Lincoln Speedway race report 2003-04-19

Niki Young becomes third first-time 410 Sprint winner in five races at Lincoln; Stambaugh Overpowers 358 Sprint Field; Beard notches 70th thundercar victory ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 4/19/03 - "Go, Daddy. Go, Daddy." Those were the words of Niki...

Niki Young becomes third first-time 410 Sprint winner in five races at Lincoln; Stambaugh Overpowers 358 Sprint Field; Beard notches 70th thundercar victory

ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 4/19/03 - "Go, Daddy. Go, Daddy."

Those were the words of Niki Young's son, Cole, in Young's arm, but they were said after Saturday night's super sprint feature at Lincoln Speedway. Even so, it was the best advice which Young could have gotten and he followed it to the letter, scoring his first career super sprint feature win to cap an epic three-car duel in the Pigeon Hills.

Ironically, in the end, Young outraced Greg Hodnett to the checkered flag to win by only .28 second.

"Greg Hodnett's my idol. He's a great help to me and I just can't believe this. I thought this day would never come," the Spring Grove driver said.

It nearly didn't for Young, whose easiest move of the 25-lap feature was his pass of outside polesitter Craig Smith for the top spot on the third lap. That came after a six-car accident on the opening lap enabled Young to move up from his eighth starting spot.

But neither Chris Knopp nor Kevin Drury, Lincoln's other first-time feature winners this season, had to work quite like Young to go to the finish of the season's fifth super sprint feature. Though he led the rest of the way, Young's drive to victory nearly ended when he almost hit the spinning car of Dan Shetler in the third turn on the sixth lap.

Knopp then encountered a literal roadblock when he encountered the car of Doug Esh, trying to stay on the lead lap with four laps remaining. That allowed two-time feature winner Cris Eash, who charged from 12th starting spot, and Greg Hodnett, who came back from a flat tire suffered in the first-lap melee, to close the gap.

With two laps to go, as all three threaded through lapped traffic, Young drove high into the second turn, slid up and made contact with Eash, whose car slammed broadside into the outside guardrail and spun around, nearly flipping over. The red flag which followed put Hodnett and another feature winner this season, Lance Dewease, on Young's tail.

"I really don't remember. All I remember is that Hodnett passed me before that wreck came out. I don't know if I would have been able to get him back in all of that traffic. That red was a blessing to us to get me out away from traffic, where I could run clean laps and keep up my momentum, " Young said.

But the last two laps belonged to Young and Hodnett, who swapped the lead twice before Young won the drag race off the fourth turn to give him his fourth victory at Lincoln, including three thundercar wins earlier in his career.

"I heard him underneath me and once I saw it was him, I mean, he's awesome," Young said after his first victory in his first season in the No. 10N. "I thought, 'Man, I don't know.' I pulled the car underneath him and it just drove off. The car was awesome. These guys (on my crew) do an awesome job. Denny Neiderer gave me the opportunity to drive the car this year and it's a lot easier on my pocket."

Following Hodnett at the checkers were Dewease in third, and great solid run for Smith to hang on for fourth, and Billy Sims fifth. Completing the top-10 were Johnny Mackison Jr., Bobby Weaver, Josh Wells, Esh and Glenndon Forsythe.

The opening-lap crash, which occurred after Brian Leppo's car spun in front of most of the field, took out the track's leading active feature winner, Fred Rahmer, whose car suffered front end damage. Meanwhile, Eash, whose duel with Young ended with his crash, was able to return and he settled for 15th place.

Heats for the 29 "410" sprints were won by Smith, Forsythe and Hodnett, with Steve Siegel winning the consolation.

In the 358 sprint feature, East Berlin's Eric Stambaugh grabbed the top spot from Mike Bittinger on the 10th lap and led the rest of the 20-lap feature. Bittinger led through two early caution flags and a red flag, waved when the track was blocked after a multi-car crash on the eighth lap.

After the pass, Bittinger chased Stambaugh to the finish over the remaining non-stop distance of Stambaugh's fifth career win at Lincoln. Last week's winner, Cory Haas, came home in third place ahead of Chad Trout and Scott Ausherman. Completing the top-10 were Keith Prutzman, Billy Johns, Dave Gable, Michael Creaghan and Brandon Grandstaff.

Heats for the 37 "358" Sprints were won by Will Urkuski, Mark Freeland, Billy Dietrich and Bittinger, with Creaghan and Grandstaff winning consolations.

In the 20-lap thundercar feature, Bernie Beard scored his third feature win of the season and track-record 70th of his career. Craig Wagaman led the feature's first 11 laps, but his car came to a stop in the second corner, handing the lead to New Oxford's Bobby Rudisill, bidding for his second straight victory. A 15th-lap caution brought chief pursuers Neil Smith and Bernie Beard behind Rudisill, but Rudisill led until his car spun in the fourth corner with less than three laps remaining because of a flat tire. From there, Beard, who had edged Smith at the line during the last completed lap, took command.

Smith claimed second spot ahead of Steve Clabaugh, Chet McCormick and Mike Zeigler Jr.. Completing the top-10 were , Roy Warehime, Nat Tuckey, Al Crammer, Mike Zeigler Sr. And Fred Lloyd.

Heats for the 26 thundercars were won by Craig Wagaman, Bobby Rudisill and Mike Zeigler Sr.

Next Saturday night, April 26th, Lincoln Speedway will play host to the 64th Annual season opening race for the Ray's Yamaha "Polaris" Victory ARDC Midget Series (ARDC). Joining them will be the Cindy Rowe Paintless Dent Removal 410 Sprints and Thundercars. Racing action is slated to get underway at 7 PM, with gates opening at 5 PM (two hours prior to green flag action), and warm-ups taking the track at 6:30 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.

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Series Sprint