Posts Tagged ‘motorsports’

Labor Day weekend means the end of summer here in Central, NY. It also means dirt racing is fast and furious in the area. This year it all started on Saturday night at a Thunder Mountain Speedway in Center Lisle, NY. 

The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints headlined the show with a 25 lap main event, along with the CRSA 305 Sprints, open Sportsman, 692 Soortsman, Rookie Sportsman, Empore Lighting Sprints, SRP Sprints, Street Stocks,Xcell 600 Modifieds, and the always popular Modifieds. 

Yes all of this for $20 on a Saturday night. 177 cars, 10 features were on the bill for the night atop the Mountain. The stands were packed for a full programs of dirt racing. Only the ESS and CRSA classes ran heat races during the program. The rest of the classes ran just a feature race making it a great show for the fans. 

I wasn’t shooting this event, so the images below are ESS cars from a event at Rolling Wheels Raceway a few weeks ago

   
 
All of the races were great, but the ESS main event was awesome. Eventual winner Curt Michael fought his way to the front from the 10th starting spot. Early leader Chuck Hebing, Robbie Stillwagon and defending series champion Steve Poirier battled wheel to wheel for most of the 25 laps. Lap traffic was thick on the small dirtoval, making it hard for the leaders to get out on the guy behind him. Michael made a pass for the lead on the outside of Hebing late in the race, but the caution flew and they reverted back to the last lap putting Curt back in the second spot. ESS does side by side restarts up till one or two laps to go. This means Hebing had his choice of starting inside or outside on the restart. Chuck choose the outside, putting Michael on the inside. Michael had been running the top most of the night, so this would be interesting to see if he could make the car work on the bottom. As the field mashed the gas coming out of turn four, Hebing pulled out a small lead going into turn one on Miichael. Chuck drove it deep into the first turn with Curt right next to him on the bottom. The two made slight contact, giving Michael the advantage coming out of two. That was just enough to get out on the top five and take the win over a stellar field of cars. Stillwagon tried to get around Hebing on the last lap, but came up a bit short, to finish third. 

I haven’t had the chance to see ESS in a few years, but I must say they put on a great show, with top notch Cars and Drivers. 

Next up for the weekend was the Lucas Oil ESS at Utica Rome Raceway. We planned on going to see Steve Miller at the New York State Fair Sunday night, but with the high temps we decided to travel east to watch some more Sprint car racing. Again I didn’t shoot this race, so I will use a few pictures from a race a few weeks ago at Utica Rome and Rolling Wheels. 

  
Stewert Friesen above was on hand in both the Sprint cars and Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds. Mike Mahaney, Larry Wight, and Danny Varin also pulled double duty Sunday night at Utica Rome. 38 sprint cars were on hand for the nights Lucas Oil ESS show. Four heats, Dash for cash and a B main were in the docket for the sprint cars. 

  
The track was dry slick from the hot weather and full sunshine beating on the track. This made it tricky for the competitors in all classes, but just a touch more for the super fast light weight sprint cars. During the heat races the middle of the track was pretty slick, but the inside and top had a decent amount of bite for the 360 cars to get a hold of. The top four in the heats went to the redraw, to set up the starting g grid for the A-main. The dash and B-Main would fill out the rest of the 25 car field.

  
By the time the ESS drivers pulled out onto the track, the bottom groove had been diminished to a 12-14inch piece of tacky dirt. The top had been blown off, making it a very thin line to run for 25 laps. One slip on the top could end up being a costly mistake. At the drop of the green the fast guys from the heat races set off on their quest to find some traction to help them get to the front. Early leader #33 Mike Mahaney pulled out to a decent lead on second place#51 Bryan Howland. Mike was on the bottom scratching for that little bit of relastate next to the tires. Local favorite #1 Stewert Friesen, (behind the Wherl of his wife’s 360 sprint car) was searching high and low for traction. Friesen ran the top to get around cars on the bottom line, and sneak under the guys running the middle of the track. By the time Stewert made it to the second spot leader Mahaney was deep in lap traffic. Mahaney is new in the sprint cars. Doug Emery put Mike behind the wheel of his we’ll know #33 car for the weekend. Friesen was on the bottom so far when he came out if turn four the car would get bite and move hard toward the outside wall on the front stretch. 

  
Friesen made his way to the back bumper of Mahaney, in lap traffic. He worked in Mike for a few laps on the bottom. Finally Mike slipped up a touch and Stewert drove by him down the back stretch. Mahaney tried to stay close to Friesen, but Stewart was to strong out front in clean air. Saturday nights winner at Thunder Mountain Curt Michael worked his way up to the third spot behind Mahaney at the end of 25 laps. Michael said he was happy with his weekends results, because he wasn’t used to the slick tracks in NY. Curt is used to running on the high bite tracks in PA.. Brian Howland, and Larry Wight, rounded out the top five.  

  
It was a great weekend of sprint car racing in Central, NY. We had a great time at these tracks, and look forward to seeing the Empire Super Sprints in the near future. I you get a chance to see this show, do it it is worth every penny. Visit Empire Super Sprints for their full schedule. 

I hope to see you at the track

Take Care

John