By Shawn Wood
For The Daily Item
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The last time the Empire Super Sprints had a full points show at Selinsgrove Speedway, Ted Reitz was the promoter and announcer and Dave Ely finished third in his first-ever ESS start.
On Saturday, ESS returns to challenge the speedway's premier division, the 358 sprint cars, in the ESS-sanctioned 360-358 challenge presented by MACH 1 Chassis.
It's the season-opening race for the club which celebrates its 30th season of sanctioning 360 sprint racing in the Northeast.
"Selinsgrove regular Bobby Parrow (Waterloo, N.Y.), who drove 410s at the time, won the race back in 1995," long-time ESS public relations director Dean Reynolds said. "We were looking for a Friday night race to go along with our stand-alone event on May 18 (full ESS points show), but we just couldn't find a place to run."
Reynolds noted that while the May date is up against the World of Outlaws at the Grove and URC is in Delaware, the $3,000-to-win feature should draw a good group of cars.
"Brian Scandle stepped up and supported us last year with giving a chassis to give away for our hard-luck award and he's sponsoring all three of the races at Selinsgrove that we are at this year," Reynolds added. "We supported him last year with his 360 series and he's been a big supporter of us and he's back again this year with the hard-luck aware."
Among the young drivers of the ESS series is 18-year-old Kevin Ward Jr, Boonville, N.Y.
Ward led the first-half of the 360-358 National Open last year and has raced his 270 micro sprint at Selinsgrove Raceway Park on several occasions.
"I like Selinsgrove," Ward said. "We raced at the go-kart track and at Linda's and Lanco and we are getting used to the clay they use in Central (Pennsylvania)." Ward spoke of the difference between the New York and Central Pennsylvania tracks.