Lance Yonge wins over Stewart again

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Lance Yonge in Canandaigua Speedway's victory lane.

It was a memorable night for many reasons as the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (ESS) made their annual trek to the Canandaigua Motorsports Park Saturday night.  But for Penn Yan’s Lance Yonge, even more so.

Not only did Yonge take the lead back from Justin Barger in lapped traffic to go on to a very popular victory — his fourth at the track, but he also defeated defending Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart for the second time in his career.

Yonge, who is in the middle of his own championship battle, defeated Stewart in 2010 at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park.  

“We got a little lucky tonight, we had a real good car but, if the lap cars didn’t get in Justin’s (Barger) way I’m not sure if we could have gotten him,” said the driver of the Johnson Farms #17J. “I wasn’t going to go off the bottom though. That cushion was a real long way around, so I was going to stick where I was.”

It was Yonge’s second win of the season, moving  him into second in the overall points.

“We have so many friends and family here tonight.  To win at a track that is so close to home means a lot.” Yonge went on. “We never did win here in the modified for some reason, but I really like it here and glad we can do well in the sprint car.”

The battle for the lead was indeed epic between Yonge and current ESS point leader Barger.  While Yonge was down low, Barger was using the extreme outside of the track, thrilling the big crowd with some daring moves.

Yonge took the lead from Sammy Reakes IV on lap eight with Barger slipping by on lap 12 and then when a lap car forced Barger into the outside turn two wall, Yonge took the lead back for good on lap 18.

It was a disappointing second for Barger, although he had a little luck on his side. With the wall encounter, the right rear wheel got bent, and in victory lane his tire went flat. 

“It was real fun racing with Lance. He deserved it, and we will come back and try to get them again,” said Barger.

While the battle for the lead made news, another story was taking place in the closing laps where defending ESS champ Chuck Hebing and Stewart himself caught the eye of the crowd with a pair of slide jobs on the last lap.

The last pass was done by Hebing in turns three and four coming for the checkers as he nipped the Office Depot #14 for the third place finish.

“I messed up a bit there and allowed him to get by me, but he just didn’t get a run down the backstretch, so he kinda returned the favor going into turn three.” said Hebing. He then continued with a laugh. “I’m just glad I didn’t hit him and knock him out of tomorrow’s race! (the Sprint Cup event at Watkins Glen)”

Stewart took fourth which still sees the Columbus, Indiana star winless in four ESS starts.

NASCAR?Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart got a win from the pole at Black Rock Speedway Aug. 10. This was the first time in Tony’s 32 years of racing that he drew pole in the re-draw. With him in Victory Circle is Black Rock queen Lisa Cornish.