ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 5/19/01 - Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. For Cris Eash, it didn't hurt to be good and lucky. As is the case many times in sprint car racing, one incident can change the outcome of the race. For Cris Eash, running...
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 5/19/01 - Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. For Cris Eash, it didn't hurt to be good and lucky.
As is the case many times in sprint car racing, one incident can change the outcome of the race. For Cris Eash, running third was better than leading.
A late-race incident between leader Niki Young and Fred Rahmer led to a $2500 payday for Eash Saturday night at Lincoln Speedway. It was the first win of the year for Eash and the 27th of his career at the Pigeon Hills oval.
"We have been consistent, but not consistent enough,'' said Eash in victory lane. "We have been in the top ten a lot, but it has been in the bottom half of the top ten. The car is running good and hopefully we can get stronger in the second half of the season.''
Bobby Weaver, Darren Eash, Billy Sims, and Josh Wells completed the top five in the highly-contested event.
Despite Eash's performance, most of the focus was on what transpired with four to go in the feature event.
As usual, Rahmer started 12th and methodically made his way through the field.
The Salfordville driver rumbled into the top five by lap 12 and began to reel in the leaders.
While Rahmer knifed through the competition, Young, who started third, maintained a half-straightaway lead despite lapped traffic and a caution period on lap 11.
Todd Rittenhouse Jr. flipped his sprinter in turn two to bring out the red flag on lap 14, which allowed the competitors to work on their machines.
When the race went back to green, Rahmer continued his charge to the front, as he moved into the second position by lap 15.
This set up the battle between Rahmer and Young, who was setting a blistering pace around the half-mile oval. Rahmer put a slide job on Young on lap 16 to take the lead, but Young ducked under the veteran to maintain the top spot.
The fans rose to their feet as Rahmer again tried the same move three laps later, with Young duplicating his effort in holding the leading feature winner of 2001 at bay.
Eash, who started 11th in the field and took the third spot on lap 18, had the best seat in the house for what happened next.
Rahmer tried to slide the youngster in turns three and four, but Young would not be intimidated as he did not let off. When Rahmer slid across the track to complete the pass, Young was there, causing the leader to hit the fence and turn upside down.
Fans were sent into a frenzy as the red flag was displayed for Young on lap 21.
Rahmer, who kept going after the contact, pulled into the pit area during the stoppage with a broken radius rod, giving the lead to Eash.
From there, the race belonged to Eash, who led the rest of the way to post a half-straightaway victory at the checker.
"I got that one handed to me,'' explained Eash. "We were getting close to them, but who knows what would have happened if it kept going.''
"I was real impressed with Niki,'' Eash continued. "He wasn't giving an inch to Rahmer trading slide jobs with him.''
Cliff Brian, Chris Knopp, Glenndon Forsythe, Johnny Mackison, Jr., and Dustin Hoffman completed the top ten.
Heats for the 22 sprinters on hand were won by Forsythe and Young.
Rookie Chad Trout started fourth, took the lead from Will Urkuski on lap three, and paced the field the rest of the way to score an impressive first career victory in the 358 Sprint portion of the program. Joe Ilg, Scott Ausherman, Eric Stambaugh, and Adrian Shaffer rounded out the top five.
Urkuski spun while running second on lap four, collecting Brian Eichelberger in the process. During the caution, winner of the last two Lincoln shows Doug Esh pulled into the pits, ending his night.
Heats for the 30 "358" sprinters were won by Jim Siegel, Alan Krimes, and Eichelberger. Matt Boland won the consolation event.
David Prunkl became the third first-time 2001 winner of the night in the 20-lap thundercar feature. Prunkl started on the pole and led wire-to-wire. Bryan Wagaman started fourth, grabbed second from Roy Warehime on lap two, and chased Prunkl the rest of the way. Bobby Rudisill, Neil Smith, and Bernie Beard (who started 21st) completed the top five. The win ended Beard's three-race winning streak at Lincoln.
Heat winners for the 26 thundercars on hand were won by Smith, Prunkl, and Warehime.