Central Pennsylvania weekend racing highlights

Hodnett holds off Weibley for fourth win of 2002. Tennessee commuter Greg Hodnett continued his strong early-season run as he picked-up his fourth overall win of the season in winning the 25 lap super sprint feature at Lincoln Speedway Saturday...

Hodnett holds off Weibley for fourth win of 2002.

Tennessee commuter Greg Hodnett continued his strong early-season run as he picked-up his fourth overall win of the season in winning the 25 lap super sprint feature at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night. And with the win, Hodnett joined Fred Rahmer and Keith Kauffman as two-time winners at the Pigeon Hills oval in 2002.

"When I first got here we won a lot of big races and were going pretty good," reflected Hodnett on his career as a member of the Pennsylvania Posse. "Last year we really struggled, I'll be honest with you...we were pretty bad."

"Right now the car is rolling pretty good. We've worked with the tires for a year and that seems to help out a great deal when you can rely on your manufacturers like we do - Hoosier - and they give us a lot of information and we use it to the best of our ability. And it's paid off right now."

Hodnett grabbed the lead from race-long leader Bobby Weaver on the seventh lap and then led the rest of the way to register the win.

While it looked like Hodnett would dominate at Lincoln in mid-race, Hodnett had to rally to hold off a hard-charging Brook Weibley at the end.

"Brook was really giving me fits there," said Hodnett upon exiting his winning Apple Motorsports/Cars By Dealers Magazine No.12 sprinter in victory lane, "We got into traffic and I was trying to be careful, and I just got a little too slow. He did a great job. He was working well on the bottom and I was kind of stuck around the top, and that's what we'd planned on doing. He was right there the whole time...he could actually get on the throttle sooner than I could. I just had a little bit more momentum."

Hodnett started sixth and drove the top into third by the end of the first lap. A tangle involving Rick Lafferty and Dan Shetler on turn four of the second lap was the only caution of the race. The final 24 laps went non-stop, with Hodnett watching Bobby Weaver and Todd Gracey battle for the lead on laps two through four, and then driving around Gracey for the runner-up spot on lap five. Hodnett pulled alongside Weaver as the two crossed the flag stand to complete lap six, and then pulled the slider to take the lead in the third and fourth turns of lap seven.

Meanwhile, as the leaders entered lapped traffic on lap eight, Weibley was running fourth. Weibley slid under Gracey for third on lap nine, then took second from Weaver on lap 12. At the time, Weibley was nearly two seconds behind. He narrowed the lead to 1.42 seconds by lap 16, and cut the deficit to three-quarters of a second by lap 20. A lap later, Weibley pulled alongside Hodnett in turns one and two as the leaders raced through heavy lapped traffic. Weibley actually grabbed the lead on the backstretch of lap 23 when he used lapped cars as a pick to edge ahead, only to have Hodnett drive around exiting the turn. The two then raced wheel-to-wheel until Hodnett used two lapped cars as blockers when the leaders entered the first turn of lap 24.

"There was actually two lapped cars, one right in middle, and one on the bottom, and the whole outside was clear," Hodnett said. "He went to the bottom and those guys stopped in front of him and that allowed us to get a bit of some breathing room and just let it hang out the last two laps to see what would happen."

"I heard him there for about four laps before he actually got under us down here," said Hodnett on the hectic run through lapped traffic. "Traffic just happened to work in our favor, but they were really good on the bottom. He gave us a really good scare."

Hodnett's final margin of victory was 1.45 seconds.

Weibley settled for a well-earned second place finish, with Weaver finishing third, Fred Rahmer fourth, and Cris Eash fifth.

While the $2,500 win was his second of the season, it was only his third career win in the Pigeon Hills.

Completing the top-10 was Chris Knopp, Keith Kauffman, Johnny Mackison Jr., Lance Dewease, and Gracey.

Ijamsville, Maryland's Darren Eash grabbed the lead from his pole starting position and simply over-powered the field to pick up his first 358 sprint win of the season in the Roy Vincent No.7E. Cory Haas ran a strong race to finish second 1.14 seconds behind Eash, with Jake Raudabaugh, Scott Ausherman, and Dale Hammaker completing the top five.

Biglerville's Nat Tuckey became the sixth different winner in thundercar action by winning the 20 lap thundercar feature.

50 FOR DEWEASE, 77 FOR HAMILTON AT WILLIAMS GROVE

Defending Williams Grove Speedway track champion Lance Dewease scored his first victory of the season in 2002 at the Grove in winning the 25 lap super sprint feature Friday night.

The victory was the 50th of Dewease's career at Williams Grove and he became the first sprint car driver ever to reach that milestone at this historic speedway. And for car owners Al and Betty Hamilton, the victory was the 77th of there career at the Grove and moved them to within four victories of Bob Weikert's record of 81.

Rick Lafferty led the first four laps of the sprint feature before Fred Rahmer, who started eighth, slid in front between turns one and two.

Rahmer's lead would be short-lived, however, because Dewease, who started tenth, was on the move. The defending track champion followed Rahmer past Lafferty and one lap later drove by Rahmer with an inside move through the first and second corners.

After starting 17th, former four time champ Donnie Kreitz Jr. marched through the field and took second place from Rahmer exiting the final corner to the checkered

Rahmer settled for third ahead of Keith Kauffman and Greg Hodnett. Sean Michael, Todd Shaffer, Shawn Keen, Lafferty and Todd Hestor completed the top ten.

Dewease dedicated his victory to the memory of long time track official Chub Shadle who died on April 15th.

Adrian Shaffer ended Chad Layton's three race wining streak in 358 sprint competition with a wire-to-wire victory in there 20 lap feature event. Billy Johns finished second followed by Dan Richcreek, Dan Dietrich and Layton.

TOM MYERS VICTORIOUS IN THRILLING HAGERSTOWN/WINCHESTER SHOOTOUT SERIES OPENER

In one of the most exciting races ever seen at the Hagerstown Speedway, Tom Myers of Greencastle, PA fought off Jeremy Miller and then cut off Nathan Durboraw's thrilling drive from the rear of the field to win Round One of the Winchester/ Hagerstown Shootout Friday night.

In other action, Mike Warrenfeltz of Hagerstown held off Brian Miller the final five laps in the 15-lap pure stock feature to kick off the Valvoline Cup Challenge.

NACE PICKS UP SECOND 358 SPRINT WIN AT SELINSGROVE

After the first two weeks found teenage youth in victory lane, age and experience returned to the winner's circle on Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway as veteran Jim Nace of Thompsontown picked up his second career 358 sprint car win.

In stock car action, Blain's Jeff Smith took the lead late to pick up his second late model win of the season while Kyle Bachman drove to the win in pro stock action.

JEFF SHEPARD WINS ATTICA COORS NATIONAL

Local racer Jeff Shepard of Upperco, Maryland outlasted 64 other drivers in dominating fashion Saturday night at Attica Raceway Park in Attica, OH, to win the big Attica Coors National All Star sprint 40-lap feature. The Coors Nationals were co-sanctioned by the Interstate Racing Association (IRA) and paid Shepard $7,000 for his sixth career Attica win.

"The only place we could find any traction was on the horse track off the back stretch," Shepard joked. "The first half of the race I was just trying to keep out of the holes, I didn't want to crash. I saw the high side was the best way around the track and just tried to hang on for 40 laps."

Kelly Kinser rode home second with opening night winner Greg Wilson third.

Greg Wilson passed Dale Blaney on the last lap Friday night at Attica Raceway Park to win opening night action of the Attica Coors Nationals.

FRANCIS TAKES FIRST UDTRA WIN OF THE SEASON AT LANCASTER

Steve Francis of Ashland, KY took the lead on lap 20, and then held on to take his first United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro DirtCar Series win of the season Saturday night in the SpeedSportsbook.Com 50 at Lancaster Motor Speedway in Lancaster, SC.

Francis finished second to 1999 UDTRA Champion Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA on Friday night, but on this night the roles were reversed with Francis taking the $10,000 top prize and McDowell finishing second.

"We lost the race last night due to driver error, as Dale beat me with a moved I used on him last year," Francis said. "There were a lot of races we should have won this year, and I owed this one to my crew. We're a new team this season, and we're really starting to jell. I would like to dedicate this win to my brother Chris because I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him."

McDowell tried to reel in Francis for the second straight night during the closing laps of the race and challenge for the win, but this time Francis would not be denied.

Defending UDTRA Champion Rick Eckert of York led the first 19 laps of the race, but faded to fifth at the checkered flag in the Raye Vest Rocket/Cornett Taurus.

Eckert dropped into second place behind McDowell in the season-long point series by 23 points. Francis moved up to the third spot with his victory, and is 45 points out of first place.

RAIN WIPES OUT PORT ROYAL FEATURE EVENTS

Rain wiped-out Port Royal Speedway's Saturday afternoon racing action during the final Pro Stock heat event. The remaining qualifiers, and features were ultimately cancelled. Port officials announced that rain checks will be good during April 27 and May 4 racing programs.

-meyer-

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Rick Eckert , Greg Wil , Steve Francis , Jeff Smith
Teams Williams