ESS: Brockville, Ontario race report 2001-06-08

Ryan Coniam Upsets Empire Super Sprint Field at Brockville. BROCKVILLE, ONT. - In just his fifth ever Empire Super Sprint (ESS), Burlington, Ont.'s Ryan Coniam took advantage of his outside pole starting spot to lead every lap in collecting his...

Ryan Coniam Upsets Empire Super Sprint Field at Brockville.

BROCKVILLE, ONT. - In just his fifth ever Empire Super Sprint (ESS), Burlington, Ont.'s Ryan Coniam took advantage of his outside pole starting spot to lead every lap in collecting his first ever ESS victory. The second generation chauffeur kept the trophy and all the money in his native Canada as the win came at the Brockville Ontario Speedway on Friday night.

In what could have been the largest crowd in the history at the quarter-mile known as the B.O.S., the victory lane ceremonies was greeted with a load roar as Coniam become just the second ever Canadian driver to hold the checkered flag at the end of the 20 lap A-Main. The event was marked as the third annual Foster and Wilson Memorial Race with a special trophy presented as well.

"This is just amazing!!" exclaimed a very happy first time winner. "I just can't believe we have won with ESS this early.=20 We were hoping to run as many shows this season as we could and hopefully make the whole trail next year. This is where we want to run but finances are holding us back just a bit. But, to win this soon is just incredible, I just can't believe it!!"

Coniam has graced with winner's circle a few times with the Southern Ontario Sprints (including the opener) but proved to all in ESS that he will be a formidable contender in every race he enters. Driving a flawless event, Coniam and his VSM Abrasives #6 Eagle chassis sprinter survived mid-race heavy lapped traffic, a strong bid by veteran Bobby Podolak and a lap 15 restart to win the feature event, "The lapped cars really had me worried, they were all running side by side for positions too. I just didn't have anywhere to go and I was just hoping no one would get by me. The track was hard to pass on so I just tried not to slip up and make a mistake." said Coniam reflecting on the event run. "I heard someone (Podolak) on me when I got to the slower cars and I guess the late race caution was what I needed. Although, my motor was sputtering on the starts, I guess it worked out as they (the crew) told me I pulled away in the last five laps."

Dick "Crash" Nash would come down for the green flag from the pole slot with Coniam on the outside. Coniam got the jump to lead right off the bat. From a lap one red flag to the lap 15 caution, Coniam first held off Rob Dietrick and then the strongest challenge of the race when Podolak passed Dietrick on lap 12.

With just a handful of laps remaining, Podolak dove under Coniam a few times looking to take over the top spot with Dietrick also in an ear shot. With as many as ten sprinters in the line of the leaders and the race drama at it's peek, the gods shined on Coniam as a spin by Tim Zimbardi brought out the yellow. With a five lap dash to the finish left, Coniam had a clear track and a easy run to the checkered flag.

Coniam's win was by ten sprint lengths over Podolak and Dietrick. Nash held on for fourth for a fine effort by the low dollar ESS veteran. Sixteen year old rookie of the year hopeful Kyle Drum rounded out the top five with his Speedracer.com Stealth. Rounding out the top ten were Dan Kaszubinski, Bubby Kerrick, defending ESS champion Mike Woodring, seven-time Brockville winner in DIRT 358's last year Dale Planck and John Karklin Jr.

The 20 lap A-Main did have it's troubles getting started as Lance Yonge and Scott Holcomb made contact on the original start.=20 On the restart several cars got bunched up with Steve Dow flipping on the frontstretch, Don Sharp Jr. was also involved.=20 During the red, all drivers, Yonge, Holcomb, Dow and Sharp Jr. returned to the action. The final caution was on lap 15 for Zimbardi.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Podolak, Coniam and Dietrick. The Price Paving/Walt's Hobby Dash was won by Kerrick with Alain Bergeron taking the 10 lap KSE Racing Products B-Main.

ESS NOTES: The largest field ever at Brockville as 31 sprinters came out on a warm, cloud free evening...Erin Crocker made heavy contact with the outside wall in turn one during warm-ups. Frame damaged ended her night early...Bill Coffey earned the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger Bonus by advancing six positions during the A- Main...The event was the first leg of the Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar/LaBrie Design Canadian Invasion points. A total of $1000 and a free helmet is up for grabs to the top ten in points...Mike Woodring has now taken over the season long ESS Tour 2001 points lead with Yonge and Kaszubinski following...Rick Wilson's car owner, Charlie Price, was seen doing double duty, first he was overseeing his sprint car team and then he manned the controls of a push truck during the night...Good to see Knoxville's Sprint Car Hall of Fame spokesman Tom Schmeh making his first ever visit to the Brockville Ontario Speedway...This weekend the ESS traveling road show with head East on Friday for the first of two visits to the Albany-Saratoga Speedway and on Saturday the first of two visits to the Merrittville Speedway near Niagara Falls, Canada.

-ESS-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker , Bill Coffey