ESS: Knoxville: ToC preview

Empire Super Sprint stars to take on the best in 360 racing at the Brodix Tournament of Champions in Knoxville Iowa. SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- On Sunday night August 4th at the famed Marion County Fairgrounds, the Knoxville Raceway, it's time to find...

Empire Super Sprint stars to take on the best in 360 racing at the Brodix Tournament of Champions in Knoxville Iowa.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- On Sunday night August 4th at the famed Marion County Fairgrounds, the Knoxville Raceway, it's time to find out the very best of 360 sprint car racing in the nation. It's the fourth running of the Brodix Cylinder Heads Tournament of Champions (ToC). The Empire Super Sprints (ESS) will be sending five of their best to Iowa to see if they can bring back the trophy to their native Northeast and Canada.

Seven different sanctions from across the country will be sending representatives to Knoxville in hopes of bringing home the $4,000 top prize that awaits the winner of the 30 lap event. The Knoxville Raceway, The United Racing Club (URC) and The American Sprint Car Series (ASCS) join ESS in brining 5 to 10 car teams to the event. The Nebraska Sprint Car Association (NSCA), WISSOTA Promoters Association from Minnesota and the Winged Outlaw Warriors (WOW) will send a smaller contingent to fill out the 49 car field for the lucrative event.

Leading ESS for the Tournament will be seven-time champion Mike Woodring, 22 time winner and second in points for 2002, Lance Yonge, sophomore sensation and third in points for this year, Canadian Ryan Coniam, two-time 2002 winner and fifth in points Rob Dietrick and 21 year old female sensation Erin Crocker who has won twice on the ESS Tour 2002 and currently is seventh in points.

Mike Woodring has entered all four tournaments and once again his familiar black #19 will be the odds on favorite to bring the trophy home to the ESS camp. In 1997, the first tourney which was held ay Knoxville, the Eden, N.Y. took home fourth place money to lead the ESS group. In '98 at the wild and fast Eldora Speedway, Woodring passed more cars than any other entrant (21) to collect a top ten finish. In 1999 the ToC moved to Limaland Motorsports Park in Ohio and Woodring took home another fourth place finish. A brand new motor and Maxim frame is set for Woodring's assault on the big half-mile as he looks to etch his name in a little bit of 360 sprint car history.

Lance Yonge is also a veteran of all three ToC events run and the orange Lane's Yamaha #5 will be loaded for bear come the 4th of August. The motor Yonge and Lane used for the annual 360 Shootout at the Syracuse Mile (which they won one of the two events run) will be loaded into a Maxim in hopes of becoming the best of the ESS contingent. Yonge was won three A-Main events thus far this season and is just behind Woodring in the tour points, the 2002 season could very well be his strongest effort of his career.

Ryan Coniam is a young and fast 22 year old second generation pilot from Burlington, Ont. With four career wins in just two years of competition, Coniam is the winningest Canadian sprint car driver in the history of ESS. An Eagle chassis sprinter with a powerful engine from Jimmy D's machine will be the combination that the VSM Abrasives team will take west to Iowa. Coniam loves the big tracks and his eyes will be wide open when it comes to Knoxville. Don't be surprised if this young talent could bring the title back home north of the border.

Rob Dietrick purchased a new Maxim at the start of the 2002 season and he is on his way to his best ever ESS season. The 1998 ESS rookie of the year has already collected two checkered flags this season and is looking for his first ever top five placing in the season long points standings. A set up specialist, the 33 year old driver will adapt quickly to the fairgrounds oval and be a strong contender.

Wilbraham, Massachusetts' Erin Crocker could easily be the surprise story of 2002 for ESS. Not only does her female gender make headlines but two wins so far in this season makes her a serious threat out at Knoxville. The only female in this years ToC, Crocker is a teammate to Woodring and she has propelled her ride to instant success. A student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (which also sponsors her #16), Crocker is looking to move on in the world of Motorsports and a top finish at the tourney will be a huge boost to her career.

Jimmy Kouba of Minnesota, Brett Golik from the home state of Iowa, Tracy Nichols out of Missouri and Mitchell Moore from Kansas will fill the alternate spots in the ESS heat. Six drivers from the group will advance to the 30 lap finale, three from the heat, two from the B-Main and the highest driver in points not qualified will be added near the rear of the field.

Woodring, Yonge, Coniam, Dietrick and Crocker, they will lock horns with the likes of Gary Wright, Tim Crawley, Greg Coverdale, Bill Brian Jr., Brian Brown, Mike Trent and many more stars in 360 sprint car racing. August 4th is the date and sprint car fans, the Brodix Tournament of Champions IV is the event. It kicks off a full week of winged excitement in Iowa which culminates on August 10th with the Knoxville Nationals. ESS will be there to defend their turf and you should be there as well as it will be excitement guaranteed!!!


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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker , Brian Brown , Tim Crawley