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 ...
Aric Almirola
#14h Dean Howard Construction Chevrolet

A Cup driver finished third in a Super Late Model race this past weekend.  "Big deal", you might say sarcastically.

Actually, if you look close enough into the story of how that happened, you'll see why our panel was impressed enough to vote Aric Almirola as the Speed51.com Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Week.

Almirola had a bad week when he lost his regular job as the driver of the #8 entry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing.  Lack of sponsorship was to blame.

Meanwhile, Almirola was slated to debut a brand new Super Late Model for friend D.J. Howard in the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway.  It was only the second time that Almriola was going to drive a Super Late Model and the car did not get finished until the wee hours of the morning on Friday.  The team looked at the weather forecast for Hickory and correctly
predicted the rain would wash out practice there, so they loaded up and logged some laps at Caraway Speedway instead to make sure nothing fell off the car.  Nothing did and the team was the first one lined up at the gates of Hickory late for Saturday morning.

There they dialed ther car in and led some laps against Super Late Model all-stars from North and South.  Almirola got squeezed into the wall at one point, but still trucked on and finished on the podium.  There were no big-time Cup egos in the house either. After the race, Almirola was smiling from ear-to-ear.

Finishing closely behind Almirola in our balloting this week was Johanna Long, who bested another talent-packed field of Super Late Model entries in a place much further south than Anderson.  Long won the Blizzard Super Late Model Series opener at Pensacola, Florida's Five Flags Speedway on Friday night.

Continuing with our Super Late Model them of the week was Johnny Van Doorn, who placed third in our balloting this time around.  Saturday started a new season with a new team for Van Doorn in the CRA Super Series opener at Anderson Speedway (IN).  But there wasn't much of a learning period needed as Van Doorn came through in the clutch and won the race against a stout field of entries.

Van Doorn started third at Anderson and shadowed Midwestern Jack-of-all-Trades Eddie Hoffman for much of the race before taking the lead with 30 laps to go.  He then battled Boris Jurkovic before winning in his first start for Kaos Motorsports.

Shane Sawyer ranked fourth for winning the ASA Southeast Asphalt Tour event ay Lanier.

Ben Rowe, who won the Easter Bunny 150 and Ted Christopher, who held on to a fading racecar to still win on the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour at Caraway, tied for position number five in our voting for the week.

Quarter Master salutes Aric Almirola on this week’s Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Week.
2009 Quarter Master
"Clutch Performance of the Week"
April 3rd-5th

1.  Aric Almirola (PASS South)
2.  Johanna Long  (SLM)
3.  Johnny Van Doorn (CRA Super Series)
4.  Shane Sawyer  (ASA SAT)
5.  (Tie)  Ben Rowe  (PASS South)
5.  (Tie)  Ted Christopher  (WMT)


2009 Cumulative Winners

Aric Almirola (PASS South)
Andy Seuss  (Mods)
Earl Pearson, Jr.  (WoO LM)
George Brunnhoelzl, III (Mods)
Matt Hirschman (Mods)
David Rogers  (SLM)
Matt Kobyluck  (CW East)
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