Central Pennsylvania weekend summary 2004-04-25

Two-time national champion Rick Eckert of York, PA returned to his home track Saturday night to score his first World of Outlaws late model win in the 50-lap Stanley Schetrompf Memorial at the Hagerstown Speedway. Eckert, who earned $10,000 for...

Two-time national champion Rick Eckert of York, PA returned to his home track Saturday night to score his first World of Outlaws late model win in the 50-lap Stanley Schetrompf Memorial at the Hagerstown Speedway.

Eckert, who earned $10,000 for his 15th career win at Hagerstown, was the ninth different late model winner in nine races this year at the half-mile oval.

"I didn't know whether I was ever going to get a World of Outlaw win," said Eckert, "It is nice coming home and winning this before my hometown fans. They even brought my 93-year old grandfather, who isn't in good health, to watch tonight. It was a thrill to win with him here."

Eckert started on the outside pole and quickly pulled away to a 10-car length lead by the third lap with pole-sitter Scott Bloomquist in pursuit. Steve Francis took over second when Bloomquist brought out the caution on lap seven and was able to stay within striking distance of the leader. Francis closed in on Eckert's bumper on the 15th lap, but Eckert was able to open a five-car length lead as the leaders began to put the slower cars a lap down on the 23rd circuit. Francis closed in on the leader on lap 27 as Eckert approached two lapped cars racing side-by-side. Francis pulled in front going down the backstretch, but Eckert was able to put his nose in front when the two cars notched lap 28 and was back in front when the second and final caution was waved on lap 29.

Eckert set the pace on the restart and was able to keep a comfortable 10-car length lead over Francis the rest of the way to score his first win in the new World of Outlaw Late Model Series.

"I wanted to win the dash too, but I am glad that Bloomquist won," added Eckert. "He made me go in and work on my car because I knew I definitely needed to get better. Robby (Allen, crew chief) and I came to conclusions the things we had to do to get better and made some changes that made us better than we were in the dash, that's for sure."

Francis, who started third, settled for the runner-up spot for the second time in as many nights. Bart Hartman held off seventh starting Chub Frank for third after setting fast-time of 18.639 seconds in time trials.

Brian Birkhofer rounded out the top five. Dale McDowell was next with Bloomquist coming from the rear of the field for seventh after changing tires on the seventh lap. Randall Chupp was next with 18th starting Donnie Moran ninth and 17th starting Mike Balzano finishing out the top ten.

Heat winners for the 49 cars were Birkhofer, Bloomquist, Eckert and Francis. Balzano and Moran won the B-Mains. Bloomquist won the dash.

In other action, Marvin Winters led every lap from the pole to win the 20-lap late model sportsman feature for his first win of the year.

LANCE DEWEASE JOINS TWO-TIME WINNERS AT LINCOLN

Winning has become twice as nice at Lincoln Speedway.

For the fourth consecutive week, a super sprint driver has claimed his second feature victory of the season in the Pigeon Hills. On Saturday, it was Lance Dewease's turn.

"It's always fun when you win," he said.

The defending track champion passed race leader Eric Stambaugh with four laps remaining by taking the only avenue open to him.

"He was real fast on the bottom, so there was only one other place to go and that was the top," the Fayetteville driver, who joined Doug Esh, Cris Eash and Fred Rahmer as double winners this season, said. "We just kept hammering away and hammering away and finally got a run at him, got by him and used up all of the track."

Starting ninth, Dewease took his time to become a factor while three other drivers took turns at the lead after a rough start to the 25-lap race. The feature had to be restarted after the car of polesitter Chappy Knaack spun in front of the field on the initial start. The spin forced Greg Hodnett's car into the second turn wall while Jeff Busby's No. 47J rolled onto its side in the inside of the second turn. Then, on the restart, Josh Wells' car flipped in the third corner, forcing a second red flag before the first lap was completed.

However, once the proceedings began in earnest, Chris Knopp paced the first two laps before Darren Eash powered around the outside of the second turn to take command for the next 11 circuits and through three caution flags. Stambaugh, who started eighth, then showed his cards, taking the low groove to finally pass Eash at the flagstand at the end of the 13th lap.

But when Eash's car spun in the fourth corner with 18 laps down, the caution flag erased Stambaugh's edge and allowed Dewease, who inherited second spot when Eash spun, to eventually work his way to the front. Dewease took his 24th career triumph at Lincoln and second feature win of the week after he drove the Al Hamilton Motorsports entry to victory lane in Susquehanna Speedway Park's opener on Sunday night.

"We run a different car on Friday night (at Williams Grove Speedway) than we do here," the driver of the Manheim Auto Auctions No. 77 said. "That car was pretty old, so we put a new car together for tonight and it's a lot better race car, so we'll be all right."

"I wasn't a bit concerned," Hamilton said of his revamped team for the 2004 season. "I figured we'd get going here after a while."

Dewease was good enough on Saturday night, when he found his concern about Stambaugh was legitimate despite his winning margin of 1.64 seconds at the checkered flag.

"All year long, we've said there's not a car here that gets off the corner like Stambaugh's does," Dewease said of the East Berlin driver's No. 4. "That thing just jumps off the corners. If he gets more laps under him, he's going to be pretty tough."

Stambaugh, whose car had lost its brakes with five laps remaining, held off a fast-closing Rahmer for second place after Rahmer, the current points leader, had started 12th. Doug Esh took fourth place ahead of Brian Montieth, Cris Eash (who started 20th afer he was involved in a heat race accident and placed second in the consolation), Jim Siegel, Billy Dietrich, Niki Young (who battled back from a 13th-lap spin) and Knopp.

In the second visit for the Pennsylvania 305 sprints this season to Lincoln, Carlisle's Jim Wentz passed race leader Tommy Beavers off the fourth corner of the final lap of the 20-lap feature to score his first career victory.

In the 10th thundercar feature of the 2004 season at Lincoln, Gettysburg's Mike Walls joined Mike Zeigler Sr. as the second double winner of the campaign when he took an outside route to pass polesitter and race-long leader Mike Ciezobka in the second turn for his 10th career win in the Pigeon Hills. Walls had started eighth in the 24-car field and completed his charge to the front of the 16th circuit of the 20-lap feature.

OTHER WEEKEND RACING ACTION

MARK SMITH BECOMES PORT TWO-TIME SPRINT WINNER

Camp Hill's Mark Smith came back after crashing while leading the week before to finish the job and win his second 410 sprint feature of the season at Port Royal Speedway Saturday night. The win, his second overall as well in 2004 came over Jeff Shepard, defending track champion Todd Shaffer, Todd Hestor and Keith Kauffman.

Defending late model track champion Scotty Haus finally got things back on track by picking up his first win of the season in the 20 lap late model feature over Steve Campbell and Nick Dickson.

Both Bill Powell and Terry Goshorn picked up there first wins of the season in pro stock and four-cylinder stock car action respectively.

BOB FANNASY BREAKS PERIGO'S WIN STREAK IN SPORTSMAN FEATURE

Daulphin's Bob Fannasy passed Skip Findley following an 18th lap caution restart for the lead and led the rest of the way to pick up his first win of the year in the 25 lap super sportsman feature at Silver Spring Speedway Saturday night.

In the process Fannasy ended Carmen Perigo's three-race win streak. Perigo failed to qualify for the feature.

Fannasy picked up his 27th career sportsman win over Dave Calaman, Jim Shuttlesworth, Jason Fry and Smokey Snellbaker.

It was the Carl and Mark Billet show in the 20 lap limited late model feature with Carlisle's Carl Billet leading the final seven laps for his 52nd career win. Jake Lettich passed Mark Billet for second, with Sterling Kinard finishing fourth and Carl Graves fifth.

Bryan Michael of Jonestown won the 15 lap four-cylinder feature for his fifth overall feature win of the season.

NOUSE WINS FIRST SPRINT RACE FOR HIGHLANDS TEAM

Kevin Nouse of Lewisberry posted his first win of the season in the 25-lap 358 sprint feature Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway. The win was the fourth of Nouse's career as he became the fifth different winner in as many races at the Snyder County Oval. Jason Shultz finished second and Nate Snyder third.

Eric Hons of Benton drove to his first win of the season in the 20-lap late model feature in a non-stop 20-lap time of seven minutes and 40 seconds, just shy of a new track record.

Early race-leader Chris Wilkinson held on for second and eighth-place starter Jeff Rine moved up to finish third.

Nate Kerstetter picked up his first win of the season in the pro stock feature while Keith Bissinger picked up his third win of the season in four events in roadrunner action.

STEVE BUCKWALTER WINS FOURTH 250CC RACE OF 2004 AT TRAIL-WAY

Steve Buckwalter picked up his fourth win of 2004 in seven starts in 250cc micro-sprint action at Trail-Way Speedway Saturday night. Buckwalter made a wild first lap dash to the front from his distant 12th starting position to take the lead by the time the first lap was in the books and then went on to lead all 20 laps for his fifth career win at the beautiful Hanover oval.

Keith Woodson finished in second followed by Michael Schreiber in third, Bill Laughman in fourth and Nik Gower in fifth.

Jimmy Brookens won his third 600cc micro-sprint feature of the 2004 season with a second lap pass of race-long leader Dwayne Gutshall and led the rest of the way. Brookens is now tied with Timmy Dietz on the all time win list with eight wins.

In classic car competition, Bill Brown Sr. picked up his twelfth Trail-Way career win.

Joe Racine picked up the win in four-cylinder starlite stocks while Richard Eck picked up the win in the six-cylinder starlite stocks action.

Michael Racine was the scramble car feature winner.

JASON MEYERS OUTLAW TALLADEGA WINNER

Jason Meyers picked up his second World of Outlaws A-feature of the season Saturday night, leading all 35 laps at Talladega Short Track in Talladega, AL. Meyers took the checkered over Shane Stewart and Kraig Kinser.

HANNAGAN WINS ELDORA ALL STAR ACTION FOR CAREER FIRST

A hurricane blew through Eldora Speedway Saturday night. Randy "Hurricane" Hannigan won the Haulmark All Star sprint car 30 lap feature, recording his first career All Star win.

Hannigan started sixth, took second with 12 laps in and passed leader Danny Smith for the win on lap 19.Hannagan won by two car lengths over Smith and All Star point leader Chad Kemenah.

WEEKEND RAIN-OUTS

Rain on Friday night forced the cancellation of all area racing action that night which included Williams Grove Speedway, Trail-Way Speedway, and Selinsgrove Raceway Park.

Then on Sunday, Susquehanna Speedway Park, who had rescheduled from Thursday night to Sunday evening for the second week in a row, was forced to cancel after rains came into the Newberrytown area in the afternoon.

-bill meyer-

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Scott Bloomquist , Donnie Moran , Rick Eckert , Brian Birkhofer , Bill Brown , Jason Meyers , Shane Stewart , Chappy Knaack , Steve Francis , Chad Kemenah
Teams Williams