Wrapping Up The Empire Super Sprints Season
EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. — The 27th Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints season saw Steve Poirier crowned champion as a record 110 drivers competed.
Poirier won the series championship over Lance Yonge and Justin Barger in one of the closest championship battles in series history. For most of the year the three were within striking distance of each other, but in the end it was Poirier emerging with the championship.
The point battle was just one of the highlights of the season. Here are a few more:
Welcome Back — The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints went back to its roots with the return of Brewerton, Fulton and Cayuga County Fair Speedways to the series schedule. Unfortunately Fulton fell to rain, but with a nucleus of more Central New York facilities the number of tour followers increased tremendously.
JZ — Jessica Zemken won five of eight events and also three in a row during the stretch aboard her Tony Stewart owned No. 14. Highlight her string was collecting more than $7,000 during the July 4 weekend with a second-place finish and two victories. One of the wins was worth $4,000 at Can-Am Motorsports Park, the highest payoff ever for a points-paying ESS event.
Smoke — An added treat was Zemken’s car owner, Tony Stewart, competing at two ESS events at New York’s Glen Ridge and Cayuga County facilities. The two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion finished third in both events, ironically behind Zemken both times.
Three Nights in Quebec — A special three-night weekend in Quebec was new for series, breaking away from the traditional two races in Quebec and one during Labor Day weekend. Traditional stops at Granby and Drummond were followed by the first visit to Le RPM Speedway.
Eight — That was the number of different winners to grace victory lane. Joining Poirier, Barger, Yonge and Zemken in the winner’s circle were Chuck Hebing, Dan Kaszubinski, Jeff Cook and Brian McDonald.
Young Guns —A slew of teenage talents graced the pits at most of the ESS events during the season. Drivers such as Kevin Ward, Jr., Zach Weigand, Devin Caron, Shayne Ely, Dylan Swiernik, Tyler Rice and others made for some exciting new names.
Surprise Visitors — Along with Tony Stewart, names such as All Star Circuit of Champions competitor David Gravel, United Racing Co. stars Kramer Williamson and Davey Sammons, Oklahoma hot shoe Mike Goodman, modified stars Bobby Varin, Dave Camara, Stewart Friesen, Carey Terrance, Mike Mahaney and Martin Roy made ESS starts during the 2010 season.
Shootout Weekend — Can-Am Motorsports Park set up the most lucrative two-day ESS event ever. More than $27,000 in purse money was paid out with Barger taking home $2,000 Friday and the aforementioned Zemken copping the $4,000 Saturday finale.