ESS: Granby: Race report

Mike Woodring passes teammate Erin Crocker to collect first ESS win of 2002: Jeff VanDusen flips while leading. GRANBY, QC. - It was a 20 lap VSM Abrasives Canadian Invasion Tour/Empire Super Sprint (ESS) A-Main of two extremes at Quebec's ...

Mike Woodring passes teammate Erin Crocker to collect first ESS win of 2002: Jeff VanDusen flips while leading.

GRANBY, QC. - It was a 20 lap VSM Abrasives Canadian Invasion Tour/Empire Super Sprint (ESS) A-Main of two extremes at Quebec's Autodrome Granby on Friday night. The success was performed by Woodring Racing as seven-time ESS champion Mike Woodring made a pass for the lead and the victory with five laps to go to collect his first feature event on the ESS Tour 2002. The pass was on his team car driven by 21 year old Erin Crocker who continued to run her sprint strongly to claim the runner-up honors in the event to make for a one/two sweep.

The heartbreak of the event came on lap 13 when the red lights shined brightly. The sprinter that rolled over several times was driven by Jeff VanDusen who had a big lead on the field looking for his first ever A-Main triumph. VanDusen took the lead from Crocker on lap eight and was running the cushion blistering the field with a quick pace. But, on that fateful lap 13 a spun car of Bill White was in his path coming into turn one. VanDusen had nowhere to go as he hopped a wheel of another competitor and he made hard contact with the outside wall flipping several times ending what would have been a headline making run.

The win for Woodring ended his string of many "close calls" to the winner's circle and also proved lucrative as a car owner with Crocker taking in second place monies. "This makes up for last night." snapped a smiling winner. "I could have won the race and Erin had a broken car. On this night we both had good cars and we came in with good finishes."

Woodring attacks the 1/2 mile Southeast of Montreal with pure speed as he made a charge to the front that was matched by no other ESS competitor. After starting in 12th his Got Milk #19 backed Maxim was up to fifth by the fourth lap, fourth on lap 11 and third on lap 12. With the event going non-stop, it looked like Woodring's last pass would be on his teammate as VanDusen was holding a big lead while going through lapped traffic. Woodring was indeed strong but catching VanDusen might have been too big of a task to handle.

"Jeff was out there pretty good. You have no idea if you could catch him. I was fast but I needed a yellow to see what I could do with him." said Mike. "When the red came out and Jeff was out I knew that helped in setting up the race for me."

With 13 tours in the books, VanDusen's misfortune changed the whole outlook of the event setting up a battle of team cars. "Mike pulled alongside of me under the red and we had a nice chat." said Crocker. "He was joking a bit telling me that he was going to pull a slider on me and pass me. I knew he was going to do what he could to pass me. We are team cars but we race our own race. I just ran my groove and see what he could do with me."

On the restart, Crocker's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute #16 held the top spot with Woodring trying high and low on her to make the pass. Coming down the back stretch on the fourteenth lap, Woodring just dove into turn three deeper to make the pass. He opened up a big lead in the final five laps to collect ESS career win #52.

"It's a close point race this year so far so you need to do the best you can each race. Finally I got my first win and hope to have more to come this season." said Woodring afterwards. "To have Erin in second made this a pretty cool night."

John Karklin Jr. ran a strong race of his own to take the third place finishing position on the victory lane podium. Unfortunately for Crocker, she was "out manned" two to one and when the champagne flew, she came out on the short end. Rounding out the top ten were Quebec's own Alain Bergeron, Mike Stelter, the #13 of Bill Coffey, Lance Yonge, two-time ESS winner Ryan Coniam, veteran Bobby Podolak and Doug Emery.

The lap 13 red flag was the only time the greens lights were not shining during the 20 lap finale.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Crocker, Coniam and Woodring with Steve Dow taking the KSE Racing Products B-Main.

ESS NOTES: A record field at Granby with 30 sprinters playing host to a big crowd of French-Canadian fans...First time appearance for Jeff Ries but unfortunately his sprinter never could fire during the night....Jeff VanDusen's crew chief Darren Beach took out the backup ride and just missed qualifying for the A-Main by a few positions....This marked the first event of the 10 race VSM Abrasives sponsored Canadian Invasion Tour with a special $5000 point fund set up for all the events held "North of the Border"...."America's Race Cars" will return to the Friday night home of the DIRT 358 mods again on Sept.


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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker , Bill Coffey