ESS: Awards Banquet preview

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The final checkered flag of the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) 20th Anniversary Tour will come Saturday night, November 15th at the Turning Stone Casino Resort in Verona, N.Y. with the annual awards banquet. Sitting at the head...

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The final checkered flag of the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) 20th Anniversary Tour will come Saturday night, November 15th at the Turning Stone Casino Resort in Verona, N.Y. with the annual awards banquet. Sitting at the head table will be 2003 ESS champion Mike Lutz who collected his first ever championship for the 360 sprint car organization.

The Mercer, Pa. star will collect the lions share of the over $50,000 in cash and prizes that will be handed out to 20 different drivers. Lutz collected five feature event wins in route to a narrow six point margin over 19 year old Justin Barger. The 18 year sprint car veteran fulfilled a dream come true in capturing the ESS championship and also being the first driver to beat Mike Woodring for the title in eight years.

Lutz's envelope will be filled by the $5,000 cash payout that comes with the ESS title and with other cash awards and bonuses his banquet take will come close to the $10,000 mark. His championship winning ProSpas backed #58 will also be in the banquet room for all to see up close.

While Lutz will be the honored quest, many other special awards will highlight the evening as well: Lutz's teammate Jeff VanDusen will take home $700 cash for being the Walt's Hobby Dash Series champion, Barger won the annual VSM Abrasives Canadian Invasion Championship and he will take home $500 from the $2000 point fund. The annual Jereco Engines and Parts Rookie of the Year award will be handed out with a $500 cash award. Brodix Cylinder Heads and the Foar Score Fan Club will back the Most Improved driver award with another $500 coming the recipient's way. The Car-Mate Trailers Perseverance Award will give away $300 cash and Lutz will also get another $300 from Gater Racing News for leading the most A-Main laps during the 2003 season.

Other highlights of the evening will be the annual John Zentner Memorial Award and the ESS mechanic of the year award. Outstanding attendance and A-Main winners during the season will also be honored in the event that will be kicked off by special guest speaker Brad Doty.

Special product giveaways will be sponsored by Brodix, Troyer Race Cars and Parts, Simpson Safety, DB Racing, Schoenfeld Headers, Leaf Racewear, High Performance Racing Cards, DMI, Zemco Headers, Area Auto Racing News, Koncept Fx and Weld Racing.

Other sponsors giving out awards during the night will be Hoosier Tires, Sway-A-Way, Real Racing Wheels, ATL Fuel Cells, MRE Productions, HRP, Hazlitt Vineyards, Design 500, Hank's Performance Products, J&J Chassis, KSE Racing Products, Sander Engineering, Outerwears, MSD Ignitions, Total Seal, Frankland Racing Supply, Pro Shocks, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear, AFCO Shocks, Bailey Racing Products, QA1 Motorsports, Kreitz Oval Track Parts, DSR Fuel Systems, Top Flight Wings, American Racer Tires, VRP Shocks, Saldana Racing Products, Joe Hunt Magnetos and Earl's Indy.

For all ESS friends and fans the sprint car of ESS rookie of the year candidate Nick Fratto and the FX Caprara pace truck will be in the banquet room alongside Lutz's winged sprinter.

The annual rules meeting which will be held in the clubhouse behind the main building will precede the banquet. Each driver that attended 10 shows or more in ESS competition will have a vote on the rules that will be in effect for the 2004 season.

Saturday night, November 15th is the date, the luxurious Turning Stone Casino Resort is the site....The curtain for the 20th anniversary season of the ever exciting Empire Super Sprints will be brought down and we hope you can come and celebrate with some of the best sprint car drivers in the Northeast and Canada.

<pre> 2003 Championship Tour Point Standings Final Standings for 2003

Pos.    Car#    Driver          Points
1       58      Mike Lutz       1940
2       32      Justin Barger   1934
3       20      Dan Kaszubinski 1891
4       69K     John Karklin Jr 1751
5       5       Lance Yonge     1727
6       8B      Alain Bergeron  1663
7       61      Bubby Kerrick   1620
8       28NH    Don Sharp Jr.   1590
9       36      Mike Stelter    1499
10      10      Rob Dietrick    1459
11      56D     Jeff VanDusen   1306
12      7       Bobby Podolak   1221
13      19      Mike Woodring   1153
14      12      Tim Kelly       1063
15      2       Randy Years     1041
16      16      Erin Crocker    1035
17      F1      Nick Fratto     1020
18      27UB    Bill Bailey     875
19      33      Doug Emery      870
20      13      Bill Coffey     818
21      22      Ray Preston     796
22      90      George  Ely     702

-ess-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker , Nick Fratt , Justin Barger , Bill Coffey