From MIke Mallett
THOROLD, ONT. – Lance Yonge has been saying all year that he’d like to have a chance to start up front. The veteran campaigner from Penn Yan, N.Y. has started near the back of the field all year long after drawing poorly at the start of the night.
This past Saturday evening Yonge finally drew well and took full advantage of his front row starting position to earn his first win of the season with the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints in the Gary Cunningham Memorial 25-lap A-Main event. The win was the 37th of his career and moved him ahead of Mal Lane on all-time win list.
“I’ve been telling you guys all year if we got a good starting spot we could run with these guys,” said Yonge in Victory Lane. “Tonight proved it.”
Yonge started on the outside of the front row with Shawn Donath along side for the Le Groupe Ultra Tour of Canada event. At the green Yonge got the jump and beat Donath to the outside of turns one and two. He utilized the high lane to drive away from Donath down the back straightaway.
With Yonge leading the field, Donath and fourth starter Glenn Styres began racing for the second position. Styres eventually wrestled it away from Donath and set his sights on Yonge.
Yonge utilized traffic to perfection. He worked all lanes on the speedway to ensure that there were always cars between himself and Styres. He started working the slower cars with just 10 laps complete and battled his way through for the rest of the event.
“Traffic is always a concern,” said the driver of the Johnson Farms #17J. “They (traffic) gave me the high groove in one and two and that was good and the bottom in three and four. I knew there wasn’t anything coming off on the top over there so everything worked out.”
Midway through the race Yonge set the pace while Styres was now busy holding off the challenges of Chris Steele. Steele worked low while Styres stayed on the top side. The duo battled back and forth several times before Styres ultimately was able to pull away from him with five laps to go.
At that point, Yonge had checked out on the slick surface forcing Styres, of Ohsweken, Ont., to settle for the second place finish in the non-stop feature.
“I think this is the third time I’ve won here,” stated Yonge. “There is something about this place I go good here. It seems like the more you have to slow down the better I am. It leaves it up to the driver and that seems to be where I shine.”
Styres was all smiles when he climbed from the race car after the intense battle with Donath and then Steele.
“It was a lot of fun out there,” said Styres. “It was nice and calm. I had no idea where Lance was. I just tried to keep it steady and stay smooth. It was a lot of fun. The track was great and I just loved it.”
Steele, a modified driver at the track every Saturday, came home in third. He needed a bit more from the car in order to get Styres for the runner-up spot but he was pleased with the third place effort.
“It is pretty good run for us,” stated Steele. “The bottom was really tacky. I didn’t have enough gear to run down there. I needed him (Styres) to bobble but I’ll be happy with third.”
Current point leaders Justin Barger advanced from the eighth starting position to finish in fourth while Donath, of South Onondaga, N.Y., was able to complete the top five with his Mucci Motorsports mount.
Rounding out the top ten were Don Adamczyk, who was as high as fourth during the 25 lap event, winner at Merrittville in 2009, Chuck Hebing, Jamie Collard, Alain Bergeron and Matt Tanner.
ESS/Merrittville Notes: A big field of 36 sprints filled the pits and played host to an absolute packed house in ESS first event at the Bicknell/Williamson owned facility since 2009…Scott Kreutter has a qualifying position all locked up until electrical problems arose and force his as a DNQ…Many cars from the area Ohsweken Speedway and Southern Ontario Sprints circuit came out to support the event…The next Le Groupe Ultra Tour of Canada events will be Aug. 24 and 25 at Autodrome Granby and Le RPM Speedway.
Le Groupe Ultra Tour of Canada A-Main – Lance Yonge ($1,775), Glenn Styres, Chris Steele, Justin Barger, Shawn Donath, Don Adamczyk, Chuck Hebing, Jamie Collard, Alain Bergeron, Matt Tanner, Paul Kinney, Jim Huppunen, Dain Naida, Tom Huppunen, Mike Stelter, Mikey Kruchka, Mitchell Brown, Paul Habeck, Keith Dempster, Cory Sparks, Jeff Cook, Michael Parent, Todd Hoddick, Kevin Ward Jr., Joe Trenca, Jamie Turner.
Lap Leader – Yonge (1-25).
NOTE* – A-Main went non-stop, 25 of the 26 starters finished.
Did Not Qualify – Travis Cunningham, Etienne Girard, Paul Pekkonen, Tyler Rand, Brad Malloy, Stan Zanchin, Conor Mahoney, Scott Kreutter, Darren Zumpe, Chris Durand.
Car Mate Custom Built Trailer Heat 1 – Naida, Hebing, Styres, T. Huppunen, Brown.
Car Mate Custom Built Trailer Heat 2 – Barger, Dempster, Collard, J. Huppunen, Sparks
Car Mate Custom Built Trailer Heat 3 – Yonge, Tanner, Kruchka, Hoddick, Habeck
Car Mate Custom Built Trailer Heat 4 – Donath, Adamczyk, Steele, Bergeron, Stelter
Ohsweken Speedway/Cobra Coaches Dash – Barger
B-Main – Kinney, Turner, Parent, Trenca
Added Starters – Ward Jr., Cook.
Westward Painting Corp. Halfway – Yonge $100
Lee’s Repair Auto and Truck Hard Charger – Kinney (10 pos.) $50
Ohsweken Speedway Winners Bonus – Yonge $50
North Eastern Pool and Spa Power Picks – Stelter and Hoddick $50
Fondations 55 Pick 5 – Donath $50
Car Mate Custom Built Trailers Heats – Naida, Barger, Yonge, Donath $25
The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints are brought to you by: Lucas Oil, Le Groupe Ultra, SUNY Canton, Universal American, Hoosier Racing Tires, Fondations 4 Saisons, Cobra Coaches, Westward Painting Company, Mach 1 Chassis, Lee’s Repair Auto and Truck, Fondations 55, Eric Varin Roofing, North Eastern Pool and Spa, Car Mate Trailers, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Ohsweken Speedway, Northwood 2 Construction/Lasalle Motorsports, AKS Firearms, Jasmin Peloquin Sport, 730 Truck Stop, Riverside Bar and Grill, FX Chevy and many, many associate sponsors!!