ESS: Eriez II: Race report

Erin Crocker becomes second ever female winner with the Empire Super Sprints. HAMMETT, Pa. -- On September 16, 2000 history was made within the family of the Empire Super Sprints (ESS). Kris Dow became the first ever female to capture an A-Main...

Erin Crocker becomes second ever female winner with the Empire Super Sprints.

HAMMETT, Pa. -- On September 16, 2000 history was made within the family of the Empire Super Sprints (ESS). Kris Dow became the first ever female to capture an A-Main event which came on a Saturday night at the Merrittville Speedway. This past Sunday at the Eriez Speedway, a little bit of history was written again with Erin Crocker becoming the second lady to hold off the "boys" going wire to wire to collect her first ever ESS sprint car main event.

In dominating style, she lead wire to wire with the Mike Woodring owned Maxim sprinter to give the seven-time ESS champion his first win as a car owner. "This is pretty cool." said the 21 year old from Wilbraham, Mass. "The car was strong all night but when you're out front you don't know if you're going fast enough. That one caution late in the race really helped me as the slower cars were right in front of me."

The caution that Crocker noted came on lap 14, the only time the yellow lights shined during the 20 lap A-Man. While she was running a strong pace, many-year ESS veteran Bobby Podolak was inching in on Crocker and the she was just about to hit its peak in drama. Debris and a spun Mike Stelter was a culprit for the caution and was the key for Crocker's victory as she quickly opened up a big lead on the restart to cruise to the victory.

While this might sound like a typical "walk on the park", it was a trying 24 hours for Crocker and the entire Woodring team. Just the night before, Crocker was walking back to the pits on lap three during the feature event at Stateline. Her Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute J&J was damaged badly from a violent flip down the back stretch which saw her sore but otherwise OK. It was decided to put Crocker in Woodring's main 360 mount with Mike running his J&J that he uses in 410 competition (equipped with a 360).

"Erin was going to run this car starting next week but since she 'satcheled', her word for trashing a sprint car, the J&J last night we had to make the change a little early." said Mike who currently leads the ESS points. "We got the car ready for her in the morning while we had to do some changes to my J&J to get it ready for a typical dry track that we get at Eriez."

Crocker didn't let the hard work go for naught with the headline making victory. "I just have to that all the guys (the crew) for their hard work. The car was great and they are the main reason why I won tonight." said the grateful driver. "I also have to thank Mike (Woodring) and his family as he is giving me the best chance anyone can have. If I want to move on into racing I have to get it done right here, hopefully I can get some more wins in the future."

Crocker sped under the checkered flag with Podolak running a crafty race for second. Tim Kelly passed Jeff VanDusen with four laps to go to take third at the finish with VanDusen fourth and Don Sharp Jr. rounding out the top five. The next five were Bubby Kerrick, Phil Mott, Bill Coffey, Lance Yonge and Woodring.

The Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were won by Crocker, George Ely and VanDusen with John Karklin Jr. winning the KSE Racing Products B-Main.

ESS NOTES: A big field of 30 sprinters filled the pits on a warm and sunny night--Making his first ever ESS start was Mercer Speedway regular Jeff Banyas--21 of the 22 A-main starters completed all 20 laps--To show the versatility of the ESS competitors, the three heats were won by Crocker (21 year old female), Ely (60 plus year old veteran) and a teenager in VanDusen--.Ryan Coniam snagged the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger dollars by finishing in 13th after starting 21st--.A big three race weekend coming up that will see the ESS Tour 2002 visit Quebec, N.Y. and Ontario. Friday night it's off to Autodrome Edelweiss in Cantley, Quebec, just North of Ottawa, Saturday it's into the states for a visit to the Frogtown Speedway. On Sunday it's across the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Cornwall Motor Speedway to make up the June 23rd event.

-ess-

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker