ESS: Empire Super Sprint banquet notes

Over $53,000 Handed Out at Empire Super Sprint Tour 2000 Banquet: Woodring Crowned Champion for Sixth Time. @by Dean Reynolds SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The final checkered flag was waved on the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Tour 2000 schedule Saturday night...

Over $53,000 Handed Out at Empire Super Sprint Tour 2000 Banquet: Woodring Crowned Champion for Sixth Time. @by Dean Reynolds

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The final checkered flag was waved on the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Tour 2000 schedule Saturday night with the annual awards banquet held at the Holiday Inn at Carrier Circle, East Syracuse, N.Y. Nearly 200 guests witnessed a record $53,810 distributed amoungst 21 different drivers making the 17th season for ESS the most lucrative in it's history.

Collecting the lions share of the evening payoff was Eden, N.Y.'s Mike Woodring. The driver of the Tom and Mary Wade #19 collected a record tying sixth ESS championship and also mark his fifth consecutive title. Woodring took home four A-Main event wins on the 2000 season to better long-time rival Lance Yonge for the point championship. The total take home for Woodring on the night was $9,166 which included over $5,400 cash from the record point fund.

While evening was highlighted by the tour champion, many other special awards added spice to the excited gathering. For the first time since 1992, there was co-rookie's of the year as New York's Randy Years and Quebec's Alain Bergeron shared in the award sponsored by Jereco Engine and Parts. Each driver's rookie campaign was recognized with a special $500 cash award which was well deserved. Years and Bergeron each won one A-Main during the 2000 season and finished 14th and 15th respectively in the final points.

The Foar Score Racing Fan Club/Empire Super Sprint Most Improved Driver Award was won by Byron, N.Y.'s Steve Dow who also collected $500 cash on a fine season's effort. The third year driver went on to collect first career A-Main victory on May 27th and then backed that win up in July which vaulted him in the top ten in points for the first time ever.

The Walt's Hobby Dash Series points was won by Canadian Rick Wilson with $500 in cash going to the "Joyceville Jet". Wilson bested out Dan Kaszubinski for his first ever dash series point title dispite missing five shows due to motor woes.

The Brodix Cylinder Heads Hard Luck Award and another $500 cash was won by George Ely. The 62 year old veteran saw his #90 in many unfortunate circumstances during the year but the Auburn, N.Y. resident always found a way to enter the next ESS event on the schedule.

New Hampshire's Don Sharp Jr. earned the QA1 Precision Products/Thomas Racing Videos Perserverance Award. Even with the closest track on the Tour 2000 three hours away from his Grafton, N.H. home, the second year driver made every show on the schedule which included his first ever A-Main win in July at Stateline Speedway. Sharp Jr. collected a free set of heim ends from QA1 as well as $200 in cash.

The large crowd let out a loud cheer when the annual John Zentner Memorial Award was given to likeable Dick Spadaro. The Altamont, N.Y. businessman races with the Empire Super Sprints to live out a dream. Spadaro not only brings his familiar #29 to each ESS event most of the time by himself but he also brings his trademark smile as well, a site that is welcomed by many. The Zentner Memorial award could not go to a more fitting individual in the ESS fanily.

The annual Empire Super Sprint Mechanic of the Year award sponsored by Mechanix Wear was won by Ron Buckner. Buckner celebrated a very successful 2000 season by building a one of a kind coil over sprinter driven by Mike Stelter. The #36, powered by a Buckner built engine, visited victory lane three times making for some major headlines.

Many giveaways filled the slate as well: The $2200 pair of Brodix Cylinder Heads was won by Doug Emery, Tim Zimbardi won a Simpson "Shark" helmet valued at $800, Woodring collected a top and front wing package from Top Flight Wings as well as a set of torsion bars courtesey of Sway-A-Way. Bergeron also won a free top wing from Thunder Mountain Wings, another set of heim ends was won by Bill Coffey with free sets of headers from Schoenfeld going to Bubby Kerrick, Wilson and Years. A custom built seat from Bulter Built Motorsports went to Ray Preston with radiators from C&R Indy Racing Radiators and Griffin Thermal Products won by Wilson and Scott Holcomb.

Other cash and products awards were handed out from American Race Tires, KSE Racing Products, Bicknell Racing Products, Competition Tire East, Hank's Performance Products, Total Seal, Design 500, Behrent's Performance Warehouse, Car-Mate Trailers, Weld Race Components, Powder Birns, Bailey Racing Products, Dave Ely Racing, Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar, which included the $1000 cash point fund for the Canadian Invasion Series, LaBrie Design, DSR Fuel Systems, Earl's Performance Products, Gaerte Engines, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Kreitz Oval Track Parts, Outerwears Racing Accessories, Sander Engineering, Trevis Craft Sprints, Winters Performance Products, Keen Fabrication, Layla and Darren Beach and Racing Optics, Inc.

The annual rules meeting before the banquet saw little changes coming for the 2001 season. The American Racer right rear tire rule was voted in again for next year. The weight rule of 1325 will go into effect for 2001 as well. A special temporary license was approved, new teams can come in and race a particular event for just $50.

The 17th season for the Empire Super Sprints not only boasted the largest cash payoff ever, but with 15 different winners in 27 point events it was easily the most competitive as well. The ESS Tour 2001 is just a mere few months away and we hope that you can be a part of it. For special announcements throughout the Winter months, log on to www.empiresupersprints.com.

<pre> Empire Super Sprint Tour 2000 Banquet Totals.

1. Mike Woodring    $9,166
2. Lance Yonge       5,081
3. Dan Kaszubinski   3,760
4. Mike Stelter      2,946
5. Doug Emery        4,821
6. Scott Holcomb     2,904
7. Bubby Kerrick     2,221
8. Rob Dietrick      2,220
9. Steve Dow         2,283
10. R.C. Faigle      1,728
11. Rick Wilson      2,593
12. Ray Preston      1,541
13. Bill Coffey      1,438
14. Randy Years      1,768
15. Alain Bergeron   2,104
16. Bob Podolak      1,026
17. Don Sharp Jr.    1,558
18. Kris Dow           954
20. George Ely       1,302
21. Dick Spadaro       929
22. Tim Zimbardi     1,507.

Note - Rich Wood finished in 19th in points but did not collect point fund money as he competed in less than 2/3rds of ESS shows run.

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Series Sprint
Drivers Bill Coffey