Howland gets first PSG win at Five Mile Point
By Rich Vleck
Kirkwood, NY: Bryan Howland had planned on spending his final high school spring break in Myrtle Beach with his buddies; instead he had to settle on spending it in Victory Lane.
On a picture-perfect spring day at the Five Mile Point Speedway in Kirkwood, NY, 29 sprinters put their cars out onto the new racing surface to go after the first sprint car win in New York in 2005. The Bobcat of Buffalo Patriot Sprint Group presented by Tom Neamon Mac Tools did not visit the track in 2004, but many drivers were familiar with the facility. Even so, some changes left many drivers starting from scratch. Turns one and two had been extended over the winter, with additional banking placed as well. The changes were felt to be significant for some drivers but for most it was still the same Five Mile.
Chuck Hebing quickly got out in front of the field to pick up the win in the first heat race of 2005. ‘Cobra’ finished in front of Chris Muhleisen who had won the last PSG race at Five Mile in 2003. Rick Wilson finished sixth which was outside of the top-12 redraw. Notable Patriot regulars George Ely, Ray Preston, and Blake and Bobby Breen finished 7th-10th and were sent to the B-Main.
Jeff VanDusen won heat two over Warren Alexson in a green-to-checkered race. George Suprick finished third with Kyle Wilson fourth to get into the redraw.
Jared Zimbardi held off a strong Kyle Drum to pick up the win in heat #3. After a caution came out on lap six for a Dan Deming Jr. spin, Drum was found to have a flat left rear. Instead of pitting he stayed out and was able to hold off the field to finish in position two. Bryan Howland and Jeremy Barnard won the battle over Howard Singer to get the final redraw position when Singer also cut down a left rear on his Cornerstone #26.
In the Sylvan Learning Center of Vestal, NY Dash race, it was ‘Cobra’ Chuck Hebing once again getting around Chris Muhleisen for the race win. Hebing started third but was able to take the lead in the four-lap event by the end of lap one.
Gary Troutman led from start-to-finish to pick up the B-Main victory. Blake Breen was second and his younger brother Bobby picked up the sixth and final transfer spot. The six drivers to transfer all finished between seventh and thirteenth in last year’s final point standings.
The top 12 finishers from the heats redrew for their starting position, with Mike Stelter selecting the pole position. Stelter, of Ontario, NY, was the first driver to be given the opportunity to start scratch for the Patriot Power Challenge; he decided to stay on the pole at such a tight race track. Defending PSG Champion George Suprick drew the outside pole position. Despite drawing the ninth starting spot, Chuck Hebing was still the odds-on favorite for the 25-lap A-Main.
The A-Main was slow to get rolling but once it did it was non-stop action. George Suprick took the early lead from the outside-pole and held of Mike Stelter. The major accident of the night occurred with one lap in the books. Five drivers were involved in the turn one accident, including Gary Troutman, Rick Wilson and Ray Preston who all had their nights come to an end as a result of the wreck. Bobby Breen and Don Adamczyk also came around but were able to continue on.
One lap later, rookie Nick Bashford and Jeff VanDusen came together in turn three which would end both of their nights. The third and final caution came one lap later when Kyle Wilson came around. The ‘Joyceville Cadet’ kept his foot on the gas to keep the car from stalling but spun himself into a fog of dust.
On the lap three restart, Bryan Howland got by Stelter to take over position two and began to slowly reel in George Suprick. Suprick kept Howland at bay until lap 13 when the leaders encountered lapped traffic. Suprick, running the middle groove ran into trouble getting around tighter lapped traffic also running off of the bottom and opened the door for the 2004 PSG rookie of the year to sneak through. Howland took the lead and would not relinquish it. He had at least one lapped car between himself and the second-place driver for the final ten laps and pulled away to pick up his first ever 360 sprint A-Main Win.
The 17-year-old from Auburn, NY could barely contain himself in Victory Lane, letting his emotions run freely, “To get around a guy like George Suprick and win this race is just awesome,” said Howland. “This is way better than being in Myrtle Beach.”
Howland came close to winning on a number of occasions last year but could never finish the deal. He came in with the goal of getting more aggressive in an effort to pick up more wins; one race down, one win.
George Suprick lost second place to Dave Ely shortly after losing the lead but fought back hard to hang on to the running-up spot, with Ely closely behind in third. Suprick always wants to win but was able to accept defeat, “I gave the race up in lapped traffic, but that guy (Howland) was ready,” said the Clarks Summit, Pa driver. “Being the champion I have a target on my back, Howland took a shot and hit.”
Chuck Hebing moved up from his ninth starting position to 6th on the first lap, and was into 4th by the final restart; however on the long run he was not able to move up any farther and finished in position four. “I changed the car too much for the feature,” said Cobra after the event.
Pete Green was strong in his first Bobcat of Buffalo Patriot Sprint Group race, finishing 5th. Rounding out the top-10 was Warren Alexson, Jeff Cook, Kyle Wilson, Chris Muhleisen and Blake Breen.
The audio re-broadcast of the race will be available starting Sunday Night on Oval1.com and can be accessed at anytime. The Patriots will have three weeks off before heading to the Ohsweken Speedway for the second race of 2005. For more information about PSG, log on to PatriotSprintGroup.com.
Bobcat of Buffalo Patriot Sprint Group presented by Tom Neamon Mac Tools Results: Five Mile Point Speedway: Kirkwood, NY- 29 Cars
Heat 1: CHUCK HEBING, Muhleisen, Green, Stelter, D. Ely, R. Wilson, G. Ely, Bl. Breen, Preston, Bo. Breen.
Heat 2: JEFF VanDUSEN, Alexson, Suprick, K. Wilson, Quackenbush, Schulz, Troutman, Faigle, Adamczyk, Zagata.
Heat 3: JARED ZIMBARDI, Drum, Howland, Barnard, Cook, Bashford, Singer, Deming.
Sylvan Learning Central of Vestal, NY Dash for Cash (4 Laps): CHUCK HEBING, Muhleisen, Drum, Alexson, VanDusen, Zimbardi.
B-Main (10 Laps): GARY TROUTMAN, Bl. Breen, G. Ely, Preston, Adamczyk, Bo. Breen.
Did Not Qualify: Ron Zagata, Dan Deming Jr. Howard Singer, R.C. Faigle, Curt Shuttleworth.
A-Main (25 Laps): BRYAN HOWLAND, George Suprick, Dave Ely, Chuck Hebing, Pete Green, Warren Alexson, Jeff Cook, Kyle Wilson, Chris Muhleisen, Blake Breen, Geoff Quackenbush, Kyle Drum, Dave Schulz, George Ely, Don Adamczyk, Jeremy Barnard, Jared Zimbardi, Bobby Breen, Mike Stelter, Nick Bashford, Jeff VanDusen, Gary Troutman, Rick Wilson, Ray Preston.
Lap Leaders: Suprick 1-13, Howland 14-25.
Gater Racing News Hard Charger of the Season Standings: Dave Ely and Blake Breen (10), Don Adamczyk (8), Jeff Cook and George Ely (7).
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