George Ely Becomes a "Surprise" ESS Winner at Eriez. by Dean Reynolds HAMMETT, PA. - For the third Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Tour 2001 event in a row, the victory outcome wasn't decided until the final turn of the final lap. Sunday night at...
George Ely Becomes a "Surprise" ESS Winner at Eriez.
by Dean Reynolds
HAMMETT, PA. - For the third Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Tour 2001 event in a row, the victory outcome wasn't decided until the final turn of the final lap. Sunday night at the Eriez Speedway Ryan Coniam lead from the drop of the green flag right up until turn four on lap 19. Coming down for the checkered flag, Coniam's motor started losing power and taking advantage was Jordan, N.Y.'s George Ely.
Ely drove around the outside of the slowing Coniam to collect his third ESS victory of the 2001 season making the 63 year old driver with the most wins on the tour so far.
"I have to tell you, this is a surprise!!" said the veteran of five decades behind the wheel. "I saw a car slowing but it was dusty and I just didn't know who it was. I really had no idea that I won until they told me to go to victory lane."
Ely, who started in fifth, was dogging Coniam for the entire second half of the event. While he was putting in the pressure, passing the second generation Canadian was a different story. "My car was good." noted Ely who was driving a reverse-bar J&J.
"I was right there on him but I don't think I could have passed him. The track was real hard to pass on and I think the only way to get by was on the bottom. He didn't make a mistake until I guess he had problems coming off turn four."
At the drop of Spanky Hall's green Coniam's VSM Abrasives Eagle lead from the start, survived two early cautions and was looking to be a shoe-in for his second victory of the season. That was until....the mystery trouble. "We still don't know what's wrong. There's fuel in the line and all the hoses are still connected. I just stepped on the gas and the motor died. When I let off after the checkered it ran fine again." said Coniam on the frustrating finish. "Taking second is discouraging but at least we were competitive this weekend. We been having so much troubles with this back-up car (Coniam destroyed his main mount during an SOS event at Ransomville) trying to get it hooked up. We took a provisional last night (at Stateline) to try some things and we found something. This was our race, I was running it easy but you have to take the checkered first to be the winner."
At the finish it was Ely's Clark Crane and Rigging #90 first over Coniam, Scott Holcomb took third followed by Don Sharp Jr. and Tim Zimbardi for his best finish of the 2001 season. Rounding out the top ten were Tom Taber with his D.W. Slocum Milk Hauling sprinter, R.C. Faigle, six-time ESS champion Mike Woodring, Lance Yonge, who earned the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus after starting in 17th, and Randy Years.
The two cautions were just minor spins: Dick Spadaro was looped around on the original start and Rick Wilson did a quick spin on lap six.
Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Coniam, Zimbardi and Holcomb with Kerrick winning the KSE Racing Products B-Main.
ESS NOTES: A fine field of 28 sprinters came out a beautiful sunny Sunday to play host in front of a big crowd...It was a feast and famine weekend for Ray Preston. After winning the night prior at Stateline, a blown engine while leading the B-Main ended his Sunday night early...Fred Woodward from Lias Tire was on hand and gave away an American Racer tire to the driver that had the best overall finish over the weekend. Mike Woodring's third and eighth was the best combined...This coming weekend the Empire Super Sprints and "America's Race Cars" return to two tracks that was off the trail last season. On Friday night it's a trip to Autodrome Edelweiss just north of Ottawa in Quebec and then after a two year absence, it's back to the fast Frogtown International Speedway on Saturday.
RESULTS: Heat 1 - Ryan Coniam, Don Sharp Jr., Rick Wilson, George Ely, Mike Woodring, Rob Dietrick. Heat 2 - Tim Zimbardi, Bob Podolak, Tom Taber, Randy Years, Brian Dumigan, Lance Yonge. Heat 3 - Scott Holcomb, R.C. Faigle, Dick Spadaro, Dan Kaszubinski, John Karklin Jr., Kyle Drum. B-Main - Bubby Kerrick, Jeff VanDusen, Justin Barger, Mike Stelter. Provisional - Bill Coffey, Added Starter - Steve Dow. Did Not Qualify - Ray Preston, Dan Bennett, Bill Wolf, Alain Bergeron. A-MAIN - GEORGE ELY, Coniam, Holcomb, Sharp Jr., Zimbardi, Taber, Faigle, Woodring, Yonge, Years, Podolak, Karklin Jr., Dumigan, Drum, Barger, Dietrick, Coffey, Dow, VanDusen, Stelter, Wilson, Kerrick, Kaszubinski, Spadaro.
Lap Leaders - Coniam 1-19, Ely 20. Walt's Hobby Hard Charger - Yonge (8 pos.) $50. Vicomp Graphics Halfway - Coniam $50.
Winner's Bonuses - Car-Mate Trailers $50, ATL Fuel Cells $200, Extreme Racewear $100, Tire Comp. East $75, Griffin Thermal Products $50, Hank's Performance Products $50, Duralite Racing Wheels $50, Bicknell Racing Products $35, Hazlitt Vineyards $30, Total Seal $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear $20.
Other Bonuses: Weld Racing Hard Luck - Preston $75. Extreme Racewear - Coniam $75, Holcomb $50. Penske Shocks - Years $200. Design 500 - Kerrick $100, Zimbardi $50. Joe Hunt Magnetos - Kaszubinski $50. KSE Racing Products - Kerrick $50. Bailey Racing Products - Dietrick $35. Hazlitt Vineyards - Coniam $20, Holcomb $10. Total Seal - Yonge $20. Thunder Mt. Wings - Coniam $20.^Z