Tommy Wickham Scores First Ever Empire Super Sprint Triumph with Victory at Brockville. BROCKVILLE, ON -- Going into the Lucas Oil Canadian Invasion Series event on the tour brought to you by Jacobs Motorsports Saturday night at Brockville ...
Tommy Wickham Scores First Ever Empire Super Sprint Triumph with Victory at Brockville.
BROCKVILLE, ON -- Going into the Lucas Oil Canadian Invasion Series event on the tour brought to you by Jacobs Motorsports Saturday night at Brockville Ontario Speedway, Tommy Wickham knew he had a good car. The young driver from Canastota, N.Y. was looking for his first ever Empire Super Sprint (ESS) victory and all he had to do was beat some of the best sprint car drivers from two countries for 25 laps on a fast quarter-mile oval.
The front row on the A-Main was made up of ESS veterans Mike Stelter and Lance Yonge and they took the green flag in front of a packed house in Ontario. Stelter led lap one before he spun off the track in turn two bringing out the yellow and dashing his chances of his first win for 2007. But instead of Yonge getting the lead Wickham took off from his third place starting spot, passed Yonge before the yellow lights came on to take over the top spot.
When the green lights came back on, it was Wickham in charge with defending champion Alain Bergeron and Jeff VanDusen also getting by Yonge to pick up the chase. At that point, the just turned 21 year old knew this would be his best chance. "When I got in front I knew it was going to be tough for someone to get by me. I had a good car but I just didn't want to make any mistakes, these guys are so good and they will take advantage of any bobble." said Wickham on his strategy. "I had a feeling the track would dry out after the modified feature so we went with the harder right rear and changed the car a bit after we won the dash. Right off the bat, the car felt great."
While the challenges of Bergeron, VanDusen and soon a quick running Kyle Wilson wasn't enough for Wickham to worry about. Cautions and red flags kept the competitors on his rear throughout the event but the young up and coming star was ready for the challenge. Each time the green lights shined it was the Jerry's Auto Specialists #75 J&J out front protecting the lead and looking for the checkered flag. The final caution came on lap 20 to set up a five lap charge to the finish but this belonged to the soon to be first time victor.
"This is what we have been waiting for. I know it's our first full year on the tour but we have been fast a few times and had a shot to win but it just didn't quite happen. We are new to all of this but we are getting close and starting to run with the best." Wickham reflected on his effort which included a heat and dash win a well. But, his last statement summed it all up on his night. "I'm speechless!"
VanDusen took second on lap seven and stayed there to lap 25 to pick up some ground on current point leader Steve Poirier who was third after starting in 10th. Wilson's fine run ended in fourth to keep the hometown crowd happy with Picton, Ontario's Chris Jones in his first ever ESS start taking fifth with a car he bought off from Poirier. Not only did Jones turned heads, but he also earned the Lane's Yamaha hard charger bonus after starting in 14th. Rounding out the top ten were Bergeron, Yonge, Rick Wilson, Bubby Kerrick and another sprint rookie of Lee Ladouceur running as a teammate to Brian McDonald.
Four cautions and two reds made it for a rough night for several competitors. After Stelter's spin on lap one, hard luck Russ Bennett slid off the track on turn four, made contact with the wall and flipped over. Bennett was dejected but alright. The caution lights were back on with five laps in for Michael Parent, Stelter and McDonald who came together in turn four. Only McDonald wasn't able to return. On lap eight, April Wilson looped her mount with the red lights back on for Cory Sparks who fell to the same fate as Bennett. The final caution on lap 20 was for Jeff Cook who stopped with a broken front end.
Taking the Car Mate Custom Built Trailers heats were Poirier, Wickham and Yonge with the LaSalle Motorsports/Walt's Hobby Dash won by Wickham.
ESS/BROCKVILLE NOTES -- As mentioned earlier, both Jones and Ladouceur were making first ever ESS starts, for Jones it was his second sprint start and look for the former modified driver to run more ESS events as the season moves on. Ladouceur liked his first try and was seen afterwards looking at the VanDusen back up which is for sale...The night turned sour for Parent in his heat as he was collected up by Sparks and flipped over. He used his back-up car in the A-Main...McDonald's sprint car fleet is now up to four as he bought the Ryan Jacobs Maxim which was driven by Rich Van Keuren and will be a back-up for Bubby Kerrick....The event Friday night at Autodrome Edelweiss Speedway was rained out and will be made up on Fri. Sept. 21.
Heat 1 -- Steve Poirier, Jeff VanDusen, Bubby Kerrick, Mike Stelter, Kyle Wilson, Brian McDonald, Lori Cook
Heat 2 -- Tommy Wickham, Alain Bergeron, Jeff Cook, Rick Wilson, Chris Jones, Rich Van Keuren
Heat 3 -- Lance Yonge, Russ Bennett, Lee Ladouceur, Cory Sparks, Michael Parent, April Wilson.
LaSalle Motorsports/Walt's Hobby Dash -- Wickham.
A-MAIN -- TOMMY WICKHAM, Jeff VanDusen, Steve Poirier, Kyle Wilson, Chris Jones, Alain Bergeron, Lance Yonge, Rick Wilson, Bubby Kerrick, Lee Ladouceur, Mike Stelter, Jeff Cook, Michael Parent, April Wilson, Rich Van Keuren, Cory Sparks, Brian McDonald, Russ Bennett, Lori Cook.