By MIKE MALLETT
Pennsylvania driver Tyler Esh suffered a terrible crash last fall at the Eldora Speedway during the Four Crown Nationals. Esh had multiple fractures to deal with over the off-season including in his back. He recovered and he was able to return to Sprint Car racing at the beginning of the 2018 season.
It’s been a tough start for Esh. Although he’s happy to be back in the car the team has been chasing some mechanical demons which has cost them good finishes including at Williams Grove Speedway where he sacrificed a pole starting position. He and the team were in need of a pick me up.
“We had some mechanical issues and we were chasing it, chasing it and chasing it,” said Esh. “We gave up a pole starting spot at the Grove. I feel like we had a shot at that, but we had mechanical issues. We finally figured it out and it feels really good.”
They definitely figured it out on Saturday night at the Lincoln Speedway as the 26-year-old pilot drove his Kistler powered Maxim to the win for the first time in his career at the Pigeon Hills oval.
“Finally is right,” commented Esh when asked what it means to finally win at Lincoln. “We’ve struggled here, never gave up and always came back.”
Esh beat the best Lincoln has to offer as Brian Montieth was hot on his heels in the closing laps of the race. A caution with three to go gave Montieth one final opportunity. At the green Esh just blasted the cushion as hard as he could. Whatever the outcome, he wasn’t going to go down with a fight.
“Like I said in victory lane, when we had the caution with three to go and I saw the 21 (Montieth) in second I didn’t really know what to do other than hit my marks and not make a mistake and see what happens,” said Esh. “I knew I was going to win or put in the fence trying. It worked out for us.”
Not only did Esh face competition from Montieth late, but he also had Glendon Forsythe and Cory Haas working him over at different stages in the race. As he got to traffic initially Esh eased the pace which opened the door for the field behind him to close in.
“That was my fault because I should have been more aggressive than I was when I was catching the back of the field there,” stated Esh. “It ran through my mind that I was being a little too conservative. I’m not really sure if I wanted to see the caution or didn’t want to see the caution, but it worked out for us.”
Last season’s crash occurred as Esh competed regularly with the All Star Circuit of Champions, something he’ll take up a gain in 2018 as he hopes to improve even more with a second year on the road.
“This will be our second full year with the All Stars,” cited Esh. “This is a confidence booster for sure. We are going to chase the checkered flag all year.”
Esh will have his first taste of All Star action next weekend as the traveling organization rolls into Williams Grove on Friday night before heading to Port Royal Speedway on Saturday. Esh will be hoping for runs like he experienced on Saturday night.
“We will keep our head down and keep digging,” he said. “We have a long season ahead of us and you never know when momentum and luck can change.”