DUNDEE, NY — Story, Photo and Audio by Race Chaser Online New York Correspondent Steven Ovens — Jared Zimbardi came to Yates County Speedway Friday night more out of convenience than anything.
The driver who mainly follows the Patriot Sprint Tour is heading toward Saturday night’s PST event at the Brockville Ontario Speedway but felt that a stop in Dundee, NY was necessary with the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints in town. Zimbardi had never previously won an ESS A-Main before- but that all changed on Friday night in the heart of Finger Lakes wine country.
Paul Habeck and Zimbardi would lead the field to Steve Kellogg’s green flag and Zimbardi would waste no time getting to the front and pulling away with the lead. Zimbardi would pull out to a sizeable lead until the caution flew on Lap 9 for Dave Axton stopped up between Turns 1 and 2. At that point it was Zimbardi, Tommy Wickham, Kevin Ward Jr., Habeck and Robbie Stillwaggon within the Top 5.
Lanes Yamaha Dash winner Chuck Hebing started 9th on the green flag but contact between Hebing and ‘The Racing Doctor’ Steve Collins in Turn 2 folded up the front wing on the Cobra Coaches #45.
The night would not get any better as two restarts later, Stillwaggon would go way high in Turn 1. The yellow and purple #89 came down the track with a great save, but when going back up the track off Turn 2 made contact with Hebing’s blue and white #45. Both cars caught a little air with Stillwaggon continuing on. Hebing, however, appeared to have heavy contact with the left rear and collapsed the front end.
Up front it was all Jared Zimbardi all the time. He did have a bit of a scare on Lap 14 and the Ide #3 spun out right in front of him drawing out the last yellow flag of the night.
The rest of the race would run green to checkered with Zimbardi collecting the win, Wickham came home 2nd, the points leader Steve ‘Fireball’ Poirier took 3rd, with Collins and Stillwaggon completing the Top 5.
Heat winners were Parker Evans, Kevin Ward Jr and Robbie Stillwaggon.
ESS NOTES: 20 360 Sprints and 2 305 sprints filled the pit area on Friday night at Yates County. Darryl and Alysha Ruggles brought their 48jr and 48a 305’s to compete with the best of the ESS. Stewart Friesen was also in attendance driving the Doug Emery owned #33. They would have a problem in the heat but would rebound to finish 8th after starting toward the back of the 22-car field. The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints will now head to the Stateline Speedway Saturday night for their first return to Stateline in many many years.
In other Yates County Speedway action:
Allison Teed remained perfect in 2014 4 Cylinder Bandit competition. She stormed to the front within the first two laps after starting shotgun on the field. Her Swarthout Recycling 14x was without a doubt the car to beat and she will extend her points lead as the speedway looks to return to competition Friday August 1st.
The IMCA Feature started off with a bang- literally. Harry Ely Jr on Lap 4 had a throttle stick on his 57 car sending him into the Turn 1 wall at nearly max speed. Safety crew and officials were quickly on the scene with Ely Jr. being ok after a wild ride.
Once the race resumed it was an epic battle between Spalding, Rich Karlnoski and Keith Lamphere. The three cars battled for the lead, swapping the top spot several times a lap. Spalding and Karlnoski battled each other hard for the lead as it is well known there is no love loss between the 26 and 55x teams.
While they raced hard, Lamphere found his way around both cars in one great pass and ran away to take his 2nd win of 2014. Spalding came home 2nd, Karlnoski 3rd, Todd Stone 4th and Ken Buck rounding out the Top 5 finishers.
Jayson Smart avenged several great runs that just didn’t lead to victories early on in the season. He got the lead and didn’t look back in the 4-cylinder feature. He would take the win over Chad Ayers, Scott Bradley, Del Cummings and July 4th’s winner Chris Mashewske. The battle for 2nd-5th was a spirited one that kept the fans entertained for all 20 laps of their feature.
In the Greg’s Auto Body Street Stocks it was Gene Balmer who also avenged his 2nd place run from July 4th. On that night it was Teddy Morseman using the chrome horn to get by and steal the win as he and Balmer raced to the checkered flag. Balmer wasn’t going to let anyone take the win away on this night though.
Carl Cleveland and Roger Kerrick brought the field to the green with Cleveland and Kerrick swapping the lead for the first 2 circuits. Kerrick would then overtake Cleveland and lead up to Lap 10.
Kerrick was a top contender back in the 80’s and 90’s at the then-named ‘Dundee Raceway Park’ driving for longtime friend Daryl Daggett. Fast-forward to 2014 and Kerrick is back out in his infamous 3K- still owned by the Daggett family. But on Lap 10 his bid for the race win ended off the front bumper of Balmer.
Everyone will have a different opinion on what actually took place. But from my vantage point from the infield, once Kerrick got sideways- Balmer’s 38 appeared to drive the 3k the rest of the way around into the infield. Kerrick would go for a Duke boys flight in the air over an infield dirt berm and then continue on.
A late race yellow flag would bunch the field back up, giving contenders Jeremy Potrzebowski and Jared Hill a chance to flex their muscle for the win. Potrzebowski would catch Balmer sleeping on the restart and get by to take the lead in his Greg’s Auto Body ride. Balmer would make quick work of getting back by and set sail for the remainder of the event.
Gene Balmer would take the $500 win over Potrzebowski, Chuck Winslow, Jared Hill and Kreg Crooker. Winslow will assume the points lead as Jake Karlnoski had a flat tire midway through the race and would only recover for a 10th place finish. That finish should also allow Rich Sharpsteen (8th), Potrzebowski and Hill to close in on the points leader.
The last feature of the night was the Crate Sportsman feature and it looked like possibly Brent Ayers was going to cruise away to his first career victory in the Sportsman class. He ran away with his heat race and was doing the same in the feature until the yellow flag came out, giving Josh Keesey the outside lane on the restart.
Keesey was a man on a mission, dancing with the devil on the top side of the speedway riding the cushion. He would pull away to a substantial margin at the time the checkered flag flew. He nearly saw the win evaporate on Lap 22 entering Turn 3 as he jumped the cushion and nearly went over the steep banking.
Keesey would pick up the victory over a spirited battle for 2nd with Casey Pavlick getting that position. Brady Fultz came home 3rd, Ayers had to settle for 4th and Chris Fisher coming home 5th.
Yates County Speedway will return to action Tuesday night with their Big Block/Small Block Shootout, ROC Sportsman Series and a $300-to-win Open 4 Cylinder race. Race time is 7:30pm and the boys from Turn 5 LIVE will be there with a pre-race show down near the concession stands from 4pm-6pm. You can listen at blogtalkradio.com/turn5live or follow the links posted on the Turn 5 Racing Podcast Facebook Page.
Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Audio:
Jared Zimbardi- Winner ESS A-Main
Tommy Wickham 2nd Place A-Main
Steve Poirier 3rd Place A-Main
Matt Tanner 6th Place A-Main
Dash Winner Chuck Hebing
Before the A-Main we caught up with Jared Zimbardi
Before the A-Main we caught up with Paul Habeck who drew the pole!
Heat Winner for the ESS- Robbie Stillwaggon
Heat Winner for the ESS- Kevin Ward Jr
Heat Winner for the ESS- Parker Evans
YATES COUNTY SPEEDWAY Audio:
Greg’s Auto Body Street Stock Winner Gene Balmer
Crate Sportsman Winner Josh Keesey
4 Cylinder Feature Winner Jayson Smart
IMCA Modified Feature Winner Keith Lamphere