ESS: 2006 season preview

Could it be an Empire Super Sprint Three-Peat? Two-Time Defending Champion Lance Yonge Gears up for the 2006 Season. SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- He's coming off a dream season where the checkered flag waved over the familiar, blue ...

Could it be an Empire Super Sprint Three-Peat? Two-Time Defending Champion Lance Yonge Gears up for the 2006 Season.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- He's coming off a dream season where the checkered flag waved over the familiar, blue #17J six times en route to his second consecutive Empire Super Sprint (ESS) championship. Penn Yan, N.Y.'s Lance Yonge is busy during the off season in hopes of possibly making it three in a row as the nativepoker.com tour is just a few months away.

The well liked sprint car driver has been a big fixture with the 360 sprint car organization since 1992, never finishing out of the top five in points. In 2004, his hard work and dedication paid off with the first ever ESS title. Only one win but consistency that wasn't matched was the key to taking home the laurels. Last season, Yonge made his noise by dominating a very talented field of ESS faithful.

This winter it's getting cars, motors and a new trailer readied for the 37 date tour. With all his main sponsors back, the new year is looking to be even stronger with the addition of the latest backing from nativepoker.com. Not only are they sponsoring the entire ESS tour, but they are helping out three race teams and Yonge was picked as one.

"I'm fortunate to have all my great sponsors back. There's no way I would be able to do the tour like I can without them. I don't have deep pockets and they have been just a huge help." noted Yonge, who finances his own team. "With nativepoker.com coming aboard, it will help me get through a busy schedule; I'm thrilled to add them to the team.

A new Maxim built sprinter has been added to join last years mount that was so successful and along with two H&G power plants, Yonge is ready to defend his crown. About the only change for 2006 will be a new crew chief. "With Chris (Hammond, last years Leaf Racewear mechanic of the year) heading south to pursue a career in NASCAR I had to find a new crew chief." said Yonge. "Well, I didn't have to look to far--it's my wife, Kissy. My daughter (Brienna) will also help as it will be a family gathering each race."

Fans will be able to get the first look at Yonge's mount sporting not only the nativepoker.com colors but also the names and logos of great backers such as Lane's Yamaha, Johnson Farms, Shuttleworth Asphalt Sealing, Penn Yan Mini-Storage and Dailey Plumbing and Heating at the annual Carquest Motorsports Expo in Syracuse, N.Y. The yearly event at the New York State Fairgrounds will be on March 10-12 and Yonge's #17J will join seven other winged sprint cars as a part of the ESS booth.

While the odds on favorite for 2006, the competition will be tougher than ever for the upcoming season with the likes of Jeff VanDusen, Dan Kaszubinski, Jeff Cook, Alain Bergeron, Don Sharp Jr., Doug Norrie and many more gunning for their first ever ESS crown.

Opening day is planned for May 6th with the long awaited return to the Fulton Speedway. With events from Autodrome Drummond in Quebec to Knoxville, Iowa and over a dozen stops in between, the nativepoker.com Tour for the Empire Super Sprints will once again be excitement guaranteed!! For the latest up to date information, please log on to www.empiresupersprints.com .

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Series Sprint