ESS: Canandaigua report 2001-06-30

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. - So far the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Tour 2001 has been filled with frustration and heart break for Penn Yan, N.Y.'s Lance Yonge. This Saturday night a strong car and running at his old stomping grounds, the Canandaigua ...

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. - So far the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Tour 2001 has been filled with frustration and heart break for Penn Yan, N.Y.'s Lance Yonge. This Saturday night a strong car and running at his old stomping grounds, the Canandaigua Speedway, proved to be the right medicine. For the first time this season, fans saw a complete sweep on the night as Yonge won his heat, dash and the 20 lap A-Main.

The victory was extra sweet as the former DIRT big block regular at the 1/2 mile known as the "Land of Legends" had many friends and family on hand amongst the huge crowd that filled the grandstands. "This is a big win for all of us, me, crew, car owner...everyone." noted the driver on his first win of 2001. "It's been a tough start this season, but to get one here at Canandaigua where I called home for many Saturday nights really makes everyone feel good."

While it sounded like a dominating night for Yonge, if it wasn't for a lap 16 caution in the feature event there just might be another story to be told. Steve Dow lead the event since lap five running strong as he was also looking for his first win of 2001. On the restart, Yonge dogged Dow for all it's worth and finally made the winning pass on lap 19 to thrill the crowd.

"To tell you the truth, I don't know if I would have won the race if it wasn't for the yellow." said Yonge on the late race drama. "When the yellow came out, I just didn't know if it would help me or hurt me with these tires (the ESS spec. MC2, American Racer right rear). You just don't know what will happen when they cool down. But, it finally came my way this time, the yellow was a help because I don't know if I could have passed Steve. I might have caught him, but passing was another story. I just have to thank my crew, Keith Lane was back tonight, Dave, Malcolm, everyone, they gave a me a great car."

At the drop of Tommy Burton's green flag, veteran Tom Taber got the jump from his outside row starting spot aboard his D.W. Slouch Milk Hauling Maxim. Taber lead the first four laps until Dow swept by with his family owned Henchcraft #70. Dow was on a mission and he immediately opened up a good size lead on the rest of the field.

Yonge's charge in his Stealth built, Gaerte powered #5 started from his 11th place starting spot. Up to fifth on lap five, fourth on lap six, third on lap eight and finally into second one lap later. While his car was indeed fast, catching Dow was a huge mountain to climb. With the help of slower traffic as the race continued under the green lights, Yonge slowly closed in on Dow.

It looked to be a close finish but also looked like it could be possibly a win for the Dow team. That was until the races' one and only caution which came out on lap 16. This bunched up the field and with now lapped cars in-between, Yonge was restarting right behind Dow.

With the green lights back on, Dow still hung tough until a strong dive down low in turn one just as lap 18 was scored. The Lane's Yamaha sprinter stuck and coming off turn two, Yonge was in the lead and on to victory.

The win was ESS career win #19 for Yonge. Defending ESS champion Mike Woodring debuted a new J&J Chassis #19 and with a last lap, wild, high side pass on Dow, he brought the machine home for a well earned second place finish. Coming from his 14th place start, the Eden, N.Y. star collected the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger Bonus. Dow took third ahead of Brian Dumigan, for his best ESS finish ever, and 16 year old Kyle Drum. Rounding out the top ten were; Bill Coffey, New Hampshire's Don Sharp Jr., Fulton winner R.C. Faigle, Mike Stelter with his Vicomp Graphics #36 and Taber.

The lap 16 caution started when Scott Holcomb and Dan Kaszubinski came together on the front stretch. Holcomb lost his steering and made contact with the inside turn one wall. Randy Years and Rick Wilson made heavy contact with the disabled #91 which saw heavy damage to all three sprinters.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were, Dow, Drum and Yonge. The D.W. Slocum Milk Hauling/Walt's Hobby Dash was won by Yonge with the C-Main won by Mike Bozzuto and the KSE Racing Products B-Main copped by 17 year old Justin Barger.

ESS NOTES: A season high 40 sprinters caused for the first C- Main of the year...Making first starts of 2001 were Phil Mott and Darrell Bragman, making first ever ESS starts were URC regular Sam Ross, who was on vacation in N.Y., and Chris Muhleisen, who cracked the starting lineup in the A-Main...A total of 57 different drivers have run at ESS event so far in 2001...Erin Crocker lost her steering during the third heat which saw her sprinter flip out over the turn two wall. After a quick trip to the hospital, Erin returned to the track...Tough night for ESS rookie hopefuls: Tim Barnard lost a motor in warm-ups and Ryan Coniam lost a front end in the B-Main, both had to watch the A- Main from the grandstands...With his second place finish, Woodring opened up his points lead some on Kaszubinski with Yonge in third.

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ESS RESULTS: Heat 1 - Steve Dow, Jeff VanDusen, Dan Kaszubinski, Mike Stelter, Brian Dumigan, Bubby Kerrick.

Heat 2 - Kyle Drum, Tom Taber, R.C. Faigle, Rick Wilson, Randy Years, Alain Bergeron.

Heat 3 - Lance Yonge, Mike Woodring, Bill Coffey, Bob Podolak, Don Sharp Jr., Scott Holcomb.

C-Main - Mike Bozzuto, "Crash" Nash, Curtis Bradshaw, Bill Wolf. D.W. Slocum Milk Hauling/Walt's Hobby Dash - Yonge. B-Main - Justin Barger, Ray Preston, Rob Dietrick, Chris Muhleisen. Provisional Starter - Tim Zimbardi.

Did Not Qualify - Bozzuto, Nash, Bradshaw, Wolf, Warren Alexson, Dick Spadaro, Tim Barnard, Darrell Bragman, Sam Ross, George Ely, Ryan Coniam, Phil Mott, Jim Senzio, Mike Young, Erin Crocker, Dan Bennett, John Karklin Jr.

A-MAIN - LANCE YONGE, Woodring, Dow, Dumigan, Drum, Coffey, Sharp Jr., Faigle, Stelter, Taber, Barger, Kaszubinski, Bergeron, Dietrick, Kerrick, Preston, VanDusen, Zimbardi, Holcomb, Years, Wilson, Muhleisen, Podolak.

Lap Leaders - Taber 1-4, Dow 5-18, Yonge 19,20. Walt's Hobby Hard Charger - Woodring (12 pos.) $50. Vicomp Graphics Halfway - Dow $50.

Winner's Bonuses: Car-Mate Trailers $50, ATL Fuel Cells $200, Extreme Racewear $100, Flag2flag.com $145, Tire Comp. East $75, Hank's Performance Products $50, Duralite Racing Wheels $50, Griffin Thermal Products $50, Bicknell Racing Products $35, Hazlitt Vineyards $45, Total Seal $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear $20.

Other Bonuses: Extreme Racewear - Dow $50. Penske Shocks - Drum $200. Weld Racing Hard Luck - Crocker $75. Design 500 - Preston $100, Drum $50. C&R Racing Radiators - VanDusen $50. KSE Racing Products - Preston $50. Joe Hunt Magnetos - Muhleisen $50. Bailey Racing Products - Dumigan $35. Hazlitt Vineyards - Woodring $20, Dow $10. Total Seal - Taber $20. Thunder Mt. Wings - Dow $20.

-Dean Reynolds

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker , Justin Barger , Bill Coffey