Penn Nationals report 96-06-16

SPRINTS: Penn National 96-06-16 June 16, 1996 Grantville, PA Greetings sprint car fans from the Penn National Speedway located adjacent to the Penn National horse racing facility. Sorry for the delay in posting. Penn National Speedway is...

SPRINTS: Penn National 96-06-16 June 16, 1996 Grantville, PA

Greetings sprint car fans from the Penn National Speedway located adjacent to the Penn National horse racing facility. Sorry for the delay in posting. Penn National Speedway is found at exit 28 off of I-81, approximately 10 miles northeast of Harrisburg. This was Mr. G's and my first visit to the track, what a great facility! The track is considered a half mile oval with very slight banking. There is a high wooden main grandstand on the front stretch with regular grandstand seating at the turn one and four ends of the front stretch. Under the main grandstand are modern bathroom facilities, good tasting food which was reasonably priced, and a great variety of souvenir's. There is also an infield and a drive in spectator viewing area. The price for admission was $15.00 for adults and $3.00 for children 6 - 10. Thjis was my Fathers Day present from my son.

The racing program found the 410 sprint cars appearing for the 30 lap Dick "Tobby" Tobias Memorial which paide $3,500 to the winner. In addition to the sprint cars the regular featured series of NASCAR Sportsman Modifieds ran a 25 lap feature. Billy Pauch was the defending sprint car Toby Tobias Memorial winner while Kenny Brightbill was the Sportsman Modified defending champion.

For those readers unfamiliar with the Tobias name I offer the following brief paragraphs from a feature article in the Aristocrat which is the program published by Program Dynamics for Big Diamond Raceway and Penn National Speedway. "Not only was Tobias a truly gifted racer, he was an innovator, a successful businessman and a race promoter. He attained legend status while alive and started a legacy that continues today." "Tobias is also credited with introducing the first mass produced tubular frame race cars, thus eliminating the old practice of cutting up old passenger vehicles and converting them into race cars." In a USAC sanctioned event on "June 23, 1978, at the Flemington Speedway Toby caught the inside guard rail with his tire in turn one and flipped violently; bringing a tragic end to a legendary career that touched the hearts of so many."

The racing program for the evening started with four heat races for the NASCAR Sportsman Modifieds which were ten laps in distance with five to qualify. The sprint cars then had three heat races which were also ten laps in length with six to qualify. The top three finishers from each heat then pulled a pill to determine starting position for the feature. The Sportsman then had two consolation races which were ten laps in distance with only three to qualify. The sprints then went with a six lap consolation with six to qualify. The Sportsman twenty five lap feature was first followed by the 30 lap Sprint feature. I will be providing limited information on the Sportsman events first since has some direct bearing relating to the sprint car action. Billy Pauch and Tracey Readinger were the only drivers to do double duty for the evening, if you are a Pauch fan you will enjoy this report!

Signed into the pits were 25 of the 410 Sprint cars and 37 of the NASCAR sportsman Modifieds. It took extra time to prepare the track due to the heavy rains of the week which had resulted in the third turn being under water. The Sportsman Modifieds ran extra warm up laps to help work the track in. Racing was scheduled to start at 6:00 PM and the hot laps started at 5:58 PM.

Sprint Car Hot Lap Notes The #1 of Billy Pauch was out to get heat in the engine and returned to the pits. When he was out for heat his top wing was flat. When Billy returned to the track for the hot lap session his top wing did not look right and as he exited turn two the wing blew up. Evidently the pins for the front brackets were not secured which resulted in a damaged wing and the car hitting the wall slightly. The #5 of Eshenaur seemed to have engine troubles as well as the #6 of Fanasy. Also of interest Billy Brian Jr. was driving his #16 car again and not the Scarpita #59.

Modified Heat One Qualifiers, ten cars 1.) #26 Mike Giannini, 2.) #58 Terry Reimert, 3.) #11 Tom Mayberry, 4.) #1B Ricky Elliott, 5.) #33 Ray Swinehart The #m1 of Billy Pauch was in the heat but failed to qualify.

Modified Heat Two Qualifiers, nine cars 1.) #54 Smokey Warren, 2.) #44 Ronnie Tobias, 3.) #8Jr Meme DeSantis 4.) #58s Shawn Reimert, 5.) #85 Duane Howard Of interest in the heat was the front row which consisted of father and son #54 of Smokey Warren and 54Jr of Billy Warren.

Modified Heat Three Qualifiers, nine cars 1.) #93 Jeff Strunk, 2.) #333 Scott Hauck, 3.) #17T Toby Tobias Jr., 4.) #67 Jon Kellner, 5.) #74W John Willman

Modified Heat Four Qualifiers, nine cars 1.) #37G Garry Gollub, 2.) #1 Rick Shaffer, 3.) #30 Brian Johnson 4.) #54C Chip Longenecker, 5.) #03 Gene Weidman

SPRINT CAR HEAT ONE The line up for heat one was as follows: Row 1: #29 Dave Calaman #16 Bill Brian Jr. Row 2: #77 Fred Rahmer #461 Lance Dewease Row 3: #16C Cliff Brian #69K Don Kreitz Jr. Row 4: #12 Keith Kauffman #2H Dave Hahn Row 5: #92 Kevin Gobrecht

On the drop of the green the field did not have a clean start causing cars to jump around a good deal. The #16 of Bill Brian Jr. jumped into the lead and never looked back. the #461 of Dewease passed the #29 of Calaman in turn three before the completion of the first lap. While working lap two the #12 of Kauffman and the #77 of Rahmer were battling for position with Kauffman getting by Rahmer exiting turn four when Rahmer suddenly slowed and entered the pits.

The only other battle was between the #69K of Kreitz running in fourth and the #12 of Kauffman running fifth but a pass was never completed. HEAT ONE QUALIFIERS #16, #461, #29, #69K, #12, #2H

SPRINT CAR HEAT TWO The line up for heat two was as follows: Row 1: #92A Jon Armstrong #77t Jess Thomas Row 2: #55s Bill Sims #17 Alan Cole Row 3: #81 Mike Dillman #88 Todd Shaffer Row 4: #3 Bob Bennett #49 Bob Howard

The green dropped and the #55s of Sims passed the #92A of Armstrong in turn one while the #88 of Shaffer passed Armstrong in turn four to take over second. On lap two Shaffer is pressuring Sims for the lead while the #17 of Cole passed the #77t of Thomas in turn four. Finally on lap four Shaffer passed Sims on the front stretch to take over the lead. Sims tried to set up Shaffer for a pass but hooked the cushion in turn two and lost ground to the leader. On lap five the caution waved for Thomas who had looped his car in turn four. The running order was: #88, #55s, #17, #92A, #49, #3, #81, #77t.

On the restart Cole pressured Sims for second but managed to hold him off while the #49 of Howard passed Armstrong on the back stretch. On lap seven the #92a of Armstrong is experiencing motor problems and starts to smoke and drops back through the field. HEAT TWO QUALIFIERS #88, #55s, #17, #49, #77t, #3

SPRINT CAR HEAT THREE The line up for heat three was as follows: Row 1: #10N Jeff Thompson #2T Tracey Readinger Row 2: #25 Todd Gracey #15L Larry Miller Row 3: #6 Bill Fanasy #5 Craig Eshenaur Row 4: #7 Dave Cordier Jr. #1 Billy Pauch

Prior to the start the #15L of Miller dropped back and the #1 of Pauch moved up. On the start the #1 of Pauch was up to second by turn four. While working lap two the caution waved for the #15L of Miller who had looped it in turn two. Running order was #10N, #1, #5, #25, #2T, #7, #6, #15L.

On the restart Pauch was pressuring the #10N of Thompson who managed to maintain the lead. On lap three the #25 of Gracey was pressuring the #5 of Eshenaur for third but the running position never changed. Meanwhile up in front Pauch was closing of the leader Thompson who was running the high groove while Pauch used the low groove. On lap seven Pauch finally used a sling shot pass in turn one to assume the lead. On lap eight Thompson hooked the cushion while trying to set Pauch up for the pass and almost lost control of the car. HEAT THREE QUALIFIERS #1, #10N, #5, #25, #7, #2T

Modified Consi #1 Qualifiers, nine cars 1.) #114 Craig Von Dohren, 2.) #m1 Billy Pauch, 3.) #14B Todd Biever Billy Pauch had to jump out of his sprint car and immediately get into his sportsman for the sportsman consi #1. Modified Consi #2 Qualifiers, seven cars 1.) #37 Eric Pinkerton, 2.) #27 Scott Davis, 3.) 1x Bobby Seidel Jr. The 1x nails the turn one wall after the checkered flag but was still under power when he entered the pits.

SPRINT CAR CONSI, six laps with six to qualify. The line up for the consi was as follows: Row 1: #92 Kevin Gobrecht #92A Jon Armstrong Row 2: #6 Bill Fanasy #16C Cliff Brian Row 3: #81 Mike Dillman #77 Fred Rahmer Row 4: #15L Larry Miller The Hamilton team changed an engine in the #77 of Rahmer prior to the consi being run. Rahmer was fast and there was not much action in the consi. Sprint Car Consi Qualifiers #77, #92, #92A, #16C, #6, #81

NASCAR Sportsman Modified Feature 25 Laps

Twenty six cars took the green with the #m1 of Pauch starting in the twenty first position. By lap thirteen when the first caution waved for the ##1 of Rick Shaffer getting into the #74W of Willman in turn four Pauch was up to the sixth position. Pauch was passing numerous cars and sometimes making a little contact when exiting turn four. On the next caution, I believe it was lap nineteen Pauch was set back four spots for rough riding which brought a great deal of noise from the fans who either loved it or hated it. Pauch did obey the officials commands and then he started to move back up through the field and was able to get all the way up to second. Top Three Finishers NASCAR Sportsman Modified Feature 25 Laps 1.) #1B Ricky Elliot, 2.) #m1 Billy Pauch, 3.) #93 Jeff Strunk

SPRINT CAR 30 LAP TOBY TOBIAS MEMORIAL Row 1: #461 Lance Dewease #55s Bill Sims Row 2: #5 Craig Eshenaur #29 Dave Calaman Row 3: #17 Alan Cole #10N Jeff Thompson Row 4: #1 Billy Pauch #16 Bill Brian Jr. Row 5: #88 Todd Shaffer #69K Don Kreitz Jr. Row 6: #49 Bob Howard #25 Todd Gracey Row 7: #12 Keith Kauffman #3 Bob Bennett Row 8: #7 Dave Cordier Jr. #2H Dave Hahn Row 9: #77t Jess Thomas #2T Tracey Readinger Row 10: #77 Fred Rahmer #92 Kevin Gobrecht Row 11: #92A Jon Armstrong #16C Cliff Brian Row 12: #6 Bill Fanasy #81 Mark Dillman

Once the green waved the #461 of Dewease pulled out in front and it looked like he might just run off. The #5 of Eshenaur passed the #29 of Calaman in turn two and was then promptly passed back in turn three. Working lap two Eshenaur passed Calaman on the back stretch for the second position. By lap two the #55s of Bill Sims was dropping through the field when the caution flag came out for debris on the track. The running order was: #461, #5, #29, #1, #55s, #88, #25, #16, #17, #12, #77 and #69K. The caution did wipe out the huge lead that Dewease had on the field.

On the restart Calaman swung by Eshenaur in turn one and the #88 of Shaffer passed the #55s of Sims. By lap three the #12 of Kauffman was on the move and had passed the #25 of Gracey in turn three to take the seventh position. on lap four the #1 of Pauch was on the move and passed Eshenaur in turn two and was pressuring Calaman for the second position. By turn four Pauch passed Calaman to take over second. running order was now: #461, #1, #29, #5, #88 and #12. On lap five the #88 of Shaffer was passed by the #12 of Kauffman. By lap seven Dewease had a considerable lead over Pauch, amounting to half of the front stretch. By lap twelve Pauch was beginning to close in on Dewease and on lap twelve the caution flag flew. On the back stretch the #6 of Fanasy spun and hit the inside guard rail. The running order was #461, #1, #29, #12, #77, #5. While working the caution the #10N of Thompson rolled to a stop in the turn four corner with a brake caliber problem which forced him to the pits.

On the restart Pauch tried to pass Dewease but was unable to complete the pass. The real race on the track at this point was between Kauffman and Rahmer respectively. On lap thirteen both cars passed the #29 of Calaman in turn two. Kauffman was just able to keep Rahmer behind him. By lap sixteen the #461 was working lapped traffic. On lap nineteen Fast Freddie Rahmer was finally able to make a pass on Kauffman in turn one. Once again by lap twenty three Dewease had seemed to pull away from Pauch. The running order was #461, #1, #77, #12.

By lap twenty four Dewease and Pauch were cleared of lap traffic and by lap twenty six Pauch was slowly making ground on Dewease. On lap twenty seven the #461 appeared to have lost his bite and the #1 of Pauch caught him in turn one and flew by Dewease on the inside groove. At the checkers Pauch was the leader with Dewease never seriously challenging him. I am not sure what happened but the #12 of Kauffman never crossed the finish line and came to a stop exiting turn four.

TOP THREE FINISHERS 1.) Billy Pauch, 2.) Lance Dewease, 3.) Fred Rahmer

VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW Billy came down the front stretch and spun the car so it was facing turn four. Billy said he was trying different grooves to catch Dewease but that he also realized that his tires would be better at the end of the race since he knew what Dewease was running. Billy said the crew deserves the credit and that the track had changed from the heat races. He also felt that his running the Sportsman Modified gave him a better idea of how the track would be for the feature sprint race.

Billy also though he was unfairly penalized from the tower for rough riding during the Sportsman Modified race. Billy made a few comments regarding track officials and their decisions but where I was sitting there was to much noise to hear the track PA. Actually it was an argument between Pauch supporters and haters. Billy did say that he felt it was just racing.

As always I welcome any news, comments, suggestions or questions.  You can
reach me at:  rgould@oehs.upenn.edu  

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Brian Johnson , Billy Pauch