ESS: 21st Anniversary season set to kick off

Empire Super Sprints' 21st Anniversary Season Kicks off May 15th at the Running of the "Tri-State Clash". SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The long winter wait is over for the stars and cars of the Empire Super Sprints (ESS). Come Saturday night, May 15th...

Empire Super Sprints' 21st Anniversary Season Kicks off May 15th at the Running of the "Tri-State Clash".

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The long winter wait is over for the stars and cars of the Empire Super Sprints (ESS). Come Saturday night, May 15th the best of ESS will trek to Western Pa. to the Mercer Raceway Park for the running of the "Tri-State Clash". The ESS faithful will battle it out with top sprint drivers from Mercer's own 360's as well as the National Racing Alliance (NRA) for what will be an exciting and history making event.

Mercer promoter Vicki Emig is a staunch supporter of 360 sprint cars and this event will be the first of many high dollar specials that will dot the 2004 racing season in the Northeast. Not only will it be the first ever clash among the three groups but it's also the first time Mercer will play host to ESS sanction wing sprinters.

Defending ESS champion Mike Lutz will be in the field driving a Mike VanDusen owned sprinter which was the same combination that carried the Mercer Pa. star to his first ever ESS title. While Lutz's ESS plans are still up in the air after the inaugural event, he still has to be considered the odds on favorite to repeat as the winner of this event. Joining Lutz in hopes of taking the ESS banner to victory lane will be a slew of top drivers such as Justin Barger, Dan Kaszubinski, Lance Yonge, John Karklin Jr., Mike Stelter, Quebec's Alain Bergeron, Doug Emery, New Hampshire's Don Sharp Jr., 2003 rookie of the year Nick Fratto and a whole host of other chauffeurs.

But, the headline making names doesn't stop there, heading the list in defending the home turf will be Scott Bonnell who won the 2003 version of the Bully Hill Nationals at the Black Rock Speedway, last years 360 champion at Mercer, Chris Matthews, Arnie Kent, who won the 360 special back in March, former ESS A-Main winner and now Mercer star Chris Shuttleworth, Jeff Banyas, Doug Stanley and others.

Not to be outdone will be top talent from NRA which is based out of Ohio. Tim Allison, a former Tournament of Champions winner, will lead the contingent along with 2003 champion Dwain Leiber, Darren Long, JR Stewart and Mike Brecht.

Well over 50 sprint cars are expected for the $1500 to win, $250 to start 25 lap feature event dubbed the "Tri-State Clash". But, not only will this be a great night for 360 sprint car fans, it will be a action packed event for all sprint cars fans as the 410 and 305 sprinters will fill the pits as well for what is known as the Western Pa. Sprint Championship. This could swell the pit area to over 100 sprint cars making it one of the largest fields in the history of Pennsylvania sprint car lore.

The first ever visit to Mercer will kick off the 32 date, half-a-million-dollar ESS Tour 2004. A total of 18 different tracks, four states and two Canadian provinces will see the very best of "America's Race Cars" in what is promising to be the most exciting and competitive ESS season in the now 21 year history. As usual, from turn one to turn four, from front stretch to back stretch--it will be excitement guaranteed!!!

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Series Sprint
Drivers Nick Fratt , Justin Barger