ESS: Utica-Rome II: Race summary

Doug Emery wires Empire Super Sprint field at Utica-Rome. VERNON, N.Y. -- It was a special appearance by the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) Tour 2002 Wednesday night at the Utica-Rome Speedway as a part of Super DIRT Week XXXI. Also, it was a...

Doug Emery wires Empire Super Sprint field at Utica-Rome.

VERNON, N.Y. -- It was a special appearance by the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) Tour 2002 Wednesday night at the Utica-Rome Speedway as a part of Super DIRT Week XXXI. Also, it was a record setting night as well. Doug Emery made a short 40 minute trek from his Nedrow, N.Y. home, passed star Mike Lutz on the 12th lap to win his first ESS A-Main of 2002. What made this win extra special is that Emery became the first driver ever to record feature event wins with both ESS and the United Racing Club (URC) in one year.

The fast Vernon, N.Y. oval showcased record speeds by the winged warriors. Mike Woodring, who clinched his eighth ESS title, set a new track record during the night's dash with a time of 17.061. The 20 lap feature event went non-stop and was completed in a blinding six minutes, six seconds, also a record.

"What a win!!!" exclaimed a happy winner in victory lane. "I really wanted to win this race so bad, I was thinking about this night for a week. No one has ever won with ESS and URC in one year, I wanted to make that happen and tonight everything was just right."

Emery's Patterson Motorsports Eagle started the A-Main from the pole but it was fourth place starting Lutz thrilling the crowd with a bonsai move on the outside cushion to lead lap one. Just a little over one month ago, the former All-Star Circuit of Champions star had the field covered until a broken throttle linkage ended his effort.

Lutz did open up a small lead but the determined Emery had a goal on this night. "I knew he (Lutz) was going to do that move on the start. I tried to get a jump to see if I could lead but when we came off turn two and he shot by me I just said 'man, he did it!'" said Emery. "My car was good and he didn't pull away that much so I just waited for lap traffic."

With the record setting pace, slower cars came into the picture just six laps in and Emery moved right in on Lutz's P.J. Kerr owned J&J. "I moved the car down low and it was just as good down there and I think that helped me." noted Emery. "Most of the lapped cars were up top and that's where Mike was."

Coming off turn four to score lap 12 Emery ducked underneath for the lead and then he became the man to open up the distance. Lap after lap Emery's lead grew and his goal was inching closer and closer. No troubles with lap cars and no mistakes behind the wheel saw the veteran collect his fifth career ESS victory.

"It's been a great end of the year for me. To pass a top driver like Mike Lutz to get this win, finishing second at the Bully Hill Nationals and we had some strong runs with URC, it's been fun." Emery continued with a smile. "I just have to thank the Patterson family for sticking with me, my crew, we just finished this motor late last night after hurting it in Delaware last week and also ESS. Every time I come back to run with them they welcome me back and that makes you feel good."

For Lutz, it was another close call and shortly afterwards it was another mechanical disappointment. "My brakes went early and I just couldn't do anything in lap traffic. Doug was just faster than me then after that." said Lutz on another tough Utica run. "After the brakes went I slammed into a lap car and broke a torsion arm, from there on I just hung on to the finish. Second is good but it's still frustrating."

At the checkers it was Emery well ahead of Lutz, now eight-time ESS champion and new father in Woodring came from his 14th place start to place third in the non-stop 20 lapper. Justin Barger drove his Cortland Auto Body #32 in for a fine fourth with Ryan Coniam taking fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Bubby Kerrick, Erin Crocker, Kyle Drum returned to ESS to also earn the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus with a strong eighth, Randy Years was ninth with Rob Dietrick in tenth.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Kerrick, Emery, Coniam and Barger. The Walt's Hobby Dash was won by Woodring and the KSE Racing Products B-Main went to Drum.

ESS NOTES: A strong field of 38 sprinters filled the pits on the special Wednesday night show--Southern Tier modified star J.R. Hurlburt made his first ever sprint car start driving as a team mate to Jeff VanDusen--J.R. became the 80th different driver to compete in ESS action for 2002, a record--.Emery became the 14th different winner in ESS point show events--Not only did Woodring win the over points title, he also won the Walt's Hobby Dash Series points and the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat race points title as well--A surprising DNQ was Lance Yonge and although very disappointed, he did hang on to second in ESS points for 2002--Only Howard Singer found his sprinter on the side during the night--.The fast track claimed rear-ends of Mike Young and John Karklin Jr. Karklin did return to run the A-Main--Bob Podolak had engine troubles all night and ran the A-Main in Crash Nash's sprinter--.The event was ESS' 30th and final point show for the year and also marked the 26th consecutive event run without a rain out.


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Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker , Justin Barger