Alain Bergeron Wins First A-Main of the Year in Empire Super Sprints' Return Visit to Albany-Saratoga. MALTA, N.Y. -- After just a horrible start to his 2005 season last week at Cayuga County where French-Canadian Alain Bergeron did not make...
Alain Bergeron Wins First A-Main of the Year in Empire Super Sprints' Return Visit to Albany-Saratoga.
MALTA, N.Y. -- After just a horrible start to his 2005 season last week at Cayuga County where French-Canadian Alain Bergeron did not make the A-Main cut, a mere 5 days later the driver of the Coffrage Daniel Lampron #8B Maxim lead the final 14 laps to take the victory Friday night at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway. After a one year hiatus, the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) made their return to Bruce Richards' facility and saw a packed grandstand greet the ESS Tour 2005.
The pilot who hails from St. Pie, Quebec always flashes a smile to fellow competitors and fans but he was grinning just a little bit wider after the exciting win at the Malta, N.Y. oval. Blasting by Billy White to take over the top spot on lap 11, Bergeron never made a mistake and actually opened up a bit of distance as some of ESS' best were behind in a wild chase for the victory.
"The car was just fast tonight, it didn't matter where we put it, high, low, it just didn't matter." Bergeron said who now speaks English fluently. "We just missed at Weedsport, track was a bit dusty and slick and we just couldn't get into the feature. Tonight it was faster and the car worked a lot better."
Bergeron is coming off a horrendous 2004 season which saw him destroy two cars, blow two motors and eventually break his wrist in front of the hometown fans in Granby, Quebec to end his season early. There were doubts that there could be enough funds to run the whole tour for 2005 but through a heavy effort of friends and sponsors, he is ready for a full assault and Friday night proved that he will be a contender.
"During the winter I really didn't think I would be able to run the whole ESS season, I was actually looking for a ride." said Bergeron on a long off-season. "But, many friends helped me greatly and we are back. Hopefully better luck, a lot better luck!"
At the drop of the green flag, 2002 ESS rookie of the year Billy White took over the lead in the Russ Bennett owned #65 and was making notice of his return to sprint car competition after two years off. Not even two minor cautions early slowed White's pace early. What did stand in the way however was Bergeron's charge through the field.
Closing in as laps clicked on, a bold move on lap 11 was used and Bergeron swept by White and took over a lead that he wasn't going to surrender. While the leader did have the challenge of lapped traffic ahead, what was going on behind him was worth the price of admission.
Along with White, Matt Norrie, Dan Kaszubinski, Lance Yonge, Doug Emery and Jeff VanDusen put on a war for runner-up honors that would give the average mortal a skip in their heart beat. High, low, middle, even over each other, it just didn't matter how but where at the drop of the checkers. Position changes were too abundant to put on paper.
It wasn't until lap 21 when Yonge finally broke through that a little stability in the bridesmaid slot was achieved. But, Bergeron was just too far ahead and laps ran out. At the finish it was the Quebec native home for his sixth ESS career feature event win with the defending champion in second and he also took over the 2005 point lead. Emery, aboard Tom Patterson's BeaberBuilt sprint, took third with Kaszubinski in for fourth and White hanging on for fifth. The next five was made up of VanDusen, Norrie, Don Sharp Jr., Bryan Howland and Jeff Cook.
Just two cautions slowed the quick pace: Pole sitting Luke Eriksen spun on the first lap ending what was a strong night and ageless veteran George Ely slowed on lap three.
Taking the Car Mate Trailer heat events were Eriksen, White, Yonge and Bergeron, the Powder Tech Coatings/Walt's Hobby Dash event was won by Emery and the KSE Racing Products B-Main was copped by Sharp Jr. who then proceeded to earn the Lane's Yamaha hard charger bonus by taking eighth after starting in 21st..
ESS NOTES: Another solid field of 35 sprinters filled the pit area for ESS' return to the Friday night stomping grounds of the CVRA circuit--Making their first ESS starts of '05 were Dick Spadaro, Jim McCaffrey, Brian Glasser, Anthony Cain and Blaise Regina aboard the Rich Zagata owned sprinter--Mike Stelter had engine problems after his heat and drove the Glasser #20G in the A-Main. He took his provisional to start 25th and finished in 15th--After a week off; the 22nd Anniversary Tour will kick into high gear. Friday night, May 27th will see the sprinters across the border for the first time at the Brockville Ontario Speedway; it will also mark the first Spectro Oils Canadian Invasion event. Then it's off to Can-Am Motorsports Park and Utica-Rome Speedway for two Valvoline Cup A-Mains that will pay the winner $1700. Both events will also be Bully Hill Nationals All-Star Dash Qualifiers.
Heat 1 -- Luke Eriksen, Doug Emery, Jeff VanDusen, Jeff Cook, George Ely.
Heat 2 -- Billy White, Matt Norrie, John Karklin Jr., R.C. Faigle, Bob Podolak.
Heat 3 -- Lance Yonge, Mike VanDusen, Chuck Hebing, Nick Fratto, Warren Alexson.
Heat 4 -- Alain Bergeron, Ray Preston, Dan Kaszubinski, Bryan Howland, Doug Norrie.
Powder Tech Coatings/Walt's Hobby Dash -- Emery.
B-Main -- Don Sharp Jr., Russ Bennett, Brian Dumigan, Randy Years.
Provisional Start -- Mike Stelter.
Did Not Qualify -- Frank Senzio, Anthony Cain, Brian Glasser, Dick Spadaro, Jim Livingston, Blaise Regina, Jim McCaffrey, Curt Shuttleworth, Kyle Moffit.
A-MAIN -- ALAIN BERGERON, Yonge, Emery, Kaszubinski, White, J. VanDusen, M. Norrie, Sharp Jr., Howland, Cook, Preston, Hebing, Karklin Jr., Alexson, Stelter, Years, M. Norrie, M. VanDusen, Fratto, Bennett, Faigle, Dumigan, Eriksen, Podolak, Ely.
Gater News Lap Leaders -- White 1-10, Bergeron 11-25.
Lane's Yamaha Hard Charger -- Sharp Jr. (13 pos.) $50.
Brodix Cylinder Heads Halfway -- Bergeron $50.