LaFARGEVILLE, N.Y. - For the 18 year history of the Empire Super Sprints (ESS), it was the slogan "America's Race Cars" that has been displayed proudly. Saturday night at the Can-Am Motorsports Park that slogan was taken International as...
LaFARGEVILLE, N.Y. - For the 18 year history of the Empire Super Sprints (ESS), it was the slogan "America's Race Cars" that has been displayed proudly. Saturday night at the Can-Am Motorsports Park that slogan was taken International as Quebec's Alain Bergeron beat Ontario's Ryan Coniam to collect his second A-Main victory of the season and producing the first one/two Canadian sweep in ESS history.
The Sat. night visit to the fast, half-mile near the St. Lawrence Seaway mark the first time ever ESS made a stop on it's usual race night. Also, it was the first time ESS made a second appearance to Can-Am in one year and a big crowd came out to see the speed and excitement of the winged warriors.
The win for ESS' first ever Quebec native chauffeur was his third career but most importantly it ended a streak of horrible luck that spanned an entire month. It all started back on July 21 at Frogtown where Bergeron blew up a motor, two ignition boxes, one rear-end and a trashed race car last week at Albany would make anyone hang up their helmet for the rest of the year. Did not qualify stature was more prevalent than an A-Main finish.
That all changed as a wire to wire victory saw frustration turn into smiles at the French speaking pit area. "Good luck...Finally!!" exclaimed the always smiling Bergeron. "Some much bad luck, so much money spent. The win helps, we're very happy to finish and very happy to win."
The Can-Am oval was totally different in years past, a smooth but tire abrasive surface greeted the teams instead of the normal tacky oval. That change fit right into Bergeron's hands. "I always liked this track, the way it was tonight was different but it was smooth and fast. The car ran good, the motor ran good." said Bergeron who learns more English in each day passing. "I'm just happy that we can go home (four hours to his native St. Pie, Quebec.) with a car in one piece."
The pole starting spot was greeted warmly by Bergeron, jokingly he told friends "Bad Luck, bad luck, bad luck, bad luck, me start up front!!" At the drop of the green flag, his Coffrage, Daniel Lampron sponsored Trevis-craft jumped into the lead over Jeff VanDusen. The track was the fastest it was all night and Bergeron blistered the oval.
While Bergeron was comfortable up in the lead, Coniam was making his move to the front from his sixth place start. Also, Justin Barger was doing the same from his eighth place start and when a caution came out on lap 15, it was Bergeron, Coniam and Barger ready to do battle.
A restart saw all three pull away but Bergeron was still strong in the lead spot. On lap 17, the final caution was out and the drama did peak with a three lap dash to the checkered flag. But, just like the lap 15 restart, the challenging duo was right there but Bergeron wasn't making a mistake and he was rewarded for a fine effort.
At the stripe, it was Bergeron over Coniam and Barger with Lance Yonge taking fourth ahead of Steve Dow. Ontario's Rick Wilson made it three Canadian's in the top six with his strong run from 15th that earned him the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus. Seventh was six-time ESS champion and current ESS point leader Mike Woodring, eighth was Mike Stelter followed by Randy Years and Bill Coffey.
The first of four yellow flag periods came on the original start when George Ely and Ray Preston made heavy contact as both suffered frame damage. On lap 11, Tim Zimbardi spun, lap 15 saw VanDusen go around while running in fourth and on lap 17, Tom Taber did a quick spin in turn three.
Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Dow, Stelter and Coniam with Coniam winning his second Walt's Hobby Dash in a row. The KSE Racing Products B-Main was won by R.C. Faigle.
ESS NOTES: The big crowd was rewarded with 35 sprints in the pits...Brain Dumigan, Billy Bradshaw, Bill Wolf, Dick Spadaro and Frank Senzio joined 30 sprinters that ran the night before at Brockville...While Mike Woodring has a big lead in the points, the race for second has heated up with Lance Yonge now right behind Dan Kaszubinski....All in ESS would like to wish "Crash" Nash a speedy recovery...Next weekend will find the ESS Tour 2001 take to Autodromes Granby and Drummond on Friday and Saturday and then it's down to the New Utica-Rome Speedway for the first visit since 1996 on Sunday for a big Labor Day weekend card.
Heat 1 - Steve Dow, George Ely, Alain Bergeron, Lance Yonge, Rob Dietrick, Mike Woodring.
Heat 2 - Mike Stelter, Jeff VanDusen, Justin Barger, Rick Wilson, Randy Years, Tom Taber.
Heat 3 - Ryan Coniam, Tim Zimbardi, Bill Coffey, Kyle Drum, Brain Dumigan, Bob Podolak.
Walt's Hobby Dash - Coniam
B-Main - R.C. Faigle, Dan Kaszubinski, Bubby Kerrick, John Karklin Jr.
Added Starters - Scott Holcomb, Ray Preston.
Did Not Qualify - Don Sharp Jr., Dick Spadaro, Frank Senzio, Russ Bennett, Curtis Bradshaw, Billy Bradshaw, Darren Beach, Bill Wolf, Rich Wood, Phil Mott, Shawn Felt.
A-MAIN - ALAIN BERGERON, Coniam, Barger, Yonge, Dow, Wilson, Woodring, Dumigan, Stelter, Years, Coffey, Dietrick, Drum, Kaszubinski, Holcomb, Faigle, Kerrick, Karklin Jr., Taber, VanDusen, Zimbardi, Podolak, Ely, Preston.
Lap Leader - Bergeron 1-20.
Walt's Hobby Hard Charger - Wilson (9 pos.) $50.
Vicomp Graphics Halfway - Bergeron $50.
Winner's Bonuses - Car-Mate Trailers $50, ATL Fuel Cells $200, Extreme Racewear $100, Penske Shocks $200, Tire Comp. East $75, Griffin Thermal Products $50, Duralite Racing Wheels $50, Hank's Performance Products $50, Bicknell Racing Products $35, Hazlitt Vineyards $30, Total Seal $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse $20.
Weld Racing Hard Luck - Preston $75.
Extreme Racewear - Coniam $75, Barger $50, Preston $25.
Thunder Mt. Wings - Sharp Jr. $70, Coniam $20.
Design 500 - Karklin Jr. $100, Dow $50.
Joe Hunt Magnetos - Ely $50.
KSE Racing Products - Faigle $50.
Bailey Racing Products - Coniam $35.
Hazlitt Vineyards - Coniam $30, Barger $10.
Total Seal - Coffey $20.