Sprints: Williams Grove 96-07-05 July 5, 1996 Mechanicsburg, PA Greetings sprint car fans as r4 and Mr. G. return to Williams Grove for the Friday night show. The 410 sprint cars were running the Mitch Smith Memorial which was a 30 lap...
Sprints: Williams Grove 96-07-05 July 5, 1996 Mechanicsburg, PA Greetings sprint car fans as r4 and Mr. G. return to Williams Grove for the Friday night show. The 410 sprint cars were running the Mitch Smith Memorial which was a 30 lap feature which paid $10,000 to win as part of Pennsylvania Speedweek. Signed into the pits were 48 of the 410 sprinters. Three cars had aluminum heads (#6F, #5W, #F1) and one was a cast iron block(#55X). The Grove was packed, I have been there for Outlaw shows and have not seen it as full as it was Friday night.
TOP TEN TIME TRIAL The one lap record at the Grove is held by Mark Kinser with a time of 17.191 seconds. 1.) #461 Lance Dewease 18.600 18.529 2.) #17 Alan Cole 18.670 18.569 3.) #12 Keith Kauffman 18.671 18.725 4.) #19 Steve Smith Sr. 18.869 18.733 5.) #5G Rod George 18.806 18.756 6.) #1Z Billy Pauch 18.916 18.786 7.) #17e Cris Eash 18.955 18.864 8.) #11H Greg Hodnett 19.056 18.875 9.) #88 Todd Shaffer 18.894 19.191 10.) #92 Kevin Gobrecht 19.148 19.002 410 HEATS and CONSI The following is the heat information for the 410 sprints. Heats were ten laps in distance with the top five getting their time back. Information given is finishing position, car number, driver and starting position is in brackets. HEAT ONE QUALIFIERS 1.) #59 Todd Gracey  2.) #77 Fred Rahmer  3.) #55 Mike Wagner  4.) #461 Lance Dewease  5.) #5G Rod George 
HEAT TWO QUALIFIERS 1.) #92 Kevin Gobrecht  2.) #1Z Billy Pauch  3.) #10 Len Thompson  4.) #17 Alan Cole  5.) #55S Bill Sims  On lap five the #16 of Bill Brian Jr. cooked an engine and bailed out of his car on the front stretch as it resulted in a fire.
HEAT THREE QUALIFIERS 1.) #12 Keith Kauffman  2.) #17e Cris Eash  3.) #2W Jesse Wentz  4.) #07 Dave Haight  5.) #7M Barry Camp 
HEAT FOUR QUALIFIERS 1.) #1H Rick Hench  2.) #121 Judi Bates  3.) #11H Greg Hodnett  4.) #77T Jess Thomas  5.) #49 Bob Howard  #19 Steve Smith scratched from his heat with engine problems.
C MAIN 8 Laps Top four Finishers were added to the B Main 1.) #4H Robin Johnston  2.) #81 Mike Dillman  3.) #10N Jeff Thompson  4.) #F1 French Grimes  The C main was kind of a joke as the majority of the cars did not make the track in time to take their starting position. Starting positions were then assigned as the cars came to the racing surface.
B MAIN QUALIFIERS 12 Laps 1.) #88 Todd Shaffer  2.) #5K Mark Richard  3.) #5 Craig Eshenaur  4.) #X Bobby Weaver  Two cars scratched from the B Main. The #29 of Dave Calaman and the #7 of Dave Cordier.
NON QUALIFIERS #65 1/2 Christine Karns #5W Dwayne England #55X Jerry Speck, #15L Larry Miller #3 Bob Bennett #7 Dave Cordier #2c Will Cramer #77L Howie Locke #29 Dave Calaman #16C Cliff Brian #79 Tom Bear #14c Troy Camp #12W Troy Fraker #25 Scotte Ausherman #08 Jason Clauss #6F Bill Fannasy #4H Robin Johnston #81 Mike Dillman #10N Jeff Thompson #F1 French Grimes
30 LAP FEATURE $10,000 to Win Prior to the Feature Lance Dewease pulled a pill and the top eight by time were inverted. Row 1: #88 Todd Shaffer #11H Greg Hodnett Row 2: #17e Cris Eash #1 Billy Pauch Row 3: #5G Rod George #12 Keith Kauffman Row 4: #17 Alan Cole #461 Lance Dewease Row 5: #92 Kevin Gobrecht #2W Jesse Wentz Row 6: #1H Rick Hench #77 Fred Rahmer Row 7: #10 Len Thompson #5K Mark Richard Row 8: #77T Jess Thomas #55 Mike Wagner Row 9: #49 Bob Howard #59 Todd Gracey Row 10: #121 Judi Bates #55S Bill Sims Row 11: #07 Dave Haight #7M Barry Camp Row 12: #5 Craig Eshenaur #X Bobby Weaver The #10 of Len Thompson scratched from the event allowing the #25 of Scotte Ausherman who was first alternate to make the event.
Talk about luck. The previous night at Penn National the #92 of Gobrecht worked through the B Main to get his time back and started on the outside pole for the feature. At the Grove the #88 of Shaffer won the B Main and got his back his time and found himself on the pole. That was the end of his luck though. There were two false starts with the first one having Shaffer jumping and the second one having the #11H of Hodnett jumping the start. As is the rule at the Grove when there are two false starts due to the front row the first two rows invert. This put the #17e of Cris Eash on the pole with the #1 of Billy Pauch on the outside of him.
The green finally waved and stayed out and the man on the move was the #12 of Keith Kauffman who by the end of the first lap was fourth with the #461 of Lance Dewease directly behind him. Eash lead the parade with Pauch second. There was some excellent racing going on. Pauch was all over the leader Eash while Dewease was all over Kauffman for third. Not to be outdone the battle raged further back with the #88 of Shaffer all over the #5G of Rod George for fifth and Gobrecht and Hodnett were going at it for seventh position. It was hard to keep up with all the action in the top ten cars. The first caution waved on lap seven for the #55 of Mike Wagner in turn two which tightened up the field. However a pass for the lead had occurred with Pauch passing the finish line before the yellow came out. On the restart Pauch started to pull away while Dewease pressured Kauffman for third. Dewease and Kauffman switched the lead several times on a single lap while Gobrecht and Hodnett did the same thing further back in the pack for seventh. Meanwhile back up front Pauch was motoring away. By lap thirteen the #77 of Rahmer was pressuring the #88 of Shaffer as the other battles waged on. The racing was excellent with the positions switching back and forth. On lap sixteen Pauch swung low in turn four to pass lapped traffic but they cut down on him and almost wrecked him which allowed Eash to close. On lap twenty-one the battle between Gobrecht and Hodnett ended when Hodnett stopped on the front stretch. At this point twenty two of the twenty four starters were still running. When the green came back out Pauch once again showed his dominance and pulled away from the field. Gobrecht was now pressuring Dewease for fourth. On lap twenty-two Pauch's run came to an end when the rear broke and he dramatically slowed in turn one which backed up the cars following him. Dewease and Gobrecht ended up going into turn one and hitting the wall bringing their hopes for a win to an end. Both cars were able to continue on. Kauffman took all this to his benefit and took the lead as the caution waved. The red then came out for a fuel stop. When the green came out again Rahmer passed the #5G of Rod George on the inside in turn two to take over third while Eash tried to close on the leader Kauffman. On lap twenty-six the #49 of Bob Howard and Gobrecht got tangled together in turn three with Gobrecht's top wing collapsing in the front and Howard having a flat and wing damage. Howard was given two laps to change his tire and rejoined the field while Gobrecht was done for the evening. On the restart the #07 of Dave Haight stopped in turn four bring out the caution again. With four laps to go the field took the green and the battle was for fourth between George and Shaffer who swapped places several times before Shaffer was able to finally complete the pass. TOP FIVE FINISHERS #12, #17e, #77, #88, #5G
The win put Kauffman two away from tying Lynn Paxton on the all time win list at the Grove.
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