Jason Barney Wins Wild Lucas Oil ESS Feature at Utica-Rome Speedway
By MIKE MALLETT
VERNON, NY – Sunday night’s Utica-Rome Speedway Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint (ESS) is one that won’t soon be forgotten by anyone that watched the unbelievable finish between Jason Barney and Shawn Donath. Both drivers raced hard for over the course of the 25-lap affair with Barney coming out on top. Both drivers came together as they exited turn four with Donath getting the worse end and getting upside down after the checkered.
“I didn’t really want to win it like that,” said Barney. “I feel bad for Shawn. That wasn’t intentional and I didn’t mean for that to happen. I didn’t see him there anymore. I got a good run through the corner. I didn’t want to break my momentum. I was trying to get to the checkered as fast as I could. I truly never saw him there.”
Barney won the race even though he didn’t have brakes for much of the race. The team discovered it prior to pushing onto the track for the A-Main. Even with the brake issue he was able win the feature.
“We had a good car and this was a good race track for us,” commented Barney. “We had no brakes the whole race. We had a brake leak which made us change the master cylinder. The guys threw something together so we had brakes. We did the best that we could. We got lucky.”
It was Barney’s second win of the season with his first coming on Memorial Day Weekend at the Thunder Mountain Speedway. The win allowed him to take the point lead with the series while also gaining points in both the NAPA Auto Parts US Tour and the SUNY Canton Racing Series.
Barney and Donath started on the front of the row with Barney taking the top spot on the first circuit. Barney went to his traditional lane on the inside while Donath went to the extreme top. They remained in those lanes as they swapped the lead several times in the first six laps. Donath led lap five before Barney got him back on lap six.
Caution came on lap seven before Donath had an opportunity to get back around Barney. Davie Franek, who was running fourth, spun in turn one with a broken front end. This set up the double-file restart with Barney electing the inside and Donath going to the top.
Barney beat him turns one and two before Donath blasted around him on the outside of turns three and four. From there Donath opened up a slight advantage on Barney as he took advantage of the clean air.
Traffic begin impeding Donath’s progress on lap 11. This gave Barney an opportunity to close back in on the No. 53. Even though he was in traffic, Donath was unwavering as he kept his Panther Frameworx car on the outside lane. Barney did the same by staying on the bottom.
Barney continued to chase Donath as the laps clicked off. He closed the gap each lap with Donath struggling to get by a slower car. Donath dispatched of the slower car on lap 20 as he slid up in front of the car to get by. Barney had clear track on the inside and found himself in striking distance.
Lap 23 saw the pair bumper-to-bumper at the start finish line. Donath had just enough to keep Barney’s No. 87 behind him. That changed a lap later as they raced in to turn one on the final lap. Donath went high, just like he had the entire race, and Barney placed his machine on the bottom. He got a great run and pulled in front of Donath down the backstretch for the lead.
Barney went low in three and four as Donath blasted the cushion one final time. As they came off the fourth turn Barney came off the bottom at the same Donath bounced off the outside retaining wall on the frontstretch. This caused the two to come together as the came to the checkered flag. Barney beat Donath to the line by inches with the contact causing Donath to get upside down before landing in the first turn. He was out of the car quickly and uninjured.
The second place finish for the South Onondaga, N.Y., driver was his best of the season after mechanical issues have sidelined him several times throughout the 2016 season. On this night finishing second was of little consolation after the damage done to his car.
Lucas Wolfe made his first ever visit to the Utica-Rome Speedway. The Mechanicsburg, Pa., driver challenged Larry Wight in closing laps of the main-event. Wolfe found the low groove to his liking and snuck by Wight on the final circuit to finish third after starting in eighth.
Wight finished fourth with fellow Modified regular Danny Varin finishing the race in the fifth position.
ESS/Utica-Rome Notes: A good field of 31 sprints were in the pits for the event that was rained out on May 29th…Lucas Wolfe’s run was his first ever in ESS competition, main sponsorship came from former ESS regular R.C. Faigle and Orange Crate Brewery…Davie Franek also made his first ESS start of 2016 and was fast all night until he made contact with an inside tire during the A-Main…Kelly Hebing made her first start for 2016 with a 360 from Donath Motorworx…The Lucas Oil ESS Tour will now have a weekend off before heading to Merrittville on June 26th.
Mach 1 Chassis A-Main 25 Laps – Jason Barney ($2,000), Shawn Donath ($1,000), Lucas Wolfe ($800), Larry Wight ($630), Danny Varin ($530), Chuck Hebing ($470), Paul Kinney ($430), Dylan Swiernik ($420), Jeff Cook ($410), Sammy Reakes IV ($400), Bryan Howland ($360), Cory Sparks ($320), Matt Tanner ($300), Jonathan Preston ($290), Justin Barger ($285), Paulie Colagiovanni ($80), Chad Miler ($275), Mike Selter ($275), Tommy Wickham ($275), Keith Granholm ($275), Pete Richardson ($275), Dave Axton ($75), Parker Evans ($275), Davie Franek ($275).
Did Not Qualify – Tim Axton, Brandon Kidd, Dan Bennett, Denny Peebles, Kelly Hebing, Steve Hutchinson Jr., Bob Gray Lap Leaders – Barney 1-4, Donath 5, Barney 6, Donath 7-24, Barney 25. Car Mate Trailers Heat 1 – Franek, Wight, Stelter, Hebing, Barger, MillerCar Mate Trailers Heat 2 – Wolfe, Varin, Wickham, Kinney, Howland, TannerCar Mate Trailers Heat 3 – Barney, Evans, Donath, Reakes IV, Preston, Sparks Einstein Construction Group/Cobra Coaches Dash – Howland, Barger, Tanner, Miller, Preston, Sparks Lacaillade Masonry B-Man – Cook, Richardson, Granholm, Swiernik Provisional – D. Axton, Colagiovanni
BONUSES: Einstein Construction Group/Cobra Coaches Dash – Howland ($100), Barger ($75), Tanner ($50), Miller ($25), Preston $25), Sparks ($25)Insinger Fuels Hard Charger – Swiernik (14 pos.) $50Engler Machine and Tool Halfway – Donath $50E&V Energy – Hebing and Barger $50Ohsweken Speedway 21st Anniversary – Richardson $50Fondations 55 Pick 5 – Varin $35Beard Sewer and Drain Best Time – Franek, Howland, Donath $25Car Mate Trailers Heats – Franek, Wolfe, Barney $25911 Restoration – Cook, Howland $25Lucas Oil ESS 7-12 Challenge – None – $300 at Merrittville June 26th Hoosier Tires – Tanner $200Vahlco Wheels – Hebing $190
For more Information on the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints: Web: www.empiresupersprints.com Twitter: @ESSprints
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The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints are brought to you by: Lucas Oil, Mach 1 Chassis, Einstein Construction Group, SUNY Canton, NAPA Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tires, Donath Motorworx, Insinger Performance, Car Mate Trailers, Fondations 4 Saisons, Beard Sewer and Drain, Cobra Coaches, 911 Restoration, Westward Painting Company, Fondations 55, E&V Energy, Panther Frameworx, YorkMont Auctions,, Engler Machine and Tool, Northwood 2 Construction, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Lacaillade Masonry, FX Chevy, ASI Racewear and many, many associate sponsors!!