Cris Eash's 38th career Lincoln Speedway win in the Inaugural Hank Gentzler Memorial Manufacturers' Appreciation Race for sprint cars Saturday night surprised no one. But what he had to say in victory lane surprised everyone. Eash held off a ...
Cris Eash's 38th career Lincoln Speedway win in the Inaugural Hank Gentzler Memorial Manufacturers' Appreciation Race for sprint cars Saturday night surprised no one. But what he had to say in victory lane surprised everyone.
Eash held off a charging Mark Smith to claim his third win of the year at Pigeon Hills oval, then promptly announced his retirement from sprint car racing at season's end. It will mark the end of a sensational career which has included Rookie of the Year honors with the World of Outlaws and a 1996 Lincoln track title.
"We have fast race cars here every Saturday night, some of the best in the country, so it feels really good to beat them," said the emotional Eash. "It's kind of a bitter sweet deal tonight, because I'm going to retire at the end of this year, so we were hoping to pick off as many (wins) as we can at the end of the year and end up with a successful season."
"I want to thank my dad (David), because he's put me in some good equipment all through my career, and he's always been 100 percent behind me," Eash continued. "I know it's breaking his heart to see this happen, but we have to move on"
Eash's seventh quick time coupled with Eric Stambaugh's failure to qualify in his heat placed Eash third for the start. He ran there for the first six laps before catching front row starter Niki Young for the runner-up spot in lapped traffic on lap seven. At the time, polesitter Josh Wells had a three-quarters of-a-second lead.
Two laps later, Greg Hodnett slid across the frontstretch with front end damage, bringing out the caution. That put Eash on Wells' back bumper, but he continued to trail the leader over the next seven laps until a caution came out for Glenndon Forsythe, who spun in turn four.
Eash drove the cushion around the top of turns one and two to grab the race lead on the 16th-lap restart, and paced the field the rest of the way.
"Wells was trying to block me with slide jobs, and I knew I was a little better on the top," said Eash. "I saw on the restart earlier that he pulled down and slid up across and I thought 'Well, if I can get up beside him, he won't be able to slid the whole way across'...that's what he did, and it worked out for us."
"Once I took the lead, my motor went sour and it was only running on seven cylinders. It didn't seem to hurt too bad. It actually made the car drive a little straighter without all that power."
Sixth-starting Mark Smith disposed of Wells to move into the runner-up spot on lap 17. Over the next eight laps, Smith cut the lead in half, but he was still 44-hundredths of-a-second behind at the finish.
Wells hung on for third, with Lance Dewease fourth and Fred Rahmer fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Young, Brian Leppo, Kenny Jacobs, Brook Weibley, and Todd Shaffer.
Lincoln won the Port Royal vs. Lincoln challenge by a final score of 107-74. The challenge, an annual event included as part of Hank Gentzler Memorial Manufacturers' Appreciation Night, pits the top five drivers in points from each of the speedways who qualify for the feature against each other. Lincoln was represented by Eash, Dewease, Leppo, Eric Stambaugh, and Rahmer, who will split the $1,500 posted by Lincoln to the winning challenge team. Port Royal was represented by Smith, Shaffer, Keith Kauffman, Alan Cole, and Kevin Nouse.
Biglerville's Nat Tuckey held off teammate Mike Walls in a wild last lap scramble to pick up his second win of the year in the 20 lap thundercar feature.
OTHER WEEKEND ACTION
JEREMY MILLER WINS HAGERSTOWN TURBO-BLUE NATIONAL 150
Alan Sagi and D. J. Myers split the first two 50-lap features, but it was Miller Time in the final 50-laps as Jeremy Miller of Gettysburg won the prestigious Turbo-Blue Hub-City National at Hagerstown Speedway Saturday night.
Miller took the lead from the first feature winner Alan Sagi on the 37th lap and never looked back as he picked up $7,500 for the Hub-City National victory. Miller dodged mechanical problems all weekend, having to qualify his back-up car after having trouble with his first car during time trails. Then in the first 50-lap feature, Miller's car had a constant stream of smoke rolling out from a hole in the oil pan, but the crew patched it enough to hold for the last 50-lap feature for the win.
"It is good to win here. We had a little trouble, but we went against the odds. I learned a few things here, if you stick to the bottom for a while, it draws everyone down to it." said Miller about his outside move around Sagi late in the race. "But I really don't like the bottom, but you got to run it. I prefer to run the middle. I have to take my hat off to Alan (Sagi). He was long overdue. He won that first race and was awesome. I was glad to see him run second. "
The top 48 drivers from qualifying events were divided into two 50-lap features with the top 12 finishers from each feature advancing to the third 50-lap main event. A record 77 late models signed in for the two-day event.
In other action, Wayne Walls Jr. climbed into his son's car to pick up the win in the 20-lap late model sportsman feature and Brian Tavenner scored his first win of the year in the 20-lap pure stock main event.
FRANKIE HERR LEADS EVERY LAP OF SPORTSMAN 100
Frankie Herr dominated the 30th Annual Sportsman 100 and earned a record $10,012 for his flag-to-flag win. Herr picked up an initial $5,000 for the win, and then an additional $2,500 bonus to be paid $100 per week next season. He also earned $2,142 in lap money after leading all 100 laps, a $300 bonus from a race sponsor and $70 for setting fifth quick time. It was the most money ever paid out in the history of Silver Spring Speedway.
"I am speechless," said Herr, of Carlisle. "We didn't get much sleep last night. I have to thank my whole race team. I have to thank all my sponsors and my wife for allowing me to put my own deal together."
Herr is already the Super Sportsman Tour Champion and lead the track point standings by 285 with one point race remaining. It is his third Sportsman 100 title ('96 and '97) and he is only the second driver to lead all 100 laps (Tim Leiphart).
"This is unbelievable," said Herr. "We were so fortunate to lead every lap. I couldn't participate last year - I was in pretty bad shape. I had a lot of people lift my spirits and made this deal possible. I hope we can pull the championship off next week."
Herr jumped right into the lead from his second starting spot and then proceeded to lead the entire marathon 100 lap event.
Herr had one close call with 11 laps left when a torsion bar broke on Cannon's car causing him to slow entering turn one. Herr had to drive between Pat Cannon and the outside wall to avoid disaster.
The caution for Cannon was the final of the event as Herr would go on to claim the biggest win of his career. Carmen Perigo, Craig Morrow, Ken Carberry and Rich Eichelberger, who spun twice during the feature, completed the top five.
Howie Locke, in his final Sportsman 100, finished sixth with Smokey Snellbaker, Steve Wilbur, Dave Calaman and Jim Shuttlesworth completing the top-10.
HODNETT IMPRESSIVE IN WILLIAMS GROVE NATIONAL OPEN TUNEUP
Greg Hodnett picked up his sixth Williams Grove win of the season, and his second in as many nights, in the final tune-up at the Mechanicsburg half-mile before next weekend's showdown against the World of Outlaws in the prestigious Williams Grove National Open. Steve Cannon won the super sportsman feature.
Don Kreitz beat Fred Rahmer into the first turn and set the pace for the first eight laps before Hodnett, who started sixth, drove by on the inside through turns three and four.
While Hodnett began to drive away from the field Rahmer who had fallen back to fourth, was on the move. Rahmer took the runner-up spot from Kreitz on lap 15, but couldn't close on Hodnett.
Hodnett ended a victory drought, which stretched all the way back to April 9. After winning five of the first six races at Williams Grove this season Hodnett waited more than five months to get number six.
Rahmer settled for second and put himself in a position to clinch his fifth Grove track championship. Lance Dewease, who started seventh, claimed third. Mark Smith and Doug Esh completed the top five.
Kreitz, Todd Shaffer, Brook Weibley , Cris Eash and Kenny Jacobs finished in positions six through ten respectively.
In the super sportsman feature Cannon started 11th and took the lead from Paul Troutman on the last lap. Craig Morrow, Paul Miller and Ryan Rupp completed the top five.
HODNETT WINS SUSQUEHANNA FINALE
Greg Hodnett closed out the 2004 season at Susquehanna Speedway Park with his fourth win of the year, and the first of two wins on the weekend, in the 25 lap 410 sprint feature Thursday night.
Hodnett started ninth in the 25-lap sprint feature and chased 10th place starter Lance Dewease through the field. Dewease took the lead from race-long leader Brent Kluge on the eighth lap, but lost the top spot to Hodnett on the 11th circuit.
Hodnett stayed in front through the remainder of the distance to best Dewease for the $2500 victory for his sixth career win at the Newberrytown oval.
Dewease finished second and 2004 sprint champ Fred Rahmer finished third. Blane Heimbach came from the 14th starting spot to take fourth and Dave Cordier Jr. fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Josh Wells, Eric Stambaugh, Cory Haas, Kevin Nouse, and Scott Lutz.
Larry Hughes Jr. won the Xtreme Enduro Stock Car feature event.
MIKE LEHMAN GRABS BACK-TO-BACK TRAIL-WAY 358 SPRINT WINS
Mike Lehman picked up his second win in-a-row in the 30-lap 358 Sprint Fall Classic at Trail-Way Speedway Friday night. Lehman battled 2003 track champion and last years' Fall Classic winner Brad McClelland over the final laps to earn the win.
Following Lehman across the line were McClelland, Billy Dietrich, Bobby Howard and Brandon Grandstaff. Dietrich third place finish allowed him to clinch the 2004 358 Sprint Trail-Way track title.
Kevin Sprague won the Street Stock feature while Mike Walls was victorious in Thundercars.
SNYDER WINS SELINSGROVE PAUL STINE 358 SPRINT NATIONAL OPEN
Nate Snyder became Selinsgrove Speedway's season-leading sprint car feature winner Saturday night when he drove to a convincing victory in the Fourth Annual Paul Stine Chevrolet National Open for 358 Sprint Cars.
Snyder streaked away from the field to post a 2.78 margin of victory over Mark Freeland, TJ Stutts, Mike Walter and Davie Franek.
Snyder started the 2004 season seeking his first career win and ended the year as the track's leading winner with his fourth victory of the year in the $3,000-to-win Open.
The 358 Open ended the 2004 season for 358 Sprints with Jason Shultz clinching the track championship.
Peanut Heintzelman won his first race of the season in the 20-lap pro stock event.