by Tommy Goudge (September 15, 2012) - Steve Poirier of Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, Quebec became the first driver to win three Canadian Sprint Car Nationals A-Features on Saturday night in the 8th annual edition of Ohsweken Speedway's signature event. Poirier led 32 of 35 laps in the feature to earn the $12,000 prize, while 2-time Nationals winner Shane Stewart settled for second, and 2011 Ohsweken Speedway track champion Jim Huppunen took third. Jeff Cook and Steve Poirier made up the front row for the A-Feature, but were moved back to the second row after a false start, allowing Shawn Donath and Glenn Styres to start up front. Poirier didn't let that setback get in his way, as he took the lead after a brief joust with Donath. Dustin Daggett looked to be on a mission, as he moved around both Stewart and Donath into second place on lap 6, and gave chase to Poirier while Donath and then Stewart went off track momentarily before Thomas Kennedy spun in turn 2 to bring out a caution flag on lap 9. Daggett had just one lapped car between himself and the leader when the race restarted, but Poirier streaked away until traffic became a factor. Poirier missed his mark entering turn 3 on lap 15, allowing Daggett to take over out front, but Daggett himself got crossed up in the same spot on lap 18, and Poirier went back out front for good. Daggett slid back to 5th by the end of the race, while Stewart and Jim Huppunen tried to chase down Poirier. Huppunen had moved up from row 5, and was ahead of Stewart several times as the race wound down, but could not get by. The rest of the field had a final chance to chase Poirier down when Ryan Grubaugh spun to bring out a caution on lap 31, setting up a 4 lap dash to the finish. Poirier had 4 lapped machines between himself and Stewart when the race restarted, and cruised to the win while Stewart and Huppunen again raced side-by-side for second, with Stewart prevailing. Huppunen, Hebing, and Daggett rounded out the top 5, while Jessica Zemken, Bryan Howland, Shawn Donath, Jeff Cook, and Jamie Collard finished in the top 10. Poirier made sure to thank crew chief Kevin Loveys, a former weekly racer at Ohsweken, for helping him to get back to victory lane at Ohsweken after a tough season which saw him miss several races due to injury. "I would exchange many wins this year for that one," said Poirier after the race. "It looked like our season was going the wrong way with my knee injury. Not too much luck on our side, but tonight all night luck was on our side. The car was super good - thanks to Kevin (Loveys). I know he wanted that trophy pretty bad because he lives around here, so I'm really happy for him, and for my team to win that three times. This track has been so good to me. We always do good here, but the competition is getting tougher and tougher. It's even better than the first two wins we had here." Stewart was also trying to win the Nationals for the third time in his career, but came up just a bit short this time. "(Poirier) drove a great race, and had a great race car," Stewart said afterwards. "We were just second place tonight, and we actually almost finished third. I could see (Huppunen) sneaking around the bottom, but I just can't thank Joe and Tim and Cindy enough. They worked really hard to put together a really good team and program, and it's always fun to come race for them. It's good to see all the fans out here. I know it's a little chilly out, but it was a good race. They did a great job preparing the race track." Huppunen improved on his 10th place finish in 2011 by getting to the podium this year, but couldn't help but wonder if he could have done even better. "This track was what I wanted," Huppunen said of the slick conditions in the feature. "I almost got Shane there at the end. I blew it into (turn) one and I missed my mark, and I cursed myself going around that last lap, but all in all, wow that was fun!" 76 drivers from 3 Canadian provinces, 8 American states, and New Zealand attempted to qualify for the 2012 edition of the Nationals on Saturday night. Chris Steele ran the fastest time overall in group time trials, collecting the Lane Automotive Top Qualifier Award, along with the Bicknell Racing Products Top Canadian Qualifier award, and setting a new 360 Sprint Car time trial track record at 13.308 seconds. Kyle Sauder and his crew were awarded $300 for the Corr/Pak Merchandising “Bill Peer Memorial” Best Appearing Car honours, and Lee Ladouceur recieved a $200 bonus from Brighton Speedway as the highest finishing driver from the Southern Ontario Sprints. Heat races went to Glenn Styres, Steve Poirier, Shane Stewart, Dustin Daggett, and Jeff Cook, while the B-Mains were claimed by Todd Hoddick, Michael Parent, and Dylan Swiernik, and Randy Hannagan and his crew changed engines in time to win the "Little Feature" and the final A-Feature starting position after starting deep in the field. The Ohsweken Shootout and Dave McLeod Memorial Mr. Sprint Car Challenge were also contested on Saturday, after being rained out on Friday. Chuck Hebing took the win in the Ohsweken Shootout, while Randy Hannagan won the Dave McLeod Memorial Mr. Sprint Car Challenge. Ohsweken Speedway wishes to thank all of the sponsors responsible for making this weekend’s event a big success, including Bell Helmets, Electromotive Engine Controls, Klotz Synthetic Lubricants, Best Western Cairn Croft Hotel, BS&B Radiator, Wiseco Piston, Diversified Machine Incorporated, King Racing, Rod End Supply, Pancho’s Racing Products, XYZ Machining Inc., Rocket Headers, Manton Pushrods, ISC Racer’s Tape, J&J Auto Racing, Hoosier Tire, Kinser Air Filters, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, KSE Racing Products, Awesome Racewear, Hepfner Racing Products, Saldana Racing, Zemco Speed Equipment, Winters Performance, Seals-It, BMRS, and Slade Shock Technology. MOD-LITE STARS CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR NORTH Derek Wagner continued his domination of the Mod-Lite visits to Ohsweken in 2012 by leading all but the first lap in the A-Feature. Paul Klager was close to getting by Wagner several times, but settled for the runner-up spot, followed by Jason Corless, Kory Howe, and Jeff May. NEXT UP AT OHSWEKEN The annual Ohsweken Speedway awards banquet will be held on Friday, November 16 at Carmen's Banquet Hall in Hamilton, Ontario. Please visit www.OhswekenSpeedway.com for more information.