Dan Kaszubinski Edges Kyle Drum at the Line in the Empire Super Sprint Thriller at Albany-Saratoga. by Dean Reynolds MALTA, N.Y. - Last corner, last lap, a cheering throng of fans on their feet...Dan Kaszubinski provided the drama and the ...
Dan Kaszubinski Edges Kyle Drum at the Line in the Empire Super Sprint Thriller at Albany-Saratoga.
by Dean Reynolds
MALTA, N.Y. - Last corner, last lap, a cheering throng of fans on their feet...Dan Kaszubinski provided the drama and the highlight of the evening by passing Kyle Drum coming down to the checkered flag to win his first A-Main of the season be a mere few feet. The win for the driver of the Autotech of Syracuse #20 was his first of the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Tour 2001 although he has now taken at least one win at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway for the past four years.
Friday night at the Malta, N.Y. oval looked to be a history making event as Drum, the 16 year old rookie sensation, was well on his way to winning his first ever ESS A-Main. It would have marked the youngest feature winner in the history of the 18 year old organization. =20
A lap 19 restart put Kaszubinski on the rear bumper of Drum for a one lap dash to the checkered flag. "I really didn't know where to go as I wasn't near the front for most of the race so I just didn't know what line Kyle was racing." noted Kaszubinski on his last lap strategy. "He went in turn three hard but he just got a little loose coming off four. I hit the cushion and shot right under him. I really surprised how well the car hooked up, I got a great run off the corner and took the win. I'll tell you, I don't know what it is about this place, four years in a row...man four years in a row!! Oh yea, it's about time I came out ahead on one of these photo finishes!"
Last season Kaszubinski and his 1987 Bobby Allen built sprinter won four times on the ESS circuit but came out on the short end of the stick on three photo finishes. This time around the young, exciting chauffeur was holding the checkered flag at the end of the 20 lap feature event.
While the last lap restart was key to the win, a lap 17 restart was key to Kaszubinski even having a shot at Drum. "I restarted in sixth, I was hoping to maybe pick up a few cars and come in with a good finish." dead-panned Kaszubinski. "But, everyone left the top open, I couldn't believe it. I had a good line and the lane was wide open. I got up into fourth and when Bubby (Kerrick) and Justin (Barger) bumped they lost momentum and I got into second easily. The last lap caution help me a lot and I finally got a bit of good luck this time. I'm looking for the ESS championship, there's still a long ways to go and a lot of good cars to beat. But, it's one race at a time, the key is to finish well in every event. We are going to try for that."
Drum's Speedracer.com backed sprinter started in third but he swept past front row starters Erin Crocker and Tim Zimbardi to lead lap one. Drum immediately opened up a big lead as he was blistering the 1/3rd mile facility. Kerrick started in fifth and was up to third on lap four, second on lap five with his sights on the leader Drum. But, Drum didn't allow Kerrick to close in as he found a comfortable line to run.
Justin Barger's charge to the front caught the eyes of many as his Cortlandt Auto Body #32 came from the 17th place starting position. A teenager himself, Barger blasted from sixth to fourth on lap 13 and one lap later he was in third closing quickly in on Kerrick.
A fourteen lap green flag stint found lapped cars right in front of Drum with Kerrick and Barger close behind. Just as it was going to get a bit hairy with the slower traffic, a caution was waved on lap 17. This put both Kerrick and Barger in a shot for the win.
As the green lights came back on, Drum again came out strong as the battle for second turned into a wheel rubbing affair.=20 Contact by the two sprinters opened up the door for Kaszubinski on the outside as he swept by both to find himself in the runner-up slot. It looked to be Drum as the winner with Kaszubinski home for a fine second.
However, a spun Randy Years on lap 19 set the stage for the second at-the-line-photo-finish of the season with Kaszubinski providing the crowd pleasing pass for the win. Drum was home for a well earned second place finish, Kerrick took third with Barger in fourth. His charge earned him the Walt's Hobby $50 hard charger bonus. Rounding out the top five was Lance Yonge. The next five was Alain Bergeron, defending ESS champion Mike Woodring, Steve Dow, the Vicomp Graphics sprinter of Mike Stelter and Brian Dumigan.
Three cautions slowed the event, all minor in nature. John Karklin Jr. spun on lap three, Rob Dietrick's sprinter stopped on lap 17 and the lap 19 caution for Years.
Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Erin Crocker, who became the second ever female racer to collect a checkered flag in ESS history, Bergeron and Dow. The Walt's Hobby Dash was won by Yonge with Ray Preston taking the KSE Racing Products B- Main.
ESS NOTES: A large field of 38 sprinters greeted the big crowd on hand...A big welcome back to Tommy Allen who made his first ESS start after many years. John Lieto also made his first start of the 2001 season with Floyd Billington, Mark Cole and Fred Dittmer making their first ever ESS appearances..."Crash" Nash was the only sprinter to find it's way on it's wing during the night. Nash did it in his heat but used his one race provisional to gain a starting berth in the A-Main...Surprise DNQ's were Scott Holcomb (motor), Bill Coffey (magneto) and Doug Emery (crash)...With cash and bonuses, Kaszubinski's win was worth over $1900...The ESS Tour 2001 will make it's second visit to the Friday night stop of the CVRA circuit on August 3rd.
Heat 1 - Erin Crocker, Bubby Kerrick, Kyle Drum, Brian Dumigan, Tom Taber, R.C. Faigle.
Heat 2 - Alain Bergeron, Mike Stelter, Matt Gerber, Mike Woodring, Randy Years, Justin Barger.
Heat 3 - Steve Dow, Lance Yonge, Dan Kaszubinski, Tim Zimbardi, John Karklin Jr., Rob Dietrick.
Walt's Hobby Dash - Yonge.
B-Main - Ray Preston, George Ely, Bob Podolak, Floyd Billington.
Added Starter - Ryan Coniam, Provisional Starter - "Crash" Nash.
Did Not Qualify - Bill Coffey, Scott Holcomb, Doug Emery, Dick Spadaro, Don Sharp Jr., Tommy Allen, Fred Dittmer, Mark Cole, Warren Alexson, John Lieto, Jim Senzio, Bill Wolf, Jeff VanDusen, Curtis Bradshaw.
A-MAIN - DAN KASZUBINSKI, Drum, Kerrick, Barger, Yonge, Bergeron, Woodring, Dow, Stelter, Dumigan, Crocker, Coniam, Ely, Gerber, Preston, Faigle, Zimbardi, Nash, Billington, Years, Dietrick, Taber, Karklin Jr., Podolak.
Lap Leaders - Drum 1-19, Kaszubinski 20.
Walt's Hobby Hard Charger - Barger (13 pos.) $50. Vicomp Graphics Halfway - Drum $50.
Winner's Bonuses: Car-Mate Trailers $50, Extreme Racewear $100, ATL Fuel Cells $200, Hank's Performance Products $50, Griffin Thermal Products $50, Duralite Wheels $50, Flag2flag.com $145, Tire Comp. East $75, Bicknell Racing Products $35, Total Seal $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear $20.
Extreme Racewear - Drum $75, Kerrick $50.
Weld Racing Hard Luck - Sharp Jr. $75.
Design 500 - Billington $100, Bergeron $50.
C&R Racing Radiators - Kerrick $50.
Joe Hunt Magnetos - Karklin Jr. $50.
KSE Racing Products - Preston $50.
Hazlitt Vineyards - Kaszubinski $35, Drum $20, Kerrick $10, Yonge $10.
Bailey Racing Products - Nash $35.
Total Seal - Dumigan $20.
Thunder Mt. Wings - Drum $20.