BUSTI, N.Y. -- While the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) are celebrating their 20th Anniversary this season, Rock Stream, N.Y.'s Tim Kelly had a small one year anniversary of his own Saturday night at the Stateline Speedway. Last year the sprint star...
BUSTI, N.Y. -- While the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) are celebrating their 20th Anniversary this season, Rock Stream, N.Y.'s Tim Kelly had a small one year anniversary of his own Saturday night at the Stateline Speedway. Last year the sprint star ended a three year win absence with a victory at the 1/3rd mile oval just outside of Jamestown, N.Y. Leading all 25 laps, the driver of the VFL Energy backed Avenger made a return to collect his 13th career ESS victory which was worth $2,285 in cash and bonuses.
"Now we feel like we are back as a team with ESS." said a relieved victor. "After we lost our motor at Grandview and missed those early shows it has been a big uphill climb since. But, we have to give a big thanks to Doug Holmes from Finger Lakes Auto Machine, if it wasn't for him helping us build a complete motor we still would not be back."
Kelly's return was nearing completion as he now was in the ESS inversion and by the luck of the nightly pill draw he found himself on the pole for the 25 lap feature event. At the drop of Spanky Hall's green flag, Kelly out pulled teenage rookie Nick Fratto for the lead. Fratto held on to the runner-up slot until lap nine when he looped his mount which moved Mike Stelter as the next challenger for Kelly.
"On the restarts I tried to get a good early jump but on each one I saw Mike (Stelter) get under me coming off turn two." noted Kelly on his next challenger. "I did all I could to keep the lead because if he got by me I don't know if we could have gotten him back. The car was good but the way the track was tonight, you needed a mistake or be just a whole lot better than the guy in front of you."
There were no mistakes made by Kelly and there was no pass made by Stelter. At the waving of the checkered flag it was Kelly with a slight edge over Stelter, who had his best finish so far this season, for the A-Main triumph. Dan Kaszubinski used all grooves on the Stateline surface to collect a third place finish ahead of Rob Dietrick, who finally broke from his bad luck streak, with ageless veteran George Ely taking fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Mike Lutz, who continues his top ten finishes and the ESS point lead as well, Don Sharp Jr., Alain Bergeron, Justin Barger and Mike Woodring. Woodring was driving Dick Spadaro's J&J as he sold his sprinter earlier in the week. After starting in 19th, the eight-time ESS champ collected the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus dollars.
Four yellows were waved in the event: John Karklin saw his car spin on lap six collecting Erin Crocker, Karklin was out with front end damage, Crocker came back to finish 11th. Fratto spun on lap nine with Bobby Podolak doing the same on lap 20. Lance Yonge broke a steering arm on lap 21 while he was running in fourth ending a strong run.
Taking the Engler Machine and Tool heat events were Kelly, Fratto, who became the youngest driver to collect an ESS victory and Kaszubinski.
ESS NOTES: 22 sprinters in the pit area for the final event at Stateline--Making his first ESS start in 2003 was Brad Knab while Kyle Moffit made his first ever ESS event. They were the 58th and 59th different drivers thus far in ESS competition for this season--With Woodring in Dick Spadaro's sprint, Spadaro drove the Alain Bergeron back-up machine--Next weekend will find the 20th Anniversary Tour visiting Quebec and Northern, N.Y. with stops at Edelweiss Speedway located just north of Canada's capital Ottawa on Friday and then to the ultra-fast Frogtown Speedway near Massena, N.Y. for a Saturday night stop.
Heat 1 -- Tim Kelly, George Ely, Mike Lutz, Bob Podolak, Don Sharp Jr., Erin Crocker.
Heat 2 -- Nick Fratto, Bubby Kerrick, Mike Stelter, Rob Dietrick, John Karklin Jr., Ray Preston.
Heat 3 -- Dan Kaszubinski, Alain Bergeron, Lance Yonge, Justin Barger, Brad Knab, Randy Years.
A-Main -- TIM KELLY, Stelter, Kaszubinski, Dietrick, Ely, Lutz, Sharp Jr., Bergeron, Barger, Mike Woodring, Crocker, Kerrick, Preston, Years, Kyle Moffit, Fratto, Knab, Yonge, Podolak, Jeff VanDusen, Karklin Jr., Dick Spadaro.
Lap Leader -- Kelly 1-25.
Walt's Hobby Hard Charger -- Woodring (9 pos.) $50.
Brodix Cylinder Heads Halfway -- Kelly $50.
Winner's Bonuses: Car-Mate Trailers $50, Penske Shocks $200, Sway-A-Way $100, ATL Fuel Cells $100, Pro Shocks $100, Hank's Performance Products $50, Saldana Racing Products $50, Total Seal $50, Real Racing Wheels $50, American Racer Tires $50, Hazlitt Vineyards $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse $20, MRE Productions $10
Weld Racing Hard Luck -- Yonge $75.
Leaf Racewear -- Kaszubinski $75.
Zemco Headers -- Lutz $50.
Design 500 -- Knab $100, Ely $50.
Joe Hunt Magnetos -- Karklin Jr.
Bailey Racing Products -- Ely $35.
Engler Machine and Tool -- Kelly, Fratto, Kaszubinski $25.
Hazlitt Vineyards -- Stelter $20, Kaszubinski $10, Podolak $10.
HRP -- Preston $25.
DMI -- Spadaro $25.