Williams Grove race report 2003-04-20

Todd Shaffer holds on for first win of the year at Williams Grove. MECHANICSBURG, PA, 4/20/03 - Millerstown's Todd Shaffer proved he made the right decision in the off-season to continue racing after suffering near career-ending knee injuries...

Todd Shaffer holds on for first win of the year at Williams Grove.

MECHANICSBURG, PA, 4/20/03 - Millerstown's Todd Shaffer proved he made the right decision in the off-season to continue racing after suffering near career-ending knee injuries near the end of last season.

Shaffer passed Mike Erdley on the second lap for the lead and then held off a determined Fred Rahmer over the final laps to pick up his first win of 2003 in the 25 lap 410 sprint feature at Williams Grove Sunday night.

"I want to thank all the fans for all they did when I was hurt," said Shaffer in a moment of reflection. "It's great to be back."

The win was Shaffer's 30th of his career at the historic Mechanicsburg half-mile, tying him with Dick Tobias for 14th on the all-time Williams Grove win list.

"We drew the right position tonight...we were not right car-wise," said a happy Shaffer upon exiting his Beam Racing No.88 in victory lane. "We made it though and that's all that counts."

The start of the feature saw polesitter Troy Whitesel spin in the first turn, moving Mike Erdley up into the pole position. The subsequent restart saw 16th-starting Chad Layton flip exiting the fourth turn bringing out the red flag and yet another complete restart.

Erdley then grabbed the lead on the third try to start the feature with outside frontrow starter Todd Shaffer close behind. Shaffer then make quick work of Erdley by blowing around him in the first and second turns of the second lap and quickly opened up a 1.23 second lead by the time the red waved again on the fourth lap when Sean Michael crossed in front of Mark Smith entering the first turn, sending Smith flipping.

Shaffer continued leading when the green waved with Erdley, fifth-starting Rahmer, Niki Young and Cris Eash in tow.

Following a seventh lap caution because of a stalled Keith Kauffman on the backstretch, Rahmer got around Erdley to move into the runner-up spot. Meanwhile eighth-starting Lance Dewease began to flex his muscles by getting around Eash for fourth on the eighth lap, and then by Erdley on the 10th lap to move into third while Shaffer opened up a 1.60 second lead over Rahmer.

The race's final caution waved on the 11th lap for a tangle between Bob Beidleman and Adrian Shaffer in the third and fourth turns. This allow both Rahmer and Dewease to close the gap on the race-leading Shaffer with 15 laps to go.

Shaffer began to pull away with an open race track on the restart and enjoyed nearly a two second lead before Rahmer starting reeling him back in as they heading into lapped traffic on the 18th lap. Rahmer then got serious and stuck his nose under Shaffer in the turns while navigating lapped traffic on the 21st lap. But Shaffer made a bold move between lapped cars entering the first turn on the 22nd lap to break free of Rahmer's advances.

"I got a good break by getting by that lapped car in one and two," said Shaffer on the move that probably won him the race. "I knew as long as I didn't mess up in three and four that I had him...I knew if I didn't get through that I was going to see the yellow (flag) in a minute."

From there Shaffer tried to keep Rahmer guessing by shifting his line in every turn and held off a last turn challenge by Rahmer to take the checkered by a mere .28 seconds for the win.

"I wasn't real bad in the middle, but I was just trying to keep him guessing," said Shaffer. "I knew he was getting pretty good and I was getting terrible loose."

"I'll tell you the truth I didn't feel real good anywhere. I was just gassing her up. And with 19 (laps) in I thought we might hold on. Then I started to see his nose. He just couldn't get quite along side me to lean on me and we made it after 25 laps."

Dewease watched it all and finished third, 10th-starting Greg Hodnett fourth, and Erdley fifth.

Completing the top-10 were Eash, Michael, Young, Brook Weibley, and Doug Esh.

"I want to thank my crew, my sponsors...we picked up McCoy Brothers (Construction) a new sponsor this year," said Shaffer. "I want to thank them for all the help...Hoosier Tires, Penske Shocks, Top Flight wings and Don Ott Engines."

Heat for the 29 "410" sprints were won by Eash, Rahmer, and Brook Weibley, with Kauffman winning the consolation.

Mechanicsburg's Pat Cannon led all 20 laps for his second win of the year in super sportsman action. Frankie Herr finished second, Richie Hartman third, Ken Carberry fourth, and J.R. Fry was fifth.

Heats for the 35 sportsman on hand were won by Carberry, Herr, and Pat Cannon, with Greg Foster winning the consolation.

-wgs-

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Series Sprint , Stock car
Teams Williams