Preston and his Speedway Performance ...
Preston and his Speedway Performance #22 took the lead from the drop of the original green flag until tour four of the last lap. Montross, N.Y.'s 17 year old sensation, Justin Barger, drove around the outside of Preston and a lapped car to win the 20 lap A-Main event by mere few feet. The move thrilled the big crowd on hand with the veteran thinking a win was swept away right at the worst possible moment. However, post-race tech found Barger's injection system on top of his motor to be illegal which produced a disqualification.
Preston was moved back into the top spot and he became the 10th different winner in 13 events on the ESS Tour 2001. "The car was good all race and I knew going in we had a chance to win the race." noted Preston. "I was running a line in the middle of the track and felt pretty good there until I saw Barger underneath me in one turn so I moved down. I pretty much committed to the bottom after that."
While Preston was holding on to the lead down low, slower traffic started to come into play as the last 17 laps were run under green. Barger was using a higher line and it all came down to a wild scenario in turn four of lap 19. "I saw Tim (Zimbardi, the car just about ready to be lapped) go into three and I thought there might be some room under him. There's been good bite coming off of four down low so that's where I went. I didn't know where Barger was, I knew he was back there but just didn't know where." said Preston on the last lap plan.
Coming down for the checkered flag, it was a crowd pleasing three-wide dash. "I thought I had a good line but there was Barger passing both of us on the outside, it was a good move." said the 1996 ESS Outstanding New Comer. "Afterwards they told me that his injection was illegal so we got the win after all."
The final finish run down indeed marks Preston as the winner, his third career ESS victory. Steve Dow, who was closing in on the leading duo in the late stages took second with current ESS point leader Mike Woodring taking third. Woodring collected the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger Bonus as he came from his 14th place start. Fourth in the finish was Mike Stelter followed by opening event winner Randy Years with his Twister chassis #2. Rounding out the top ten were Alain Bergeron, Bubby Kerrick, Black Rock winner John Karklin Jr., Bill Coffey and Brian Dumigan.
The disqualification penalty for Barger was no points and money awarded for the night and will start scratch at the next ESS event.
The only caution on the event came on lap three when Scott Holcomb and Zimbardi came together. Both drivers returned to the event which saw 22 of the 24 starters finishing.
Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Bergeron, Preston and Years with the KSE Racing Products B-Main won by R.C. Faigle.
ESS NOTES: A record field for the Stateline 1/3rd mile with 33 sprinters in the pits...Not one sprinter found it's way on their wing during the entire evening...Don Sharp Jr.'s flat tire in his heat while in a qualifying spot found him a DNQ at the speedway where he has found so much success. Sharp was awarded the Weld Racing Hard Luck award. <pre>
RESULTS: Heat 1 - Alain Bergeron, Justin Barger, Mike Stelter, Brian Dumigan, Lance Yonge, Tim Zimbardi. Heat 2 - Ray Preston, Bubby Kerrick, Bob Podolak, Scott Bonnell, Bill Coffey, Rick Wilson. Heat 3 - Randy Years, Steve Dow, Dan Kaszubinski, John Karklin Jr., Mike Woodring, Jeff VanDusen. B-Main - R.C. Faigle, Kyle Drum, Tom Taber, Scott Holcomb. Provisional - Ryan Coniam, Added Starter - Rob Dietrick. Did Not Qualify - Phil Mott, Chris Muhleisen, Bill Bailey, Don Sharp Jr., Dick Spadaro, Justin Barger, Pup Nystrom, Dan Bennett, Bill Wolf, George Ely. A-MAIN - RAY PRESTON, Dow, Woodring, Stelter, Years, Bergeron, Kerrick, Karklin Jr., Coffey, Dumigan, Kaszubinski, Yonge, Podolak, Wilson, Drum, Holcomb, Coniam, Dietrick, Bonnell, Taber, Zimbardi, Faigle, VanDusen.
Lap Leader - Preston 1-20. Walt's Hobby Hard Charger - Woodring (11pos.) $50. Vicomp Graphics Halfway - Preston $50.
Winner's Bonuses: Car-Mate Trailers $50, ATL Fuel Cells $200, Extreme Racewear $100, Hank's Performance Products $50, Duralite Racing Wheels $50, Flag2flag.com $145, Tire Comp. East $75, Griffin Thermal Products $50, Bicknell Racing Products $35, Total Seal $30, Hazlitt Vineyards $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear $20.
Other Bonuses: Weld Racing Hard Luck - Sharp Jr. $75. Extreme Racewear - Dow $75, Faigle $25. Penske Racing Shocks - Years $200. Design 500 - Taber $100, Years $50. KSE Racing Products - Faigle $50. Joe Hunt Magnetos - Faigle $50. Bailey Racing Products - Drum $35. Hazlitt Vineyards - Dow $20, Woodring $10. Total Seal - Dumigan $20. Thunder Mt. Wings - Dow $20.