ESS: Woodring and Crocker lead the invasion of Little Valley

Woodring and protégé Erin Crocker lead ESS invasion of Little Valley. Seven time champion and all time series win leader Mike Woodring from Eden and his young teammate, Erin Crocker, from Wilbraham, Massachusetts, will lead the Empire Super ...

Woodring and protégé Erin Crocker lead ESS invasion of Little Valley.

Seven time champion and all time series win leader Mike Woodring from Eden and his young teammate, Erin Crocker, from Wilbraham, Massachusetts, will lead the Empire Super Sprints into Little Valley Speedway on Friday, June 14th, as part of the Open Cockpit Reunion. Woodring is no stranger to Little Valley, with five wins to his credit at the fast ½ mile facility. He considers it one of his favorite tracks.

The program, which includes a vintage car display and guest appearances by a number of open wheel stars of the past, including 87 year old Joe "Rubberman" Russo, will see the second appearance by Crocker, the 21 year old Rookie of the Year candidate, who joined forces with Woodring this season, with Woodring acting as both driver of the No. 19 and crew chief for her ESS effort, driving the No. 16 RPI- sponsored machine. With the unique sponsorship package from Rensselaear Polytechnic Institute, where she will enter her senior year as an Industrial and Management Engineering student, Erin has already begun to make her mark in the sprint car arena. After four races, she was lying ninth in points, while Woodring was second to Lance Yonge.

The plan was for Erin to start slowly and to learn the basics of sprint car racing, with the emphasis on making steady progress. Erin is a very determined individual, and the word "slow" is not part of her vocabulary, so she didn't seem surprised by her early season performance when I spoke to her at the World of Outlaws show at Rolling Wheels recently. "Things are going well. Things started off real strong. Then I wrecked the car a few weeks ago, so it was back to basics. I'm just concentrating on being consistent right now, gradually making more and more progress." Consistent she has been, as she has qualified for the A Main in every race this season. She continues, "I haven't missed a show yet, luckily. I've had top tens and top fives. Personally I'm not surprised (that I've made all the shows), and I don't really think I'm ahead of schedule, but that's by my standards. I think as far as what Mike expects and what he wants from me, maybe I am (ahead of schedule). Of course my standards are pretty high and I need to lower them a little." This came on the heels of a nasty flip at Tri City Speedway in Pennsylvania, where she freely admits that she was mostly to blame, explaining, "I got in a little too hot into turn one. The guy in front of me was running a totally different line. It was 75% my fault. We're back to working on that."

She will be making her second appearance at Little Valley and is optimistic, commenting, "I think I can do well there. I like speed, and I like to able to go in there (the turns) fast. That's what I like, and I'm looking forward to it."

Woodring admits that she is ahead of schedule, noting, "I knew what she could do, but, yes, she is actually ahead of schedule. She's passing cars which I didn't expect her to do this fast. I expected her to maintain positions, but she's actually been passing, and passing good cars, quite regularly. She's been fast at different race tracks right out of the box. I'm very happy with the way things are going."

In addition to the ESS and the ceremonies honoring heroes of the past, the Super Stocks will compete in a $1,000 to win feature, while the Street Stocks will vie for a $500 winner's check. The school buses will also be racing on this gala evening. Gates open at 4:00, with the first race getting the green flag at 7:00. Tickets are $12 for adults, with those under 12 Free.

Little Valley Speedway is located on the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds, on Rt. 353 in Little Valley, NY, just north of Salamanca, off I-86.

-lvs-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Erin Crocker