By MIKE MALLETT
CANANDAIGUA, NY – Paulie Colagiovanni made it two-for-two on Thursday night at the Land of Legends Raceway with the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints as part of Donath Motor Worx Central New York Speedweek. The Marcellus, N.Y., driver has led every lap of the first two events of the five-day series presented by Stirling Lubricants.
Colagiovanni started on the inside of the second row and had the lead by the team the field raced onto the backstretch in the NAPA Auto Parts / Mach 1 Chassis / E &V Energy 25-lap feature. When all was said and done, he won by nearly three seconds while taking home the $3,000 paycheck.
“Doug (Emery) has been a wicked help to us on these slick tracks,” said Colagiovanni after the win. “We’ve been struggling a little bit lately, but he put the right setup in. I felt like the car was on a rail all night.”
Josh Pieniazek started alongside of Scott Holcomb to kick-off the A-Main. The two fought for the bottom of the track going into the first corner. This opened a lane through the middle for Colagiovanni. He slid his No. 10c up a lane on the racetrack allowing him to drive by the front two to take the lead at the exit of the second turn.
“I knew I could get a run on them on the outside because I knew they would go to the bottom and lose their momentum,” stated Colagiovanni. “I kept my car straight as I could and it worked out.”
Colagiovanni quickly put a huge gap between himself and the field. While he led the way, Shawn Donath tracked down Pieniazek for second. Pieniazek slipped up on lap five opening the door for Donath to get by to take the position away.
At this point the chase was on for Donath. For much of the next few laps he could see the tail tank of Colagiovanni as they were the class of the field.
It was only lap seven when Colagiovanni got his first taste of the back of the pack. Donath tried to take advantage of the traffic, but at this point he was only able to shorten the space between himself and Colagiovanni. He couldn’t get close enough to challenge.
Colagiovanni fought traffic as the race reached the halfway point forcing him at times to take some chances. His car was good enough to make the necessary moves as he maintained his comfortable advantage. With less than 10 laps to go Colagiovanni made a couple of three-wide moves to lap cars whilie keeping everyone behind him.
“I was getting a little nervous because I didn’t know who was behind me or how far they were,” mentioned Colagiovanni. “I tried to slice my way through traffic as safe and as fast as possible.”
The checkered flag flew with Colagiovanni winning the feature by over two-seconds. For the second night in a row, Donath came up short to Colagiovanni as he got the second spot on the podium.
“The car has been really good,” commented Donath. “I have no complaints at all I just have to figure how to flip flop this. They’ve been really working hard on their package and got a good crew over there. My guys and girls have stepped up their program. Everyone in our group is clicking. If we can keep doing this it will eventually change tides.”
Chuck Hebing was one of the biggest movers in the race. Hebing came from the 10th position to rally late to steal the third spot on the podium. Hebing was involved in one of the best battles of the race as he fought with Danny Varin and Jonathan Preston to eventually get up to third.
“Jonathan was working the top like normal and Danny tried the bottom to make it work,” stated Hebing. “I was working the middle. That was good for a while. I didn’t realize we were all the way up to third when we got by Danny. We started in the back and it went green to checkered again. We had a good car, but Paulie’s got it working right now.”
Preston had to be happy with fourth while Davie Franek redrew the 12 before racing his way up to complete the top five.
Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints
*A-Main (25 laps): 1. 10c-Paulie Colagiovanni ($3,000), 2. 53-Shawn Donath, 3. 45-Chuck Hebing, 4. 22-Jonathan Preston, 5. 28f-Davie Franek, 6. 9-Josh Pieniazek, 7. 00-Danny Varin , 8. 91-Scott Holcomb, 9. 61-Parker Evans, 10. 90-Matt Tanner, 11. 99L-Larry Wight, 12. 98-Joe Trenca, 13. 5-Justin Barger, 14. 3a-Jeff Trombley, 15. 2-Dave Axton, 16. 87-Jason Barney, 17. 56-Billy VanInwegen, 18. 35-Jared Zimbardi, 19. 36d-Steve Doell Jr., 20. 121-Steve Glover, 21. 48jr.-Darryl Ruggles, 22. 197-Ryan Harrison, 23. 36-Kyle Moffitt, 24. 41j-Josh Flint, 25. 14b-Brett Wright, 26. 67-Pete Richardson.
Heats (10 laps / 5 qualify)
#1: Colagiovanni, Tanner, Preston, Axton, Richardson, Flint, Doell, K.Hebing, Azzi, E.VanInwegen.
#2: Wight, Donath, Franek, Barger, Trombley, Zimbardi, Wright, Carlson, Kuhn.
#3: C.Hebing, Varin, Pieniazek, Trenca, Glover, Moffitt, Karklin, Harrison, Peebles(DNS).
#4: Barney, Evans, Holcomb, B.VanInwegen, Ruggles, Vigneault, Coniam, Cook, Miller.
B-Main (10 laps / 4 qualify)
#1: Zimbardi, Doell, Harrison, Flint, K.Hebing, Cook, Moffitt, Vigneault, Karklin, Wright, Azzi, E.VanInwegen, Carlson, Coniam, Kuhn(DNS), Miller(DNS), Peebles(DNS).
Provisionals: Moffitt, Wright.
Robert Finley Memorial Dash (4 laps): Axton, Trenca, Barger, B.VanInwegen.
DNQ: 3-Denny Peebles, 5k-Jake Karklin, 9c-Kevin Carlson, 10-Jeff Cook, 10h-Kelly Hebing, 17z-Josh Azzi, 19em-Emily VanInwegen, 46-Ryan Coniam, 55-Alex Vigneault, 88c-Chad Miller, 99k-Dan Kuhn.