By DEAN REYNOLDS
CANANDAIGUA, NY – It’s been well documented that after this season Union Springs, NY standout Bryan Howland will be stepping back from his sprint car career to spend more time with the family. For 2017 he picked events and tracks that he likes to attend at this past Saturday the Canandaigua Motorsports Park with the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (ESS) was on the list.
Taking advantage of an outside pole starting spot, a combination of a well set up car and a few breaks that went in his favor, Howland lead all 25 laps to collect $2,050 for his fourth career ESS A-Main. The event also paid points for the NAPA Auto Parts US Tour.
Jordan Poirier was on the pole for the start of the event with Howland getting the jump as lap one was scored. It was clear early that his set up was a little bit different than everyone else, he kept his #51 mostly in the middle of the oval known as the “Land of Legends”.
“That’s what we set it up for, we try our Utica-Rome and Ohsweken set ups in where you can roll the middle a little bit more,” Howland said on his game plan, “That’s so you’re not choking it down around the rim and you’re not taking the long way around the top. That was part our off season set ups that we are trying. I actually like to run that way, hanging the right rear off the top is not my style and I’m not really good at parking it along the bottom like I used to be.”
In the early laps, Howland built up a sizeable lead with the rest of the field bunched up swapping positions each lap. But, it wasn’t until a lap 12 restart that the chips kind of fell his way.
Howland chose the outside lane for the restart but it was the inside starting Paulie Colagiovanni that came out ahead when the field went through turns one and two. However, the yellow lights quickly shined for two cars getting together in the back of the pack. This put Howland back in front and also the next restart was single file.
“Yea, that was kind of my saving grace. The #10C touched me a little bit and got a good run down the front stretch,” Howland went on, “I tried to get ahead of him going into one but he had a good run going in and I had to get out of it a bit. Luckily that yellow came out we got back out front.”
The last half of the event did go basically trouble free and Howland collected a win he really wanted. “To win with ESS is nice. I mean starting up front definitely helps as you know you have 12 or so of these top ESS guys starting behind you is huge,” he continued, “We have had just a really good year. This was win number four out of nine races so we can’t ask for much more.”
Colagiovanni waged a torrid battle for second which also involved Chuck Hebing, Danny Varin, Steve Poirier, Coleman Gulick and more. Running the extreme outside he brought home another podium finish and this time it was second.
“My car was really good and it help to race those other guys down to the end of the race,” the teenage driver continued, “We ran a 410 last weekend and it gave me more confidence coming back into the 360. I felt more comfortable out there and could make some passes.”
Danny Varin made his own late race moves to go from sixth to third on the final two laps. “Those guys were running way up top so I just decided to dive it down to the bottom and it actually worked,” the CNY Speedweek champion went on, “My car is still just a little bit off here (Canandaigua), I just don’t know what it is. I mean we were horrible when we started coming here so we are gaining but still just a little bit. We will keep digging.”
Coleman Gulick ran is traditional high groove to also pick off a few late spots to collect a fine fourth place finish with Chuck Hebing pulling an all-nighter coming back from Knoxville to take home fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Steve Poirier, Matt Tanner, Jonathan Preston, Jason Barney and pole starting Jordan Porier.
A total of 26 cars entered the third of three scheduled events at the Ontario County Fairgrounds. The A-Main saw 23 of the 24 starters complete the event.
Lucas Oil ESS A-Main – Bryan Howland ($2,050), Paulie Colagiovanni ($1,100), Danny Varin ($825), Coleman Gulick ($655), Chuck Hebing ($590), Steve Poirier ($520), Matt Tanner ($505), Jonathan Preston ($445), Jason Barney ($435), Jordan Poirier ($400), Sammy Reakes IV ($460), Matt Billings ($370), Jeff Cook ($300), Joe Trenca ($290), Alex Vigneault ($335), Paul Kinney ($505), Dylan Swiernik ($300), Brett Wright ($270), James Hanson ($315), Erik Karlsen ($260), Tommy Wickham ($305), Chad Miller ($300), Darryl Ruggles ($275), Steve Doell ($250)
Did Not Qualify – Derrick Juliano, Brandon Kidd
Lap Leader – Howland 1-25.
Hoosier Tires Bridesmaid Bonus – Colagiovanni $100
E&V Energy Fast Time – S. Poirier, Hebing, Varin $25
Car Mate Trailers Heats – S. Poirier, Barney, Gulick $25
Danny Willmes Ent./Cobra Coaches Dash – Reakes IV ($100), Tanner ($75), Vigneault ($50), Ruggles ($25), Swiernik ($25), Kinney ($25)
Engler Machine and Tool Halfway – Howland $50
Insinger Performance Hard Charger – Billings (12 pos), $50
Lacaillade Masonry B-Main – Wickham $50
Ohsweken Speedway 22nd Anniversary – Miller $50
Scorpion Security Products Last Car Lead Lap – Hanson $50
Scorpion Security Products 12 Redraw – Preston $25
Fondations 55 Pick 5 – Hebing $35
7-12 Challenge – $1500 – None, $1,600 at Fonda Aug. 12
Hoosier Tire – Kinney $200
For more Information on the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints:
Android App: Empire Super Sprints
The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints are brought to you by: Lucas Oil, Mach 1 Chassis, Einstein Construction Group, NAPA Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tires, Donath Motorworx, Insinger Performance/Sunoco Race Fuels, Scorpion Security Products, 1000 Islands RV Centre, Car Mate Trailers, Fondations 4 Saisons, Beard Sewer and Drain, Cobra Coaches, 911 Restoration, Fondations 55, E&V Energy, SUNY Canton, Engler Machine and Tool, Northwood 2 Construction, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Lacaillade Masonry, FX Chevy, ASI Racewear and many, many associate sponsors!!