VERNON, N.Y. – The banquet room at the Vernon Downs Hotel and Casino was filled to capacity as 22 different drivers shared from $71,451 in cash and contingencies closing down the 2012 Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint (ESS) season.
Chuck Hebing took home the largest share with the crowning of his second consecutive ESS title.
A big announcement during the banquet was kicking off next season’s 30th Anniversary Tour with the start of the ESS Hall of Fame. Inducted were ESS greats Gordy Button, Mal Lane and Mike Woodring. Between the three drivers were 17 ESS championships and 124 career A-Main victories.
The “Cobra” Chuck Hebing celebrated his second tour title and during the night he also was acknowledged for winning the Universal Stars and Stripes Tour, The Cobra Coaches Dash Series, the AKS Top Gun CNY Shootout, Gater News Lap Leader Award and the Co-Champion of the SUNY Canton Series.
Hebing’s take home as the champion totaled $8,852 which included a $1,300 shotgun and case from AKS and half off a complete sprint car kit from XXX.
Also honored during the night was Lance Yonge who took second in the overall points behind Hebing and was the Co-Champion on the SUNY Canton Series with the Ontario, N.Y. star. Yonge’s total was $6,502 which included a set of pistons from JE Pistons.
First year competitor Paul Kinney took home many awards which included the prestigious Lucas Oil Outstanding New Comer Award where he joined the likes of Yonge, Bobby Parrow, Roger Horvath, Rick Wilson, Erin Crocker and others. The driver of the sharp No. 19K also earned the Fondations 4 Saisons Quebec Super Star Series and the Finish Line Web Design Best Appearing Car Award.
It took six long years for Michael Parent to claim his first ESS A-Main victory. He soon followed up by winning the first ever ESS Wingless challenge in route to a fine sixth place in points and the Eric Varin Roofing RPM Challenge winged/wingless Challenge title. With his effort he was awarded the Pilat Design Most Improved Driver Award.
The driver of the Mucci Motorsports No. 98 was 15-year-old Joe Trenca, the grandson of Ron Mucci. Joe came into the 2012 season looking to gain valuable experience and when it was all said and done he won the popular Lane’s Yamaha Rookie of the Year Award.
Shawn Donath was recognized as the recipient of the annual John Zentner Memorial Award and was also honored for winning the Le Groupe Ultra Tour of Canada with his total earnings for the night $5,545.
But, the accolades for the Donath/Emery team didn’t stop there as Pete Lewandowski was awarded with the Lucas Oil ESS Mechanic of the Year award. An award that was voted on by the race teams.
ESS Official and webmaster Tom Rightmyer received the Mal Lane Award of Excellence. Tom produces one of the sharpest websites around and the ESS family is lucky to have such a dedicated asset.
The annual hard luck award was sponsored by Mach-1 Chassis with the prize being a complete Mach-1 frame to the driver chosen. Four teams were determined to have the toughest luck on 2012 and the winner was Quebec’s Patrick Vigneault.
Teams that entered all ESS full point events were recognized as were all the A-Main winners from 2012 with special silver cups sponsored by S&W Awards.
The Lucky Giveaway Program totaled over $9,400 with the 19 teams that ran 2/3rds of the full tour collecting a prize from the many contributors of the program. The set of ASCS Heads from Brodix which is the largest prize this year went to Matt Tanner.