Clabaugh wins Thundercar Championship, Bernie Beard wins 5th title; Tomsin, Kistler take INEX features; Micro-Sprint feature to Steve Buckwalter. ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 9/14/02 - Bonneauville's Steve Clabaugh made up for a disappointing thundercar ...
Clabaugh wins Thundercar Championship, Bernie Beard wins 5th title; Tomsin, Kistler take INEX features; Micro-Sprint feature to Steve Buckwalter.
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 9/14/02 - Bonneauville's Steve Clabaugh made up for a disappointing thundercar championship run in 2002 with a near perfect performance Saturday night to with the Annual 25 lap Thundercar Championship race at Lincoln Speedway.
Clabaugh slipped under polesitter Bobby Rudisill in the third and fourth turns of the second lap for the lead, and then held off a charging Bryan Wagaman in a final two lap shoot-out to score the $800 victory.
Clabaugh, who started outside frontrow starter Rudisill fell behind the New Oxford racer at the drop of the green. But on the second lap Rudisill slipped high in the third and fourth turns, allowing Clabaugh the break he needed to slip under for the lead to complete the second lap with Rudisill dropping to fifth.
"I really didn't want to start on the pole, I wanted to start on the outside the front row," said Clabaugh in victory lane. "That's usually the faster lane...I know Bobby (Rudisill) was going to get the jump on me, then he jumped the cushion down there a little bit and I was able to capitalize on that."
Bryan Wagaman, who started last after a fourth place finish in the second consolation race, assumed second when Nat Tuckey and Duane Watson got together on the frontstretch on lap 22 taking both cars out with flat tires. Then Wagaman chased him over the final three laps, sticking his nose to the inside of Clabaugh in the final turns to the checkered. But Clabaugh drove by to take the checkered .28 seconds ahead for the win.
"I actually had a little bit left, believe it or not," said Clabaugh on the race with Wagaman over the final laps. "The last few laps I think somebody put oil down going into turn three and four and I started babying it going into three and four. I was running Ok through one and two, but I had a little more left and I wasn't too concerned. He would have had to be better than me at both ends. Without both ends of the track you were not going to pass this car tonight."
Rudisill finished third, Neil Smith fourth, and Bernie Beard fifth. Completing the top-10 were Ron Shultz, Mike Walls, Allen Cullum, Mike Zeigler, Sr., and Duane Hahn.
Abbottstown's Bernie Beard clinched his fifth thundercar title with a fifth place finish. The title clinching race was in doubt as Beard was involved in an early race tangle with Mike Walls and was forced to make repairs and race from the rear. Nat Tuckey, who was still mathematically in the hunt, was up to third and one point in the race, but was sidelined after the tangle with Watson on the 23rd lap.
"I was pretty sure I was going to miss one of the final two races," said the newly crowned Miller Brothers Thundercar Champion. "I really wanted to wrap it up tonight"
"I had a bad incident there at the beginning of the feature and tore it up a little bit," said Beard on his early race tangle. "But we held in there and I guess we got it...I knew I had a chance to get within eight spots of him (Nat Tuckey), so I thought I'd just try my luck and see if he could win the next two races and if he could have won them, he was a better racer than me."
"Things just went our way this year and sometimes that's what it takes."
Heats for the 39 Thundercars were won by Tuckey, Beard, Rudisill, and David Prunkl. Twin consolations were won by Zeigler Sr. and Gregg Messersmith (who destroyed his car in a seventh lap frontstretch flip in the feature).
Royersford's Steve Buckwalter charged from his tenth starting spot to take the lead exiting turn two of the first lap and drove away to the win in the 15-lap 250-cc micro-sprint feature. It was Buckwalter's second Lincoln win of the year, the first coming in an earlier ARDC midget event.
Lincoln "358" driver Mike Bittinger outraced Brad McClelland for second, crossing 1.23 seconds behind the winner. Rick Tanner and Steve Siegel crew member Bill Laughman completed the top five.
Heats for the 51 micro-sprints were won by Laughman, Jim Still, McClelland, and Keith Woodson. Twin consolations were won by Todd Hoover and Chad Myers.
Kutztown's Tim Tomson dominated the 15-lap INEX Legends makeup feature rained out two weeks ago, and nearly pulled off the win from 10th starting spot in the regular feature. Tomson's margin of victory in the first feature was 4.14 seconds. But in the regularly-scheduled feature, national champ Rodney Kistler won from the outside front row, with Tomson crossing 1.25 seconds behind.
Second through fifth in the first feature were Tim Henry, Brian Levin, Kistler (who advanced from 11th starting spot), and Rick Landis.
In the second feature, Ronnie Dunstan, Henry, and Austin Kirkman completed the top five.
Heats for the 27 INEX Legends were won by Tomson, Kisler, and Dunstan.
Next Saturday night, September 21st, Lincoln Speedway will host it's Annual Manufacturers Appreciation Night for the super sprints, who will compete in their next-to-last racing program of 2002. Again this year, Hank and Denise Gentzler from Hank's Performance Products in York, PA, will coordinate the manufacturers' prize giveaways. Last year, those who started the 25-lap feature shared more than $47,000 worth of racing products and merchandise. Numerous prizes will also be given to racing fans.
In addition to the manufacturers' prizes, car owner Al Hamilton has put up $250 to go to the evening's fastest time trialer, and the Gentzlers will offer $500 for a "Hank's Perfect Performance," which would be any driver who can set fast time, win his heat, and win the feature. There will also be $250 in prize money awarded in each heat.
For a second straight year, the Manufacturers Race will also feature a Port Royal-Lincoln Challenge. The top five drivers in season points from Lincoln who make the show will race against the top five in season points from Port Royal for a $1,500 winner-take-all prize that will be evenly split among the drivers from the team that wins the challenge.
Joining the super sprints will be the Thundercars, who are still racing for the Miller Brothers Chevrolet/Cadillac/Oldsmobile Track Championship. The next-to-last racing program in the Pigeon Hills will have gates opening at 5 PM, hot laps getting under way at 6:30 PM, and qualifying events for the sprint cars getting underway at 7 PM.
After taking the following week (9/28) off, Lincoln Speedway will run its season finale on Saturday night, October 5th, with the annual running of the Kenny Weld Memorial for super sprints. Joining them will be the thundercars, who will conclude their race for the track championship as well. Time trials for the super sprint will start the evening's track finale at 7 PM.