Lincoln Speedway 2003 awards banquet summary

YORK, PA, 11/15/03 - Lincoln Speedway track champions and special year-end awards were handed out at the Altland House Banquet Center at the York Expo Center Saturday night, November 15th. Close to 350 people were in attendance to watch the...

YORK, PA, 11/15/03 - Lincoln Speedway track champions and special year-end awards were handed out at the Altland House Banquet Center at the York Expo Center Saturday night, November 15th. Close to 350 people were in attendance to watch the crowning of the 410 sprint, 358 sprint and thundercar champions for 2003. The top-10 finishers in the season -long point series for all three divisions were honored as well as special awards for each division.

DEWEASE CLAIMS FIRST LINCOLN CHAMPIONSHIP

Fayetteville's Lance Dewease, driving the Al and Betty Hamilton Manheim Auto Auction/Hank's Performance Products No.77 sprinter, was crowned the 2003 champion in the Cindy Rowe Paintless Dent Repair 410 Sprint Series. Dewease ended a six-year run by Fred Rahmer as 410 track champion in claiming his first-ever Lincoln title.

Dewease's consistency in the Pigeon Hills was too much for the rest of the competition. He recorded three wins (including the July 12th All-Star race), 14 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes in 23 events. His three 2003 wins moved him into sole possession of 10th-place on the all-time Lincoln win list with 22. His final season point total of 5,705 was 475 better than second-place Cris Eash of Hanover, who led all competitors with six wins on the season.

Eash amassed 12 top-fives and 15 top-tens to go with his six wins, and moved into a sixth-place tie with the legendary Johnny Mackison Sr. on the all-time win list with 35. Eash was also led the most feature laps with 103 (16% of total feature laps), scored the most heats wins with eight, and won the Spring Championship race May 24th and the Kevin Gobrecht Pennsylvania Speedweek show on June 28th.

Salfordville's Fred Rahmer, who last year became the first driver in Lincoln Speedway history to win at least 10 races in six consecutive years (1997 - 11 wins, 1998 - 17 wins, 1999 - 10 wins, 2000 - 15 wins, 2001 - 13 wins, 2002 - 10 wins), was shut out of victory lane in the Pigeon Hills for the first time since 1991. Rahmer, second on the all-time win list with 122, finished third in points with 14 top-fives and 16 top-10 finishes.

Lancaster's Doug Esh capped off a break-out year with three wins, including the prestigious Kenny Weld Memorial, to finish fourth in Lincoln points. In addition to his wins, Esh scored seven top-fives and 16 top-10s.

Spring Grove's Niki Young recorded his first two career Lincoln 410 wins in 2003, both of which were memorable in that the wins came over 2003 Central Pennsylvania win leader Greg Hodnett and seven-time Lincoln champ Fred Rahmer. Young finished in the top-five ten times and 17 times in the top-10, and finished second on the laps-led chart with 68.

Other multiple winners included:

Delta's Chris Knopp, who scored his first two career Lincoln wins in 2003, with his inaugural win coming in the 2003 season-opening Ice Breaker 30 back on March 15th and finished sixth in points.

Memphis Tennessee's Greg Hodnett, was a three-time winner in 2003 at the Pigeon Hills oval, winning Lincoln's special 51st Anniversary show on May 14th and the Bobby Abel Memorial and ended up finishing seventh in points.

Ijamsville Maryland's Darren Eash, drove the Jim and Sandy Kline No.22 sprinter to two wins, including the annual Daryl Gohn/Glenn Gohn Sr. Memorial.

Other winners included:

New Berlinville's Kevin Drury who picked up his first career 410 win on April 12th and Sean Michael who won the May 3rd All-Star Circuit of Champions race.

Though none of them scored a feature win, Johnny Mackison Jr., Brook Weibley, and Josh Wells all scored top-10 finishes at least 10 times in 2003 to finish eighth through 10th respectively in the final Cindy Rowe Paintless Dent Removal 410 Sprint standings.

SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (410 Sprints)
Super Sprint Champion - Lance Dewease
Mechanic of the Year - Lee Stauffer
Rookie of the Year - Jim Siegel/Brian Leppo
Sportsmanship Award - Greg Hodnett
Hard Luck Award - Fred Rahmer
Most Improved Driver - Josh Wells

CORY HAAS WINS SECOND CONSECUTIVE 358 TITLE

An outstanding season-long battle for the Lincoln 358 sprint title came down to the final laps of the 358 Sprint Championship finale on September 6th with Dallastown's Cory Haas using a backup car to finish 11th and claim his second straight Lincoln 358 Sprint title over 2001 track champion Eric Stambaugh. Only a flat tire kept Stambaugh from winning the title after racing Ken Berwager's No.85 sprinter over the final three 358 Sprint events.

Haas and Stambaugh were the only multiple Lincoln winners during the 11-race series. Haas won four times to up his all-time win total to nine (tied for third with Greg Leiby on the all-time Lincoln win list), and registered six top-five and nine top-10 finishes.

East Berlin's Stambaugh, who moved into the 410 sprint ranks at the end of the 358 season to drive for Floyd and Joyce Swope, won three times, finished in the top-five seven times, and scored nine top-10 finishes.

Denver's Alan Krimes did not win in 2003, but was the only other driver to finish in the top-10 nine times, four of which were top-five finishes and ended up third in points, followed by Dover's Scott Ausherman and Hamburg's Keith Prutzman.

The only other driver in the top-10 in points to win a race (other than Haas and Stambaugh) was Asper's Billy Dietrich who won the season opener and finished eighth in points.

Other winners included Asper's Dan Dietrich (who led the most feature laps in 358 competition with 52), Hanover's Cris Eash who won the season-ending 358 Sprint Championship, and Dover's Rick Horn who won the special wingless 358 show on August 2nd.

Dan Dietrich and rookie Mark Freeland of Newport recorded the most heat wins with four each.

Sixth through 10th in the finale point standings were Felton's Chad Trout, Freeland, Billy Dietrich, Shawn Weaver, and State College's Billy Johns.

SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (358 Sprints)
358 Sprint Champion - Cory Haas
Rookie of the Year - Brad McClelland
Sportsmanship Award - Eric Stambaugh
Hard Luck Award - Eric Stambaugh
Most Improved Driver - Jon Keller

CLABAUGH WINS FIRST THUNDERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER LOSING ON FINAL NIGHT IN 2002

Bonneville's Steve Clabaugh, who lost the track title in a feature crash in the final thundercar race of 2002, turned the tables on 2002 champ Bernie Beard and won the 2003 championship in the final race of 2003.

The title came in what is expected to be Clabaugh's final season in thundercar competition and ended a four-year run by cousins Bernie (2002) and Bobby Beard (1999-2001) for the thundercar track title. Clabaugh plans to move up to the 358 sprint ranks full time in 2004.

Clabaugh overcame a 400-point deficit to Bernie Beard over the second half of the season, beginning with a two-win night on August 23rd (which were his only two wins of the 2003). Those two wins moved him into third on the all-time Lincoln win list with 27. He also scored a division-leading 16 top-fives and 20 top-10s in 24 races.

Abbottstown's Bernie Beard, who finished just 25 points behind Clabaugh, was tied with Stoverstown's Mike Zeigler Sr. as the top feature winner in 2003 with four wins each. Those wins moved each of them into first and eighth respectively on Lincoln's all-time win list. Beard now has a division-leading 71 career Lincoln thundercar wins while Zeigler has 14.

Other 2003 multiple winners were Gettysburg's Craig Wagaman (who led 104 feature laps and won three times to move into 7th on the all-time win list with 16 and was the leading heat winner with nine) and two-time winners Bobby Rudisill of New Oxford, Mike Walls of Gettysburg, and Stoverstown's Mike Zeigler Jr..

Single winners were Biglerville's Nat Tuckey (who finished fourth in points), Pasadena Maryland's Mike Ciezobka (who claimed his first career Lincoln win on June 14th, Sykesville Maryland's David Prunkl, Abbottstown's Bryan Wagaman, and Abbottstown's Duane Watson (who won the 2003 finale on October 10th while substituting for Bobby Rudisill).

Although he was winless in 2003, Hanover's Neil Smith finished third in points. Rounding out the top-10 were New Oxford's Chet McCormick in fifth, Zeigler Sr. and Jr. in sixth and seventh place respectively, Prunkl eighth, East Berlin's Wayne Dutterer ninth, and rookie Mike Gladfelter of New Oxford in 10th.

Twelve different drivers won races out of 24 events in 2003.

SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (Thundercars)
Thundercar Champion - Steve Clabaugh
Rookie of the Year - Mike Gladfelter
Sportsmanship Award - Chet McCormick
Hard Luck Award - Mike Zeigler Jr.
Most Improved Driver - Mike Ciezobka

Don't forget to check-out Lincoln Speedway On-line at www.lincolnspeedway.com for all the final results of the 2003 season along with statistics and point standings. The 2004 Lincoln Speedway schedule is still being finalized and is planned for release in the near future. This we do know, Lincoln will host its traditional Northeast Opener featuring the Ice Breaker 30 for the 410 sprints and the Spring Thaw 20 for the Thundercars on Saturday, February 21, 2004 with the first green flag waving at 2 PM.

-ls-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Neil Smith