Lance Yonge Takes Home First Ever Empire Super Sprint Championship at the Annual Awards Banquet. SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It was a memorable night completed with a standing ovation for Penn Yan. N.Y.'s Lance Yonge at the Double Tree Club Hotel Saturday...
Lance Yonge Takes Home First Ever Empire Super Sprint Championship at the Annual Awards Banquet.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It was a memorable night completed with a standing ovation for Penn Yan. N.Y.'s Lance Yonge at the Double Tree Club Hotel Saturday night November 13th. The driver of the Johnson Farms, Lane's Yamaha #17J won his first ever Empire Super Sprints (ESS) championship and took home $9100 in cash and prizes as a reward for his fine season.
The night highlighted 18 of the best 360 drivers in the Northeast and Canada was they each had a big slice of the over $ 46,000 pie that was handed out in front of a packed house at the Salina Room.
On the strength of 18 top ten finishes in 20 full point shows, Yonge pulled ahead from Dan Kaszubinski on the very last race at Five Mile Point Speedway to clinch his first title since joining the ESS ranks in 1992. In an incredible streak, Yonge has finished in the top five in points since his rookie season but the 2004 championship was to be his first.
Not only did he take home the lions share of $3,500 from the ESS point fund, but Yonge also brought home $500 cash as the Spectro Oils Canadian Invasion champion as well as cash awards from Glen Sander Engineering and MSD Ignitions. Other prizes that went Yonge's way was $1000 off a Maxim Frame from Troyer Race Cars and Parts, a free top and front wings from Top Flight Wings/Speedway Performance and also free set of shocks and rod ends from QA1 Motorsports bringing his total over the $9,000 mark.
While Yonge was the headline guest, many other special awards were handed out during the evening. The Jereco Engines and Parts Rookie of the Year award of $500 cash went to 16 year old Kyle Moffit. The South Dayton, N.Y. young gun won his first ever ESS A-Main during the season on his way to placing 16th on the final points despite a horrifying accident at Utica-Rome on Sept. 5th. Moffit is fully recovered after his two day stay in the hospital and is ready for the 2005 ESS season.
The Foar Score Fan Club/Jimmy D's Speed and Machine Outstanding New Comer award went to first year ESS competitor Jeff Cook. The son in law of former ESS great Adrian Flath, the north country sprint star had a fine first year campaign picking up two feature event wins on his way to a ninth place finish in the final points. Cook collected $300 in cash for his award.
The Walt's Hobby Dash Series point champion was Quebec's Alain Bergeron and he collected $700 for the dash series title. Jeff VanDusen and Bobby Podolak also took in cash from Walt Throne by taking second and third in points.
The $500 Brodix Cylinder Heads hard luck award was unfortunately well earned by Bergeron as well. Two blown motors and two bent frames followed up by a broken wrist from a Sept. 3rd wall encounter at Autodrome Granby sealed the deal for the St. Pie sprint car driver. Even though it was a season to forget, Bergeron had a smile all night and vowed to be ready for a full assault on the 2005 season.
Kaszubinski was crowned the Gater Racing News Lap Leader champion and he earned a $300 cash award from Joey Patrick of Gater News. On the strength of his six A-Main wins on the 2004 campaign, Kaszubinski led a total of 120 feature event laps, a full 50 over his nearest competitor John Karklin Jr..
Keeping in the Kaszubinski camp, the ESS mechanic of the year voted on by the race teams went to Todd Weigand, the long-time crew chief of the familiar #20. Weigand has been a well liked fixture in the pit area for years and it was a well received award.
The night's most prestigious award is the annual John Zentner Memorial Award which is handed out to a person or persons that have shown true love and dedication to the ESS family over the years. This year's recipient was 17 year ESS tech inspector Mike Seiver who accepted the award while receiving a standing ovation from the banquet crowd.
The second annual Mal Lane Award of Excellence went to none other than long-time ESS president Dick Carbery. While not leaving the ESS gathering totally, he is stepping back in his roles and will be watching sprint cars instead of officiating them. All in ESS thought the Mal Lane award was a fine tribute to a person that has given so much to the club.
Kristen Woodring recognized two of the hardest working ladies in ESS, Kissy Yonge and Deseree' Kaszubinski with special awards which was a big hit with the crowd.
In special giveaways held during the night; Bubby Kerrick won a free set of ASCS heads from Brodix. An Invader helmet from Simpson Racing and Simpson Racing Shoes from Area Auto Racing News went to Doug Emery. Emery had a lucky night as he also won prizes from Weld Motorsports, Hi-Performance Racing Cards and Schoenfeld Headers. Other Schoenfeld winners were Karklin Jr. and Bob Podolak. Hi-Performance also gave prizes to Kerrick and Tim Kelly. Leaf Racewear provided awards to Cook and Billy Krull with Cook also getting an award from Zemco Headers. M&W Aluminum Products gave awards away to Moffit and Luke Eriksen. Banquet photographer Guy Fortier gave 500 autograph cards away to ESS veteran Bobby Podolak.
Other sponsors making the 21st annual banquet very lucrative were: Hoosier Tire, Car-Mate Trailers and Engler Machine and Tool adding to the point fund, with Bect Chemicals, The Race Depot, The Brake Man, Impact Racing, J&J Auto Racing, B&B Oval Track Products, Racing Optics, Earl's Indy, ATL Fuel Cells, Joe Hunt Magnetos, Saldana Racing Products, VRP Shocks, American Race Tires, Miller Beer, Penske Shocks, Winters Performance Products, DSR Fuel Systems, Kreitz Oval Track Parts, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear, Frankland Racing Supply, DMI, Total Seal Piston Rings, KSE Racing Products, Hank's Performance Products, Design 500 Racewear, Hazlitt Vineyards, Speedway Advertising Inc., Fast Lane Art, HRP and MRE Productions.
Also, sponsors during the 2004 season were recognized as well which included: FX Caprara Car Companies, Lane's Yamaha, ProSpas, JCK Timber, Red's Speed Shop, The Valvoline Cup and Race Fan Inc., Pro Shocks, Royal Publishing and Racing Electronics.
With winter just right around the corner, the 2005 season which will mark the 22nd consecutive by one of the nation's leading 360 sprint car organizations has already begun to take shape. As promised for the past 21 years, it will be excitement guaranteed!!!