by Dean Reynolds THOROLD, ONT. - It was just a matter of time before Farmington, N.Y.'s Rob Dietrick added his name to the Empire Super Sprint Tour 2000 winner's list. The 1998 Rookie of the Year took the lead from Steve Dow on lap 8, survived...
by Dean Reynolds
THOROLD, ONT. - It was just a matter of time before Farmington, N.Y.'s Rob Dietrick added his name to the Empire Super Sprint Tour 2000 winner's list. The 1998 Rookie of the Year took the lead from Steve Dow on lap 8, survived two red flag stoppages, to go on to win his first A-Main of the 2000 season Saturday night at the Merrittville Speedway
Dietrick made it two wins in three events at the "D" shaped oval as he also visited victory lane last August. The win this past Saturday was Dietrick's fifth career with the Empire Super Sprints and as tradition, a sellout crowd was again in the stands at the Canadian oval.
"Finally, we got the monkey off our back." noted Dietrick. "The car was super tonight, I could go anywhere I wanted on the track. It finally felt good and I really haven't had that feeling all year."
The driver of the Ron Trevis built #10 has had a 2000 season filled with many troubles that was highlighted by a flip at Cornwall. Currently outside the top ten in the points, the win on a warm moonlit night was a welcome site. "This does feel good. I just needed it badly, both money wise and just to get some momentum." said Dietrick, who was also the 1997 Mechanic of the year on the ESS circuit. "I was worried about Steve (Dow), he's been fast all year but as the laps went on I know I had a good car."
Dietrick indeed took command of an event that was plagued by one caution and three red flag periods. "Usually you don't want to see the race stopped, but my car was so good on restarts that it really didn't bother me that much." noted Dietrick.
Dow took control from his pole starting spot to lead through a lap two red flag and right up until a lap seven caution. But, it was the restart where Rob got the run he needed to get by Dow. Shooting off turn two with a good bite, Dietrick's mount got under Dow's and into the lead as they swept through turns three and four.
Bobby Podolak then got by Dow on lap 12 and he gave it his all in hopes of closing in on the leader. As the final 11 laps went non-stop, there was not much of a challenge for Dietrick in the closing stages...except for a lap 14 slip. Coming through turn four, his sprinter went off the outside of the track into the infamous "moat". "That move kind of scared me a little bit!" dead-panned Dietrick. But, a quick save was made and a popular win was the result.
Dietrick took the checkers ahead of a wheelie poppin' Podolak, Lance Yonge came home in third followed by Steve Dow and then sister Kris Dow. The next five was made up of Mike Stelter, Bill Coffey, the Viking Ledge #32 of Doug Emery, Rick Wilson and Dan Kaszubinski.
The 20 lap A-Main was stopped on lap two when Scott Holcomb, Rich Wood, Bubby Kerrick, Joe Timerson and Don Sharp Jr. piled up in turn two. All the sprinters went pitside not returning to action. On lap seven Randy Years looped his sprint in turn four but his night would turn worse just one lap later. Years would hop the wheel of "Crash" Nash and roll his mount on the frontstretch for the second red. The third red flag was displayed for current ESS point leader Mike Woodring as he barrell rolled his #19 down the frontstretch. Alain Bergeron was also involved.
Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Dietrick, Kris Dow and Ray Preston. The KSE Racing Products B-Main was won by Lerrick with the Bicknell Racing Products/Walt's Hobby Dash copped by Steve Dow.
ESS NOTES: A fine field of 25 sprints made the tow to the Niagara Frontier...Timerson, Nash, George Ely and Mike Bozzuto were additions to the field after Friday night's action...Dietrick's win was also the first win for Penske Shocks in 2000 ESS action. His winnings on the night were over $1500...Many of the ESS competitors were happy to see veteran Dick Spadaro take the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus...The return of "America's Race Cars" to Merrittville will take place two more times, Sat., Aug. 26 and Sat., Sept. 16...Next up for the Tour 2000 is a Thursdau night visit to Can-Am on June 22 followed by the first swing through Quebec to Autodrome's Granby and Drummond on Friday and Saturday. <pre> RESULTS:
Heat 1 - Rob Dietrick, Steve Dow, Bob Podolak, Mike Woodring, Bill Coffey, Rich Wood. Heat 2 - Kris Dow, Rick Wilson, Mike Stelter, Dan Kaszubinski, Alain Bergeron, Don Sharp Jr. Heat 3 - Ray Preston, Lance Yonge, Doug Emery, R.C. Faigle, Randy Years, "Crash" Nash. B-Main - Bubby Kerrick, Scott Holcomb, Joe Timerson, Dick Spadaro. Bicknell Racing Products/Walt's Hobby Dash - S. Dow Did Not Qualify - George Ely, Mike Bozzuto, Tim Zimbardi. A-Main - ROB DIETRICK, Podolak, Yonge, S. Dow, K. Dow, Stelter, Coffey, Emery, Wilson, Kaszubinski, Faigle, Preston, Spadaro, Bergeron, Woodring, Nash, Years, Wood, Kerrick, Timerson, Sharp Jr., Holcomb. Lap Leaders - S. Dow 1-7, Dietrick 8-20. Walt's Hobby Hard Charger - Spadaro (9 pos.) $50. Vicomp Graphics Halfway - Dietrick $50. Winner's Bonuses: Car-Mate Dealers $50, Hank's Performance Products $50, Total Seal $50, Griffin Thermal Products $50, Tire Comp. East $75, Bicknell Racing Products $35, Behrent's Performance Warehouse $30, Red's Speed Shop $25. Other Bonuses: Weld Racing Hard Luck - Timerson $75. Penske Shocks - Kaszubinski $150. Design 500 - Spadaro $100, K. Dow $50. KSE Racing Products - Kerrick $50. Bailey Racing Products - Woodring $35. Total Seal - Kaszubinski $30. Thunder Mtn. Wings - Podolak $20. Dave Ely Racing - S. Dow, Wilson, Yonge $10. Lauterborn Electric - Wood $10.