Mike Woodring Becomes First Repeat Winner on the ESS Tour 2001 with Merrittville Victory. THOROLD, ONT. - Just as the rest of the pack in the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) were making their move to close in on defending champion Mike Woodring, the...
Mike Woodring Becomes First Repeat Winner on the ESS Tour 2001 with Merrittville Victory.
THOROLD, ONT. - Just as the rest of the pack in the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) were making their move to close in on defending champion Mike Woodring, the Eden, N.Y. pilot made a statement Saturday night at the Merrittville Speedway. The six-time points champion showed everyone that he still is the king of this 360 sprint car organization and if you want to be ESS champion, you have to go through Woodring first.
Taking the lead on lap 14 from Bill Coffey, Woodring's familiar black #19, Trevis-Craft built sprinter stayed strong in the top spot and survived a late race yellow to pick up his second win of the 2001 season. Woodring's victory was his 51st career on the ESS circuit and came in front of many of his fans as Merrittville is the closest track to his home.
"The car was super during the feature, it felt so comfortable." noted Woodring, who became the first repeat winner in seven events run this year. "I rode the top most of the time to pass cars, it was fast up there and that's where I like to run here.=20 It was a good fit."
Woodring's charge from his 11th place starting spot saw him up to second on lap nine, but he had his work cut out for him as Coffey was in the lead and had a good sized one at that. "Bill was fast, he was fast all night. That team has really had their problems all year but they really had everything clicking this night." said Woodring. "I was just hoping the green would stay out so he could get into lapped traffic and that was the big help for me. He slowed down and that was perfect for me to close in."
As lap 14 was to be scored, Coffey went to the top in turns three and four, that opened up the door for Woodring down low.=20 "I was hoping to pass him on the outside since that was where I was running all race." noted the driver with the most ESS wins ever his winning pass. "But, the bottom was so wide open, I just drove the car down there and it just stuck. I just had to get a good restart at the end, it worked out and it feels good to get back in victory lane.
Erin Crocker started on the pole with the Rich Wood Sr. owned Stealth and she lead the first four laps before Don Sharp Jr. took over. The New Hampshire pilot lead lap five also before Coffey took over the top spot and he immediately opened up a big lead on the rest of the field.
While Coffey was hoping to shake off some bad luck that has plagued his 2001 season so far, Woodring was thrilling the SRO crowd with his charge through the pack. Fifth on lap seven, up to third on lap eight and second on lap nine.
The non-stop A-Main saw slower traffic become a factor and Woodring was able to close in rapidly as Coffey reached the back markers. With his lap 13 inside sweep, Woodring took over the lead on lap 14 in hopes for his second win this year. A lap 16 caution added to the drama and Coffey gave Woodring a strong run on the restart, but this was the night for the champion.
Woodring took Barry Davidson's checkered with a comfortable margin over Coffey. Ninth place starting Ray Preston came home in third with Quebec's Alain Bergeron taking the checkered flag in fourth. But, Bergeron was called for jumping on the restart and he was penalized two spots for the jump. This moved 17th place starting R.C. Faigle up to fourth in which he earned the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus. Sharp Jr. would be credited with a fifth place finish with his Wise Guy Automotive #28NH.
Bergeron took home sixth place money and he was followed by Brockville winner Ryan Coniam, Crocker, Rob Dietrick and Bob Podolak.
The lap 16 caution was for a fourth place running Lance Yonge who saw his sprinter looped around in turn four. It was a costly incident for Yonge and his points chase on Woodring.
Taking the $25 to win Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Crocker, Coffey and Woodring. The Bicknell Racing Products/Walt's Hobby Dash was won by Coffey and the KSE Racing Products B-Main was taken by Steve Dow.
PRESS NOTES: A fine field of 29 sprinters made the trip to the Niagara Frontier...Former late model competitor Leon Szweda made his first ever ESS start, he was the 52nd different driver to compete with ESS so far in 2001...Going into this weeks four race weekend, Woodring leads Dan Kaszubinski, Yonge, Dow and Mike Stelter in the ESS points. The Canadian Invasion points are lead by Canadian Ryan Coniam over Woodring, Dietrick, Podolak and Coffey...Four races, one state, two provinces and two different languages. That is what's facing the ESS Tour 2001 this weekend.
It all starts on Thursday night at the Can-Am Speedway then it's off to Autodrome Granby on Fri., Autodrome Drummond on Sat. and then to the Cornwall Motor Speedway on Sunday. <pre> RESULTS: Heat 1 - Erin Crocker, Mike Stelter, Randy Years, Ryan Coniam, Alain Bergeron, Bubby Kerrick. Heat 2 - Bill Coffey, Rob Dietrick, Dan Kaszubinski, Bob Podolak, Rick Wilson, R.C. Faigle. Heat 3 - Mike Woodring, Tim Zimbardi, Lance Yonge, Ray Preston, Don Sharp Jr., Dan Bennett.
Bicknell Racing Products/Walt's Hobby Dash - Coffey.
B-Main - Steve Dow, Brian Dumigan, Tom Taber, Kyle Drum. Provisional Starters - John Karklin Jr., Tim Barnard. Did not qualify - George Ely, Dick Spadaro, Leon Szweda, Bill Wolf, Jeff VanDusen.
A-MAIN - MIKE WOODRING, Coffey, Preston, Faigle, Sharp Jr., Bergeron, Coniam, Crocker, Dietrick, Podolak, Kaszubinski, Wilson, Dumigan, Dow, Stelter, Kerrick, Years, Yonge, Drum, Taber, Bennett, Karklin Jr., Barnard, Zimbardi.
Lap Leaders - Crocker 1-3, Sharp Jr. 4-5, Coffey 6-13, Woodring 14-20.
Walt's Hobby Hard Charger - Faigle (13 pos.) $50. Vicomp Graphics Halfway - Coffey $50.
Winner's Bonuses - Car-Mate Trailers $50, Pro Shocks $100, Hank's Performance Products $50, Tire Comp. East $75, Bicknell Racing Products $35, Hazlitt Vineyards $35, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear $20.
Other Bonuses: Weld Racing Hard Luck - Zimbardi $75. Extreme Racewear - Coffey $75, Preston $50, Zimbardi $25. Duralite Wheels - Coffey $50. Design 500 - Taber $100, Sharp Jr. $50. KSE Racing Products - Dow $50. Griffin Thermal Products - Coffey $50. Penske Shocks - Dietrick $200. Bailey Racing Products - Wilson $35. Total Seal - Coffey $30, Kaszubinski $20. Joe Hunt Magnetos - Barnard $50. Hazlitt Vineyards - Coffey $30, Preston $10.=20 Thunder Mt. Wings - Preston $20.