Lance Yonge Goes Wire to Wire to Collect Empire Super Sprint Victory at Albany-Saratoga. by Dean Reynolds MALTA, N.Y. - In a rare occurance, Penn Yan, N.Y.'s Lance Yonge took full advantage of his front row starting spot to lead all 20 laps of...
Lance Yonge Goes Wire to Wire to Collect Empire Super Sprint
Victory at Albany-Saratoga.
by Dean Reynolds
MALTA, N.Y. - In a rare occurance, Penn Yan, N.Y.'s Lance Yonge took full advantage of his front row starting spot to lead all 20 laps of the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Tour 2000 event Friday night at the Albany-Saratoga Speedway. Yonge's Mal Lane owned, Gaerte Powered Stealth out dragged Dick Spadaro on the start and went on to record ESS career win #15.
Despite rain all throughout N.Y. State that just about cancelled every racing event, the Richards family never threw in the towel and was rewarded with an exciting one caution 20 lap A-Main. Track crews deserve all credit with a very fast and table-top smooth Malta oval.
The Empire Super Sprint organization starts it's feature events by the handicap system where the most successful runner starts in 15th position. Yonge had the misfortune of being knocked out early in the opening event at Black Rock. The reward was a front row starting spot at Albany-Saratoga and like a true veteran, he didn't let the opportunity slip by.
"We had a fast car at Black Rock by we just didn't finish the race which was a big blow in the points. " noted the former DIRT modified star. "We got to start up front and I had to take full advantage of it. Luckily we beat Dickie (Spadaro) on the start and got through the lapped traffic alright to get the win."
Little did anyone know, luck was a major factor in the win however and it wasn't discovered until victory lane. "I pulled in to take the photos and heard a hissing sound. I thought the motor was spilling water out the overflow." said Yonge, "But, I was confused as it (the motor) only ran 190. Then I got out and noticed the sound was coming from the right rear tire!"
Indeed, there was a big gash through the American Racer right rear and the tire was going flat in victory lane. "I guess we were lucky that we only had one caution, if we had more, this might not have been our win tonight." noted the happy and lucky victor.
With a bright moon now shining in the Capital District sky, Yonge out ran Spadaro into turn one on the start and it was a lead that he never let go during the 20 lap main event. Spadaro, the local crowd favorite, held on to second until he looped his #29 around on lap two with Rob Dietrick also spinning to avoid Spadaro to bring out an early yellow. The minor caution was to be the only one displayed with the sprints blistering the 1/3rd mile oval for 18 strait laps.
Mike Stelter brought his Ron Buckner built #36 into second on lap four and began what would be a race long chase of Yonge. Lapped traffic came up quickly with both Yonge and Stelter taking their orange sprinters high and low to get through. While Stelter did stay close, he never really put a challenge for the lead.
With the leading duo comfortable up front, many were watching two-time ESS champion Craig Keel bringing the Earl Pottorff owned Ford powered sprinter through the field from his 12th place starting spot. At the halfway mark, Keel slipped into fifth, fourth on lap 14, third on lap 16 and by Stelter on the last lap to claim second in a strong run.
Yonge took the win and collected the Car-Mate Dealers winners bonus as well as the Vicomp Graphics halfway bonus to make the victory worth $1485. Keel came home in second and took over the point lead, Stelter was third followed Rich Wood and defending ESS champion Mike Woodring who started in 13th. Rounding out the top ten was teammates R.C. Faigle and Doug Emery, Bill Coffey, Bob Podolak and the Mike Castner Garage backed #22 of Ray Preston.
Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads $25 to win heat events were Keel, Faigle and Yonge. The KSE Racing Products B-Main fell to rookie Mike Barlow and the Team Goewey Dodge/Walt's Hobby Dash was also won by Yonge.
ESS NOTES: A good field of 28 sprints made the tow East with many driving through rain most of the way...Making first starts for the 2000 season were Steve Rutkowski, Frank Longo, Lebanon Valley DIRT sportsman regular Carmen Carnibucci, Jr. and Alain Bergeron from Quebec. Bergeron is the first ever fulltime ESS sprint regular from the French speaking province...Rutkowski and Mike Bozzuto were flip victims during qualifying action. Both drivers were unharmed...Scott Holcomb came from his 23rd and last starting spot to finish 11th and collect the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger dollars...ESS will return to Albany-Saratoga on Friday night July 28.
Heat 1 - Craig Keel, Rich Wood, Dick Spadaro, George Suprick, Ray Preston, Tim Zimbardi.
Heat 2 - R.C. Faigle, Rob Dietrick, Mike Woodring, Bill Coffey, Bob Podokal, George Ely.
Heat 3 - Lance Yonge, Mike Stelter, Doug Emery, Rick Wilson, Dan Kaszubinski, Bubby Kerrick.
Team Goewey Dodge/Walt's Hobby Dash - Yonge.
B-Main - Mike Barlow, Steve Dow, Alain Bergeron, Don Sharp Jr.
Added Starter - Scott Holcomb. Did Not Qualify - Steve Rutkowski, Mike Bozzuto, Randy Years, Frank Longo, Carman Carnibucci Jr.
A-Main - LANCE YONGE, Keel, Stelter, Wood, Woodring, Faigle, Emery, Coffey, Podolak, Preston, Holcomb, Kaszubinski, Wilson, Kerrick, Suprick, Dow, Dietrick, Ely, Zimbardi, Barlow, Sharp Jr., Bergeron, Spadaro.
Lap Leader - Yonge 1-20. Walt's Hobby Hard Charger - Holcomb (12 pos.) $50. Vicomp Graphics Halfway - Yonge $50.
Winner's Bonuses - Car-Mate Dealers $50, Pro Shocks $100, Hank's Performance $50, Total Seal $50, Bicknell Racing Products $35, Behrent's Performance Warehouse $30.
Other Bonuses: Weld Racing Hard Luck - Rutkowski $75. Tire Comp. East - Stelter $75. Design 500 - Dietrick $100, Woodring $50. Penske Shocks - Woodring $150. Griffin Thermal Products - Stelter $50. KSE Racing Products - Barlow $50. Bailey Racing Products - Dow $35. Total Seal - Preston $30. Red's Speed Shop - Stelter $25. Thunder Mtn. Wings - Stelter $20. Dave Ely Racing - Wood, Dietrick, Stelter $10. Lauterborn Electric - Zimbardi $10.