Jessica Zemken's Heart Break is Good Fortune for Jeff VanDusen; Collects First ESS win of 2006 at Ohsweken. OHSWEKEN, ONT. -- Everything but the popping of the champagne was ready for Jessica Zemken and her upcoming victory lane celebration...
Jessica Zemken's Heart Break is Good Fortune for Jeff VanDusen; Collects First ESS win of 2006 at Ohsweken.
OHSWEKEN, ONT. -- Everything but the popping of the champagne was ready for Jessica Zemken and her upcoming victory lane celebration Friday night at the Ohsweken Speedway when the nativepoker.com Tour for the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) made their visit. There was just one problem however, the winner of the Spectro Oils Canadian Invasion event was Otego, N.Y.'s Jeff VanDusen and he wasn't about ready to give it back.
The young, 20 year old lady was bringing the stout field of sprinters to the checkered flag in hopes of her second victory of 2006. With the big crowd up cheering her on, her nativepoker.com backed sprinter came up lame in turn one on the final lap, a victim of a blown right rear tire. VanDusen's #56 was right there and he avoided Zemken's disabled mount, survived a one lap shoot out with Nick Fratto to break a long streak of bad luck for himself as well.
"I was just ready to make a run on her on the last lap when all of a sudden her right rear tire just blew apart. She did a great job holding on to the car and I just missed her." noted VanDusen on the sudden turn of events. "I guess we finally had some good luck, it's been a horrible 2006 for, maybe we can get on a roll and see if we can move up in the points."
Nick Fratto brought the field down for the 25 lap A-Main and he also was looking to bring some good results to his stable for 2006. The teenager led comfortably through the mid-stages of the event despite a slow oil leak aboard his #F1. VanDusen came from his seventh place start to take second on lap nine, Zemken then went by him on lap 12 to have the runner-up slot to herself.
Zemken's sprinter got faster as the race went on and with lapped cars she was able to close in on Fratto for the top spot. On lap 18, she blasted around Fratto and into the lead which looked to be hers until the checkered flag. VanDusen slipped by Fratto as the white flag was waving trying to set up a last ditch effort for the win. His bid came just a little easier with Zemken's misfortune.
"I think I went through some debris when Justin (Barger) stopped. My car just got better during the race and I could run the bottom better than anyone. I think that was because the tire was losing some air which gave me bite, I couldn't believe how good it was on the low side." said Zemken afterwards. "Then in the last few laps it felt weird, I guess it was ready to blow. I didn't even know what went wrong, that's why I didn't got into the pits but it was a big blow out. It took off my nerf bar, bent the header and radius rod. I was done."
For VanDusen, his Rich's Auto Body sponsored Maxim hasn't seen many top five finishes in 2006, a season where title aspirations were the goal. "It just hasn't been easy this year. We had a good car tonight, we were really good up high." VanDusen mentioned. "With the slower cars coming up I was gaining back on her, it would have been fun to see what would have happened on that last lap. I was there but her bad luck was my good luck."
At the finish it was VanDusen, who became the seventh different winner in eight shows, Fratto was second followed by Matt Norrie who had his best finish of 2006 with a fine third place run. Same for Randy Years in his Randy's Racing Filters #2 for a solid fourth with Lance Yonge completing the top five. Rounding out the top ten were John Karklin Jr., Alain Bergeron, Doug Emery, Steve Poirier and Jeff Cook.
Winning the Car Mate Trailers heat events were VanDusen, Yonge and Kyle Moffit, the Walt's Hobby Dash was won by Yonge with the KSE Racing Products B-Main taken by Billy White.
Just three cautions slowed the pace on a tacky Ohsweken oval. Michael Parent lost power on the initial start, Barger's broken rear end was the culprit on lap two and the final yellow was on lap 24 with Zemken's blown tire.
ESS/OHSWEKEN NOTES: A good field of 28 sprints were on hand for the annual visit with a good crowd filling the stands as well--A solid and welcomed support from many Southern Ontario Sprint drivers. Craig Downie and Tom Huppunen made the A-Main starting field with Fred Cade, James Whittaker, Jim Price, Terry Baker and Fred Pigeon, who hails from British Columbia, also on hand--Kyle Drum was the only flip victim as he went over in the B-Main ending his night--With the early afternoon rain shower, the track turned up tacky and fast with Yonge topping 100 m.p.h. in the dash--The nativepoker.com Tour will again come to Glenn Styres' fine facility as a part of the second annual Canadian Sprint Car Nationals which will be held on Sept. 15 and 16. For VanDusen, Fratto and Matt Norrie, they will be ESS representatives in the Village Pizza Shootout in Friday of the Nationals.
Heat 1 -- Jeff VanDusen, Nick Fratto, John Karklin Jr., Justin Barger, Doug Emery, Michael Parent.
Heat 2 -- Lance Yonge, Randy Years, Alain Bergeron, Dan Kaszubinski, Matt Norrie, Tom Huppunen.
Heat 3 -- Kyle Moffit, Russ Bennett, Jessica Zemken, Jeff Cook, Steve Poirier, Doug Norrie.
Walt's Hobby Dash -- Lance Yonge.
B-Main -- Billy White, Craig Downie, Glenn Styres, Bubby Kerrick.
Did Not Qualify -- Jim Price, Fred Pigeon, Fred Cade, Kyle Drum, James Whittaker, Terry Baker.
A-MAIN -- JEFF VANDUSEN, Nick Fratto, Matt Norrie, Randy Years, Lance Yonge, John Karklin Jr., Alain Bergeron, Doug Emery, Steve Poirier, Jeff Cook, Dan Kaszubinski, Jessica Zemken, Doug Norrie, Glenn Styres, Tom Huppunen, Bubby Kerrick, Billy White, Russ Bennett, Craig Downie, Kyle Moffit, Justin Barger, Michael Parent.