ESS: East Bay 360 Nationals notes 2003-01-31

A wild second night for Empire Super Sprint Stars at East Bay. TAMPA, FL. - It was a night of ups and downs for the six Empire Super Sprints (ESS) stars at the Ronald Laney King of the 360 Nationals taken place at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa,...

A wild second night for Empire Super Sprint Stars at East Bay.

TAMPA, FL. - It was a night of ups and downs for the six Empire Super Sprints (ESS) stars at the Ronald Laney King of the 360 Nationals taken place at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa, Fl. The second of four events kept the fans on edge with some good 'ole, wild and wooly sprint car action.

Four of the six ESS entrants found their way into the A-Main on the second night, one more than 24 hours prior. Teenager Jeff VanDusen, who lives in nearby Inglewood during the winter months, was a pleasant surprise winning his heat over Pa. star Fred Rahmer. VanDusen's teammate, Mercer, Pa.'s Mike Lutz also transferred through the heat events.

The team cars of Mike Woodring and young lady racer Erin Crocker advanced through the B-Main event. Just like the previous night, the 21 year old Crocker was the fastest during time trials timing eighth fastest. Taking second in the B-Main she would start the 25 lap feature event in third place. Woodring took fifth in the B to start 14th in the A-Main.

The climax of the evening for the ESS faithful came on lap six of the feature event when the lead trio of Crocker, Shane Stewart and Gary Wright tangled with slower traffic which included Lutz. Lutz flipped his sprinter but was uninjured with Crocker having to restart in the rear of the field ending her strong bid for a possible victory.

Once again Woodring was the highest finishing ESS regular by placing 18th in the event won easily by Florida's own Sport Allen. Crocker rallied to finish just one spot behind her car owner. VanDusen capped off a fine evening with a 23rd place finish with Lutz scored in 27th which was last on the field.

Burlington, Ontario's Ryan Coniam suffered mechanical woes during his heat and he was loaded early for the evening unable to back up his A-Main start from Wednesday. John Karklin Jr. remains the only ESS competitor not to crack a feature lineup by finishing out of the top six in the B-Main.

Friday night finds the third night for the "ESS Gang" to earn points towards the Nationals final night on Saturday. The Ronald Laney Memorial event will pay the winner $10,000.

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Series Sprint
Drivers Shane Stewart