ESS: Eriez: Race report

Mike Stelter's DQ Hands ESS Win at Eriez to Ryan Coniam. HAMMETT, PA. -- It looked to be a wire to wire win for Ontario, N.Y.'s Mike Stelter. Taking the lead from his outside pole starting spot, the driver of the familiar ...

Mike Stelter's DQ Hands ESS Win at Eriez to Ryan Coniam.

HAMMETT, PA. -- It looked to be a wire to wire win for Ontario, N.Y.'s Mike Stelter. Taking the lead from his outside pole starting spot, the driver of the familiar #36 led all twenty laps to visit victory lane for the first time in 2002 Sunday night at the Ereiz Speedway. The win would be short lived however as Stelter's sprinter didn't go directly to the scales when entering the pit area. Stelter was disqualified handing the win to second place finisher Ryan Coniam.

Under Empire Super Sprints (ESS) rules, if a driver fails to go directly to the scales he will be awarded last place with last place points and money awarded.

While it's not the way the second generation Canadian star would like to get his second career ESS victory, he will receive the laurels with a smile. The Valvoline Cup A-Main triumph ended a streak of horrible luck which saw two cars being heavily damaged in the first three ESS events.

"Of course you want to win the race on the track. This isn't how I want to win but after all the bad luck we had the past few weeks I'll take it." said a relieved Coniam after the penalty was handed down. "I didn't have anything for Mike (Stelter), he won this race but a rule is a rule I guess. I was going to bring the car home in second and be happy with that, but, maybe this will turn some of our luck around for the rest of the year. "

While it looked like a simple pass for position, Coniam's VSM Abrasives #6 slipped by Kyle Drum on a lap 14 restart to grab what was the runner-up slot. That pass turned out to be the pass for the lead and eventually the win.

The tricky Eriez saw some wild action on the track as well: On lap five, Western Pa. star Scott Bonnell came in contact with an inside tire barrier and flipped wildly in turn one causing for the red lights to come on. On lap 14 came the race's only caution but it was for Mike Woodring and Brian Dumigan who came into contact with each other. What was significant was that they were one-two in the points standings coming into the fourth race of the season. Dumigan restarted, Woodring did not.

At the drop of the checkered it was Stelter ahead of Coniam but the DQ awarded victory to Coniam. Drum was close behind with his US Air Force sponsored #47 followed by John Karklin Jr., Tim Kelly, Phil Mott, ESS veteran Bob Podolak, Lance Yonge, Bubby Kerrick, Erin Crocker and the Lauterborn Electric #13 of Bill Coffey.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Coniam, Coffey and Podolak. The KSE Racing Products B-Main was copped by Tim Zimbardi.

ESS NOTES -- A fine field of 28 sprinters put on a show in front of a big crowd at the Sunday night track near Erie Pa--.Making first ESS starts in 2002 were Bonnell, Leon Szweda, Dan Bennett, Pup Nystrom with Jeremy Barnard and Brad Knab making their first ever ESS events--Quebec's Alain Bergeron claimed the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus taking 11th after starting in 18th--.The win for Coniam was worth over $2000 in cash and prizes--.Keeping with the Canadian theme, the next ESS event is this Friday night with the first of two visits to the Brockville Ontario Speedway. The event also kicks off the VSM Abrasives Canadian Invasion Tour.

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Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker , Bill Coffey