CURT MICHAEL BECOMES FIFTH DIFFERENT WILLIAMS GROVE WINNER MECHANICSBURG, PA, 4/6/01 - The race for the coveted Williams Grove Speedway track championship just keeps getting more interesting each week. Prior to Friday night there were four ...
CURT MICHAEL BECOMES FIFTH DIFFERENT WILLIAMS GROVE WINNER
MECHANICSBURG, PA, 4/6/01 - The race for the coveted Williams Grove Speedway track championship just keeps getting more interesting each week. Prior to Friday night there were four different winners in four races.
Last night Ocean View Delaware's Curt Michael through his hat in the ring.
Michael passed an inspired Rick Lafferty with a bold move in the third and fourth turn of the sixth lap to take lead and led the rest of the way to become the fifth different winner in as many races at the historic MECHANICSBURG half-mile in winning the 25 lap super sprint feature. Michael's second career Grove win was worth $3,000.
"I knew I had to get to the front as fast as I could," said a victorious Michael in victory lane. "The last time I won here I accidentally said I made it look good...these guys (the crew) made it look good tonight."
"We really worked hard for this front row position. We really stunk at the beginning of the year. We'll take this win no matter how we got it."
Outside frontrow starter Rick Lafferty of Pennington, NJ, grabbed the lead at the drop of the green with polesitter Troy Whitesel of Selinsgrove falling in behind. York's Jeff Rohrbaugh (who started fourth) got around Lafferty for second place on the second lap and quickly closed on the leader. Meanwhile Michael, who started third, followed Rohrbaugh around Whitesel on the third lap to move into third place.
The racing action stopped on the fifth lap when Newville's Mark Smith flipped in the second turn - bringing out the red flag.
On the restart Michael sped around the top of the second turn to pass Rohrbaugh for second and immediately set his sight's on the race-leading Lafferty. Michael then made his daring race-winning pass in the third and fourth turn to grab the lead.
From there Michael tried to open up as much daylight as he could on the rest of the field as the big guns - Fred Rahmer, Lance Dewease and Greg Hodnett - tried frantically to get to the front.
Michael was able to open up a 1.70 second lead over Rohrbaugh as they headed into lapped traffic on the 12th lap. A slight bobble in heavy lapped traffic allowed Rohrbaugh to close on Michael's bumper on the 13th lap. But Michael was able to clear the traffic and maintain the top spot when the race's final caution waved on the 16th lap for Millerstown's Todd Shaffer who stopped his sprinter on the backstretch.
This allow Michael a clear track ahead of him on the restart and he took advantage of it quickly on the restart as he jumped out to a commanding 2.49 second lead by the 18th lap.
"I knew (Rohrbaugh) had to be closing because I made a lot of mental errors," Michael said. "The car was a little tight on that curb and when I caught them lapped cars they were all running the bottom and I knew I had to gas it around that curb."
"A couple times I hit it and it sucked me in, but it worked out all right. When I saw 10 laps to go I said to myself, ‘it's just a heat race'...we've won heat races from the front row so I just tried to settle down and run my own race."
As the final 10 laps wound down Michael was able to maintain his comfortable lead with lapped traffic looming ahead. But it wasn't until the final lap that Michael had to deal with any of the backmarkers and he simply raced a smooth final lap to take the checkered 1.54 seconds ahead of Rohrbaugh for his first win of 2001.
Rahmer (who started 12th), probably had the fastest car at the end, but was forced to settle for third place. Len Thompson and Hodnet finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Completing the top-10 was Dewease, Lafferty, Mike Erdley, Cris Eash, and Bob Bennett.
Heats for the 27 super sprints on hand were won by Rohrbaugh, Bennett and Curt Michael, with Dave Ely winning the consolation.
Feature (25 Laps) - 1. 461-Curt Michael; 2. 3-Jeff Rohrbaugh; 3. 77-Fred Rahmer; 4. 10-Len Thompson; 5. 12-Greg Hodnett; 6. 88H-Lance Dewease; 7. 0-Rick Lafferty; 8. 11-Mike Erdley; 9. 17-Cris Eash; 10. 3B-Bob Bennett; 11. 30-Darren Eash; 12. 7M-Todd Hestor; 13. 17B-Troy Whitesel; 14. 69-Donnie Kreitz Jr.; 15. 32-Brook Weibley; 16. 7-Keith Kauffman; 17. X-Bobby Weaver; 18. 53-Shawn Keen; 19. 37-Shawn Stidfole; 20. 29-Dave Ely; 21. 6W-Josh Wells; 22. 88-Todd Shaffer; 23. 10N-Chris Knopp; 24. 22M-Mark Smith. No Time
Lap Leaders - Rick Lafferty (1-5), Curt Michael (6-25)
Heat Winners - Jeff Rohrbaugh, Bob Bennett, Curt Michael
Consolation Winner - Dave Ely
Feature (20 Laps) - 1. 25S-Mark Smith; 2. 2A-Carmen Perigo; 3. 07-Bill Schoffstall; 4. 12-Scott Snyder; 5. 67-Tim Wike; 6. 3-Frankie Herr; 7. 23C-Steve Cannon; 8. 59-Steve Wilbur; 9. 5G-Pat Cannon; 10. 10-Donnie Beaver; 11. 71L-Bobby Weaver; 12. 47-Ken Carberry; 13. 77-Howie Locke; 14. 93-Danny Hager; 15. 28-Keith Prutzman; 16. 55-Russ Mitten; 17. 42-J.R. Fry; 18. 6M-Craig Morrow; 19. 2M-Matt Ondek; 20. 32J-Jeremy Snyder; 21. 16-Paul Troutman; 22. 25-Joe Reneker; 23. 73-Rusty Rupp; 24. 58-Paul Miller. No Time
Lap Leaders - Mark Smith (1-20)
Heat Winners - Rusty Rupp, Mark Smith, Carmen Perigo, Tim Wike
Consolation Winners - Craig Morrow, Howie Locke