Central Pennsylvania weekend recap 2002-06-30

HODNETT WINS OPENING NIGHT OF PA SPEEDWEEK AT LINCOLN Kevin Gobrecht would've been proud. Greg Hodnett took to the top side to power around eventual pole sitter Donnie Kreitz, Jr. and led wire-to-wire in the Third Annual Kevin...


Kevin Gobrecht would've been proud.

Greg Hodnett took to the top side to power around eventual pole sitter Donnie Kreitz, Jr. and led wire-to-wire in the Third Annual Kevin Gobrecht Memorial at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night.

In doing so, the Tennessee driver claimed the early points lead on opening night of the 12th Annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Pennsylvania Speedweek.

"I basically hated this place up until this year," said Hodnett in victory lane. "But the guys got the car really nice, and that allows me to drive it as hard as I want to and ease up when I need to...I can't be tickled any more than standing in here in victory lane more than one time in a season, which is usually my average here."

Hodnett, who started outside the frontrow, took the lead on the backstretch of the opening lap of the 30 lap affair. He quickly opened up a 1.32-second lead by the time the caution waved on the third lap for a spinning Mark Smith in the second turn.

The next 14 laps went non-stop, and by the time the caution came out for debris on the backstretch on lap 18, Hodnett had a three-second lead and had placed three lapped cars between himself and runner-up Lance Dewease, who got around Kreitz for second on lap nine after the two raced wheel-to-wheel for five laps.

The only other caution was for a spinning Todd Hestor on the third turn of lap 23. Although he had reduced the number of lapped cars between himself and the leader to one car, Dewease was never able to challenge. He had problems of his own, battling Donnie Kreitz, Jr. over the final seven laps for second. Kreitz made a daring pass in the final turns to claim the runner-up spot, with Dewease crossing third, Sean Michael finishing fourth, and Fred Rahmer coming on late to complete the top five. Sixth through tenth were Johnny Mackison, Jr., Cris Eash (who started 19th), Kauffman (who came from the rear), Doug Esh, and Brook Weibley.

Hodnett's final margin of victory was 1.64 seconds. It was his fourth win of the year and fifth of his career at Lincoln, his ninth of the year overall, and his third career Pennsylvania Speedweek win.

Heats for the sprints were won by Dewease, Rahmer, and Bobby Weaver. Michael won the B-Main. Fast time for the 29-car field was set Dewease, with a one-lap time of 13.475 seconds (100.186 MPH).

Hanover's Neil Smith led only one lap in claiming his fourth win of the year in the 20-lap thundercar feature, but it was the one the counted - the last. The winner started 11th and did not enter the top five until lap nine. But when he did, he immediately made it a five-car battle for the lead.

Polesitter Duane Hahn had led the first six laps before giving way to eighth-starting Mike Zeigler, Jr. Zeigler then led through lap 13, when outside frontrow starter Ron Shultz got a run off the top side of turn two to claim the top spot. He looked like the winner until Zeigler's slider failed on the final two turns, putting both frontrunners into the outside wall. Smith, who was running third, assumed the race lead and held off Nat Tuckey in a final-lap shootout for his 28th career win in the Pigeon Hills.

Crossing third was Mike Walls, with Bernie Beard making another run from the rear to finish fourth. Craig Wagaman came from 20th starting spot to finish fifth, and Chet McCormick came from 21st to cross sixth.



Hall of Fame racer Smokey Snellbaker had won about everything there is to win is racing - except the prestigious Firecracker 40 at Silver Spring Speedway. That is until Saturday night.

The veteran racer from Dover stormed to victory in the 12th Annual Firecracker 40 at Silver Spring Speedway Saturday night for his 23rd career Silver Spring super sportsman victory.

Snellbaker, who was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in early June, started seventh, moved into second spot on lap seven and took over the lead on lap 23 after leader Dave Calaman stopped with mechanical problems.

"I'm old enough, I should be allowed to win one, but I had heat on me the whole time," said the 64 year old driver from Dover. "Steve Cannon and Frankie Herr didn't give me a break."

"Dave (Calaman) would have been hard to catch. Sometimes lady luck is on your side and sometimes it isn't; it chose me tonight. This is the first time I've won this race."

Snellbaker was glued to Dave Calaman's bumper from the 10th lap on in the $2,000-to-win race but could not challenge for the lead.

Calaman's bid for the win came to an end on lap 22 when his car stopped exiting turn four. This gave the lead to the "Silver Fox."

Steve Cannon kept Snellbaker within striking distance over the final 15 laps of the event with Frankie Herr close behind. On the 33rd lap, Cannon made a bid for the lead on the backstretch, but Snellbaker prevailed into turn three.

Herr got by Cannon in traffic with four laps left, but could only follow Snellbaker around the outside of heavy lapped traffic over the final circuits. Cannon finished a solid third, Perigo fourth and Rich Eichelberger came on to finish fifth.

"We've been in a slump, the motors haven't been working and when that happens, you can't get the chassis to work. We went back to our old set-up. I just had enough," Snellbaker said. "I have to thank my crew, my sponsors and my fans and I have to thank God for letting me win another race."

Felton's Bob Scott Jr. started 16th after having trouble in his heat race and patiently worked his way into the top five by lap seven of the 20 lap street stock feature eventually squeezed between Jeff Haag and the frontstretch wall at the white flag to take the lead. Haag would spin out of second on the final lap causing a restart, but Scott was up to the challenge as he pulled away for his second career win over Randy Christine Jr., point leader Gerry Stutting Jr., and Scott Thunberg, who started 23rd.


Veteran sprint car driver Jim Nace of Thompsontown took advantage of the misfortunes of York's Adrian Shaffer in the special 40 lap Firecracker 40 race for the 358 sprints to pick up his second win of the season at Selinsgrove Speedway Saturday night. Nace pocketed over $1,800 for the victory.

Shaffer, who had led from the 19th lap looked to be a winner until contact with a lapped car sent Shaffer into the outside guardrail to end his bid for the win. Five-time winner Chad Layton, who was running second at the time, pulled pitside during the caution, handing the lead to Nace. Nace then held Darren Eash over the final three laps to pick up the win by .53 seconds.

The special Chip Challenge for frontrow starters in the feature was accepted by teenage sensation Blane Heimbach for a run at the $5,000 bonus, and although he came close, Heimbach ended up sixth.

Jimmy Adams led all 25 laps to win to register his second win of the season in the late model feature while Peanut Heintzelman drove to his third win of the season in pro stocks.

Matt Drum won the 10-lap roadrunner feature.


D J Myers has been close several times this year and on Saturday night he put it all together to win the 50-lap Johnny Roberts Memorial for the ITSI late models at the Hagerstown Speedway. Myers started seventh and after racing with Dan Stone and Nathan Durboraw side-by-side for ten laps, took the lead on lap 29 and never looked back claiming his first win of the year.

"We kept working the bottom there and it wasn't quite run in. But we kept working it and it came to us. I knew I had plenty of time and didn't want to abuse my tires, but wanted them there at the end," said Myers in Victory Lane $2,500 richer. " We have been running real good finishing second a couple of times. This win feels good."

Pete Weaver of Williamsport scored his second straight win and third of the year in the late model sportsman feature that was called after six laps because of curfew and Ronnie Dennis of Jessup was in front when the pure stock feature was checkered at the end of the six laps after using the allotted 30 minutes time limit. Larry Felty won the 12-lap Vintage Car feature.


Todd Hestor ended a two-year Williams Grove winless drought by winning the 25-lap super sprint feature Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway.

Shawn Keen led the first two tours of the sprint feature before Todd Gracey took over and set the pace until Hestor drove around him exiting the second corner on the seventh lap. Gracey was not about to concede, however, and blasted past Hestor with an inside move through turn four. Gracey held off Hestor's pressure until the 19th tour when he bobbled slightly and surrendered the lead for the final time.

Once in front Hestor, who started sixth, cruised to his first win of the season at Williams Grove. The victory, worth $3000, was Hestor's first since April 28, 2000, and the second of his career. He became the ninth different winner at the Grove this season.

Darren Eash started eighth and took the lead from Michael Creaghan with an inside move through the first corner on the 20th and final lap to win the non-stop358 sprint feature.

Creaghan was second with Ron Kramer, Cory Haas and Adrian Shaffer finishing in positions three through five respectively.


Jeremy Gardner won the KARS 358 Sprint Car feature Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway. The Shermansdale, Pa driver started second and led all 25 laps to record his first Port Royal win with Dan Richcreek and Jake Raudabaugh finishing second and third place respectively.

Bud Witmer led all 20 laps in winning the 358 Late Model feature leading every lap.

Eric Cauffman led every lap of the pro stock feature for his first-ever win while Herm Renninger winning the 30 lap enduro dash.


Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA was the class of the field Friday night in winning the 40-lap main event for the United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro DirtCar Series at Nebraska Raceway Park in Lincoln, NE. The 1999 UDTRA Champion took the lead from his outside front row starting spot, and was never challenged en route to the win.

While McDowell rode the cushion to the $7,000 win, there were cars scattered behind him using the entire surface of the 1/2-mile dirt oval to swap positions.

Jimmy Mars of Elk Mound, WI finished second and Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA came on strong late in the race and took.

UDTRA point leader and defending champion Rick Eckert of York was eighth, allowing McDowell to close the gap on Eckert to just 13 points in the Pro DirtCar Series championship hunt.


Steve Francis of Ashland, KY tried the high line, but then took the low road to victory Saturday night in the 50-lap United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro DirtCar Series main event at Nebraska Raceway Park in Lincoln, NE. Francis assumed the lead after early leader Dale McDowell dropped out of the race at the halfway point.

McDowell broke a radiator hose that retired his car for the evening and a 22nd-place finish. McDowell had won the UDTRA Pro DirtCar Series race at NRP the night before and was looking for his second straight win.

Donnie Moran of Dresden, OH used an "outside-in" groove to finish second and Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA drove to his third straight top five finish with a third-place showing.

UDTRA Defending Champion and current point leader Rick Eckert of York, PA rounded out the top ten with a 10th place finish. Eckert's finish, combined with McDowell's 22nd place finish increased Eckert's lead of over McDowell to 44-points.


The 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year, Joey Saldana won every race he entered when the World of Outlaw series opened the NAPA Classic at Knoxville Raceway Friday, finishing first in his heat, the Dash, and the 25-lap Preliminary Feature.

The $5,000 victory was Saldana's first in a Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series Preliminary Feature since April 10, 1998, at Eldora Speedway. He won the Spring Nationals at Devil's Bowl Speedway March 16th. New Oxford's Stevie Smith was Friday's runner-up, taking the checkered flag 1.8 seconds behind Saldana, while Steve Kinser finished third and Danny Lasoski was the fifth-place finisher.


Danny Lasoski passed New Oxford's Stevie Smith early in the Pennzoil World of Outlaws 40 lap A-feature Saturday night at Knoxville Raceway and then held off Smith's late-race charge to win the NAPA classic.

The victory, combined with Steve Kinser's third place finish, sets up a tie at the top of the Pennzoil World of Outlaws point standings.


Dave Ely of West Lawn, PA won the twenty-five lap URC Advance Auto Parts Sprint Series feature event Saturday night at the Delaware International Speedway. For Ely, driving the Bill Gallagher sprinter, it was his first career URC victory as he became the eleventh different feature winner of 2002 in sixteen events this season. The win was far from easy as Ely charged from his ninth starting position, then held off a late race charge from Greg Coverdale who started eleventh. The runner-up finish for Coverdale moved him into the point lead for the Delaware State Sprint Series title.


It was the first win of the season for Chad Kemenah Saturday night at Eldora Speedway in the All Star sprint 30-lap feature. With the win Kemenah took over the series point lead in the process by one point over Kenny Jacobs, who finished second. Eldora's 48th anniversary race paid $5,000 to win.

Seventh starting Jeff Shepard of Upperco, MD was fourth, Harrisonville's Mike Wagner 10th and Hanover's Todd Allen 18th.


Rain struck Susquehanna Speedway just before final preparations were being made for warm-ups this Friday night. Mixed clouds and sunshine gave way to a saturating downpour about 6:30 PM., forcing speedway officials to cancel the evenings' racing action.


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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Donnie Moran , Rick Eckert , Jimmy Mars , Brian Birkhofer , Danny Lasoski , Steve Kinser , Joey Saldana , Steve Francis , Chad Kemenah , Johnny R , Neil Smith
Teams Williams