By Martin Bélanger
DRUMMONDVILLE, Quebec – Sept. 9, 2011 – Danny Johnson outlasted 2011 Autodrome Drummond champion David Hébert in a classic duel to pick up the DIRTcar 358-modified Series victory during Race Mania 7 on Friday night at Autodrome Drummond.
Beautiful weather greeted a stout field of 43 358-modifieds as the DIRTcar 358-modified Series prepared for its third race of the 2011 season. After qualifying races, a field of 30 cars took the green flag with Drummond regulars Clement Therrien and Steve Bernier leading the charge.
Therrien took the early lead as Yan Bussiére immediately took over second. An early restart after Jeff Sykes slowed on the racing surface saw Danny Johnson climbing into the top-3 on the restart, but it was David Hébert who showed his hand early, easily passing Steve Bernier for fourth, and immediately challenging Johnson for third.
After a caution for Matt Billings, Hébert would use his outside starting spot to move around Johnson into third, before making quick work of Bussiére and immediately challenging Therrien for the race lead. On lap 13 Hébert used the inside to pass Therrien and take the race lead.
Not to be outdone, Danny Johnson followed Hébert around Bussiére and after a entertaining battle with Therrien, took over second by lap 18. The battle for second allowed Hébert to put some distance on the rest of the front-runners before entering heavy lapped traffic by lap 25.
A lap-30 caution for Brian McDonald making contact with the outside wall negated the lead that Hébert had built up, however, a great restart saw Hébert, Johnson, and now third-place running Mario Clair distance themselves from the field. Current 358-modified Series point leader Danny O’Brien began to make his presence known by moving into the top-5 with around 40 laps to go.
The battle for the lead soon took center-stage as Johnson’s relentless challenges finally paid off as he took the race lead on lap 44. On lap-49 the hometown driver regained the lead on Johnson, and began to open up a few car lengths on the defending DIRTcar 358-modified Series champion.
Johnson began closing in on Hébert as Steve Bernier’s top-5 run came to an end as he pulled off the racing surface with mechanical issues. Johnson caught the rear-bumper of Hébert’s #1 358-modified with just 5-laps to go, and on lap-72 went to the outside to take the lead. Johnson and Hébert ran side-by-side for most of the remaining 3-laps, with Johnson ultimately picking up the feature win over Hébert, a late-charging Dale Planck, O’Brien, and Mario Clair. Dale Planck would ultimately be disqualified for coming up light on the scales, moving Dany Bilodeau into the top-5.
Johnson was greeted by many unhappy fans but he had a smile in the winner’s circle, “Great race, I led, he led, if there were more laps he would’ve pass me back I’m sure” mentioned Johnson about his heated battle with Hébert. “I had a good car and am always happy to race here Drummond.”
A disappointed Hébert didn’t enjoy the same smile as Johnson, “I thought I had this win,” said the St-Damase, Quebec driver. “We will take it one race at a time,” noted Hébert.
The Big-Block Modified Super DIRTcar Series takes center stage for day two of Race Mania 7 on Saturday night. The DIRTcar 358-Modified Series will stay north as the revamped Mohawk International Raceway will host the series Friday, Sept. 16.
DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Race #3-Autodrome Drummond, Sept. 9, 2011 Event Summary
Feature Results: Johnson, Hébert, Planck (DQ), O’Brien, M.Clair, Bilodeau, Bernard, Sheppard, G.Clair, Williamson, Brouillard, Therrien, Gougeon, Terrance, Braun, Boissonneault, Whitteker, Dusseault, Currier, Dagenais, S.Bernier, F.Bernier, Flannigan, Bussière, Decker, McDonald, Robidoux, Benedict, Billings, Sykes. LAP LEADERS: Therrien (1-13), Hébert (14-43), Johnson (44-48), Hébert (49-71), Johnson (72-75)
DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Fast Time Award: #21 Yan Bussière, 17.223sec, 83.609mph
Heat Races (8 laps, top 5 finishers transferred to the feature, top 3 went to redraw)
#1: Hébert, Bernard, Bilodeau, Boissonneault, Brouillard, Decker, Currier, Boisvert, Hamel, Sykes, Flannigan
#2: Planck, Johnson, Clair, F.Bernier, Gougeon, Billings, Braun, Williamson, Dagenais, Chicoine, Ledoux
#3: Benedict, Sheppard, Robidoux, O’Brien, Dusseault, McDonald, A.Therrien, Wight, Whitteker, Lalancette, St-Sauveur
#4: Bussière, C.Therrien, S.Bernier, C.Terrance, G.Clair, Lefebvre, Dufault, Bourgogne, Bellemare, Bessette
Consolation Races (10 laps, top 3 finishers transferred to the feature)
#1: Decker, McDonald, Whitteker, Sykes, Boisvert, Hamel, Lalancette, Flannigan, St-Sauveur, Currier, Wight
#2: Williamson, Billings, Braun, Dagenais, Dufault, Bourgogne, Chicoine, Bellemare, Lefebvre, Bessette
Autodrome Drummond DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Race #3 Roster (43)
1h David Hebert/St. Damase,QUE
1 Clayton Benedict/Awkesasne, Ny
3 Claude Brouillard/Tracy,QUE
4j Jeff Sykes/Edwards,NY
6m Mat Williamson/St.Catharines,ONT
6x Dale Planck/Cortland,NY
B7 Etienne Bessette/Drummondville,QUE
9s Matt Sheppard/Waterloo,NY
10 Tim Currier/Auburn,NY
12 Yannick Ledoux/Granby,QUE
13 Kevin Hamel/Sorel,QUE
17D Danny O’Brien/Kingston,ONT
20B Kevin Bourgogne/Granby,QUE
21 Yan Bussiere/Drummondville,QUE
22c Mario Clair/St-Edmond,QUE
22j Gino Clair/St-Germain,QUE
23b Dany Bilodeau/Victoriaville,QUE
25 Steve Bernier/St-Hyacinthe,QUE
27 Michel Dusseault/Victoriaville,QUE
27j Danny Johnson/Rochester,NY
35 Francois Bellemare/Trois-Rivieres,QUE
37 Paul St.Sauveur/St-Hyacinthe,QUE
38L Luke Whitteker/Iroquois,ONT
39 Clement Therrien/Victoriaville,QUE
39a Alan Therrien/Victoriaville,QUE
44 Sebastien Gougeon/Drummondville,QUE
46 Kayle Robidoux/St-Constant,QUE
49 Francois Bernier/St-Hyacinthe,QUE
54 Steve Bernard/St Paul Abbotsford,QUE
61 Jean Boissonneault/Granby,QUE
63 Dominic Dufault/Ste-Victoire,QUE
66x Carey Terrance/Akwesasne,NY
72 Tommy Flannigan/St.Catharines,ONT
74 Matt Billings/Brockville, ONT
76 Travis Braun/Jordan Station,ONT
88L Eric Lefebvre/St-Cyrille,QUE
91 Billy Decker/Unadilla,NY
95 Alex Boisvert/Drummondville,QUE
97 Michel Chicoine/Ste-Cecile de Milton,QUE
98H Justin Lalancette/Cornwall, Ont
99L Larry Wight/Phoenix,NY
124 Pierre DagenaisGatineau,QUE
151KB Brian McDonald/Cornwall,ONT
2011 DIRTcar 358-Modified Series Schedule
Monday, May 23 Merrittville Speedway Merrittville, ONT 100 – Brett Hearn
Sunday, July 31 Cornwall Speedway Cornwall, ONT 100 – Dale Planck
Friday, Sept. 9 Autodrome Drummond Drummondville, QUE 75 – Danny Johnson
Friday, Sept. 16 Mohawk International Raceway Akwesasne,NY 75
Sunday, Sept. 25 Cornwall Speedway Cornwall, ONT 100 –
Wednesday, Oct. 5 Cayuga County Fair Speedway Weedsport,NY 75
Thursday, Oct. 6 Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Elbridge,NY 75
Saturday, Oct. 8 New York State Fairgrounds Syracuse,NY 150
Saturday, Oct. 15 Brockville Speedway Brockville, ONT 100
DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast Region is brought to fans by several sponsors and partners; including Hoosier Racing Tire; VP Racing Fuels; GM Performance Parts, Nationwide Insurance and Safety-Kleen. Promotional partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio and Chizmark & Larson Insurance. Contingency sponsors are ASI; Bert Transmissions; Bicknell Racing Products; Bilstein Shocks; Brodix; ButlerBuilt; Comp Cams; Intercomp; JE Pistons; KSE Racing Products; Motorsports Safety Systems; MSD Ignition; Penske Shocks; Racing Electronics; R2C; Super Flow; Vicci Racing Apparel; WIX Filters; Wrisco Industries; Xtreme Lubricants and Extreme Mufflers.