donk (99), 12. Blake Breen (9), 13. Jared Zimbardi (35), 14. Mitch Brown (10), 15. Derek Jonathan (81), 16. Tommy Wickham (75), 17. Steve Collins (67), 18. James Hanson (60H), 19. Dave Wickham (80), 20. Stan Zanchin (94), 21. Steve Hutchinson Jr. (2), 22. Brandan Warner (10B), 23. Jamie Bodo (76).
Lap Leaders- Kelly 1, Bodo 2-5, Hebing 6-8, Kreutter 9-16, Hebing 17-25.
Provisional Starter- Hutchinson.
B-Mains (Top 4 Transfer to A-Main)- 1. Brandan Warner (10B), 2. Geoff Quackenbush (25), 3. Steve Collins (67), 4. Tommy Wickham (75), 5. Bruce DeWick (31B), 6. Steve Hutchinson (2), 7. Clint Ide (3).
Original Pizza Logs Four Laps of Fame Dash (4 Laps)- 1. Don Adamczk (21), 2. Bryan Howland (51), 3. Todd Hoddick (49), 4. Mitch Brown (10), 5. James Hanson (60H), 6. Blake Breen (9).
National Parts Peddler Heats (8 Laps Each)-
Race 1: 1. Tim Kelly (12), 2. Jamie Bodo (76), 3. Bryan Howland (51), 4. Don Adamczyk (21), 5. Blake Breen (9), 6. Charlie Donk (99), 7. Brandan Warner (10B), 8. Tommy Wickham (75), 9. Clint Ide (3).
Race 2: 1. Derek Jonathan (81), 2. Chuck Hebing (45), 3. Jamie Collard (7x), 4. Todd Hoddick (49), 5. James Hanson (60H), 6. Dave Wickham (80), 7. Bruce DeWick (31B), 8. Steve Hutchinson (2).
Race 3: 1. Jared Zimbardi (35), 2. Scott Kreutter (52), 3. George Suprick (87), 4. Mitch Brown (10), 5. Paul Habeck (25H), 6. Stan Zanchin (94), 7. Geoff Quackenbush (25), 8. Steve Collins (67).
Patriot Sprint Tour America Point Standings (Top 10)- 1. Bryan Howland 420, 2. Chuck Hebing 411, 3. Scott Kreutter 393, 4. Tommy Wickham and Tim Kelly 370, 6. Charlie Donk 356, 7. Todd Hoddick 345, 8. George Suprick 342, 9. Steve Collins 336, 10. Jared Zimbardi 334.
Original Pizza Logs Four Laps of Fame Dash Series (Top Five)- 1. Don Adamczyk 12, 2. Todd Hoddick 7, 3. George Suprick 6, 4. Chuck Hebing, Justin Barger and Bryan Howland 5.
Gater Racing News Hard Charger of the Season (Top Five)- 1. Chuck Hebing 19, 2. Scott Kreutter 15, 3. Charlie Donk 13, 4. Kevin Ward Jr. and Josh Weller 12.