Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint Drivers and Teams Attack the King of the 360 Nationals

By Dean Reynolds

SYRACUSE, NY – Although it was held after the traditional Daytona Speedweeks, the annual King of the 360 Nationals featuring the Ronald Laney Memorial was held this past weekend at the East Bay Raceway Park near Tampa, Fla. Just like years past, several Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint drivers and teams headed to the sunshine state to kick off the new season.

Heading the list was an unique combination. The car was the familiar #33 Paterson Motorsports entry but it was wrenched by Doug Emery instead of driven. Behind the wheel in only his second ever winged sprint car start was modified star Stewart Friesen. The Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada star showed everyone just how much talent is under the helmet with a headline making outing.

Just missing qualifying on the first night, Friesen then took the Cor-Pak Merchandising sponsored sprinter to an impressive 11th place finish on night two followed by a “head turning” ninth in the Laney Memorial finale. Emery, who will be a car owner and crew chief more in 2010 than a driver, didn’t rule out having Friesen behind the wheel again at an ESS event.

The Vi-Kell Enterprises #12 driven by Tim Kelly and wrenched by Ed Vickio once again made the trip to East Bay looking to get a jump start on the new season. Although the sharp, blue colored sprint showed speed all three nights. The Rock Stream, NY pilot, who has collected 13 career ESS triumphs, just missed cracking the A-Main starting line-ups with a 3rd place B-Main finish on the final night the best. An event which qualified just two cars.

Jessica Zemken started her much anticipated 2010 campaign which will see her splitting time in 410 powered machines as well as with a 360 power at several ESS events. She picked up a ride in the Ron Hammons #6 for the three race series. However, just like Kelly she just missed qualifying all three nights. Also with a B-Main high of third, Zemken (who finished in 11th in ESS points last season with an A-Main victory) is looking forward being apart of Tony Stewart Racing for the upcoming season.

Ohsweken Speedway owner and avid sprint car competitor Glenn Styres had a very successful three day weekend. Styres, who competes in about half dozen ESS events each year, qualified for all three A-Main events with a high of 13th on the final night. But, he was welcomed to victory lane on that final evening as the winner of the Laney Memorial and $14,500 top prize was Wayne Johnson piloting a mount owned by Styres.

Part-time ESS competitors Jared Zimbardi and Bruce DeWick also competed in all three nights but missed getting into feature events. Zimbardi took fourth in two B-Mains with DeWick (who owns and operates the ESS racing simulator) was looking to get valuable laps before he hits the 2010 season up north.

Also with ESS roots was three-time point runner-up Jeff VanDusen who now resides in Florida. Using a motor borrowed from Emery, VanDusen competed in the first two events but missed cracking the A-Main starting line-ups taking fourth in both of his B-Mains.

The 27th Anniversary Season for the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints is set to kick off Saturday, May 29th at the Fonda Speedway for the seventh annual Earl Halaquist Memorial. The recently released tentative schedule boasts 27 dates and 15 different facilities in New York, Ontario and Quebec, Canada. More dates are still in the works. For the latest up to date information please log in to where it has become tradition of excitement guaranteed!!