All Star pit notes By Scott Hall HARTFORD, OH - Excellent car counts greeted the All Stars over the weekend with 47 at Lernerville and 58 and 53 at Sharon. The 58 cars Saturday was the All Star high car count for the season, surpassing East...
All Star pit notes By Scott Hall
HARTFORD, OH - Excellent car counts greeted the All Stars over the weekend with 47 at Lernerville and 58 and 53 at Sharon. The 58 cars Saturday was the All Star high car count for the season, surpassing East Bay's February total of 57. By winning the 19th annual Sharon Sprint Nationals, Joey Saldana joins an elite list of winners. Former Sharon Nationals winners include Steve, Mark and Kelly Kinser, Lee Osborne, Doug Wolfgang, Dave and Dale Blaney, Kenny Jacobs, Joey Kuhn, Todd Shaffer, Fred Rahmer, Tyler Walker and Greg Hodnett.
Jeff Shepard, who has three seconds and a third in the Sharon Nationals, said Sunday if he won he would do a handspring on the front stretch, a la Tyler Walker.
Todd Gracey showed up Sunday at Sharon, but his ride, the Weikert No. 29, never showed. Local driver and former All Star runner Mike Lutz was also pitside, without a ride.
ASCS regular Danny Wood made the tow in from Norman, OK to compete with the All Stars this weekend. Friday's Lernerville event was only his sixth 410 start of the season. Friday, Wood choose too hard a Hoosier tire and lost his brakes near the end of the event, ending his hopes of a top five finish. He finished seventh Friday and ninth Saturday. Wood was a last lap flip victim Sunday. Wood may tour with the All Stars or WoO next season.
Terre Haute, Indiana's Paul May repaired his machine after a nasty Lernerville flip and competed Sunday at Sharon. May, who hopes to run the full All Star tour next season, "broke in" a brand new chassis Friday.
A sticker on micro-sprint graduate Kevin Schaeffer's sprint car reads, "drive it like you stole it."
Todd Shaffer and Brian Gobrecht were battling for the final transfer spot in a heat Saturday at Sharon. The pair made contact exiting turn four, with Shaffer hitting the guardrail and flipping end-over-end down the front stretch, narrowly missing the flagstand. As the car had a small engine fire, Shaffer unbuckled when the car hit the ground the final time and was scrambling out before the car had stopped moving, and the machine settled over on top of Shaffer, and the quick acting fire crew dragged him to safety. Other Saturday flip victims were Brian Paulus, Kasey Kahne, Kenny Jacobs, PJ Chesson, Brian Ellenberger, Paul White and Rob Chaney. Chesson, who dislocated the shoulder he once broke racing motorcycles, was heavily taped with a figure eight bandage for Sunday's action. His accident occurred when a lightweight suspension steering arm broke, sending his machine head on into the wall. Shaffer's crew returned to Central Pa. to build a new car after Saturday's action.
Sean Keen was qualified for the main Saturday, but he broke his front suspension just after being pushed off, allowing first alternate Brian Ellenberger into the main.
Sunday, Chesson backed his machine hard into the turn two guardrail when both torsion stops fell off while leading his heat race. He emerged okay but was done for the night. That meant two totaled cars in two nights of action for the New Jersey teenager.
All Star president Bert Emick weighed the sprint cars of his regular competitors Sunday in the infield on Sharon's scales, gathering data for discussions concerning a possible weight rule for the All Star series sometime in the future. The lightest machine, dry, without driver, weighed in at 1129 lbs. According to Emick, the only difference between the 1129 lb. machine and a "normal" 1200 lb. sprint car is 70 pounds on the engine block, which costs about $6,000 to remove by shaving the block thickness.
After his first career All Star win Friday at Lernerville, Kasey Kahne called his parents from the pit area to tell them he had won. After about six rings, all he got was their answering machine. So he just had to leave a message. I'll bet they were surprised. Kahne became the 18th different All Star winner this season. Lernerville co-promoter Arch Hunter presented Kahne with the checkered flag from his win after the event. One-time Jerrod Hull crew chief and former driver Mike Thurman is now Kahne's crewchief. Kahne had his steering wheel come off Sunday at Sharon and he ended up hitting the turn three guardrail and flipping end over end out of the ballpark, never even touching the top of the fence. Luckily he was okay with only a bump on the head and a sore knee.
Barry Jackson has also left the Kenny Jacobs team, with teenager Aaron Hammer now the crew chief. Veteran Western Pa. mechanic Scott Benic was assisting the Chesson team at Sharon.
Dean Jacobs was celebrating his 36th birthday Friday at Lernerville. But the day started out bad and got worse. Jacob's tow rig was not running Friday morning, so the team found the problem, but then couldn't find the parts to fix it. So they had to reassemble the truck and make tracks for Lernerville, arriving after the driver's meeting was over. Then Jacobs burnt two pistons with victory in sight, costing him a $6,000 payday. Jacobs had to use a provisional starting spot Saturday at Sharon after more troubles in the qualifying races, despite the pre-race arrival of two fresh Gaerte engines.
Ed Lynch Jr. continues to have his troubles in big races. A broken U Joint ended his Lernerville run while racing in sixth position. He shook down his traditionally painted car during hot laps both nights at Sharon, and was running his new Knoxville paint schemed machine in each night's action.