Quarter Master's Clutch Performance of the Week
Who Came Through in The Clutch This Time?
As Decided by the Staff of Speed51.com
Performing in the clutch is what seperates a winning driver from the rest of the pack.  Flexing muscle at the right time is something that true talents posess.  Often luck plays a big role in winning versus losing, but being able to squeeze just enough strength out at the perfect opportunity is what separates winners from losers.  Performing in the clutch doesn't necessarily mean winning, however; it's all about making the most from what you've got.

That's why Quarter Master, providers of winning clutches & driveline components to racers from Super Speedway to the Bullring, from IRL to Rally, from NASCAR to the "Weekend Warrior," is proud to honor a weekly "Clutch Performance of the Week" from the short track ranks of America.  Each week, an esteemed panel of short track industry insiders will vote on which drivers came through in the clutch.  The driver or team with the most votes will then be the "Clutch Performance of the Week."  At the end of the 2009 season, the driver or team that received the most votes throughout the season will then be the "Clutch Performer of the Year" and will be awarded a clutch kit from Quarter Master, valued at $3,500 - just like the 2008 Quarter Master Clutch Performer of the Year winner Eddie MacDonald.

This week's "Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Week" goes to ...
John Donahue
#26 National Guard Late Model

The Milk Bowl at Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT) is a race that is designed to be pressured-packed.  The race is made up of three segments with the finishing positions of each segment being added together and the driver with the lowest score winning the overall race.  Each segment is inverted, so there probably isn't a race out there where the winner has to pass as many cars.  To make matters worse, Thunder Road is a tight quarter-mile oval.

A driver really has to come through in the clutch to win under those circumstances and that is exactly what John Donahue did this past Sunday.

As a result, John Donahue has been voted as the Speed51.com Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Week winner.

Donahue entered the all-telling third segment of the event one point behind Brent Dragon.  Both started near the back of the pack and both raced hard for positions in the middle of the pack.
Donahue got ahead of Dragon and then kept going, passing car after car to try and cut down his point total even more - eventually scoring four fewer positions than Dragon did and securing the race victory.

Here is what one of our voters had to say about Donahue's performance:

"[My vote is for] John Donahue at The Milk Bowl. The guy knew from the drop of the green in the third segment that he was racing Brent Dragon for the overall win. For the better part of the 50 laps he went 3-wide with Dragon leaning on him and doing whatever he had to do to get ahead of Dragon. It worked and John won The Milk Bowl for his very first time."

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Here are our honorable mentions for this week:

Donny Lia (WMT) - It seems that every week lately when we tally up votes for the Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Week award, Donny Lia's name comes up.  That is for good reason.  Lia wasn't really in contention for the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship for most of the season, but when clutch time rolled around he stepped it up and started posting some big numbers.  This week, Lia took over the WMT point lead with one race remaining after winning the Fall Final at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT).  His ability to come through in the clutch could pay off very big this year.

Parker Kligerman (ARCA) - Justin Lofton has been coming through in the clutch in the ARCA RE/MAX Series lately, taking over the point lead from Parker Kligerman and running with it.

But Kligerman's ability to also come through in the clutch kept his title hopes alive this past week.  Kligerman won at Kansas Speedway, on the weekend of his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut, beating Lofton and heading into the ARCA finale with a fighting chance at the championship.

"Gotta go with Kligerman. He raced his competitor for the win," wrote one of our voters this week.

Ross Kenseth (LM) - The last four Big 8 Series races this season have all ended the same way - with Ross Kenseth in victory lane.  That doesn't mean that Kenseth doesn't have his work cut out for him while racing for the victory though.  Just look at how he came through in the clutch at last weekend's event at Rockford Speedway (IL).

"Ross Kenseth started on the front row of the Big 8 Series 108-lap event at the National Short Track Championships at Rockford Speedway.  The 16-year-old figured out how he could get his tight late model to go fast coming off the turns to hold off Kyle Jarlsberg and Ricky Bilderback for the win.  His fourth in a row and has a 101-point lead over Jeremy Miller with the finale this Saturday night at Oktoberfest," wrote one of our voters.

Drew Brannon (ASA LM) - Drew Brannon started out the ASA Late Model South season by winning down in Florida at Charlotte County.  He ended the season in the same exact way this past weekend - coming through to win the championship as a result.

George Brunnhoelzl, III (WSMT) - It's coming down to the wire for the championship battle on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified and George Brunnhoelzl, III isn't choking.  In fact, he has been so consistent in championship clutch time that he basically locked up the title with one race to go.  Winning at Ace Speedway (NC) on Friday night definitely helped his cause.

"George Brunnhoelzl, lll went out and did what he needed to do to secure the 2009 NASCAR Whelen Southern Tour championship.......he won at Ace and repeatedly fought off challenges from Burt Myers to do it," wrote one of our voters.

Josh Nelms (SLM) - Here is what one of our voters had to say about how Josh Nelms came through in the clutch this past weekend:

"Josh Nelms, with the help of some great adjustments at the halfway break came through and passed Jeff Kendall with 22 laps to go to win the 44th Annual National Short Track Championships main event on Sunday.  This was his second ever super late model win and said it will be the biggest win in his career no matter what he wins from here on out."

Dave Kuhlman (Outlaw SLM) - The Glass City 200 at Toledo Speedway (OH) is one of the biggest Outlaw Super Late Model shows in the land.  This past weekend, Dave Kuhlman came through in the clutch and defeated some of the biggest names out there to win the event for the first time in his career.

Matt Potter (Sportsman) - Something that had the potential to be somewhat embarassing happened to Matt Potter on the pace laps of the Tiger Sportsman race at Thunder Road Speedbowl (VT) on Sunday.  The race was the biggest of the year for all of the weekly competitiors at the track since it was part of the Milk Bowl event. Potter started his #23 machine on the front row of the B-Main, but when he was warming up his tires, he got together with his fellow front row starter.  That cut down a tire and sent Potter to the pits.

Potter then had to start last in the stocked field, which only left him a short time to get back into a top six transfer position in the 25-lap race.  Potter sailed through the field though and didn't succumb to the pressure he was faced with.  By lap 10, he was up into a transfer spot and at the end of the race, he finished fourth.  Later on in the day, Potter finished 17th in the 28-car feature race.

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There was one other driver who got votes too.  In fact, he was right in the thick of the fight for the most votes of all until he got disqualified from the race that he was in this weekend....

Matt Hirschman (TVMRS) - Matt Hirschman got into the Gary Casella-owned #25 Modified for the first time on Sunday and came away from the True Value Modified Racing Series event at Twins State Speedway with the apparent victory.  As news of that victory spread, Hirschman got plenty of early votes in our Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Week competition.  At one point, he even led the balloting.

Unfortunately, that was all for naught as the #25 Modified that Hirschman drove at Twin State was disqualified for an illegal carburetor.  After that penalty was announced late on Monday, his votes for this competition was also disallowed.  Hirschman still did his job behind the wheel though and that earned him a honorable mention this time around.


Quarter Master salutes John Donahue on this week’s Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Week.



Quarter Master
"Clutch Performance of the Week"

1.  John Doanhue (ACT)
2.  Donny Lia (WMT)
3.  Parker Kligerman  (ARCA)
4.  Ross Kenseth (Big 8)
5.  Drew Brannon (ASA LM)



2009 Cumulative Winners

Donny Lia (Mods) 3x
Andy Seuss  (Mods) 2x
Chris Wimmer (ASA MW) 2x
John Donahue (ACT)
Mike Stefanik (Mods)
Mike Rowe (PASS North)
Brandon Ward (Pro Cup)
Paul Harraka  (CW West)
Corey Wiilliams (PASS South)
Steve Park (CW East)
Justin Lofton  (ARCA)
Eddie MacDonald (LM)
Derek Ramstrom (PASS North)
Parker Klligerman (ARCA)
Brian Campbell (CRA, ASA LM)
Earl Paules (Mods)
Bubba Pollard (Blizzard SLM)
Jamey Caudill  (UARA)
Jay Fogelman  (PASS South)
Ross Kenseth  (Big 8)
Ted Christopher  (Mods)
Eric Beers (Mods)
Aric Almirola (PASS South)
Earl Pearson, Jr.  (WoO LM)
George Brunnhoelzl, III (Mods)
Matt Hirschman (Mods)
David Rogers  (SLM)
Matt Kobyluck  (CW East)
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