ESS: Utica-Rome race summary

VERNON -- It was a war among two titans of the Empire Super Sprints 20th Anniversary Tour. Mike Lutz and Dan Kaszubinski waged a high speed assault on the ultra-fast half-mile Utica Rome Speedway on Sunday night. Taking advantage of a lap 14 ...

VERNON -- It was a war among two titans of the Empire Super Sprints 20th Anniversary Tour. Mike Lutz and Dan Kaszubinski waged a high speed assault on the ultra-fast half-mile Utica Rome Speedway on Sunday night. Taking advantage of a lap 14 restart, Lutz put his Mike VanDusen owned Maxim down to the extreme inside and did a good 'ole "slide job" on his rival to take the lead and his second A-Main victory of the young 2003 season.

The victory gave the Mercer Pa. star a starting berth in the annual dash held during the Bully Hill Vineyards Sprint Fall Nationals held at the Black Rock Speedway. The $40,000 event will be held on September 5&6.

"That was just a fun race. Dan (Kaszubinski) races you hard and I think he is the guy to beat for the ESS championship this year so it's good when you can get a win against him." said the driver who just became a new dad just 48 hrs. earlier. "What a great, fast race track and it was just a ball to run with someone that runs you hard but runs you clean."

Kaszubinski and his Autotech of Syracuse sponsored Maxim took the lead right at the drop of the green flag and immediately set a blistering pace run the ample cushion on the outside ridge. Lutz moved into the runner-up slot with just two laps in the books and the two horse race was on. While Kaszubinski was giving it all it was worth, Lutz stayed with reach during the early stages and in lapped traffic he closed in on the tail tank of the black #20.

A lap nine restart saw Kaszubinski remain the man to beat but it was the lap 14 caution that set up the pass for the lead and the eventual win. "He (Kaszubinski) get a great jump on me on the first restart, I wasn't ready at all." Said Lutz on what was to be his strategy. "But, on the second restart I got myself set up and I knew he was going to the top. I just ran it in as hard as I could and I came out ahead that time. I ran it as hard as I could to the finish and it worked."

The win for Lutz was his 72nd of his career and also marks four feature event wins in six starts here in the northeast. "It's been a good start for the team and I just hope we can keep it going all year. It's going to be a great point fight in ESS and our goal is to win it. There's a lot of races left but we'll be ready."

For Kaszubinski, who sports 19 career ESS wins himself, it was a strong second that he will take back to his Syracuse home. "Mike beat me, he was just a little bit better." said the driver who was happy with $1000 plus payday. "I'll tell you what, he will make everyone in ESS step up their program. He is the guy to beat. He comes in with so much experience and he just might be the best that's ever run ESS."

At the checkered flag it was Lutz taking the win over Kaszubinski, Justin Barger had his best run to date with a strong third with last night's winner John Karklin Jr. capping off a great weekend taking fourth. Fifth place finisher has a little bit of ESS history behind him and it was the first ever champion back some 20 years ago in Gordy Button. The long-time sprint star also claimed the Walt's Hobby Hard Charger bonus after starting in 16th.

Rounding out the top ten were Bill Bailey, who continues his string of top ten finishes in every full point show thus far, pole sitting Lance Yonge, the Coffrage Daniel Lampron backed sprinter of Quebec's Alain Bergeron, R.C. Faigle and New Hampshire's Don Sharp Jr.

The two cautions were minor in nature: Ray Preston slowed on lap nine and DIRT modified star Chuck Hebing stopped on lap 14.

Taking the Engler Machine and Tool heat events were Sharp Jr., Mike Stelter and Lutz. The Walt's Hobby Dash was won by Barger and Rob Dietrick took the KSE Racing Products B-Main.

ESS NOTES: A huge field of 36 sprints filled the pit area and played host to a big crowd--Making their first starts for 2003 were Button, Hebing, who was also making his first ever start in a winged sprinter as a teammate to Faigle, Warren Alexson, Dick Spadaro, Don Bellen, father and son Jim and Frank Senzio, Brian Dumigan, Howard Singer, Brad Davis, Dave Wickham, URC runners in George Suprick and Doug Emery--Only Dumigan found himself on his wing during the night's action which came during heat action. He returned in the B-main only to get knocked out on the last lap--.In all three ESS point shows held so far, the winners were on AFCO Shocks--.Next up on the 20th anniversary tour will be a Friday night stop to the Brockville Ontario Speedway which marks the first VSM Abrasives Canadian Invasion events.


Heat 1 -- Don Sharp Jr., Bubby Kerrick, Dan Kaszubinski, Bill Bailey, Doug Emery, Gordy Button.

Heat 2 -- Mike Stelter, Jeff VanDusen, John Karklin Jr., Bill Coffey, Lance Yonge, George Suprick.

Heat 3 -- Mike Lutz, Justin Barger, Ray Preston, Alain Bergeron, R.C. Faigle, Bob Podolak.

Walt's Hobby Dash -- Barger.

B-Main -- Rob Dietrick, Bill Wolf, Chuck Hebing, Warren Alexson.

Added Starter -- Curt Shuttleworth.

Did Not Qualify -- Nick Fratto, Randy Years, Brad Davis, Frank Senzio, Brian Dumigan, Howard Singer, Dick Spadaro, Jim Senzio, Dick "Crash" Nash, Don Bellen, George Ely, Dave Wickham, Jim McCaffrey.

A-MAIN -- MIKE LUTZ, Kaszubinski, Barger, Karklin Jr., Button, Bailey, Yonge, Bergeron, Faigle, Sharp Jr., Coffey, Emery, Kerrick, VanDusen, Stelter, Wolf, Alexson, Dietrick, Hebing, Suprick, Podolak, Preston, Shuttleworth.

Lap Leaders -- Kaszubinski 1-14, Lutz 15-25.

Winner's Bonuses: Car-Mate Trailers $50, Sway-A-Way $100, ATL Fuel Cells $100, AFCO Shocks $100, Hank's Performance Products $50, Total Seal $50, American Race Tires $50, Penske Shocks $200, Hazlitt Vineyards $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse/Mechanix Wear $20, MRE Productions $10.

Other Bonuses:
Weld Racing Hard Luck -- Dumigan $75.
Leaf Racewear -- Karklin Jr. $75.
Zemco Headers -- Button $50.
KSE Racing Products -- Dietrick $50.
Saldana Racing Products -- Barger $50.
Design 500 -- Emery $100, Button $50.
Real Racing Wheels -- Kaszubinski $50.
Joe Hunt Magnetos -- Preston $50.
Bailey Racing Products -- Faigle $35.
Hazlitt Vineyards -- Kaszubinski $20, Barger $20, Years $10.
HRP -- Kerrick $25.
DMI -- Shuttleworth $25.


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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Don Bell , Nick Fratt , Justin Barger , Bill Coffey