Darren Long Disqualified After Empire Super Sprints Victory at Utica-Rome; Valvoline Cup A-Main and Bully Hill Nationals Dash Qualifier to Jeff VanDusen. VERNON, N.Y. -- It must have been a full moon Sunday night at the Utica-Rome Speedway for...
Darren Long Disqualified After Empire Super Sprints Victory at Utica-Rome; Valvoline Cup A-Main and Bully Hill Nationals Dash Qualifier to Jeff VanDusen.
VERNON, N.Y. -- It must have been a full moon Sunday night at the Utica-Rome Speedway for the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) Tour 2004 event. Elida, Ohio's Darren Long decided to take to the road and enter the ESS event on the holiday weekend. The talented driver blitzed the 24 car A-Main lapping all but the top six finishers in taking the victory. However, in post race tech, the proper placing of his ASCS gaskets was altered and Long refused tear down of his engine. The refusal forced ESS officials to disqualify the #7 and award the victory to second generation driver Jeff VanDusen.
The triumph for the 21 year old, Otego, N.Y. driver is his third ESS career A-Main win and the victory comes with added perks. The A-Main was backed by the Valvoline Cup national point standings and also was a Beam Mack/Western Snow Plow All-Star Dash qualifier for the Bully Hill Nationals held on Sept. 10 & 11 at the Black Rock Speedway.
"This is not the way you want to win a race but we are not going to give it back either." Simply said by VanDusen. "Darren is a good driver, you can tell that the way he just blew by me and beat everyone here. But, there are rules and he didn't want his engine torn down so ESS officials had to do what they did. We were going to be happy with second after struggling this weekend but now we can take home the trophy too."
The victory totaled well over $2,300 in cash and prizes for VanDusen who's ProSpas backed #56 held off Dan Kaszubinski in what looked like the runner-up slot. After the post race tech, it was a subdued, make-shift victory celebration but a turn of good fortune for the young driver.
Long started the 25 lap A-Main 12th and quickly moved through the field attacking the big half-mile on the high side. After a multi-car tangle on lap two, he found his sprinter in fifth spot and the top four then became his prey. On lap three he passed Luke Eriksen for fourth, Doug Emery for third on lap four and moved into second passing Bubby Kerrick just before a lap five caution.
VanDusen lead the A-Main from the drop of Matt Burdick's green flag and was in control. But, with Long now right behind and several cautions keeping the field tight it was just a matter of time. Keeping the Ohio driver at bay until lap 14 when Long made a bold inside sweep to take the lead and what looked like his first ever ESS victory.
At the checkers it was Long well ahead of VanDusen and the rest of the field. Kaszubinski made a great charge from his 19th place starting position to what would be a well earned second place finish. Rounding out the top five were JR Stewart, also from Ohio making his second ever ESS appearance, URC legend Kramer Williamson aboard the Tom Patterson owned #33 and Emery. The next five were Kerrick, rookie Doug Norrie who came from 22nd starting spot, Tim Kelly, Bryan Howland and Eriksen.
Four cautions and one red kept the fans on the edge throughout the 25 lap finale: On lap two Alain Bergeron, Justin Barger, John Karklin Jr., Stewart and Billy Krull came together. Only Barger couldn't restart. On laps five and six, debris was the culprit. Bob Podolak stopped on lap seven and the lone red was for Jeff Cook who did a slow roll in turn one.
Taking the Engler Machine and Tool heat events were Long, Williamson and Podolak. Bergeron made it a clean sweep winning all three Walt's Hobby Dashes on the weekend and Kaszubinski won the KSE Racing Products B-Main.
ESS NOTES: A big field of 35 sprinters filled the pits for the big crowd on hand--Along with Long and Stewart, making first ESS starts of 2004 were Warren Alexson, Dick Spadaro, George Ely, plus father and son Jim and Frank Senzio...Making their first ever ESS appearances were the young Norrie brothers Doug and Matt--Mike Stelter did a wild flip in the B-Main but he walked away--The very best of "America's Race Cars" will visit Utica-Rome again to celebrate the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend holidays--After an off weekend it's back on the road with a Friday. June 11th trip to Little Valley and on the 13th it's off to the Cornwall Motor Speedway in Ontario, Canada.
Heat 1 -- Darren Long, Alain Bergeron, Bubby Kerrick, Jeff Cook, Luke Eriksen, Doug Norrie.
Heat 2 -- Kramer Williamson, John Karklin Jr., Russ Bennett, Justin Barger, Bryan Howland, George Ely.
Heat 3 -- Bob Podolak, JR Stewart, Jeff VanDusen, Doug Emery, Phil Mott, Warren Alexson.
Walt's Hobby Dash -- Bergeron.
B-Main -- Dan Kaszubinski, Lance Yonge, Tim Kelly, Jim Senzio.
Provisional -- Nick Fratto. Added Starter -- Billy Krull.
Did Not Qualify -- Randy Years, Scott Davis, Frank Senzio, Brian Dumigan, Matt Norrie, Dick Spadaro, Mike Stelter, Brad Knab, Alex Mosher, Kyle Moffit, Gordy Button.
A-MAIN -- JEFF VANDUSEN, Kaszubinski, Stewart, Williamson, Emery, Kerrick, D. Norrie, Kelly, Howland, Eriksen, Mott, Alexson, Krull, Fratto, Bergeron, Cook, J. Senzio, Yonge, Podolak, Ely, Bennett, Karklin Jr., Barger.
Gater News Lap Leaders -- VanDusen 1-13, Long 14-25.
Lane's Yamaha Hard Charger -- Kaszubinski (16 Pos.) $50.
Brodix Cylinder Heads Halfway -- VanDusen $50.
Winner's Bonuses: Valvoline Cup $175, Car-Mate Trailers $50, ATL Fuel Cells $100, Pro Shocks $100, Leaf Racewear $100, Penske Shocks $100, Hank's Performance Products $50, Total Seal $50, Saldana Racing Products $50, American Racer Tires $50, Real Racing Wheels $50, The Brake Man $50, Racing Optics $30, Red's Speed Shop $25, Frankland Racing Products $25, Behrent's Performance Warehouse $20, MRE Productions $10.
Weld Racing Hard Luck -- Stelter $100.
Troyer Speed and Custom -- Kaszubinski $100.
Leaf Racewear -- Emery $75.
Penske Shocks -- Eriksen $100.
Design 500 -- Emery $100, Kerrick $50.
KSE Racing Products -- Kaszubinski $50.
Zemco Headers -- Emery $50.
B&B Oval Track Products -- Podolak $50.
Joe Hunt Magnetos -- Karklin Jr. $50.
Engler Machine and Tool -- Podolak $25.
DMI -- Barger $25.
HRP -- Krull $25.