ESS: Utica-Rome race report 2001-09-02

Steve Dow Attacks Utica-Rome for Empire Super Sprint Victory. VERNON, N.Y. - In a case of raw speed and power, Byron N.Y.'s Steve Dow blistered the New Utica-Rome Speedway Sunday night for the victory in the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Tour 2001...

Steve Dow Attacks Utica-Rome for Empire Super Sprint Victory.

VERNON, N.Y. - In a case of raw speed and power, Byron N.Y.'s Steve Dow blistered the New Utica-Rome Speedway Sunday night for the victory in the Empire Super Sprint (ESS) Tour 2001 event. Dow passed race-long leader George Ely on lap 13 to go to win his second A-Main of the season.

A capacity crowd came out on the Labor Day Weekend event at the Eric Kingsley promoted speedplant. It marked the first time ESS has raced at the Vernon, N.Y. oval in five years and the fans were treated to record speeds on the wide, fast surface.

"I just love a track like this, fast, wide and with lots of bite." noted Dow in victory lane. "We use two cars on the trail and this one (a longer wheel based Henchcraft) seems to like the big tracks. Tonight it was so hooked up, I could run it as hard as I could and it just stuck."

The 63 year old Ely took advantage of his outside pole starting spot to take the lead from the drop of Dick Sweet's green flag. Ely lead Dow, who came from fourth, and pole sitting Jeff VanDusen in the early stages.

On lap three, the red lights came on for Scott Holcomb who flipped in turn four. Holcomb's car was heavily damaged but he came out with no injuries. That lap three stoppage was the only breather the drivers got in the 20 lap feature event.

On the restart, Ely again opened up a slight lead over Dow, VanDusen and now Lance Yonge. As the laps clicked on, it was pretty much status quo for the front foursome until the halfway mark approached. Slower cars were going to figure into the fray and Dow started to close in the distance.

"I could see I was gaining on George. I knew it was an advantage to be in second when it comes to lapped traffic." said Dow. "I was just waiting for the right break and he gave me one in turn one."

That break was when Ely slipped high just for a brief moment. The one, little slip was all Dow needed as his Miller Sandblasting #70 stuck to the lowside like glue to pull out into the lead as lap 13 was notched in the books. For the next seven laps, Dow put on a speed clinic to pull away.

The battle for second heated up and it came right down to the last two corners of the last lap. VanDusen powered under Ely getting into turn three but both cars slid up the track. Like a vulture on his prey, Yonge took the Lane's Yamaha under both drivers to make a thrilling move to nab second spot from fourth.

At the checkered flag, it was Dow in for the popular win, Yonge earning seoncd with his daring move then VanDusen and Ely. However, Ely was disqualified for not immediately reporting to the scales after the event. This moved Bubby Kerrick into fourth with John Karklin Jr. rounding out the top five. The next five was made up of Mike Woodring, who came from his 15th place start, Brian Dumigan, Ray Preston, Dan Kaszubinski and Doug Emery who earned the Walt's Hobby hard charger bonus after coming from his 21st starting spot.

Taking the Brodix Cylinder Heads heat events were Ely, VanDusen and Bob Podolak with the Walt's Hobby Dash going to Podolak and the KSE Racing Products B-Main won by Rob Dietrick.

ESS NOTES - A large field of 38 sprinters filled the pits for the first ESS event since 1996 at Uitca-Rome...Bill Wolf was a flip victim in warmups...Next weekend will find all the ESS stars and cars traveling to the Black Rock Speedway for a special two day event. Friday night it's the "Night Before the Bully Hill Nationals" as a full ESS point show will kick off the action. On Sat. night, it's the third annual Bully Hill Vineyards Fall Sprint Nationals where the open competition event pays the winner $3000.

-ESS-

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Series Sprint