BROCKVILLE, ONT. - Chalk one up for "Gen-X" culture. Seventeen year old Kyle Drum passed leader Ray Preston on lap 15 with an outside sweep on the fast Brockville Ontario Speedway (BOS) to win the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) 20 lap A-Main Friday...
BROCKVILLE, ONT. - Chalk one up for "Gen-X" culture. Seventeen year old Kyle Drum passed leader Ray Preston on lap 15 with an outside sweep on the fast Brockville Ontario Speedway (BOS) to win the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) 20 lap A-Main Friday night. The victory by Drum marked the youngest winner in the 18 year history of ESS and the first time a driver still in teen years won an ESS event since Jeff Thomas did the same feat more than 15 years ago.
The second appearance of "America's Race Cars" in 2001 came before a packed house at the Southern Ontario quarter-mile where they gave a load ovation to the night's victor. The win was badly needed not only for the young chauffuer, but for the entire Drum family as well. You see, exploding two motors in two weeks almost saw this future star team off the ESS trail just a few races ago. The will to keep going as reawarded Kyle Drum with his first ever ESS feature win.
"This has been a long time coming, especially after what happened at Albany." noted Kyle reflecting back to the June 15 night at Albany-Saratoga where he was passed in the last turn of the last lap by Dan Kaszubinski. "Our goal this year was to get one win and top ten in points. So far so good."
Preston's Speedway Performance #22 got the jump on the very tacky Brockville oval from his outside pole position and opened up a good size lead. Drum soon came from his fourth place start to second on the second lap, but the chase for the lead was non-existent early on as Preston was running an extremely fast pace.
Preston's toughest challenge looked to come from Canadian, second-generation star Ryan Coniam, who won the June event at the "BOS". Coniam came from seventh to pass Drum right at the halfway point and he was looking to make it a Brockville sweep. While a lap 12 caution seemed innocent enough and what the doctor ordered for Coniam, it proved to be the downfall. A slowly leaking right rear tire was evident and on each caution lap the tire visibly lost air. He got involved in the lap four double-flip which caused damage on the right side on his sprinter a poked a small hole in the tire. Coniam had to make a trip to the pits and his quest for the repeat victory was shot down.
Drum took over the second place slot once again with his Speedracer.com backed Stealth. When the green lights shined, Drum didn't let Preston take off this time. "I stayed up on the cushion where Ray stayed down low." noted the former micro-sprint star. "I started to close in on each lap, I thought I was going to pass him but you never know in racing."
As the field came down to record lap 15, Drum made a daring outside sweep on Preston to take the lead and this time it was his turn to open up the distance. It was clear that Drum now had the fastest car of the two but Brockville legend, Rick Wilson, was making his charge from deep in the field. A lap 16 caution produced a cheer from the sold-out house as Wilson was in fourth place and in good shape for his first ever win on the ESS tour.
But, while Drum suffered horrible luck in the recent weeks, a guardian angel was looking overhead. Under the caution laps, Wilson was shaking his car wildly and no one knew why. Then the mystery was solved, the "Joyceville Jet" had to stop his car on the track to remove a part of his front hood that became lodged in his rock screen. Under ESS rules, a car that comes to stop on the track has to retsart in the rear.
The last four laps went without any troubles for Drum and this time it was all smiles after an ESS event. "I guess this is why you never give up." said Carl Drum, Kyle's father. "I was ready to hang everything up for the year after blowing our second motor. But, many people helped us out and everyone told us to keep our heads up in the club and I just want to thank them all."
Drum took the checkered ahead of Scott Holcomb, who passed Preston on the last lap, Preston took third, Mike Woodring charged up to fourth with Randy Years in fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Tim Zimbardi, Bubby Kerrick, who earned the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus by coming from his 19th place start, Don Sharp Jr., Bill Coffey and Rob Dietrick.
The lap four double flip saw the red flag come out as Steve Dow and Justin Barger were involved. Mike Stelter lost a front end causing for a lap 12 caution, Dan Kaszubinski went off the track on the restart which saw the yellow lights on again. Rich Wood spun on lap 16 making it a four lap dash to the finish.
Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Holcomb, Preston and Drum. The Walt's Hobby Dash was won by Coniam with the KSE Racing Products B-main taken by Kerrick.
ESS NOTES: A fine field of 31 sprinters put on a wild show for the Canadian fans....The win by Drum marked the 14th different winner in 20 ESS events...Mike Woodring's fourth place finish saw him take the lead in the Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar/LaBrie Design Canadian Invasion points over Coniam, Dietrick, Preston and Drum...The entire Kirkland family rolled out the red carpet for ESS on both visits and a return in 2002 is already in the plans.
Heat 1 - Scott Holcomb, Justin Barger, Tim Zimbardi, John Karklin Jr., Rob Dietrick, Doug Emery.
Heat 2 - Ray Preston, Steve Dow, Don Sharp Jr., Randy Years, Mike Woodring, R.C. Faigle.
Heat 3 - Kyle Drum, Ryan Coniam, Lance Yonge, Bill Coffey, Rick Wilson, Dan Kaszubinski.
B-Main - Bubby Kerrick, George Ely, Mike Stelter, Rich Wood. Walt's Hobby Dash - Coniam.
Did Not Qualify - Shawn Felt, Russ Bennett, Darren Beach, Jeff VanDusen, Curtis Bradshaw, Alain Bergeron, Phil Mott, Tom Taber, Bob Podolak.
A-MAIN - KYLE DRUM, Holcomb, Preston, Woodring, Years, Zimbardi, Kerrick, Sharp Jr., Coffey, Dietrick, Yonge, Emery, Wilson, Coniam, Faigle, Karklin Jr., Kaszubinski, Wood, Stelter, Dow, Barger, Ely.
Lap Leaders - Preston 1-14, Drum 15-20.
Walt's Hobby Hard Charger - Kerrick (12 pos.) $50.
Vicomp Graphics Halfway - Preston $50.
Winner's Bonuses - Car-Mate Trailers $50, ATL Fuel Cells $200, Extreme Racewear $100, Flag2flag.com $145, Tire Comp. East $75, Hank's Performance Products $50, Duralite Racing Wheels $50, Griffin Thermal Products $50, Bicknell Racing Products $35, Hazlitt Vineyards $30, Total Seal $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear $20.
Weld Racing Hard Luck - Barger $75.
Extreme Racewear - Holcomb $75, Preston $50, Ely $25.
Penske Shocks - Dietrick $200.
Design 500 - Kaszubinski $100, Zimbardi $50.
Joe Hunt Magnetos - Barger $50.
KSE Racing Products - Kerrick $50.
Bailey Racing Products - Wood $35.
Hazlitt Vineyards - Holcomb $20, Preston $10, Coniam $10.
Total Seal - Dietrick $20.