Weekend race summary 2004-03-22

Todd Hestor Ends Hodnett Win Streak At Williams Grove Middleburg's Todd Hestor ended Greg Hodnett's three-race win streak with his third career win in the 25 lap 410 sprint feature at Williams Grove Speedway Sunday afternoon. Hestor powered ...

Todd Hestor Ends Hodnett Win Streak At Williams Grove

Middleburg's Todd Hestor ended Greg Hodnett's three-race win streak with his third career win in the 25 lap 410 sprint feature at Williams Grove Speedway Sunday afternoon.

Hestor powered around race-long leader Lucas Wolfe on the 10th lap and never looked back en route to his third career Williams Grove win.

"It feels really good to be back here in victory lane," said an outwardly happy Hestor in a chilly victory lane. "We had a really bad year last year...we were not that fast and couldn't even get a little bit of luck.."

"We tried to put last year behind us."

Outside frontrow starter Lucas Wolfe set the early pace while the sixth-starting Hestor worked his way through the top-five.

Hestor's began his surge to the front as he began to find the fast way around turns three and four by passing Darren Eash with a high side move in the third and fourth turns, and then got by polesitter Rick Lafferty with the same move on the eighth lap.

"I couldn't get through turns one and two to save my butt," said Hestor on his winning car. "I just tried to make the turn by cuttting down through the middle...our car was good, don't get me wrong, but I felt like a small-block modified backing it in up there."

"It worked!"

Hestor then used what got him there with another bold outside move around Wolfe in the third and fourth turns of the 10th lap to take the lead.

Once in front he was never challenged the remaining 15 laps as he took the checkered 1.51 seconds ahead of Lafferty for his first win of 2004.

It was a whole team effort, this Middleswarth Racing Team is great,...it's a whole team effort," Hestor emphsised. "I've got to thank Gene Jenkins who came on board with us last year, and Jeff Harold, and the others...these guys are really working together."

"There is a lot of race cars in the pits, but there are not many teams in the pits. I feel proud to have one of them teams."

Wolfe appeared to be headed for a runner-up finish until Pat Cooper spun in front of him on the 21st lap. While Wolfe managed to avoid Cooper's car, he could not avoid the first corner guard rail. The contact sent him to the pits for repairs and he was credited with an 18th-place finish.

Lafferty turned in his best career effort to claim second. Darren Eash finished third with Keith Kauffman fourth. Donnie Kreitz Jr. Rounded out the top-five by recording his fourth consecutive top-five finish.

Fred Rahmer, Mark Smith, Doug Esh, Niki Young and Lance Dewease rounded out the top ten.

Point leader Greg Hodnett saw his three-race win streak end as he only managed an 11th place finish after starting 12th.

410 sprint heats went to Young, Lafferty and Esh. Kevin Welsh won the consolation race.

Dillsburg's Rick Eichelberger, who started tenth, took the lead with two laps to go in the 20 lap super sportsman feature when race-long leader Howie Locke broke an axle on the 19th lap. After taking the lead, Eichelberger cruised to his 8th career win in sportsman action at Williams Grove.

Frankie Herr, Russ Mitten, Leroy Martin, Duaine Smith, Smokey Snellbaker, Steve Cannon, Rick Barr, Jason Fry and Steve Wilbur completed the top ten.

Sportsman heats were won by Paul Miller, Herr and Snellbaker, Greg Foster won the consolation race.

OTHER WEEKEND RACING ACTION

MONTIETH FIFTH WINNER IN FIVE RACES AT LINCOLN

"I like night time racing. You get it up against the fence and let it go!"

So said Phoenixville's Brian Montieth after becoming the fifth different winner in as many 2004 sprint features at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night.

And he did it in grand style, rim riding around both Josh Wells and race leader Bobby Weaver in turns three and four of the tenth lap to grab the race lead and drive away to his fifth career Lincoln win. Montieth started third and faded to fourth on laps five and six before beginning a four-lap charge under green that saw him pass Brian Leppo to reclaim third on lap seven.

After blowing around Wells and Weaver for the lead on lap ten, Montieth extended his lead to nearly a second before Wells got by Weaver for second. They ran one-two the rest of the way. Despite a 21st-lap caution for a second-turn spin by Eric Stambaugh (who was running seventh), Montieth's margin of victory was 3.02 seconds.

"My hat goes off to (car owner) Jerry Parrish and everybody that works on the car," said a jubilant Montieth in victory lane, "I just can't ask for no more than this."

"I was a ahead of myself there for a little bit early on, but I straightened out," explained Montieth about his early-race fade, "We're getting close, but we're still off a little bit."

It was Montieth's first Lincoln win since July of 2001.

"I quit there for a year or two and started my own business," said Montieth on his nearly two-year absence. "I just couldn't afford it."

Reacting to questions about the level of competition this year, Montieth said, "It's going to be hard for one person to win a lot this year. There are a lot of good cars and they are not afraid to push the peddle down."

"This guy here can get the job done," said car owner Jerry Parrish, "The reason he is in the seat is because we've seen him drive around the best of them...he can continue to do that night in and night out."

"It just doesn't faze him and he keeps his cool. He's a good competitor."

Cris Eash advanced methodically through the field from his 12th starting spot to finish third and hang on to the Lincoln points lead, with Leppo crossing fourth and Niki Young fifth. Completing the top ten were Lance Dewease, Brook Weibley, 14th-starting Doug Esh, Fred Rahmer, and 15th-starting Greg Hodnett.

Heats for the 23 410-Sprints were won by Rahmer, Weaver and Dewease.

Ephrata's Cliff Brian started on the pole and led wire-to-wire in the season opener for the 358 sprints. He and outside front row starter Chad Trout were scored first and second every lap.

It was Brian's first win since the death of his father, Bill Brian, Sr., and Cliff dedicated the win to his dad.

Though Brian led every lap, the outcome was in doubt until a 19th lap restart which saw defending champion Cory Haas line up third behind the leaders. He had advanced from his seventh starting spot on a racey surface that saw loads of wheel-to-wheel battles.

But Brian pulled away to an 84-hundredths of-a-second win over Trout, with Haas crossing third. A spectacular crash occurred at the finish when Keith Prutzman and T.J. Stutts got together just shy of the flagstand, resulting in a Prutzman flip. The rest of the field behind the leaders reverted to the completed 19th lap when red replaced the checkered at the finish. Credited with fourth was 8th-starting Alan Krimes, with 13th-starting Brad McClelland fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Mike Bittinger, Billy Dietrich (who started 21st), Scott Tate, Brian Eichelberger (who started 16th), and Bobby Howard (who started 22nd).

Dan Dietrich was uninjured in a horrific crash into the fourth turn catch fence in his qualifying event. The newly-installed catch fence did its job and kept the violently-flipping Dietrich out of the fourth-turn grandstands. The crash delayed action for 20 minutes.

Rains postponed the 20-lap thundercar feature until next Saturday, with Bob Bare leading after the completion of the first lap.

RAIN POSTPONES SILVER SPRING SPORTSMAN OPENER

Rain showers postponed the opening day super sportsman feature at Silver Spring Speedway Saturday afternoon. The 25-lap feature paying $1,350 to win will be held next Saturday afternoon, March 27.

The make-up feature will be in addition to a full program of sportsman racing including heats, C and B mains and another 25-lap feature.

Rain fell just as the sportsman were pulling onto the track for the feature. Smokey Snellbaker, Paul Troutman, Billy Schoffstall, Frankie Herr and Paul Miller were heat winners. Pat Cannon won the C-main and Steve Wilbur won the B-main. A total of 52 cars were in the pits.

-bill meyer-

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Paul Miller , Lucas Wolf
Teams Williams