VERNON, N.Y. -- It was a wild victory lane celebration and for good reason, Ontario, N.Y.'s Mike Stelter broke what was nearly a three year Empire Super Sprints (ESS) win drought Sunday night at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Taking the lead on lap 15...
VERNON, N.Y. -- It was a wild victory lane celebration and for good reason, Ontario, N.Y.'s Mike Stelter broke what was nearly a three year Empire Super Sprints (ESS) win drought Sunday night at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Taking the lead on lap 15 of the Valvoline Cup A-Main from Mike VanDusen and then holding off a late race charge by Jeff Cook for the well earned triumph.
Coming from his 13th place starting spot, the driver of the Mike's Drive In Maxim got a great jump at the drop of Matt Burdick's green flag and quickly entered the top five on just lap four. "I just couldn't believe it, the field either went high on the start or low, I just put my car in the middle and it seemed that I passed 10 cars right at the start." said Stelter on the start that set the stage for his win. "The car just got faster and I just started to pass the guys ahead of me and before I knew it I was in the lead."
VanDusen did hold the lead right from the start but was using the extreme outside groove of the wide half-miler. Stelter's low line was getting faster and as lap 15 went in the books his #36 took over the top spot. While he started to move out some distance, an 18th place starting Cook was making a great charge of his own. Also down low, he moved his #10 into second on lap 17 and made his charge.
A lap 22 restart set the stage and Cook gave it a gallant effort. "I gave it a shot, I tried." simply said by the Antwerp, N.Y. star. "But my groove was low and so was Mike's, I needed for him to make a mistake but he didn't."
At the checkered flag it was Stelter edging Cook for the popular win in front of a packed house. "This has been a long time coming, there have been so many people to thank who stuck by me but this one is for Jerry (Judge). I lost my crew chief this year in a snowmobile accident so this win is for him. I know he's watching!" Stelter exclaimed with tears in his eyes. 'I also have to thank Lance Yonge, this set up in the car is from him. That shows you the type of guys that run ESS, here is the tour champion and he lets you look at his set up book. I just did what he does and here I am."
Following the front duo at the finish was a late charging Dan Kaszubinski, Ohio's J.R. Stewart just nipped Doug Emery for fifth at the stripe. The next five was made up of VanDusen, Bobby Podolak, Doug Norrie, Alain Bergeron and the ProSpas sponsored #56D of Jeff VanDusen.
Just two cautions slowed the event with Nick Fratto spinning on lap 21 and Luke Eriksen doing the same one lap later.
Taking the Car Mate Trailers heat events were Emery, Shawn Donath and John Karklin Jr. The Walt's Hobby Dash was won by Donath and the KSE Racing Products B-Main was taken by Fratto.
ESS NOTES: 28 sprints in the pits to help celebrate our nation's birthday--The long awaited return for Jessica Zemken behind the wheel of a sprint ended in her heat when the motor went--Going into a big three race weekend in two weeks, Yonge continues to lead the tour championship points over Jeff VanDusen and Cook--.ESS' Tour 2005 will make it's return to Utica-Rome on Sunday Sept. 4th to help celebrate the Labor Day Weekend--After an off week, it's three events in two Canadian provinces and New York. Its' up to the Edelweiss Speedway in Quebec, then the Frogtown Speedway in upstate NY before closing out at the Cornwall Motor Speedway in Ontario.
Heat 1 -- Doug Emery, Dan Kaszubinski, Lance Yonge, Warren Alexson, Matt Norrie, Kyle Moffit.
Heat 2 -- Shawn Donath, Bob Podolak, Jeff VanDusen, R.C. Faigle, Doug Norrie, J.R. Stewart.
Heat 3 -- John Karklin Jr., Mike Stelter, Bubby Kerrick, Mike VanDusen, Alain Bergeron, Jeff Cook.
Walt's Hobby Dash -- Donath.
B-Main -- Nick Fratto, Luke Eriksen, Don Sharp Jr., Jim Livingston.
Did Not Qualify -- Cory Sparks, Brian Glasser, Randy Years, Jonathan Eriksen, Jessica Zemken, Scott Davis.
A-MAIN -- MIKE STELTER, Cook, Kaszubinski, Stewart, Emery, M. VanDusen, Podolak, D. Norrie, Bergeron, J. VanDusen, Kerrick, Donath, M. Norrie, Faigle, Yonge, Alexson, Moffit, Sharp Jr., Fratto, Livingston, Karklin Jr., Eriksen.