ESS: Cornwall II: Race report, results

Wild ESS event at Cornwall falls to Mike Lutz with last lap pass. CORNWALL, ONT. -- It was easily one of the most exciting finishes in the 19 year history of the Empire Super Sprints Sunday night at the Cornwall Motor Speedway. Mercer, Pa.'s...

Wild ESS event at Cornwall falls to Mike Lutz with last lap pass.

CORNWALL, ONT. -- It was easily one of the most exciting finishes in the 19 year history of the Empire Super Sprints Sunday night at the Cornwall Motor Speedway. Mercer, Pa.'s Mike Lutz passed Quebec's Alain Bergeron on lap 24 and then held off local favorite Rick Wilson to collect his second ESS A-Main of the 2002 season.

In the closing stages of the VSM Abrasives Canadian Invasion event, there were four sprinters all under a blanket that had a chance to pick up the win in the 25 lap feature event. Early leader Bill White, Bergeron, Wilson and Lutz thrilled the big crowd of Canadian sprint fans with some of the most daring moves in lapped traffic seen anywhere. But, it was all the laps that Lutz has spent behind the wheel of 410 and 360 cubic inch sprinters as well as a stint with the All-Star Circuit of Champions that proved key in the victory.

"I used my All-Star experience to win that one." dead-panned a very happy winner. "That was a great race and to win it you had to earn it. With the slower cars coming into play and everyone fast up on the top of the track no needed to use slid jobs to make passes. I've done that move a lot in the past and I needed to do that tonight to get the win."

White took advantage from his outside pole starting spot to get the jump on Lance Yonge and lead the first seven laps. As lap eight went into the books, Bergeron made an outside sweep to take over the top spot from the Connecticut rookie. Bergeron was hoping to shake some bad luck and bring home his first A-Main victory of the season.

While Bergeron and White controlled the top two spots, both Lutz and Wilson were making their moves from the back of the pack. Wilson was the first to break through as he came from his ninth place start to the top five on lap four. Lutz then quickly moved into fifth from his 12th place start just as Bergeron took the lead on lap eight.

The only caution of the event came on lap 10 which closed the field from nose to tail. The final 15 laps went green and with slower traffic coming into play in the late stages it was winged sprint car racing at it's best. Lutz moved to third passing Yonge on lap 12, Wilson did the same on lap 14 making the four car stage to the finish. Both Lutz and Wilson slipped by White in lap 19 and they quickly closed in on Bergeron with White still in striking distance.

It was wild racing on the fast quarter-mile, high, low even off the track at times as the foursome entered the lapped cars. It all came down to lap 24 when Lutz went to his bag of tricks just one more time and pulled off a precise "slide job" to sneak by Bergeron for the lead. But, Wilson also got by as the Cornwall fans stood wanting their native driver to somehow get Lutz at the checkered. Wilson made it exciting but Lutz held the former Cornwall small block regular behind for the win.

"You have to give the track crew credit. I thought that it was just going to be a dive down to the bottom type of deal. But, they put some water up top and when I gassed the car during the line-up I know that groove was going to be fast." said the driver of the P.J. Kerr #32. "This is a great little place to run, one of the best facilities around and ESS puts on a great show. I hope they liked to watch that feature."

At the finish it was Lutz beating Wilson, White and Bergeron who were all under a blanket. Yonge took fifth over Mike Woodring with Mike Stelter in seventh followed by Ryan Coniam, Bill Coffey and Don Sharp Jr.

The lap 10 caution involved Ray Preston and Leo Yeager, Yeager was trying to get off the track in turn three but Preston just clipped him knocking both out to the remainder of the event.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Yonge, Woodring and Wilson with Sharp Jr. taking the four lap Walt's Hobby Dash.

ESS NOTES: A total of 21 teams made the Sunday night tow to Eastern, Ontario to close out the three-race weekend--.Good to see Jeff VanDusen out with his back up machine after his wild flip at Can-Am the night before--Going into next weeks action Mike Woodring leads Lance Yonge, Ryan Coniam, Bill Coffey and Mike Stelter for the Tour 2002 championship--After this weekend, Coniam leading Yonge, Woodring, Stelter and Coffey for the VSM Abrasives Canadian Invasion title--Next weekend finds the ESS traveling road show making it's second stop to Albany-Saratoga on Friday and the only visit to Vermont to the Devil's Bowl Speedway on Sunday night.

RESULTS:

Heat 1 -- Lance Yonge, Ryan Coniam, Bill Coffey, Jeff VanDusen, Alain Bergeron, Rob Dietrick, Russ Bennett.

Heat 2 -- Mike Woodring, Don Sharp Jr., Mike Stelter, Ray Preston, John Karklin Jr., Kyle Wilson, Randy Years.

Heat 3 -- Rick Wilson, Bill White, Mike Lutz, Bubby Kerrick, Dan Kaszubinski, Erin Crocker, Leo Yeager.

Walt's Hobby Dash -- Sharp Jr.

A-MAIN -- MIKE LUTZ, R. Wilson, White, Bergeron, Yonge, Woodring, Stelter, Coniam, Coffey, Sharp Jr., K. Wilson, VanDusen, Dietrick, Kaszubinski, Karklin Jr., Bennett, Years, Crocker, Kerrick, Preston, Yeager.

Lap Leaders -- White 1-7, Bergeron 8-23, Lutz 24-25.
Walt's Hobby Hard Charger -- Lutz (12 Pos.) $50.
Vicomp Graphics Halfway -- Bergeron $50.

Winner's Bonuses: Car-Mate Trailers $50, ATL Fuel Cells $200, Extreme Racewear $50, AFCO Shocks $100, Penske Shocks $100, Hank's Performance Products $50, Total Seal $50, American Racer Tires $50, Bicknell Racing Products $35, Goodyear Tires $30, Hazlitt Vineyards $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear $20, MRE Productions $10.

Other Bonuses:
Weld Racing Hard Luck -- Preston $75.
Extreme Racewear -- R. Wilson $50, White $50, Bergeron $50.
Zemco Headers -- Bergeron $50.
Design 500 -- Bennett $100, Bergeron $50.
Joe Hunt Magnetos -- Preston $50.
Bailey Racing Products -- Sharp Jr. $35.
Hazlitt Vineyards -- R. Wilson $20, White $10, Sharp Jr. $10, Preston $10.
Goodyear Tires -- R. Wilson $20, White $15.
Leaf Racewear -- Yeager $25.
DMI -- Bergeron $25.

-ess-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker , Bill Coffey