By Dean Reynolds
EVANS MILLS, NY – Tommy Wickham did what many say was the impossible. On lap 24 of the 25 lap Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (ESS), Kevin Ward Jr. Memorial Asphalt Spectacular A-Main, he took his winged sprint car to the outside of race long leader Jeff Cook in turns three and four and on to victory in front of a vocal standing room only crowd.
With smoke pouring off his right rear tire, the move on an asphalt surface that most veterans would say never works, did. The Constantia, NY driver took home $4,350 for his efforts and his wing dance was greeted with a loud roar on a beautiful night in Upstate, New York.
“I kind of knew after my heat that it could work,” Wickham said on his winning move, “I was going to do it no matter what. I was either going to win or probably be somewhere else!”
Jeff Cook led all laps from his pole starting position up until a lap 11 red flag. On the ensuing double file restart, Wickham who started on the outside took the lead going into the first turn. However, the yellow lights came on for two cars that got together which then made for a single file restart.
“I got a good run on that restart so I knew I could go to the outside like I did in my heat. I didn’t know if they thought I jumped or not, but the yellow came out (afterwards Wickham knew his start was good),” he went on, “But the single file start really didn’t bother me cause I knew I was going to wait to the end and then make the move. It worked!”
Wickham then went on to talk about importance of the win, “This means a lot, to win the race for Kevin and having his family here. I’m not sure where it sits in my career as we all buy sprint cars to race on dirt, but it definitely will be one to remember,” then Wickham summed it in one quick quote, “It’s definitely the most money I’ve won!”
For Cook who is the hometown favorite he summed up the result in one quick sentence in victory lane, “I hope you fans enjoyed that race because I didn’t!” Jeff of course on one side was joking but then the other side of that quote he was serious. But, the ESS veteran was a matter of fact and gave Wickham all the credit.
“You really can’t be that upset, I mean, that move, no way would I thought he could do that. Not after 24 laps on our tires,” he continued, “I really don’t know what I can do different. I had a good car, running a good pace. Even after he passed me on that restart, before the yellow came out I just said to myself that I will wait in second and wait for his tire to give out.
“We were close and one day we will get this race, but you have to hand it to Tommy. He made a move that you would think would never work and it did,” Cook went on, “We wanted to win, but it’s about the entire night, thanks to all the fans that are here for a really important race and that’s what it’s all about.”
Kelly Hebing came with guns loaded and looked to have the car to beat during the night, even after redrawing fourth she was still looking at the $4,000 top prize. “The redraw didn’t bother me too much because my car was so good. I knew I could go to the outside and pass, but the front wing damage in that accident hurt me, I couldn’t really charge after that,” the lady known as Lil Cobra went on, “I’m close, one of these years I’ll stand on my wing in victory lane!”
Rounding out the top five were asphalt sprint car rookie Danny Varin and Matt Tanner. The next five was made up of 2015 race winner Parker Evans, Nick Fratto, Dylan Swiernik, New Jersey’s Zack Burd and Denny Peebles.
Heat wins were taken by Hebing and Swiernik.
Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints A-Main – Evans Mills Raceway Park – June 19th, 2021 – 1. Tommy Wickham ($4,350), Jeff Cook ($2,613), Kelly Hebing ($1,500), Danny Varin ($1200), Matt Tanner ($800), Parker Evans ($750), Nick Fratto ($700), Dylan Swiernik ($650), Zack Burd ($600), Denny Peebles ($550), Chase Moran ($525), Scott Holcomb ($500), Tyler Cartier ($650), Lacey Hanson ($500), Mike Stelter ($500), Chad Miller ($500).
Jeff Cook ($613), Kelly Hebing ($500), Dylan Swiernik ($400), Tommy Wickham ($350), Danny Varin ($300), Tyler Cartier ($150).
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