Mike Woodring beats out Mike Lutz in wild ESS event at Devil's Bowl. FAIR HAVEN, VT. -- It was another wild 20 lap A-Main on the Empire Super Sprints Tour 2002. Taking advantage of a lap 16 restart, Eden, N.Y.'s Mike Woodring dove under Pa....
Mike Woodring beats out Mike Lutz in wild ESS event at Devil's Bowl.
FAIR HAVEN, VT. -- It was another wild 20 lap A-Main on the Empire Super Sprints Tour 2002. Taking advantage of a lap 16 restart, Eden, N.Y.'s Mike Woodring dove under Pa. star Mike Lutz with two laps to go to take the lead and on to his third victory of the season. The feature event thrilled the big crowd Sunday night at the 1/2mile speed plant in the Green Mountain State of Vermont.
"That was a fun race!" exclaimed Woodring, the seven-time champion of ESS. "Both Rob (Dietrick) and Mike (Lutz) were going at it up front, they had a great race. But, I knew my car was fast and I knew I could close in and challenge them for the lead with the right breaks."
Woodring's Putnam County Speedway sponsored #19 started the event in 10th and it took the ESS great 12 laps to pull into third and make his bid for the lead. "The track was real slick but when we did some warm-up laps before the green the car just stuck down low." said Mike on his set up. "I knew right then that I had a chance to come to the front. Some of the yellows helped and so did the lapped traffic. When I got to third, I just needed the right line to make the passes."
Starting from the outside pole, Dietrick lead the first eleven laps. But, the A-Main saw four official lead changes among three drivers in the final nine laps. On lap 11, both Dietrick and Lutz swapped the lead, count them, three times before Lutz took control when lap 12 was in the books. Lutz pulled out just a bit on lap 13 but on the next tour Woodring found an amazing amount of bite coming off turn two to go from third to first which saw the crowd throw out a big cheer.
Lutz, a former regular on the All-Star Circuit of Champions, didn't give up the fight and he would wrestle the lead back on lap 16 just before the yellow lights came on. "I don't know if the yellow help me or not but I did know what I wanted to do on the restart." noted Woodring. But, when the green lights came on, Lutz opened up a big lead. "He just plain caught me sleeping." frankly put by Woodring. However, the yellow lights shined again before lap 17 could be completed, this time Woodring was ready.
The second restart saw Lutz again in the lead but Woodring now had him in striking distance and on lap 18 he made an inside move for the pass. It was the pass for that took him to victory. "I got a better restart the second time and I knew he was going to go high. His car seemed to be set up that way." said Woodring on the late race strategy. "That worked good for me since my car was so good down low." On the final two laps, the black #19 opened up a sizable lead over Lutz for the triumph.
"Those yellows (on lap 16) just killed me." said Lutz. "I had a hard tire on and I needed three laps to get heat in the tire. I tried to get a jump on the first restart and it worked but when the yellow came right back out that's all Mike needed get me."
At the checkered flag Woodring took the win making it a clean sweep on the weekend for the Woodring team cars as Erin Crocker won Friday night at Albany-Saratoga. "Erin put a little pressure on me just before the feature, she told me that it was now my turn to keep the Woodring cars in victory lane." Said Mike with a smile. "After all, I can't have her have more wins than me!!" It marked career ESS victory #54, Lutz was second with Dietrick close behind in third, Ryan Coniam took fourth with Don Sharp Jr. taking fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Lance Yonge, Ray Preston, Bill Coffey, Justin Barger, who won the Walt's Hobby hard charger bonus after starting in 24th and Bubby Kerrick.
Three cautions slowed the event with Jim McCaffrey looping his sprinter on lap 10. Dan Kaszubinski made contact with the outside wall in turn two and he stopped on the track with 16 laps in. On the restart Jeff VanDusen and Mike Stelter same together, this incident was note worthy as they were running fourth and fifth at the time.
Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Woodring, Dietrick and Stelter with the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame a Museum/Walt's Hobby Dash won by Dietrick.
ESS NOTES: The pit log was made up of 24 sprinters--.Making his first ESS start of 2002 was New Hampshire's Mark Cole--The reason why Barger started dead last was caused by a broken rear end in his heat event. The crew unloaded the back up sprinter from their stacker trailer and Barger went on to score a fine top ten finish--To date, 76 different drivers have competed in ESS competition for 2002--Next weekend will see the ESS Tour 2002 make stops to Autodromes Granby and Drummond on Friday and Sat. in Quebec. The events are the final two stops on the VSM Abrasives Canadian Invasion Tour which boasts a $5,000 point fun. On Sunday night it's a visit to the New Utica-Rome Speedway to close out the Labor Day weekend.