Lincoln Speedway race report 2002-05-11

Eash wins wild battle for his first Lincoln win of the year. Adrian Shaffer tops in 358 Sprints Chet McCormick survives for first career Thundercar win. ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 5/11/02 - There's nothing like a win to get you back on top of your game.

Eash wins wild battle for his first Lincoln win of the year.
Adrian Shaffer tops in 358 Sprints
Chet McCormick survives for first career Thundercar win.

ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 5/11/02 - There's nothing like a win to get you back on top of your game. That's exactly what the doctor ordered for Hanover's Cris Eash, as he chased down race-long leader Billy Sims of Enola, passed him for the lead on the 21st lap, and then held off friend and rival Steve Siegel in a two-lap shoot-out to the checkered for his first win of the year in the 25-lap super sprint feature at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night.

"We've been kind of struggling...I think our best finish was fifth place here," said Eash, "And we're not real used to that. We're hoping we can build from this."

But the win didn't come easy for Eash, as a determined Sims fought wheel-to-wheel with the former World of Outlaw Rookie of the Year for five straight laps before Eash was able to slide up in front of him exiting the fourth turn of the 21st lap.

"Boy, I didn't think I was going to get Billy (Sims) there for the longest time," said Eash,"We ran side-by-side there for several laps, and he wasn't giving up. Finally I got a good run and slid up in front of him and then it was pretty clear sailing from there."

Third-starting Sims drove past outside frontrow starter Doug Eash on the backstretch of the opening lap to grab the lead, with fifth-starting Chris Knopp pulling into third after passing polesitter Dan Shetler on the opening lap.

From there, Sims ran the high-groove to perfection, as the heavy-hitters tried to work their way through the field. A caution on the third lap for a stopped Todd Gracey, and then a multi-car tangle involving Greg Hodnett, Pat Cooper, Bobby Weaver, Chappy Knaack and Danny Murray on the ensuing restart, slowed the field.

"The track really slicked off, and I was no good on the top. I was just up there spinning around," said a tired but happy Eash, "So I backed my wing up, we made some changes under that red, and I thought I'd just try and work the bottom, keep the car as straight as I could...the car was working pretty good."

Sims was scored second on lap 21, but gave way to charging Steve Siegel and Lance Dewease on lap 22. Siegel actually slid under both Sims and Dewease to move from fourth to second on that lap. A lap later, disaster struck for Dewease, who squeezed between the spinning car of Dan Shelter and the outside wall on turn one, but bounced off the wall and came to a stop. The caution gave Siegel a shot a Eash, but Eash took away the low groove on the restart, and hung on for a .66-second win.

"I looked over and saw Steve (Siegel) was back there and I knew where he would be," said Eash, "So I just figured I'd hug the bottom those last couple of laps."

Advancing to third at the finish was 12th-starting Fred Rahmer, with Sims and Chris Knopp completing the top five. Rounding out the top ten were Brook Weibley, Johnny Mackison, Jr., Greg Hodnett (who came from the rear following the third-lap crash), Bobby Weaver, and Lance Dewease (who passed six cars over the final two laps).

Heats for the 26 super sprints were won by Gracey, Hodnett, and Dewease, with Niki Young winning the consolation.

York's Adrian Shaffer started third, followed Mike Bittinger for six laps, then used the low side of the race track to grab the lead and drive away to his first Lincoln win of the year in the 20-lap "358" sprint feature. It was his second career win in the Pigeon Hills. Joe Ilg drove the top side around Bittinger for second on lap 9, and for the next 10 laps the two buddies battled through every turn for the race lead. Ilg could never make the pass, and lost second to bottom-dweller Cory Haas on the final lap.

Haas actually closed so fast on Shaffer that he tapped Shaffer's rear end on the final turns, but Shaffer held on for the car-length win. Ilg crossed third, with Jim Siegel finishing fourth and Bittinger holding on for fifth. Completing the top ten were Darren Eash, Dale Hammaker, Scott Ausherman, Jake Raudabaugh, and Eric Stambaugh.

Heats for the 36 "358" sprints were won by Dan Dietrich, Tony Strine, Eash and Kenny Foor. Twin consolations were won by Raudabaugh and Billy Dietrich.

Survival was the name of the game in the thundercar feature as over half the field was eliminated by three multi-car melees in the opening laps. Emerging unscathed was former street stock stand-out Chet McCormick who was able to score his first career thundercar win after swapping the lead with Greg Messersmith over the final three laps. Even more amazing was the fact that Messersmith came from his 17th starting position to bag his inaugural win.

Polesitter Steve Gantz led the opening lap before the first of three multi-car accidents reduced the field. Craig Wagaman took over and led from lap two through laps five, but pulled off the track with mechanical problems on the sixth lap - handing the lead to Ken Berwager. Berwager then led the next three laps before sliding sideways in the third and fourth turns of the 10th lap, collecting all top-five runners at the time. This handed the lead to McCormick. McCormick then led until Messersmith began to pressure him with five laps to go and relinquished the top spot to Messersmith on the 17th lap. But McCormick fought back and retook the lead on the 18th lap and led the final two laps to take the checkered by .31 seconds over Messersmith for the win. David Prunkl, who started third, finished third, and was followed by Allen Cullum and Mike Ciezobka.

Heats for the 29 thundercars were won by Prunkl, Randy Zechman, and Bernie Beard, with Mike Ziegler Jr. winning the consolation.

This Wednesday night, May 15th, 2002, Lincoln Speedway will host a special night of racing to celebrate 50 years of continuous racing action at the track affectionately called - "The Fabulous Lincoln Speedway".

It will be a trip down memory lane this night as the men and machines that made Lincoln Speedway what it is today come together to celebrate, share stories, and bare witness to some of the best racing action ever to grace the legendary 3/8th mile oval.

The evening will be capped off with a special "50 lap" feature sponsored by John Gleim Excavating for the super sprinters who will be going after the $5,050 top prize. There will be an increased purse for all those that can qualify for the special 50th Anniversary Feature. Time trials and heats will be used to set the starting line-up which will offer at least $350 to those that qualify.

And not to be forgotten, the fendered racers, more commonly known as - Thundercars - will be on hand for there own special feature which will be sponsored by Miller Brothers Chevrolet and which will offer $305 to the winner, and an increased purse back through as well. Prize money will also be awarded for the heat winners, and, a special dash race will be held for the first and second place finishers of the heats which will pay $50 to the winner as well.

Gates will open at 5 PM, with warm-up at 6:30 PM, and time trials scheduled to start at 7 PM. Adult general admission will be $18, children 6-11 years of age $2, and students (ages 12-17 with a school ID) will be only $10.

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Chappy Knaack