Cedric Gauvreau drove his way to another impressive victory Friday night during the 2022 DIRTcar Sportsman Fall Championship opener at Albany-Saratoga Speedway.
Pat Jones, a three-time Feature winner at the track this season, jumped out to an early lead after the green flag was thrown. Travis Whitbeck and Mike Fowler trailed behind him for the first eight laps in the second and third positions, respectively, looking to find an opening to pass. But Jones never presented one.
Jones pulled away from the pack and went largely uncontested for the first half of the $3,000-to-win, 40-Lap, matchup while a heated battle took shape behind him. Cedric Gauvreau, Chad Edwards, and Cody McPherson jockeyed intensely for position, running three-wide down the front stretch at one point.
After the third restart of the race on Lap 26, Gauvreau managed to break away and move into third place. He then started his hard charge to the front of the pack, eventually taking over the lead on Lap 29. Travis Whitbeck, Pat Jones, and Mike Fowler followed behind.
Gauvreau continued to show his strength, pulling ahead by almost two seconds and cruising to the win.
“The car was good everywhere on the track, so I was happy when I had the top, but it was always good on the bottom as well,” Gauvreau said.
Second-place finisher Whitbeck expressed how formidable Gauvreau’s performance was in Victory Lane.
“I thought I had Pat the whole race,” Whitbeck said. “I really didn’t know who was behind us. On that restart I got my doors blown off by him [Gauvreau]. He was pushing Pat down the backstretch, and I said he’s gone. We’re going to settle in for second. Luckily, I was able to get Pat. He’s a real tough competitor so I was glad I was able to pull that off. I’ll take a second with these big-name guys.”
Jones finished third, Edwards fourth and Fowler rounded out the top five.
The DIRTcar Sportsman Fall Championship Series continues on Saturday, Sept. 30, at Fulton Speedway for the Outlaw 200 Weekend. The Series is also less than two weeks away from the Chevrolet Performance 75 at the 50th Running of NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week, Oct. 3-9.
There was a post-race protest of the motor of Cedric Gauvreau. Official results will be pending results of the protest.
Results (Albany-Saratoga Speedway, Sept. 23)
1. Cedric Gauvreau 2. Travis Whitbeck 3. Pat Jones 4. Chad Edwards 5. Mike Fowler 6. Cody McPherson 7. Tim Hartman Jr. 8. Andrew Buff 9. Tyler Corcoran 10. Derrick McGrew Jr. 11. Cameron Tuttle 12. Zach Buff 13. Cody Ochs 14. Mike Coffey Jr. 15. Zach Zobotka 16. David Boisclair 17. Jessica Power 18. Dave Rogers 19. Chris Mackey 20. Willy Decker 21. Kyle Devendorf 22. Gerard LeClair 23. Darryl Nutting 24. Cory Castell 25. Dave Baranowski Jr. 26. Nick Giardini 27. Dylan Madsen 28. Tyler Stevenson 29. Marty Kelly III 30. Ron Proctor 31. Mike Ballestero