VERNON, N.Y. (November 16, 2016) – Saturday night, November 12th, the luxurious Vernon Downs Casino Hotel hosted the annual awards banquet for the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (ESS). Steve Poirier was crowned now seven-time champion taking home $10,944 on the night including most of the hardware and special prizes
A record banquet crowd saw a total payout over $84,000 which included over $50,000 in cash. That was also the highest totals on the 34 year history of ESS.
For the Quebec native, it was a one of the most successful seasons in ESS history taking nine A-Main victories and also placing in the top ten on 21 of the 22 point events. Not only did he win the overall Lucas Oil ESS Championship but he was also crowned the NAPA Auto Parts Tour of the US Champ, the Einstein Construction Group Tour of Canada Champ, the SUNY Canton Series Champ, the Donath Motorworx CNY Speedweek Champ, he will the Northwood 2 Construction Quebec/Ontario Challenge Weekend title as well as the Danny Willmes Enterprises Lap Leader standings and the Insinger Performance Fuels Hard Charger points.
Jason Barney also had a season to remember as it took one of the best performances seen to top his effort. Barney took second in almost every point standing category where he collected just shy of $8,000 on the night.
Paul Kinney was third in overall points with his take just over $5,900, with Matt Tanner fourth with $4,900 going his way. Parker Evans was fifth but took home several special awards on the night which included the Pilat Graphic Design Most Improved Driver, the Cobra Coaches Dash Series Champ and the winning the 911 Restoration Point Title. He collected $5,440 on the night.
Many other special awards filled the evening as well, Chad Miller won the Lucas Oil Oustanding New Comer award and the $500 cash prize, Brandon Kidd won the Lane’s Yamaha Rookie of the Year which was worth $500, Lee Gurney was chosen as the Mach 1 Chassis Hard Luck team and he won a frame from Mark Smith at Mach 1. Kevin Loveys became the first second time winner as Mechanic of the Year.
The annual John Zentner Memorial Award in which produced a standing ovation went to ESS Photographer Randy Mallett. Randy’s son and ESS announcer Mike Mallett presented his father with the award in a very emotional moment.
The 2016 ESS Hall of Fame class consisted of Lance Yonge and Mike VanDusen which were two very popular choices. Yonge was a two-time ESS champion and has 39 career victories. Mal Lane who owned Yonge’s cars for a few seasons and also an ESS Hall of Famer sat at the table with young.
VanDusen had several runner-up finishes in the overall point standings (Ironically to Lane) as a driver and also as an owner with his son Jeff before taking home the coveted ESS Championship in 2003 with Mike Lutz as a driver. Mike’s son Jeff flew in from Florida for the ceremony while Lutz drove in from Ohio as a surprise to his former car owner.
Teams that attended every point show which included Dave Axton, Kinney, Doug Emery’s $33, Evans, Miller, Barney and Tanner were acknowledged as well as every A-Main winner during the 33rd Anniversary Tour.
The debut of ESS CNY Speedweek video done by Matt Thomas from Thomas Racing Videos kicked off the night. Special recognition to ESS sponsors and officials drew the night to a close before the DJ played past 2 AM.
The annual rules meeting preceded the banquet where only a tweak of the redraw cars was done. The Lucky Giveaway Program which saw nearly $15,000 in product given out was held during the meeting. Some of the big winners were a set of Brodix Heads to Jeff Cook, a 3000 watt Briggs and Stratton generator to Jason Barney, a set of pistons from JE Pistons went to Paul Kinney and Nouse Signs/K1 RaceGear Racing Suit to Chuck Hebing
The schedule for the 2017, 34th Anniversary Tour is next on the agenda and teams can expect a few new tracks to the schedule along with many of the high paying specials that filled the calendar this past year.
2016 Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Banquet Totals
(Drivers/Teams that ran 2/3rds of point shows)
Steve Poirier – $10,944
Jason Barney – $7,952
Paul Kinney – $5,952
Matt Tanner – $4,916
Parker Evans – $5,440
Chuck Hebing – $4,987
Jeff Cook – $5,002
Shawn Donath – $3,687
Chad Miller – $4,265
Tim Axton – $2,887
Paulie Colagiovanni – $3,177
Brandon Kidd – $3,147
Dave Axton – $2,872
Mike Stelter – $2,567
Pete Richardson – $1,905
Lee Gurney – $4,652
(Other Drivers and Teams cash and prizes)
Danny Varin – $1,755
Bryan Howland – $1,005
Mark Smith – $930
Larry Wight – $855
Davie Franek – $730
Dale Gosselin – $555
Lucas Wolfe – $530
Yan Bilodeau – $500
Jordan Poirier – $430
Lee Ladouceur – $430
Aaron Ott – $400
Jason Shultz – $400
Dylan Swiernik – $380
Sammy Reakes IV – $330
Greg Hodnett – $300
Jordan Thomas – $200
Mike Mahaney – $100
Parker Price-Miller – $100
Chris Donnelly – $100
Jared Hortsman – $100
Coleman Gulick – $100
Cody Keller – $100
Lucky Giveaway Program
Brodix Cylinder Heads Set of Heads – Jeff Cook
JE Pistons Set of Pistons – Paul Kinney
Briggs and Stratton 3000 Watt Generator – Jason Barney
Nouse Signs/K1 RaceGear Free Suit – Chuck Hebing
Simpson Safety Raceway Shark Helmet – Paulie Colagiovanni
Fastline Performance/Fox Shocks $800 Award – Shawn Donath
Panther Frameworx/M&W Alum. Front Axle Kit – Dave Axton
Keizer Wheels Front Hubs/Left Rear Wheel – Steve Poirier
Zamp Helmets/Highside Racewear Helmet – Chad Miller
Aero Wings/Panther Frameworx Dish Wing – Matt Tanner
Beyea Headers $500 Award – Pete Richardson
TI22 Performance Set of Parts – Brandon Kidd
Sam Reakes Snap-On Tools $500 of Tools – Tim Axton
Maxim Racing $500 Award – Jonathan Preston
Slade Shock Technology $500 Award – Lee Gurney
Adirondack Powder Coating Blast and Coating – Mike Stelter
ATL Fuel Cells 28 Gallon Shell – Parker Evans
Schoenfeld Headers Free Headers – Parker Evans, Paulie Colagiovanni, Jonathan Preston
Other Product Award Winners
Rod End Supply Set of Rod Ends – Mike Stelter
Design 500 Carbon X Underwear/AARN Simpson Racing Shoes – Pete Richardson
Graphics Girls $250 Award – Chad Miller
M&W Aluminum Products Wing Mount Kit – Chuck Hebing
Zemco Headers Set of Headers – Matt Tanner
Flach Performance Products Free Radiator – Parker Evans
XXX Race Products Carbon Fiber Pedal and Heel Risers – Dave Axton
DMI Engine Turn Wrench – Mike Stelter
Vahlco Wheels Front Wheel – Brandon Kidd