By – Chris Porter
Oswego’s Tim Barbeau collected his first checkered flag of the 2011 season on Saturday night, passing Cameron Rowe in sight of taking the white flag in a 25-lap NORA small block supermodified event at Thunder Alley Speedpark in Evans Mills, N.Y.
NORA points leader Rob Pullen had looked to be well on his way to capturing his second series win of the season with only a handful of laps remaining, when he and his No. 2 SBS racer suddenly slowed. The field bottled up in a mad-dash to replace Pullen’s vacated position, filled by Rowe, as contact between two of this chasers brought out the caution flag, setting the stage for a 2-lap dash to the finish.
Rowe looked solid on the ensuing restart, but while rounding turns three and four to take the white flag, his No. 77 pushed up high, allowing Barbeau to pounce at the given opportunity. Barbeau pointed his No. 50 to the inside, took the lead and pulled away on his final time around to collect the win.
Listen to – Tim Barbeau
Pullen took the lead from the pole position, bringing Barbeau, Rowe, Mike Bruce and Vern Lafave around to complete lap No. 1 However, as the field raced into the third and fourth turns of lap No. 2, Ivan Steen’s No. 04 was tagged from behind, sending it into the infield grass before coming back onto the racing surface. In doing so, Steen collected a few other small block supers as his No. 04 then proceeded to head off the end of the fourth turn and eventually into the far outside cement barrier.
Steen’s rear wheels continued to spin as a result of a stuck throttle. However, the motor shut down and after gathering his own bearings, Steen emerged from the wreckage. A.J. Bernys and his No. 24 needed a trip pack to the pits via the hook, while a flatbed was brought out to collect Steen’s No. 04.
Listen to – Ivan Steen
The restart saw Pullen lead Barbeau, Rowe, Bruce and Lafave to the green. While Steve Abt (driving the Mark Castiglia-owned No. 90) slipped under Lafave for fifth, Rowe muscled his way under Barbeau for second.
The leader board remained unchanged as Pullen raced virtually unchallenged, though just a car length ahead of Rowe. Abt was able to pick off Bruce on the 14th lap for fourth. By the 20th lap, Pullen held a full two-car advantage over Rowe.
However, Pullen’s No. 2 suddenly slowed and pulled low with just three trips remaining. Rowe took the point as the field scrambled for position. As they rounded the fourth turn, Bruce’s No. 22 tagged Abt’s No. 90, turning it around in the middle of the racing groove. Most were able to avoid the backwards-facing machine, but Barry Kingsley’s No. 23 was pinned to Abt’s lane. Kingsley skidded into the front-end of the No. 90, resulting in both machines needing a tow back to their pit.
Seeking his first small block supermodified win, Rowe led a shaken-up leader board back to racing with two rounds to go.
Initially, Rowe was able to hold Barbeau at bay, but as he made his way through turns three and four to take the white flag, he pushed high, allowing Barbeau to slip underneath him. Once in front, Barbeau was gone. He used the clear track ahead of him to his full advantage, pulling away on the final lap and escaping to victory.
Disappointed with the missed opportunity, Rowe settled for second. Lafave, Bruce and Chris Tedd rounded out the top five.
Listen to – Cameron Rowe
Heat race wins went to Pullen and Barbeau.
Feature Finish: 1. Tim Barbeau (50), 2. Cameron Rowe (77), 3. Vern LaFave (66), 4. Mike Bruce (22), 5. Chris Tedd (27), 6. Rob Pullen (2), 7. Steve Abt (90), 8. Barry Kingsley (23), 9. Pitt Watson (43), 10. Ivan Steen (04), 11. A.J. Bernys (24), 12. DNS – J.J. Andrews (93)