RPW Column: Donath Ends Nearly Three-Year ESS Winless Drought; Leads Wire-To-Wire At Freedom

Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – DELEVAN, NY – The last Empire Super Sprints feature Shawn Donath won took place on August 24th, 2019, at LeRPM Speedway.

Friday night, Donath ended a 40-race winless streak by leading all 25 laps in the first ESS race at Freedom Motorsports Park since 2019.

“We’ve been knocking on the door a little bit. We’ve been fast the last several weeks. They (the crew) got this hot rod tuned up pretty good. Nice to get a win for the team,” Donath told RPW following the win.

Jared Zimbardi and Jason Barney made up the front row coming to green for the feature, while Donath started third. Barney was caught sleeping at the start allowing Donath to get to P2. Donath then tried the inside, going into turn three on Zimbardi to get a bite on the exit and lead lap one.

Even when catching and working on lapped traffic, Donath made it look easy and kept increasing his lead per lap.

“The thing just had unreal drive. I think we would typically struggle, but this Panther chassis just hooked up really good. It was nice we got a 1st and a 3rd with those cars,” Donath commented.

The 3rd place car Donath was referring to was Dylan Swiernik, who was a part of a four-car jam session in the final laps with Barney, Sammy Reakes, and points leader Jordan Poirier. At one point, Swiernik, Barney, and Reakes were three wide for a full lap around the 1/3 mile complex. Swiernik would get the position as he continued to rip the top off turn four like he did throughout the night.

“The track started widening up at the end of the night. It turned into a racey surface. Just gave it everything I had,” Swiernik told RPW. “I started feeling the top in three and four, and that’s where I started making the hay. Looked like I was reeling in Zimbardi, and then I was reeling in Jason. If we had a handful of laps, we could’ve got second.”

Zimbardi stayed in the runner-up position after losing the lead on lap one. Jordan Poirier finished fourth, while Reakes rounded out the top five.

15 cars checked in tonight. Notable absences included Matt Tanner and Danny Varin, fourth and fifth in points respectively, and the defending winner Billy VanInwegen.

The ESS Tour heads to Albany-Saratoga Speedway next week for a 2k to win show.

For more with the top three and a pre-race interview with Jordan Poirier, head to the RSN Trackside Facebook page.

EMPIRE SUPER SPRINTS
53 Shawn Donath, 2. 35 Jared Zimbardi, 3. 7c Dylan Swiernik, 4. 28 Jordan Poirier, 5. 17 Sammy Reakes, 6. 87 Jason Barney, 7. 28f Davie Franek, 8. 47 Kyle Drum, 9. 45 Chuck Hebing, 10. 10 Jeff Cook, 11. 14 Brett Wright, 12. 10H Kelly Hebing, 13. 36 Mike Stetler, 14. 21B Blake Warner, 15. 33 Lacey Hanson

Heat Winners: 28f Franek, 35 Zimbardi

Dash Winner: 10 Cook

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