Michael bests stellar field in Lincoln All-Star action; Mike Zeigler Sr. Edges Ciezobka in Thundercar thriller ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 5/3/03 - After finishing second in the spring All-Star show the last two years, the "Flying Fireman" would settle for...
Michael bests stellar field in Lincoln All-Star action; Mike Zeigler Sr. Edges Ciezobka in Thundercar thriller
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 5/3/03 - After finishing second in the spring All-Star show the last two years, the "Flying Fireman" would settle for no less than a win Saturday night at Lincoln Speedway.
Allentown's Sean Michael drove around polesitter Chris Knopp for the lead in the first two turns and led wire-to-wire in the 30-lap, $5,000-to-win All-Star "A" Main in the Pigeon Hills.
"Starting up front meant a lot," said a happy Michael upon exiting his Zemoco No.1 sprinter in victory lane. "We finished second in this race the past two years behind Lance, so I think we were due to win this thing...actually, we were probably due to win any race."
But, as is normally the case at the Abbottstown three-eighth mile oval, it wasn't as easy as it sounded. Michael took the checkered after challenges from many of the Pennsylvania Posse and All-Stars' best.
First it was Greg Hodnett, who ran second to Michael from laps four through 19, except for lap 12, when new All-Star Jeff Shepard (driving the Bob Miller Rigging No.2) drove around him for the runner-up spot in the third and fourth turns before Hodnett reclaimed the spot a half-lap later.
Then it was Lincoln points leader Lance Dewease, who came from 12th to slip under both Shepard and Hodnett in the first two turns of a 20th-lap restart. Both drivers got boxed in behind the lapped car of Greg Wilson, who restarted second on the grid one lap down.
Dewease was setting up for a serious backstretch challenge on a 28th-lap restart when his right rear tire lost air pressure and came off the wheel, causing him to slow and collect Chris Knopp, tipping the Acadia Financial Group No.6K onto its side in turn three.
After that, it was Greg Hodnett again, who tried the outside on a 29th-lap restart. But Michael stayed on the bottom, forcing Hodnett to lose momentum exiting turn two. He drove away to a .81-second win over the Apple Dealerships mount, with Shepard, Cris Eash, and All-Star points leader Chad Kemenah completing the top five.
"We just weren't fast enough through three and four, and kinda got hung out to dry a couple times around the top just trying to make something happen," said Hodnett on his second runner-up finish in a row. "That last lap was kind of a last ditch effort on that last restart, but it didn't work out for us because we just weren't good enough through three and four."
"I congratulate the Zemco team on a good run. We've been knocking on the door, but we just need a win. Second sucks."
"I knew Hodnett with two to go would have to make one last ditch effort," explained Michael. "But I knew as long as I kept in on the bottom and didn't break the wheels loose I would beat him coming off (turn) two."
Eash came from 14th starting spot to cross fourth, passing a fading Jason Johnson. Both Johnson and Shepard had tires going down over the final laps. While Shepard held on for third, Johnson fell from fourth to sixth over the final two laps.
"He (Johnson) pulled up beside me and I thought mine was going flat," said Shepard what went on during the late race caution. " I told him his was going flat, and I thought 'Awe (shoot), we're trying to get out there and keep our tires spinning' and they kept holding the yellows, and the yellows, and the yellows, and I was, like, 'Come on, I don't want to blow a tire.'"
On his performance the first two nights in the Miller No.2 sprinter Shepard said, "Our car wasn't bad tonight...we were a little tight in the dash, but we have a lot of room to work on this car.
"Two nights...two top-three finishes. We'll take it. The car's still in one piece...we're happy. I got the call (to drive this car) when I was in Florida to try to run this car, and I figured 'Well, I don't get to come back home too often, especially when I get a chance to run at Lincoln for the fans.' I like to come here and race, and we don't get a chance to run here often. We'll get 'em here next time."
The win, Michael's first since the July 3rd 2002 Pennsylvania Speedweek show at Silver Spring Speedway was his second career All-Star victory and the fourth of his career at Lincoln.
"I want to thank John Zemaitis and Pee Wee for sticking with me," Michael added. "For the money John spends, there's no doubt that his race car should have more wins, but hey, we win as a team and we lose as a team."
"The crew cost us a few and I cost us a few, and we just keep going. I'm still in the race car, and (those calling for my ouster) can go home and whine."
Donnie Kreitz, Jr. (who started 20th), Fred Rahmer, Glenndon Forsythe, and Steve Siegel (who started 21st) rounded out the top ten.
The Crown Battery heat fell to Dewease, the B&B Products heat went to Niki Young, the Engler Machine and Tool heat was won by Eash, and the TP Wings heat was claimed by Shepard. The United Aluminum Window Sales & Consulting B Main was won by Forsythe, while Kemenah captured the Haulmark Dash. Dean Jacobs was the Huggins Cams Fast Time qualifier over the 35-car field with a one-lap time of 13.437 seconds (100.469 MPH).
Stoverstown's Mike Zeigler Sr. Finally got a long awaited win Saturday night in the thrilling 20 lap thundercar feature.
Race-long leader Mike Ciezobka was going after his first career Lincoln thundercar win with five laps to go when Zeigler finally got around his son Zeigler Jr. to move into second. Zeigler saw point leader Bernie Beard take a look to his inside with three laps to go and decided to do the same to the leader. Zeigler stuck his nose under Ciezobka exiting the fourth turn with the two lap to go sign and edged Ciezobka for the lead at the line. Ciezobka tried to drive back around Zeigler in the first and second turns of the final lap and pulled along side heading into the final turns to the checkered. Both drove off the fourth turn side-by-side with Zeigler beating Ciezobka by a fender for his first win since the Kenny Weld Memorial in 2000.
Beard settled for third, Nat Tuckey fourth, and Greg Messersmith fifth. The win marked Zeigler's 11th career thundercar win at the Pigeon Hills oval and put him in a tie with Frank Howery for eighth on the all time thundercar win list.
Heats for the 23 thundercars were won by Craig Wagaman, Messersmith, and Chet McCormick.
Next Saturday night, May 10th, Lincoln Speedway will feature all three point divisions at the Pigeon Hills oval - the Cindy Rowe Paintless Dent Removal 410 Sprints, the 358 sprints and thundercars. In addition, the ever-popular Kids Big Wheel races will add to the evening's festivities. Gates will open at 5 PM, warm-ups take to the track at 6:30 PM, with the first heat set to take the green flag at 7 PM.
To get all the latest news, results, schedule changes and rule changes, visit Lincoln Speedway's website at http://www.lincolnspeedway.com to stay up-to-date on all the action or pending weather conditions at Central Pennsylvania's "Premier" Saturday night race track - The Fabulous Lincoln Speedway.