ESS: Fulton: Race summary

Rick Wilson edges Lance Yonge in ESS triller at Fulton. FULTON, N.Y. -- It was a sprint car "dog fight" to the finish--Joyceville, Ontario's Rick Wilson edged ESS veteran Lance Yonge in an all out battle to the checkered flag to win the Empire...

Rick Wilson edges Lance Yonge in ESS triller at Fulton.

FULTON, N.Y. -- It was a sprint car "dog fight" to the finish--Joyceville, Ontario's Rick Wilson edged ESS veteran Lance Yonge in an all out battle to the checkered flag to win the Empire Super Sprint Tour 2002 event Saturday night at the Fulton Speedway.r

The high banked and wide surface at Fulton produced great winged sprint car action which thrilled the big crowd on hand from start to finish.

The 20 lap A-Main was in doubt right to the end with Wilson running the outside cushion for all it's worth while Yonge used precision driving to keep his mount down low in the corners. To make the event even more exciting for the fans was that seven-time ESS champion Mike Woodring was close behind in third waiting for the slightest mistake.

"That was one wild race!" exclaimed the popular Canadian sprint star. "I'll tell you Lance (Yonge) is one heck of a racer and I think the fans really like that one."

After swapping the lead several times the two stars came down to the white flag side by side with lapped traffic just in front. It was Wilson's darting move to take the low line in turn one that helped seal the victory. "We were side by side, I saw him down there but I felt that if I drove the car hard down low and take his lane away that it would be big help." said Wilson on his last lap strategy. "I don't know if I chopped him a bit, but it's racing and we are both going for the win." The move enabled Wilson to pull out slightly down the backstretch which was just enough to hold off Yonge's last ditch effort coming off turn four.

"I was hoping the lapped cars were going to be a part of the race." said Yonge. "But, I set up the car to run down low for the whole race. I pretty much had to stay there to make the pass. When Ricky closed the door it helped him move out just a bit. I gave it a shot in the last two corners but he runs a sprinter really well and he earned the win. It's good to see him get one especially after all the hard luck he's had with ESS."

Western Pa. star Mike Lutz lead the first four laps before Wilson's FX Caprara #42w slid under to take the lead. Yonge came from his 13th place start and when a caution was displayed on lap six, his familiar #5 was to take the restart in second place and the battle was on. The two took turns in the lead on laps 11 and 12 with the slower traffic starting to figure into the dual. To make this an event to remember, Woodring came through the field and he soon closed in to the Wilson/Yonge drama.

With the front three ready to tackle the traffic and keep the big crowd on the edge, a final caution came out on lap 14 which was a small sign of relief to Wilson. "I was glad to see that caution--real glad!" noted the former DIRT 358 star. "My car was better when I could run it hard. I pulled the wing back and for it to handle right, I needed to stay on the gas. If I had to run with lapped cars my car would push and Lance probably would have won the race."

The six lap dash to the finish saw Wilson back to the top, Yonge down low and Woodring also riding the high line just waiting for his moment. With his foot-to-the-floor style finally paying off, Wilson crossed the start/finish line first to collect his second career ESS victory. "This win feels so good. When I won Rolling Wheels (ESS/URC Challenge event last October) I started up front. But, when you come through the field and beat these guys (ESS) you know you did something." said the driver that was all smiles to the wee hours of the morning.

At the finish it was Wilson edging Yonge and Woodring with Bill Coffey coming home a strong fourth while Lutz took fifth at end. Rounding out the top ten was Bubby Kerrick, Don Sharp Jr., Mike Stelter, John Karklin Jr., who is the new driver of Dick Goff's J&J, and Jeff VanDusen.

Four cautions slowed the blistering pace: On the original start, Justin Barger, Erin Crocker and Ray Preston came together with all cars returning to action. Randy Years spun on lap four while running in the top five. On lap six, Brian Dumigan, Tim Kelly and Alain Bergeron stopped on the track with the final caution on lap 14 for a spun Bergeron.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Woodring, Karklin Jr. and Lutz with Wilson winning the Walt's Hobby Dash and Ryan Coniam taking the KSE Racing Products B-Main.

ESS NOTES: A good field of 36 sprinters filled the pits....By virtue of his win, Wilson is also guaranteed to start the special dash event at the Bully Hill Vineyards Super Sprint Nationals at the Black Rock Speedway on Sept. 6th and 7th....ESS history was made at Fulton with Troy Sheills piloting the Steve Dow backup machine. Troy hails from Warrnambool, Victoria, Austrailia making him the first ever driver from down under to run an ESS event--.Making their return to ESS competition were Justin Barger, Tommy Allen and Frank Senzio--.Mike Lutz had a wild start to the night when George Suprick lost a left front wheel in warm-ups, Lutz had nowhere to go and made hard contact which caused him to flip over hard. Lutz came back for a solid fifth while Suprick was done for the night--.Rob Dietrick blew his engine in his #10 and picked up a ride in Mike Young's #42 for the A-Main--.Next week finds Mike Woodring, Lance Yonge, Ryan Coniam, Erin Crocker and Dietrick taking on the best in 360 sprint car competition with the Brodix Tournament of Champions Sunday night at the famed Knoxville Raceway--The next ESS point events come on August 9th and 10th with trips to Black Rock Speedway and a long awaited return to the McKean County Speedway.


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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker , Justin Barger , Bill Coffey