Photos by Dale Calnan/www.imagefactor.ca
By Tommy Goudge
BRIGHTON, Ont. (September 5, 2021) – Jim Huppunen and Jordan Poirier have dueled all season in the Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car series, and they put on another entertaining show on Sunday night at Brighton Speedway. In the end Huppunen emerged with the victory, his second in three career Brighton races.
Jamie Turner and Huppunen were the front row starters for night two of the Labour Day Classic weekend, while Poirier started 10th for a second consecutive night. The race had a halting start, as Ben Silliker stopped on track just before the green flag, and Nathan Jackson spun off the track in turns one and two to bring out the yellow flag on the first lap.
Turner took the initial lead when the race started, but Huppunen dove low and took the lead in turns three and four on lap one. Huppunen opened a lead while Alain Bergeron took the second position, and Poirier charged forward. Huppunen’s gap shrank as he attempted to negotiate heavy traffic, and he narrowly avoided disaster when Jackson spun in front of him just before the halfway mark. The resulting yellow flag was a double-edged sword for Huppunen; clear track on the restart was helpful, but Poirier restarted third and quickly overtook Bergeron.
Huppunen doggedly stuck to the low groove while Poirier used the high side to race wheel-to-wheel with the leader. The two drivers raced side-by-side for several laps and Poirier briefly edged ahead before Huppunen retook the top spot with nine laps remaining. Both drivers encountered heavy traffic as the race wound down, and Cory Turner began to reel them in after making his way to third. Turner ran out of time though, and Poirier’s last lap effort fell short as Huppunen won by three-tenths of a second. Poirier settled for the runner-up spot, followed by Cory Turner, Ryan Turner, Bergeron, Steve Poirier, Shone Evans, row eight starter Mack DeMan, row 11 starter Travis Cunningham, and Baily Heard. Heat race wins were claimed by Huppunen, Bergeron, and Evans.
The Pinty’s Knights of Thunder series will next be in action on Friday, September 10 at Humberstone Speedway, and Saturday, September 11 at Merrittville Speedway. Visit www.knightsofthunder.com for more information.
Pinty’s Knights of Thunder 360 Sprint Car Series
Race Report – Sunday, September 5, 2021
Brighton, Ontario, Canada
0 Glenn Styres – Ohsweken, Ontario
0FM Steve Poirier – Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, Quebec
1 Holly Porter – Dorchester, Ontario
3G Dale Gosselin – Saint-Pie, Quebec
5 DJ Christie – Beachville, Ontario
5D Ben Silliker – Grande Prairie, Alberta
9 Liam Martin – Binbrook, Ontario
11 Jamie Turner – Caistor Centre, Ontario
11J Chris Jones – Picton, Ontario
13 Cory Turner – Caistor Centre, Ontario
14H Jim Huppunen – Fenwick, Ontario
15 Dan Nanticoke – Ohsweken, Ontario
17X Mack DeMan – Mississauga, Ontario
19 Nathan Jackson – Dunnville, Ontario
28 Jordan Poirier – Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, Quebec
70 Baily Heard – Niagara Falls, Ontario
84 Tyler Rand – Picton, Ontario
87X Shone Evans – Scotland, Ontario
88 Alain Bergeron – Saint-Pie, Quebec
88H Josh Hansen – Beamsville, Ontario
90 Travis Cunningham – Grimsby, Ontario
91 Ryan Turner – Dunnville, Ontario
98 Paul Pekkonen – Brockville, Ontario
Heat Race 1 [Started] 8 laps
1. 88-Alain Bergeron; 2. 11-Jamie Turner; 3. 11J-Chris Jones; 4. 19-Nathan Jackson; 5. 5D-Ben Silliker; 6. 3G-Dale Gosselin; 7. 0-Glenn Styres; 8. 98-Paul Pekkonen
Heat Race 2 [Started] 8 laps
1. 14H-Jim Huppunen; 2. 0FM-Steve Poirier; 3. 28-Jordan Poirier; 4. 91-Ryan Turner; 5. 1-Holly Porter; 6. 9-Liam Martin; 7. 88H-Josh Hansen; 8. 90-Travis Cunningham
Heat Race 3 [Started] 8 laps
1. 87X-Shone Evans; 2. 70-Baily Heard; 3. 13-Cory Turner; 4. 5-DJ Christie; 5. 17X-Mack DeMan; 6. (DNF) 15-Dan Nanticoke; 7. (DQ) 84-Tyler Rand
A-Main [Started] 25 laps
1. 14H-Jim Huppunen; 2. 28-Jordan Poirier; 3. 13-Cory Turner; 4. 91-Ryan Turner; 5. 88-Alain Bergeron; 6. 0FM-Steve Poirier; 7. 87X-Shone Evans; 8. 17X-Mack DeMan; 9. 90-Travis Cunningham; 10. 70-Baily Heard; 11. 88H-Josh Hansen; 12. 1-Holly Porter; 13. 5-DJ Christie; 14. 84-Tyler Rand; 15. 11-Jamie Turner; 16. 11J-Chris Jones; 17. 3G-Dale Gosselin; 18. 15-Dan Nanticoke; 19. 0-Glenn Styres; 20. 9-Liam Martin; 21. 98-Paul Pekkonen; 22. (DNF) 19-Nathan Jackson; 23. (DNF) 5D-Ben Silliker
A-Main Lap Leaders – Jim Huppunen 1-15, 17-25; Jordan Poirier 16
Margin of Victory – 0.308 seconds
Hard Charger – Travis Cunningham +12
Friday, September 10, 2021 – Humberstone Speedway – Port Colborne, Ontario
Saturday, September 11, 2021 – Merrittville Speedway – Thorold, Ontario
KNIGHTS OF THUNDER MEDIA
About the Pinty’s Knights of Thunder Sprint Car Series: Founded in 2021, the Knights of Thunder series is a traveling winged 360 Sprint Car tour based in Ontario, Canada. Each points-paying event on the 2021 schedule will pay a minimum of $2,000-to-win and $250-to-start, and selected events will be broadcast live on GForceTV. The championship winner will be rewarded with $5,000 and a Pinty’s VIP package for the 2022 Bristol Dirt Race, while 10th place in the championship standings will pay $1,000. The 2021 Knights of Thunder Sprint Car Series is made possible with the support of Pinty’s Delicious Foods, Corr/Pak Merchandising, Stoneridge Specialty Insurance, Hoosier Tire Canada, Burger Barn, Nitro 54 Variety, Strickland’s Brantford Chevrolet, and EPIC Racewear. Visit www.knightsofthunder.com for more information.