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 2010 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 and the 2009 winner Jeff Fultz.
This week's "Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Week" goes to ...
"Difficult to award this week's vote to anyone but Joey Polewarczyk for his win at NHMS. Not only is this win the most important and prestigious in his career, but he had to pass 26 cars to win the race."
"One big victory for Joey Pole. He didn't get rattled at all and that allowed him to get the victory."
We got a ton of votes this week, so without further delay here are all of the other drivers who earned a mention from our voting panel.
Here are our honorable mentions for this week:
Ross Kenseth (CRA) - Ross Kenseth invaded the CRA Super Series ranks at O'Reilly Raceway Park (IN) and came away with a victory - beating some very strong teams in the process. That was a clutch move that attracted attention from our voters.
Here was one of the voter comments on Kenseth:
"Ross Kenseth...tops very strong field with 40 cars at ORP and gets my vote."
Richie Dearborn (PASS North) - As Johnny Clark clinched the 2010 PASS North championship, Richie Dearborn scored a big "W" by taking the checkered flag in the season finale at White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH). Since he is such a quiet and polite guy, it is easy to forget that Dearborn is one of the most accomplished drivers in PASS North history. Only the Rowes, Clarks and Sammy Sessions have more victories on the tour to their name. 2010 has been a season where Dearborn has only run a limited schedule of PASS North and Beech Ridge Motor Speeedway Pro Series events. He ended the year in style though by passing Travis Benjamin late to win at WMMP.
Here is one of the votes that we received for Dearborn this time around:
"Richie Dearborn, for timing the last restart in Friday night's PASS 150 just right to score his third fall PASS win at White Mountain Motorsports Park."
Ryan Truex (K&N East) - Ryan Truex just needed to stay out of trouble and pad his NASCAR K&N Pro Series East point lead at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He ended up winning the race though after he steered clear of trouble and late-race leaders Alan Tardiff and Corey LaJoie did not. That earned him an honorable mention this week.
Ryan Newman (WMT) - Ryan Newman put a beating on the field in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, but it was what he had to overcome in the final moments of the race that earned the notice of our voting panel. Here is what one of our ballots said:
"Ryan Newman has a right rear tire going soft in the closing laps of the Modified race at NHMS. He holds on to beat Jimmy Blewett at the line and steer his mod into victory lane, where (Hollywood-style) it completely loses air when he gets out of the car. Ryan comments that he couldn't believe the tire didn't blow completely while he battled for the win. No luck here, just incredible driving from an incredible driver."
Wayne Helliwell, Jr. (ACT) - On Friday night at Lee USA Speedway (NH), Wayne Helliwell, Jr. locked up his second straight track championship by winning the Late Model feature. He then took the same car and headed up to practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway mere hours after leaving victory lane. Later in the day on Saturday, Helliwell finished a strong second in the ACT Invitational. It was a busy 24 hours for Helliwell, but it was a productive stretch for him as well - thanks to his ability to pull through in the clutch.
Jonathan Davenport (Dirt LM) - One of our voters looked to the dirt tracks this week for their pick in the race for the Quarter Master Clutch Performer of the Week. Here was that ballot:
"Jonathan Davenport [gets my vote] leading flag to flag after starting on the outside row in the Lucas Oil Super Late Model race at Virginia Motor Speedway over a strong field including Scott Bloomquist and Earl Pearson Jr."
Griffin McGrath (CRA) - O'Reilly Raceway Park was a new venue for Griffin McGrath and there was a tough field of CRA Super Series teams assembled there for last weekend's race. Yet McGrath still set fast time to get into the show - which led to this vote from a panelist who still can't swallow the commercial name for the track formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park:
"Griffin McGrath setting fast time at TTFKA IRP in his first trip there."
Eddie MacDonald (ACT / K&N East / Trucks) - At New Hampshire, Eddie MacDonald and his team entered the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and the ACT Invitational. In was in the ACT Invitational where Eddie Mac started in the back because a minor rules violation couldn't be fixed in time for the race. Why couldn't it be fixed? His crew was too busy trying to get their Truck ready for that race. MacDonald overcame his poor starting spot to work his way into the top ten though - earning this vote in the process"
"Eddie MacDonald [deserves a mention] for racing past 27 other racers after having been put back 10 positions [on the grid] for failing tech."
Alex Labbe (ACT) - With over 40 drivers in the field, there were plenty of stories from the ACT Invitational at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In total, a half dozen ACT drivers received nominations this week and here was one of those votes:
"Castrol Rookie Alex Labbé, raced past 20 other competitors to finish 20th. That is a clutch performance!" said one of our ballots.
Joey Laquerre (ACT) - Joey Laquerre was another ACT driver who earned notice from our voters this week. Here is what one of our panelists had to say about his clutch performance:
"Joey Laquerre, raced past 20 other competitors to finish eighth."
Patrick Laperle (ACT) - Last week, Patrick Laperle won the Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Week competition. This weekend, he had to settle for an honorable mention and this vote:
"Patrick Laperle who had to overcome an early race spin out and passed 22 other competitors to finish 10t deserves consideration."
Quarter Master salutes Joey Pole on this week’s Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Week award.