Hanover, PA (February 28, 1998) - Sean Michael won his first career 410 sprint car race, taking the twenty five lap feature at Lincoln Speedway this afternoon. The 31 year old Allentown, PA. resident has decided to run with the Pennsylvania Posse in the 410 division this season, having won the URC sprint car championship in 1997. Michael raced into the second position by the end of the first lap from his outside second row starting position.
Darren Eash started on the pole and led the first lap comfortably until the yellow flew for Billy Pauch and Dan Dietrich, who tangled in turn four. Pauch was making a move underneath Dietrich when he got loose and drifted up into Dietrich. Pauch ended up landing on his top wing and both cars retired.
With one lap complete, Sean Michael lined up directly behind Darren Eash for the restart. When the green flag waved, Michael pulled a huge wheelie coming off turn four that gave Eash another comfortable lead down the front stretch. Michael soon reeled in the polesitter and took the lead on lap six.
Michael was unchallenged for the lead until late in the race when Jeff Shepard stormed to the front from his outside fourth row starting position. By the end of lap one, Shepard's 4j car was fifth, just behind Dave Haight. Haight bobbled with the 4j on its back bumper causing Shepard to get off the throttle. Jesse Wentz took advantage of the situation by slipping into fourth past both Haight and Shepard.
Shepard quickly dispatched Haight to engage in battle with Wentz. On lap five, Shepard passed Wentz around the high side in turn one. Three laps later, Shepard put the slide job on Tim Shaffer in turn four to take third.
Shepard set his sights on Darren Eash in second, as both drivers raced around the high side.
With eleven laps complete, Dave Haight stopped on the back stretch with a flat tire, bringing out the yellow.
On the restart, Shepard looked high coming out of four but that's where Eash decided to go too. Shepard tried the same thing into turn one and was successful in taking second.
The yellow flew after only lap of racing but Sean Michael continued to lead comfortably after the restart. With five laps to go, Shepard pulled within striking distance of the leader. Shepard's car was faster entering the turns and Michael's was faster getting off the turns. The pair raced nosed to tail through the turns for the last four laps, with Michael gaining an advantage on the straights.
Micheal led Shepard by two car lengths into turn one on the last lap. Shepard tried to maintain his speed through turns one and two for a shot a Michael down the backstretch but there was no where to go, as Shepard ran into the back of Michael's car in turn two. Both cars continued with Sean Michael sailing under the checkered flag by several car lengths over second place finisher, Jeff Shepard.
Kenny Jacobs was taken to an area hospital after he slammed the turn three wall on the first lap of heat three. Jacobs, who started on the last row, was entering turn three in the high groove when he lost control and hit the outside wall. There was no word on his condition at press time.
With overcast skies, the track stayed in great shape all afternoon. Jeff Shepard broke the ten lap track record by over four seconds in winning heat race one. The new record of 2:16.63 broke the previous record of 2:20.83 set by Jesse Wentz on February 23, 1996. Steve Siegel's winning time in heat three was nearly four seconds under Wentz's old record too.
The threatening skies held until the checkered fell on the sprint feature. Sean Michael's interview in victory lane was cut short when heavy rain started to fall.
The 15 lap Thunder car feature was postponed until next week (3/7/98).
Sprint Feature One Results (10 laps/6 qualify/4 draw) 1. 4j Jeff Shepard 2. 77 Fred Rahmer 3. 7e Darren Eash 4. 2w Jesse Wentz 5. 28 Brian Paulus 6. 92 Kevin Gobrecht 7. 17e Cris Eash 8. 25 Todd Gracey 9. 8d Billy Dietrich 10. 03 Jeff Miller 11. 10n Jeff Thompson (DNF)
Time: 2:16.63 (New 10-Lap Track Record)
Sprint Heat Two Results 1. 8 Dan Dietrich 2. 07 Dave Haight 3. 1 Billy Pauch 4. 461 Lance Dewease 5. 19 Rick Koenig 6. 65 Johnny Mackison Jr. 7. 43 Larry Shive 8. 69 Shawn Weaver 9. 17n Niki Young 10. 32 Randy Glover (DNS) 11. 77e Dave Ely (DNS)
Sprint Heat Three Results 1. 59 Steve Siegel 2. 12 Tim Shaffer 3. 10 Len Thompson 4. 88x Sean Michael 5. 88 Todd Shaffer 6. 53 Shawn Keen 7. 69 Don Kreitz Jr. 8. 94 Kenny Jacobs (DNF) 9. 55s Bill Sims (DNF) 10. 47 Scott Gesford (DNS) 11. 20 Brian Ellenberger (DNS)
Sprint Consi Results (10 laps/6 qualify) 1. 69 Don Kreitz Jr. 2. 25 Todd Gracey 3. 43 Larry Shive 4. 69 Shawn Weaver 5. 10n Jeff Thompson 6. 8d Billy Dietrich 7. 03 Jeff Miller 8. 32 Randy Glover 9. 20 Brian Ellenberger (DNF) 10. 17e Cris Eash (DNF) 11. 47 Scott Gesford (DNF) 12. 94 Kenny Jacobs (DNS) 13. 17n Niki Young (DNS) 14. 55s Bill Sims (DNS) 15. 77e Dave Ely (DNS)
Sprint Feature Results (25 laps) 1. Sean Michael ($2,500) 2. Jeff Shepard 3. Tim Shaffer 4. Fred Rahmer 5. Todd Shaffer 6. Steve Siegel 7. Lance Dewease 8. Darren Eash 9. Johnny Mackison Jr. 10. Jesse Wentz 11. Len Thompson 12. Don Kreitz Jr. 13. Kevin Gobrecht 14. Brian Paulus 15. Todd Gracey 16. Shawn Keen 17. Rick Koenig (DNF) 18. Billy Dietrich (DNF) 19. Dave Haight (DNF) 20. Shawn Weaver (DNF) 21. Jeff Thompson (DNF) 22. Larry Shive (DNF) 23. Dan Dietrich (DNF) 24. Billy Pauch (DNF)
David Reininger - Motorsport News International