ESS: Little Valley race report

LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y. - A dominating performance and a little bit of history all rolled up into one evening at the Little Valley Speedway on Friday. Eden, N.Y.'s six time Empire Super Sprint (ESS) champion, Mike Woodring, took just 11 laps to go...

LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y. - A dominating performance and a little bit of history all rolled up into one evening at the Little Valley Speedway on Friday. Eden, N.Y.'s six time Empire Super Sprint (ESS) champion, Mike Woodring, took just 11 laps to go from his 13th place starting position to the lead and the win on the big half-mile oval. The victory was a milestone for the ESS great as it was his 50th time visiting victory lane in his 10 year career.

Despite threatening weather all day and evening, Little Valley track crew provided the lightning quick winged sprinters with a multi-grooved and smooth oval. A big cushion was built up throughout the night with passing being the norm which made Woodring look like a kid on Christmas morning.

"Coming into the season, this (50 wins) was one of my goals." said the defending champion Woodring. "I don't know how much longer I'll be a regular with ESS so I wanted this to be part of my career."

Woodring passed cars at an alarming rate early on providing a charge to the front that was his trademark throughout the years. "The track was perfect, the car was perfect. I went high, I went low, it really didn't matter where I put the car and that made it easier to make the passes to get to the front."

While the win looked easy for all that watched, on lap nine a little problem did develop on the Trevis Craft built sprinter and it wasn't known until Woodring tried to pull into victory lane. He shut the car down early to coast to a stop. The reason? No brakes, the rear caliper was gone. "When I went to pass Ray (Preston) in turn three I slung into the corner hard and all of a sudden the pedal went right to the floor and then I felt something hit me in the behind." noted Woodring on his mid-race troubles. "I had to change my line after that to slow the car down in the turns. I'll tell you, I became a defensive driver after that. I was making this car as wide as I could to hang on to the lead. I guess it was a lucky win."

Preston started his Speedway Performance #22 on the pole and he beat outside pole sitter Bill Bailey to turn one for the lead.=20 While Preston opened up some distance, many in the big covered grandstand were watching the Wakins Glen Drug and Surgical, purple #19 making its daring moves to the front. Woodring made a sixth to fourth pass on lap four, up to third on lap five and second on lap eight just before a caution one lap later.

On the lap nine restart, Woodring drove by Preston in turn three in hopes of collecting the Vicomp Graphics halfway bonus. He made the pass but his car shot up the track and Preston made a pass back to collect the extra $50 cash. One lap later Woodring did make the winning move but with no brakes it was still to be nail biting time.

First: Two more cautions bunched up the field behind Woodring.=20 Second: On lap 14, Scott Holcomb moved his #91 into second.=20 "When I looked up at the scoreboard and saw Scotty was in second, that's where I became what I guess you can call a 'defensive driver'. He was fast all night and I was real worried about him, but they tell me he never really made a serious challenge. I guess that shows how good this car really was."

Woodring took the checkers half-a-straitaway ahead of Holcomb with Preston coming home for a fine third place finish. Last weeks winner at Canandaigua, Randy Years, came from his 18th place start to collect fourth and the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus as well. Mike Stelter brought the Ron Buckner built and powered #36 to fifth for the second race in a row. Sixth through tenth was Western Pa. star and first time ESS visitor Scott Bonnell, Bailey, Steve Dow, Don Sharp Jr. and former Little Valley promoter Tom Taber.

Three cautions slowed the high paced action. On lap nine, Bonnell got sideways collecting Dan Kaszubinski who had nowhere to go. Bonnell restarted, Kaszubinski did not. On lap 13 Bill Coffey got sideways on the backstretch and on lap 15 Tim Barnard was spun around in turn four.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Woodring, Lance Yonge and Stelter with the KSE Racing Products B-Main falling to Bubby Kerrick. The four-lap, $100 to win Zimbardi Electric/Walt's Hobby Dash was won on the last corner of the last lap by Dow.

ESS NOTES: A solid field of 26 sprints braved iffy weather on the Friday night...Making first starts of the year was Chris Shuttleworth with his sharp purple colored #11, 60 year old plus George Ely and Bonnell. Bonnell, who beat World of Outlaw star Dale Blaney at Tri-City two weeks ago with his 360 powered sprinter is looking to be a regular fixture with ESS...After a mid-week stop at Fulton (May 23), the ESS stars and cars from the Tour 2001 will make stops at Stateline and Eriez Speedway this Sat. and Sun.


Heat 1 - Mike Woodring, Dan Kaszubinski, Ray Preston, R.C. Faigle, Scott Holcomb, Tim Barnard.

Heat 2 - Lance Yonge, Don Sharp Jr., Rob Dietrick, Scott Bonnell, Bill Coffey, Tim Zimbardi.

Heat 3 - Mike Stelter, Steve Dow, John Karklin Jr., Bill Bailey, Tom Taber, Randy Years. Zimbardi Electric/Walt's Hobby Dash - Dow.

B-Main - Bubby Kerrick, Erin Crocker, Kyle Drum, Alain Bergeron.

Added Starter - Dick Spadaro.

Did Not Qualify - Chris Shuttleworth, Bob Podolak, George Ely.

A-Main - MIKE WOODRING, Holcomb, Preston, Years, Stelter, Bonnell, Bailey, Dow, Sharp Jr., Taber, Yonge, Crocker, Drum, Karklin Jr., Coffey, Bergeron, Dietrick, Faigle, Barnard, Zimbardi, Spadaro, Kerrick, Kaszubinski.

Lap Leaders - Preston 1-10, Woodring 11-20.

Walt's Hobby Hard Charger - Years (14 pos.) $50. Vicomp Graphics Halfway - Preston $50.

Winner Bonuses: Car-Mate Trailers $50, Hank's Performance Products $50, Tire Comp. East $75, $145, Bicknell Racing Products $35, Total Seal $30, Hazlitt Vineyards $35, Red's Speed Shop $25.

Other Bonuses: Extreme Racewear - Holcomb $75, Preston $50, Kaszubinski $25. Weld Racing Hard Luck - Kaszubinski $75. ATL Fuel Cells - Holcomb $200. Penske Racing Shocks - Taber $200. Design 500 - Barnard $100, Stelter $50. Griffin Thermal Products - Holcomb $50. Bailey Racing Products - Faigle $35. Joe Hunt Magnetos - Kerrick $50. KSE Racing Products - Kerrick $50. Duralite Racing Wheels - Holcomb $50. Hazlitt Vineyards - Holcomb $20, Preston $10, Dow $10. Total Seal - Taber $20. Behrents Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear - Holcomb $20. Thunder Mt. Wings - Preston $20.


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker , Bill Coffey
Teams Team Penske