Lincoln Speedway 2002 season in review

Rahmer claims sixth straight Cindy Rowe Sprint Car Championship; Cory Haas wins first 358 title; Bernie Beard earns fourth thundercar title. ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 11/9/02 - Lincoln Speedway will honor it's track champions and review the top-10 ...

Rahmer claims sixth straight Cindy Rowe Sprint Car Championship; Cory Haas wins first 358 title; Bernie Beard earns fourth thundercar title.

ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 11/9/02 - Lincoln Speedway will honor it's track champions and review the top-10 finishers in each of there respective point series - the Cindy Rowe Auto Glass Super Sprints, Budweiser 358 Sprints & Miller Brothers Thundercars - on Saturday night, November 23rd at the Altland House Banquet Center at the York Fairgrounds.

The big winners - Fred Rahmer (super sprints), Cory Haas (358 sprints), and Bernie Beard (thundercars) will all be on hand as they celebrate the end of the historic 50th season at the Pigeon Hills oval. They, along with a host of teammates and fans from there respective divisions, will all gather one last time in 2002 to re-live the highs, and lows, of another banner year at Lincoln Speedway.

The following is a review of all three point divisions in 2002:

RAHMER CLAIMS SIXTH STRAIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP

For the sixth consecutive year, Salfordville's Fred Rahmer, driving the Joe Harz-owned Miller Brothers/CnB Mushroom Farms/Media Camping Center No.88H sprinter, was crowned the 2002 champion in the Cindy Rowe Auto Glass Super Sprint Series. The championship was the seventh of Rahmer's career at Lincoln (1994 and 1997-2002).

Rahmer capped-off his championship season with a big win in the Kenny Weld Memorial. All told, Rahmer recorded 22 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes in 25 events at the Pigeon Hills oval

Rahmer also broke his own record, becoming the first driver in Lincoln Speedway history to win at least 10 races in six consecutive years (1997 - 11 wins, 1998 - 17 wins, 1999 - 10 wins, 2000 - 15 wins, 2001 - 13 wins, 2002 - 10 wins) for an astounding six-year total of 76 wins, raising his overall win total at Lincoln to 122 wins, just 28 shy of all-time Lincoln winner Steve Smith.

Lance Dewease, a regular competitor at Lincoln this season, captured five wins, 19 top five, and 22 top ten finishes on route to capture runner-up honors in the season-ending point standings.

Greg Hodnett was also a five-time winner and finished ninth in points despite missing several shows while on the road. Two-time winners were Doug Esh (2001 Rookie of the Year) and Keith Kauffman (Ice Breaker 30 season opener winner).

1996 champ Cris Eash claimed a single win in 2002 en route to a third place finish in the season-long point series with 12 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes as well.

Though none of them scored a feature win, Brook Weibley, Johnny Mackison Jr., Chris Knopp, Steve Siegel, and Bobby Weaver all finished in the top-10 at least 15 times to complete solid seasons and finished fourth through eighth in the point standings.

2001 Hard Luck Award-winner Niki Young missed a month of the season but was consistent enough to finish 10th in the season point standings.

Both Lance Dewease and Fred Rahmer recorded special wins in 2002.

Dewease came up big in winning the All Star Circuit of Champions event on May 4th and claiming the season-ending Manufacturers Appreciation race on October 18th.

In addition to Rahmer's milestone accomplishments in 2002, Rahmer won the special 50th Anniversary race on May 15th, the Daryl Gohn/Glenn Gohn Sr. memorial on July 20th, and the Annual Kenny Weld Memorial on October fifth.

Other accomplishments of note saw Lancaster racer Esh notching his first career Lincoln win on June 1st and Hodnett claiming the Annual Kevin Gobrecht Memorial (Pennsylvania Speedway Opener) on June 29th and the Annual Bobby Abel Memorial on August 31st.

Another season highlight saw Richard the Gasman Griffith winning a thrilling SCRA Non-wing World Championship event at the Pigeon Hills on August 10th.

The top three feature lap leaders were Hodnett (127), Dewease (113), and Rahmer (105).

CORY HAAS WINS FIRST 358 TITLE

For the first time in five years, Lincoln's 358 sprint title was decided before the last race of the season. This time, Dallastown's Cory Haas, on the heals of a series-leading four wins, claimed the Budweiser points title, his first-ever in the 358 division anywhere. Last year's "Most Improved Driver" award winner recorded ten top-five finishes in 13 races, and capped off the season by winning the season-ending 358 Sprint Championship on September 7th. His other three wins came on consecutive weeks (7/6, 7/13, and 7/20).

Haas' four victories gave him five career wins in the Pigeon Hills, tying him for sixth with Darren Eash on the all-time Lincoln 358 win list. He also led the most laps during the season (39).

Overall, there were eight different winners in the 358 division. The only multiple winners were 2001 champ Eric Stambaugh (who finished runner-up in points with five top-five and nine top-ten finishes) and season-opening winner Chad Trout, with two wins apiece.

Denver's Alan Krimes scored his career win in the final points race of the season on August 31st. Other single winners were Darren Eash, Joe Ilg, Greg Leiby, and Adrian Shaffer.

Third in points behind Haas and Stambaugh was 2001 Rookie of the Year Jim Siegel, followed by Dan Dietrich, and Brian Leppo. Though none of those three drivers won in 2002, Siegel recorded five top-five and seven top tens, Dietrich finished in the top five four times and top ten five times, and Leppo recorded one top-five and seven top-tens in consistent performances.

Finishing sixth through 10th in points were Brian Eichelberger, Dale Hammaker, Krimes, Trout, and Scott Ausherman.

BERNIE BEARD CLAIMS FOURTH THUNDERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP

Abbottstown's Bernie Beard finished in the top ten 24 out of 28 races to claim his fourth career track championship in Lincoln's thundercar division. His impressive season totals included four wins and 20-top five finishes.

The title ended a three-year run by cousin Bobby Beard, who was not a regular at Lincoln in 2002.

The season-long points battle went down to the final race for second, with season win leader Neil Smith losing the runner-up spot to three-time winner Nat Tuckey in the final points race. Smith won five times in 2002, upping his all-time win total to 29 (second behind all-time winner Beard, who has 67 career wins at Lincoln).

Rounding out the top five behind Beard, Tuckey, and Smith were Steve Clabaugh and Duane Watson. Sixth through tenth were Allen Cullum, Chet McCormick, Kenny Berwager, Mike Walls, and Bobby Rudisill.

Twelve different drivers won races in 2002, including three-time winners Clabaugh and Rudisill, two-time winners Gary Potts, Mike Walls, and retiring Watson, and single winners Jeremy Brown, Sean Herrick, McCormick, and Craig Wagaman.

Tuckey was clearly the series lap leader, with 72 laps led, followed by Clabaugh with 55.

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Steve Smith , Neil Smith