ESS: Granby II: Race report

Mike Woodring uses Late Race dramatics to collect ESS win at Autodrome Granby. GRANBY, QC - It was a classic "never say die" attitude from the seven-time Empire Super Sprints (ESS) champion Friday night at Autodrome Granby in Quebec. Starting...

Mike Woodring uses Late Race dramatics to collect ESS win at Autodrome Granby.

GRANBY, QC - It was a classic "never say die" attitude from the seven-time Empire Super Sprints (ESS) champion Friday night at Autodrome Granby in Quebec. Starting in 11th spot, the Eden, N.Y. driver picked off cars in a methodical rate to set himself up for a lap 19 pass on race long leader Rob Dietrick. Doing the sprint car cliché "slide job" in turn three, the Putnam County Speedway #19 swept by Dietrick and on to it's fourth victory of the ESS Tour 2002.

The VSM Abrasives Canadian Invasion event at the Autodrome southeast of Montreal played host to one of the largest crowds in years at the fast half-mile oval. With the victory, Woodring's win total now tallies 55 on the all-time ESS win list.

"It was a classic Eldora slide job." quickly summed up by Woodring. "Rob (Dietrick) was running strong up top so I knew probably the only way that I could get him was to dive inside and slide back up the track. I knew the pass worked at that moment but I saw him on the inside of me on the front stretch so I just had to run it in turn one as hard as I could."

By the luck of the nightly pill draw, Dietrick's No. 1 Trailer Center Maxim started the 20 lap A-Main on the pole and in his quest for his third win of the season he quickly pulled away from the field. While Dietrick was keeping Mike Stelter, John Karklin Jr. and Billy White at bay. Woodring was looking for the right spots to make his moves to the front.

Only one caution slowed the quick pace, but that happening on lap eight was key to Woodring's assault on the rest of the field. "That yellow helped me the most." said Woodring. "Here (Granby) everyone is fast and if it stays green the cars can get strung out. That yellow got everyone bunched up and it help me get some spots quickly on the restart."

Woodring's march was noted on lap 12 when he took fifth, fourth on lap 13, by Stelter for third on lap 16, drove around the outside of White for second on lap 18 and it was a pursuit of Dietrick as the next quest.

Slower cars hindered Dietrick's quick pace and it was time for Woodring to thrill the French-Canadian crowd. A solid run off of two and the black sprinter made it's charge and dove to the inside of Dietrick in turn three to make his winning pass and bring out a loud roar from the stands. While Mike held off Rob's last ditch effort on the front stretch, his closest call of the night came as he came down for the checkered flag. "I was going to the inside to lap a car and all of a sudden he moved down and I was already there!" exclaimed Woodring. "I thought right there that I would win this race flipping across the line, but we got through it ok."

White's great run was rewarded with a fine runner-up finish as he passed Dietrick on the last corner of the last lap. Dietrick's third place finish was a disappointment. "Towards the end of the race my motor started to sputter in the middle of corners. It was fine on the straits but I just don't know what was wrong with it in the turns." said a very down driver. ^ÓMike is good here but if I could keep my momentum up I think I could have stayed in the lead. Third is nice, but when you think you had the win it's a disappointment"

At the checkers it was Woodring over White and Dietrick with current VSM Canadian Invasion point leader Ryan Coniam taking fourth and Stelter in for fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Lance Yonge, Karklin Jr., Quebec's own Alain Bergeron, Doug Emery and Justin Barger.

The lone caution was for Don Sharp Jr. who made slight contact with the inside wall and then spun his sprinter in turn two. The hit knocked the New Hampshire pilot from the event.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Dan Kaszubinski, Jeff VanDusen, with a brand new Maxim and White.

ESS NOTES: A field of 24 sprinters made the Friday night tow North...Making his first ESS start in a long time was veteran Mike VanDusen in the family back-up car...Mike Lutz blew his engine in his heat event but picked up a ride in the Dick Goff owned #7Y for the feature....With his charge from 11th, Woodring also collected the Walt' Hobby Hard Charger bonus...For the first time in ESS history, there was two father/son combinations in action. Mike and Jeff VanDusen, Frank and Jim Senzio.

-ess-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Justin Barger