ESS: Canandaigua: Victory and sorrow for Dumigan family

The thrill of ESS victory at Canandaigua for Brian Dumigan turns into family sorrow. CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. -- It was to be a night of celebration at the Canandaigua Speedway for Liverpool, N.Y.'s Brian Dumigan, the budding star on the Empire Super...

The thrill of ESS victory at Canandaigua for Brian Dumigan turns into family sorrow.

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. -- It was to be a night of celebration at the Canandaigua Speedway for Liverpool, N.Y.'s Brian Dumigan, the budding star on the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) circuit. Blasting by both seven-time ESS champion Mike Woodring and many-time A-Main victor Dan Kaszubinski to collect his first ever A-Main victory with the 19 year old organization.

Shortly after receiving a nice ovation from the large crowd in victory lane, Brian's father, David, collapsed in the pit area. After a long stretch of time trying to revive Dumigan he would never regain consciousness and David Dumigan, 57, passed away. Everyone in the ESS family would like to give out our heart felt condolences to Brian and his entire family.

The first full point show of the ESS Tour 2002 saw Mike Woodring pull the pole position for the 20 lap Valvoline Cup A-Main. The "Land of Legends" has been one of Woodring's favorite tracks over the years so you could lay just about even odds on the Eden, N.Y. driver to come away with the victory. At the drop of Dave Farney's green flag, the Putnam County Speedway #19 took off into the lead looking for career win #52.

While Woodring's familiar black #19 was looking to get comfortable out front in what turned into an unruly Canandaigua surface, fifth place starting Kaszubinski and seventh place starting Dumigan were just chewing up their competition. On lap two the charging duo was up to third and fourth, lap three saw Kaszubinski in second and on lap four Dumigan moved his mount into third to start up the chase.

It was a tale of two lines, Woodring using the extreme outside cushion which was the smoothest part of the speedway while Kaszubinski and Dumigan were testing their machines through the very rough low side. It was a site many ESS fans have never seen, Woodring was getting chased down and on lap five Kaszubinski swept by to take over the top spot. Just one tour later, Dumigan passed Woodring and now his quest was Kaszubinski's Autotech of Syracuse backed #20.

It was a great two car duel and with eight laps in the books, Dumigan's Henchcraft built sprinter dove under Kaszubinski to take the lead. Just mere seconds after the swapping of positions, Kaszubinski's front end gave way to the track conditions and his car turned into the inside turn four wall.

The lap eight restart saw Woodring's sprinter right on the tail of Dumigan but on this night the challenger had all the weapons against the champion. The final twelve laps went non-stop and Brian Dumigan pulled away in total domination. "We changed just two small things on the car after the heat, we were alright but we needed to get just a little better." noted Dumigan. "We set up the car to go through all the dips and holes, I felt it was the fastest way to get around but you are taking a chance with your equipment."

Dumigan's, as well as Kaszubinski's, strategy proved right as Woodring's line started to go away as the laps clicked on. It worked for Dumigan but the roll of the dice didn't pan out for Kaszubinski. "It was rough, I think I had all four tires off the ground a few times but to beat Mike you have to do some wild things." said the 26 year old driver who finished 19th in ESS points last season. "It was a battle but this is just amazing to win with ESS. Coming in running basically our second year you would never think you can win against these guys but tonight it all worked out."

"I just have to thank the crew; they are the ones that get the credit. We bought a new car this year and it was fast right out of the box. These guys (crew) just give me a great set up, it's definitely more car than driver." said a modest Dumigan. "We set up to do the whole ESS tour this year, we don't have a lot of money or equipment but we wanted to give it a shot and so far it's working out. We just will take it one race at a time."

At the checkered flag, Dumigan amidst heavy lapped traffic, took the win several car lengths ahead of Woodring. The second place finish for the defending ESS title holder did net him the Bully Hill Nationals Dash Qualifier as Dumigan already received one in a race earlier in the season. Taking third in a fine effort was teenage second generation driver Jeff VanDusen, fourth in a headline making run as well was 21 year old female driver Erin Crocker with her Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute sponsored #16. Rounding out the top five and looking to repeat his top five placing in the final points from 2001 was Bill Coffey.

The next five were Rob Dietrick, who lives just a few miles from the Ontario County Fairgrounds, Quebec's Alain Bergeron, Steve Dow, the VSM Abrasives #6 of Ryan Coniam who came back from a wild flip in his heat to win the B-Main with his back up car. Tenth was another comeback story as John Karklin Jr. also rolled his sprinter in the heats and he too came back through the B-Main. The tenth place finish earned him the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus.

Despite difficult track conditions, only one caution and one red slowed the pace of the twenty lap A-Main. On lap three, 2001 rookie of the year Kyle Drum flipped his #47 over once and on lap eight was the caution for the disabled Kaszubinski.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Drum, Dow and Coffey with the KSE Racing Products B-Main going to Coniam. The Speedway Performance/Walt's Hobby Dash Series event was postponed due to weather and curfew. The event will be run on July 6th when ESS returns to Canandaigua.

ESS NOTES: A strong field of 33 sprinters came out to do battle for the first full point show of the season--Making his first ever ESS start were Jason Blum and Curt Shuttleworth both young drivers just missed transferring into the A-Main--Also joining the "upside down club" with Drum, Coniam and Karklin was Gary Troutman in heat three--The rough early season for Mike Stelter continues. Motor problems during warm-ups forced Mike to pick up a ride with the Barnard family #78. During the B-Main a broken suspension piece forced the Ontario, N.Y. driver to be a DNQ--With bonuses from The Valvoline Cup, Car-Mate Trailers, Vicomp Graphics, ATL Fuel Cells, Pro Shocks, Extreme Racewear, American Racer and Goodyear Tires, Saldana Racing Products, Hank's Performance Products, Bicknell Racing Products, Total Seal, Hazlitt Vineyards, Red's Speed Shop, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear, MRE Productions and Flag2flag.com, the victory for Dumigan was worth $2195--After a weekend off, the ESS Tour 2002 goes full bore on Memorial Day weekend with three events. Friday night it's the return to the Brewerton Speedway for the first time since 1993 and then it's off to the Stateline and Eriez Speedways.

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Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker , Bill Coffey