Steve Abt led all 100 laps of the Small Block Supermodified (SBS) Classic on Monday, capturing his first SBS Classic win. Having been twice bumped to the next day due to rain showers, Abt first time trialed atop the field, before beating Andrew Schartner into the first turn to earn the early lead. From that point on, Abt says he didnâ€™t remember seeing another competitorâ€™s challenging wheel. It was his third win of the 2010 season.
â€œI didnâ€™t see a wheel all night,â€ Abt said. â€œI donâ€™t know how close some guys were to me. I never saw a wheel, I just kept my line. Lapped traffic was great. They listened. They stayed down low. I was able to get by them pretty easily. The car was great all night. It never changed from the first lap to the 100th lap.â€
SBS qualifying had actually started on Saturday, but was eventually washed away. Abt says he was disappointed with his run that night, feeling that his car had much more potential. Qualifying started from scratch on Monday and after pulling pit-side after his time trial, he knew heâ€™d done better simply by the reactions of his crew.
â€œWe time trialed before the rain there, the track was pretty green . . . We had a (19.6), I was pretty discouraged because I knew the car had a whole lot more. So I was pretty excited to wake up today knowing the track was going to have some rubber on it before we went out â€¦ I pulled in and all of the guys gave me the thumbs up, so I knew we had it, pretty exciting.â€
Listen to more from –Steve Abt
Schartner filed in behind Abt at the start of the race. David Cliff, Kreig Heroth and Mike Bond rounded out the top five as the field first crossed the checkered strip, completing lap No. 1.
The lead train lost Heroth on the seventh lap after he suddenly pulled his No. 44 pit-side. That moved Bond up to fourth and promoted Russ Brown to fifth.
Abt dove into lapped traffic on the ninth lap, but a spin by Dave Danzerâ€™s No. 52 ended the journey into the rear of the field.
With 13 trips in the books, Abt led Schartner, Cliff, Bond and Brown. Tim Barbeau, Brian Sobus, Danny Kapuscinski, Keith Gilliam and Jason Simmons completed the top 10. Bill Moore, Mike Bruce, Jack Patrick, JJ Andrews and Guard Nearbin rounded out the front 15.
After another quick caution on the restart, Abt eased out with out challenge, once again. On the 34th lap, 2010 SBS Track Champion, Cliff, suddenly pulled to the inside and slowed after something went amiss on his No. 06. There would be no season sweep for Gnomey Racing.
Again, Abt began venturing into lapped traffic only to have Kevin Jackson spin his No. 65 to bring out the caution flag. Doug Williams had made a great move to avoid t-boning Jackson.
Abt continued to set the pace, pulling Schartner, Bond, Brown and Sobus. Kapuscinski, Barbeau, Gilliam, Patrick and a surging Andrews completed the top 10.
Following another quick caution, Bond began pressuring Schartner as Abt began to creep away on the restart.
Sixth-place running Kapuscinski suddenly pulled pit-side after his No. 36 ran into mechanical problems on the 52nd lap. The top five then began to distance themselves from the field, leaving Barbeau, Gilliam and Andrews fighting it out for sixth.
Watching the top five run away, Gilliam continued to press Barbeau for sixth. However, an outside look on the 56th lap saw his No. 37 spin around. The caution closed up the field, once again.
The green dropped with 40 trips remaining. Abt eased away with out issue. Behind him, some of the leaders began to grow impatient. Bond put the pressure on Schartner for second while Sobus started looking for ways to move forward in fifth.
Abtâ€™s lead grew to a solid 10-car advantage by lap No. 70. The more Abtâ€™s lead grew, the more pressure Schartner began feeling from behind.
Bond had a decent look to the inside of Schartner in the first turn, but when Schartner closed the door, Bond suddenly found Brownâ€™s No. 60 on his high side. Bond drifted up into Brown, forcing the No. 60 to back down.
With great pressure from the tail-side, Schartner nudged the lapped Simmons No. 25 car aside to protect his position. Simmons hit the inside hub, forcing the caution flag to fly, once again. However, it did not fly before Bond had inched ahead of Schartner. Bond was given the position, relegating the No. 18 to third.
With 17 laps to go, Abt had a new challenger to his position. On the restart, Abt wasnâ€™t able to jump to an advantage as quickly as before. Bond stayed with him, but wasnâ€™t able to get a good enough run to attempt a pass.
Once a few laps had passed, Abtâ€™s advantage had grown a few lengths again. With 10 to go, Abt was in control with a clear racetrack ahead.
A few lengths behind Bond, Schartner and Brown fought hard for third, while Barbeau pressured Sobus for fifth.
Abt took the white flag with an eight-car advantage, cruising on to the Classic win.
Bond was satisfied with second. Terry Solazzo and the No. 26 crew had multiple set-backs during the week leading up to the SBS Classic.
Listen to – Mike Bond
Schartner played more defense than offense on Monday, holding on to finish third.
Listen to – Andrew Schartner
Brown made his one and only appearance of the season, landing the Pike Bros. No 6 in fourth.
Listen to – Russ Brown
Sobus was happy with his SBS Classic run, driving his No. 79 to a fifth-place finish.
Listen to – Brian Sobus
Barbeau backed up his win in the final regular season feature with a solid Classic race, driving the Abt-owned No. 58 to a sixth-place finish.
Listen to – Tim Barbeau
Having started 19th, Andrews made his way up through the field to score a seventh-place finish.
Listen to –JJ Andrews
Moore was very pleased with his Labor Day run. The part-time driver landed the No. 77 in eighth place.
Listen to –Bill Moore
Having missed most of the season due to an injury suffered over the winter months, Patrick earned his No. 9 a ninth-place finish.
Listen to – Jack Patrick
Starting aside Andrews, back in 20th, Nearbin bettered his finishing position by 10, landing his No. 78 in 10th place.
Listen to – Guard Nearbin
Pathfinder Bank SBS Bud Light Classic 100:
1. Steve Abt (85), 2. Mike Bond (26), 3. Andrew Schartner (18), 4. Russ Brown (60), 5. Brian Sobus (79), 6. Tim Barbrau (58), 7. JJ Andrews (93), 8. Bill Moore (77), 9. Jack Patrick (9), 10. Guard Nearbin (78), 11. Brian Osetek (00), 12. Keith Gilliam (37), 13. AJ Bernys (24), 14. Brian Haynes (86), 15. Mike Bruce (2), 16. Doug Williams (10), 17. Cameron Rowe (67), 18. Brad Haynes (43), 19. Jason Simmons (25), 20. Kevin Jackson (65), 21. Danny Kapuscinski (36), 22. Mark Castiglia (90), 23. David Cliff (06), 24. Lou LeVea, Jr. (95), 25. Barry Kingsley (23), 26. Dave Danzer (52), 27. Kreig Heroth (44), 28. Dennis Rupert (91), 29. Dennis Richmond (7)