7.6.14 Empire Super Sprints Results
VERNON, N.Y. – Stewart Friesen capped off SUNY Canton Speedweek presented by Einstein Construction Group with his second win of the week and his third consecutive Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint (ESS) win at the Utica-Rome Speedway. This one was a fight for Friesen as he held off Larry Wight in the late stages for the $2,225 win in the series finale.
It was Friesen’s third win of the season with series and it came behind the wheel in Doug Emery/Barb Patterson owned No. 33. It was also part of the SUNY Canton series as well as the E&V Energy Tour of the States.
“I got to thank Doug Emery and Barb Patterson,” said Friesen. “The opportunity to drive for these guys is just awesome. I really appreciate it.”
Steve Poirier and Friesen made up the front row for Sunday night’s feature. Friesen wasted no time as he grabbed the lead at the drop of the green as they raced into the turn. Friesen drove by Poirier on the bottom of the speedway for the top position.
Five laps into the feature the red flag came out as Sammy Reakes IV got too high in turns three and four and went over the banking. His car dug in and he flopped lightly over onto his side. He attempted to continue but brought a second caution after spinning at the green.
When action resumed it was Friesen and Poirier still showing the way while Larry Wight moved his No. 99L into the third position. Friesen worked the extreme top while Wight began challenging Poirier for the runner up spot as the raced around the big half-mile.
One final caution came out on lap 12 for a car off the track in turn four. The caution bunched the field up for the final time of the night putting Friesen and Wight together on the front row.
On the restart Friesen went to the middle and top of the speedway while Wight stayed down low. The duo raced side-by-side for three laps before Wight wrestled the lead away from him on the bottom of turns one and two.
The top two remained unchanged as they charged into traffic on lap 20. This proved to be a challenge for Wight as most of the traffic was running the bottom groove on the speedway impeding his progress allowing Friesen to close in. On lap 23 Friesen drove around Wight on the outside of turns three and four to regain the lead.
“We got a little loose down in one and two and he kind of showed me a better lane,” stated Friesen. “We were able to pick something up on the top of three and four right there at the end. Man, what a race. Larry is really starting to come into his own with these sprint cars. Congrats to him. That was a good race.”
The race wasn’t over just yet as Friesen had to maneuver his way through slower cars for the final two laps. He worked the bottom of turns one and two while flying around the high side at the opposite end which helped take him to the checkers.
“Lapped traffic can really screw you up,” commented Friesen. “Clean air is so crucial with these cars. He showed me the line down on the bottom in one and two and you really had to creep down there to get it. I figured if we stayed down there we could hold him off.”
Wight has to wait until another day to get his first Empire Super Sprint victory aboard his Big Red Towing sponsored car. The Phoenix, N.Y., driver struggled with the slower cars and that was his demise.
“We had a really good car,” said Wight. “It’s been a work in progress but I think we finally got this thing figured out. We had good car last night and lapped traffic got us. We had a good car tonight and lapped traffic got us. We just have to work on getting better all over the track instead of the bottom or the top. Stewy had a great car. It’s hard to beat him here whether it’s a sprint car or a modified.”
Poirier, still the series point leader, held on for a third place effort after starting on the pole. Poirier was strong early in the feature but didn’t have anything for the top two as the race wound down.
“This track has always been super good to us,” stated Poirier. “Obviously starting in first position and losing positions is not what we are looking for. Those two guys, congratulations to them, they don’t run a lot with us but they have figured out the sprint car.”
Chuck Hebing, of Ontario, N.Y., capped off the week with a fourth place effort while Jason Barney came home in fifth. By virtue of his fifth place finish Barney claimed the 2014 Speedweek championship.
“This was one of the goals we marked on the preseason list,” stated Barney. “We were close last year. We gave it up at Rolling Wheels and we gave it up here last year. We got a good start at Rolling Wheels and it continued to through the week. We are fortunate that we are at four or five race tracks that are some of our best tracks. Tonight was the only one we were skeptical about. This was a great week with a great race team. To win this is huge.”
ESS/Uitca-Rome Notes – The final night of Speedweek also produced the largest car count at 38…For the first time is ESS history two father/daughter duos were in the field with Chuck and Kelly Hebing as well as Darryl and Alysha Ruggles…Joining the Ruggles family for first runs on Speedweek were Kyle Dutcher and defending Selinsgrove champion Jason Shultz…Mike Stelter hurt his motor Sat. night at Fulton and tried to make repairs but ran out of time and had to scratch…The second annual Speedweek was again a huge success and fans can expect a third annual next year!
Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Speedweek Finale – Utica-Rome Speedway
SUNY Canton/Einstein Construction Group A-Main – Stewart Friesen ($2,250), Larry Wight, Steve Poirier, Chuck Hebing, Jason Barney, Bryan Howland, Kevin Ward Jr., Cory Sparks, Michael Parent, Paul Kinney, Jeff Cook, Danny Varin, Jessica Zemken, Matt Tanner, Jason Shultz, Darryl Ruggles, Tommy Wickham, Alysha Ruggles, Charlie Donk, Joe Trenca, Dave Axton, Zach Weigand, Yan Bilodeau, Davie Franek, Tim Axton, Sammy Reakes IV.
Did Not Qualify – Steve Hutchinson, Paul Hebeck, Steve Glover, Kyle Dutcher, Scott Kreutter, Jim Gleason, Etienne Girard, Mike Stelter, George Suprick, Clint Ide, Kelly Hebing, Paul Pekkonen
Lap Leaders – Friesen 1-14, Wight 15-22, Friesen 23-25
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 1 – Reakes IV, Hebing, Howland, Ward Jr., Cook
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 2 – Poirier, Wight, D. Ruggles, Parent, Kinney
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 3 – Tanner, Trenca, Varin, Donk, Bilodeau
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heat 4 – Friesen, Barney, Sparks, Shultz, Zemken
Donath Motor Worx/Cobra Coaches Dash – Friesen
Lacaillade Masonry B-Main – Franek, Wickham, A. Ruggles, D. Axton
Provisional Starters – Weigand, T. Axton
Westward Painting Company Halfway – Friesen $100
Insinger Performance Hard Charger – Kinney (8 pos.) $50
Fondations 55 Pick 5 – Barney $50
Lacaillade Masonry B-Main – Franek $50
Car Mate Trailers Heats – Reakes IV, Poirier, Tanner, Friesen
Go Nuclear Late Models Go Fast – Friesen (19.920) $25
Bitner Automotive Blistering Fast Time – Hebing (18.504) $25