Justin Barger Crowned 2010 ESS Champion

From Dean Reynolds

SYRACUSE, NY – In front of another sell out crowd at the Holiday Inn Carrier Circle in East Syracuse, NY, Justin Barger took home his first ever Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (ESS) title. The Montrose, NY star took home $9,946 from the over $70,000 in cash and awards that were handed out in what was billed as the Night of Champions.

In all, four different drivers celebrated the crowning of the six different point categories with Barger being celebrated with the largest of all, the overall championship. On the strength of 4 wins and 17 top ten finishes, Barger’s Cortlandt Auto Body #32 was on top of many ESS stars from the United States and Canada.

“This is a thrill to be champion of ESS. To beat the best drivers around means a lot to me, my team and my family. It’s truly a special night.” said Barger who received a standing ovation upon the announcement of being champion. “We were real close in 2003 and wanted to give an all out effort to run for the championship. This year that was our goal with a lot of hard work and a little luck we finally took home the trophy.”

The trophy was a one of a kind, ceramic, hand painted and crafted eagle. To make it a family affair his father Chris, a former dirt modified star, was awarded the ESS mechanic of the year award. An award that was voted on the by the teams. Barger was also crowned the Gater Racing News lap leader titlist on the night.

Penn Yan, NY’s Lance Yonge took second in the overall points and also won the new SUNY Canton Series championship. The former two-time champion was happy with his season, his 17th consecutive on the ESS tour. “This has been a good year for us. I’m not the highest dollar team and my crew is my wife but we all have fun doing this.” noted Yonge. “I have to congratulate Justin (Barger) on his championship, I’ve done it and know how hard it is. Thanks to SUNY Canton for their support and to win the series makes the year just a bit better.”

Jeff Cook claimed the lucrative Northwood 2 Construction/LaSalle Motorsports Canadian Sprint Car Series and took third overall in the Lucas Oil points. “Usually I’m up here taking home the hard luck award but this year it was different. To win the race at Ohsweken and taking the Canadian series makes for a good year.” Cook said with a smile. “We are getting close to making a run for the championship. We had a shot, but I have to thank Mike and Lori (LaSalle) for sponsoring the Canadian Series and proud to be the champion.”

Defending two-time Lucas Oil champion was Quebec’s Steve Poirier. While finishing fourth in the overall points wasn’t quite the goal, winning both the WestFront Construction Hard Charger Series and the Cobra Coaches Dash Series point titles still made for a special night. “We wanted to try for our third title in a row but it just didn’t work out. Congratulations to Justin and his team as they earned it.” said Poirier on handing over his championship crown. “To win the hard charger and dash series shows that we still had a good year. But, we are gearing up to get the championship back in 2010.”

Many other special awards were handed out with Grand Island, NY’s Jim Porter receiving the Jereco Competition Engines Outstanding New Comer award, an award that was a total surprise. “Wow! I never expected this. This is awesome!” exclaimed Porter. “I just have to thank my car owner Doug Houston. We set out to do as much of the tour as possible and we really had a ball. To get recognized in front of all these great teams is a true honor. We just can’t wait for next year.”

Working hard to earn his seventh place in the overall points, Chuck Hebing won the Brodix Cylinder Heads Hard Luck Award. The driver known as the “Cobra” took the full ESS tour for the first time and even though he claimed three wins it still was and up and down year for the Ontario, NY pilot. In one of the night’s highlights, Hebing presented Poirier with snake skinned boots for winning the dash series. Poirier wore the boats throughout the night.

The annual John Zentner Memorial Award went to Brian and Mary Ennis. The husband and wide from Andover, NY faithfully supported ESS in many roles while attending each show from Quebec to Pennsylvania. The teary eyed couple received a loud ovation from the filled room.

In all, 20 different drivers collected cash that totaled over $38,000 and shared in prizes that made the banquet total swell to over the $70,000 mark.

Preceding the awards ceremony was the annual rules meeting where teams vote on potential rule changes for the upcoming season. New for 2010 will be a minimum age of 14 to compete, down from 15 and the rule where a driver can start no better than 12th after winning the previous nights A-Main has been taken out. Topic of discussion was the wing rule and it was decided to keep the same for next season.

Mickey Ellis and Ron Barger did the video and photo shoot with many of the ESS stars dressed in racing gear preparing for the video commercial that is supplied to all tracks that book ESS events.

Many thanks go out to the ESS sponsorship family. Point fund and award contributors Lucas Oil, Northwood 2 Construction/LaSalle Motorsports, SUNY Canton, 730 Truck Stop, Cobra Coaches, WestFront Construction, Genesis Shocks, Engine Research, Hoosier Tires, Mohawk Racing Parts, Coffrage Daniel Lampron, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Jereco Competition Engines and Gater Racing News.

Also recognized were cash sponsors throughout the season, Les Constructions Ultra, Glenn Styres and Ohsweken Speedway, Cook’s Contracting Services, Fondations 4 Saisons, Car Mate Custom Built Trailers and HG Associates.

Companies awarding prizes for the banquet include Simpson Racing, JE Pistons, M&W Aluminum Products, Ultra-Shield Products, J&J Racing, Design 500, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, GME Steering, Babe Design, Maxim Racing, ATL Fuel Cells, XXX Race Co., KSE Racing Products, Racing Optics, Kreitz Oval Track Parts, Hank’s Performance Products, Pancho’s Racing Products, Maxim Racing, Area Auto Racing News, DSR Fuel Systems, Leaf Racewear, Sway-A-Way, MSD Ignition, Schoenfeld Headers, ISC Racers Tape, Randy’s Racing Filters, Kinsler Injection, MRE Productions, Brake Man, Saldana Racing Products, Fast Axle, Zemco Headers, Joe Hunt Magnetos, The Joie of Seating, Red Bear Hand Cleaner, S&W Awards, R2C Competition Filters/Dan Deming Motorsports.

The night lasted to the wee hours in the morning with all looking forward to the 2010 season which will conclude on November 20, 2010 again at the Holiday Inn. For the latest up to date information please log on to www.empiresupersprints.com where for over 26 years it has been excitement guaranteed!

2010 Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Banquet Totals:

1. Justin Barger


2. Lance Yonge


3. Jeff Cook


4. Steve Poirier


5. Michael Parent


6. Tommy Wickham


7. Chuck Hebing


8. Alain Bergeron


9. Brian McDonald


10. Lee Ladouceur


11. Jessica Zemken


12. Doug Emery


13. Anthony Cain


14. Tim Kelly


15. Jason Barney


16. Jim Porter


17. Mike Stelter


18. Daniel Lampron


22. James Hanson


Cory Sparks




Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Lucky 21 Giveaway Program.

ASCS Brodix Cylinder Heads – Michael Parent

Set of Pistons from JE Pistons – Chuck Hebing

Vudu Helmet from Simpson Racing – Tim Kelly

Magneto from Joe Hunt Magnetos – Alain Bergeron

Racing suit from Leaf Racewear – Justin Barger

Steering Pump from KSE Steering – Doug Emery

Filter System from Randy’s Racing Filters – Jeff Cook

IRL High Speed Bypass from Kinsler Injection – Jessica Zemken

$500 from Maxim Racing – Mike Stelter

Injection Sleeve System from Fast Axle – Anthony Cain

Set of sway bars from Sway-A-Way – Tommy Wickham

Synthetic Racing Filter from R2C/Dan Deming – Lee Ladouceur

Nomex Underwear from Design 500/Racing Shoes from Area Auto Racing News – Steve Poirier

Schoenfeld Headers/Front Axle from M&W Alum. Products – Jason Barney

Zemco Headers/Front Axle from XXX Race Co. – Brian McDonald

Schoenfeld Headers/Torsion Bars from M&W – Daniel Lampron

Schoenfeld Headers/Rear Bumper from M&W – Jim Porter

Bead Breaker from J&J Racing/Right Rear tire from Hoosier – James Hanson

Steering Rebuild from GME Steering – Lance Yonge