CANTLEY, QC - Two main contenders for the 2003 Empire Super Sprints (ESS) tour title made up the front row Friday night at the Edelweiss Speedway in Quebec, Canada. By luck of the nightly pill draw current point leader Mike Lutz was on the pole...
CANTLEY, QC - Two main contenders for the 2003 Empire Super Sprints (ESS) tour title made up the front row Friday night at the Edelweiss Speedway in Quebec, Canada. By luck of the nightly pill draw current point leader Mike Lutz was on the pole with ESS star Dan Kaszubinski alongside for the start of the 25 lap VSM Abrasives Canadian Invasion A-Main which was played host to a huge standing room only crowd.
When the green flag flew Lutz's ProSpas sponsored #58 pulled out into the lead and he masterfully trekked all 25 laps on the quick 1/3rd mile oval to keep the exciting Kaszubinski at bay for his fourth ESS triumph on the 20th Anniversary Tour. The victory for the Mercer Pa. chauffeur was his sixth career with the organization and he also opened up his point lead on his contenders which included Kaszubinski, Justin Barger, John Karklin Jr. and Lance Yonge.
"The number draw was definitely the key for me tonight." dead-panned Lutz. "Finally it fell my way, Lance, Dan, Mike (Woodring), they all had a chance to start in the front and tonight it came my way. I just tried to make sure I lead from the start and then it was getting through lapped cars without making a mistake so I can stay in the lead."
With only one lap caution on lap 22, the front of the field spent most of the race weeding their way through slower cars making for some nail biting moments. "The track really changed after the heats and the bottom was the way to go, I just tried to keep a smooth pace and hope I didn't get into any trouble with the lapped cars." said Lutz on his game plan. "I didn't know if Dan was going to try to run around the outside of me or not. But, I wasn't coming off the bottom."
Kaszubinski indeed uses the outside lane more times than not to make his moves, but a failing tire and changing track conditions hindered his bid for a pass to take over the top spot. "I really didn't get close enough to Mike to make a move." noted Kaszubinski. "There was one time where he did bobble but I was too far away to do anything. I think we chose the wrong tire tonight (Dan ran the Hoosier RD15, Lutz used a D20), I went soft and the tire went away quickly. I was just spinning the tires out there and then when I saw Mike used the D20 I knew I made the wrong choice."
When the lone caution came out on lap 22, the two sprinters were nose to tail for the restart but it was Lutz's Maxim quicker than Kaszubinski's and he opened up a slight lead that held up for the final three tours of the Edelweiss oval. At the checkered flag of starter Alain LaBlanc it was Lutz home for the win with Kaszubinski in the bridesmaid slot. Rob Dietrick took third for his second top five finish in a row ahead of Don Sharp Jr. and Rick Wilson who collected the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus after starting in 15th. Alain Bergeron kept his French-Canadian fans happy with a sixth place finish, Justin Barger came from 17th to seventh followed by Mike Stelter and Stateline winner Tim Kelly.
The caution on lap 22 was for Nick Fratto. The Engler Machine and Tool heat events were won by Jeff VanDusen, Stelter and Sharp Jr. with the Winters Performance Products/Walt's Hobby Dash also won by VanDusen who stretched out his point lead in the Walt's Hobby Dash Series.
ESS NOTES: A total of 19 sprinters made the Friday night tow just North of Canada's capital...With the top two point runners in the VSM standings absent, Bill Coffey with injuries and Mike Woodring running the Kings Royal weekend at Eldora, the new VSM point leader is Kaszubinski....In his dash win, VanDusen toured the Edelweiss oval in 12.4 seconds....With the new ownership team in their second year at Edelweiss, many improvements have been seen which has produced big crowds all year. Look for ESS to make its return in 2004 for another exciting event--.The Saturday night event at Frogtown fell victim to rain, a possible make-up date is in the works--.Next Friday will be the first ever ESS visit to the Ohsweken Speedway for another VSM Abrasives Canadian Invasion event.
Heat 1 - Jeff VanDusen, Rob Dietrick, Tim Kelly, Dan Kaszubinski, John Karklin Jr., George Ely, Martin Girard.
Heat 2 - Mike Stelter, Bubby Kerrick, Mike Lutz, Bob Podolak, Randy Years, Justin Barger.
Heat 3 - Don Sharp Jr., Lance Yonge, Alain Bergeron, Nick Fratto, Rick Wilson, Jim McCaffrey.
Winters Performance Products/Walt's Hobby Dash - VanDusen.
A-MAIN - MIKE LUTZ, Kaszubinski, Dietrick, Sharp Jr., Wilson, Bergeron, Barger, Stelter, Kelly, Kerrick, Yonge, Podolak, Karklin Jr., Years, Fratto, McCaffrey, VanDusen, Ely, Girard.
Lap Leader - Lutz 1-25.
Walt's Hobby Hard Charger - Wilson (10 pos.) $50.
Brodix Cylinder Heads Halfway - Lutz $50.
Winners Bonuses: Car-Mate Trailers $50, Sway-A-Way $100, ATL Fuel Cells $100, AFCO Shock $100, Hank's Performance Products $50, Total Seal $50, American Racer Tires $50, Real Racing Wheels $50, Hazlitt Vineyards $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse $20, MRE Productions $10.
Weld Racing Hard Luck - VanDusen $75.
Leaf Racewear - Dietrick $75.
Penske Shocks - Wilson $200.
Design 500 - Karklin Jr. $100, Bergeron $50.
Zemco Headers - Bergeron $50.
Saldana Racing Products - Wilson $50.
Joe Hunt Magnetos - Ely $50.
Bailey Racing Products - Fratto $35.
Hazlitt Vineyards - Kaszubinski $20, Dietrick $10, VanDusen $10, McCaffrey $10.
HRP - Karklin Jr. $25.
DMI - Girard $25.