Saturday - September 22, 2001 LINCOLN SPEEDWAY Abbottstown, PA 13TH ANNUAL MANUFACTURER'S APPRECIATION RACE ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 9/22/01 - When the super sprints lined up in the "missing man" formation to honor those lost in last week's ...
Saturday - September 22, 2001
13TH ANNUAL MANUFACTURER'S APPRECIATION RACE
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 9/22/01 - When the super sprints lined up in the "missing man" formation to honor those lost in last week's terrorist attacks, the car carrying the biggest American flag on its top wing was alone at the front.
Twenty-five laps later, the flag was still there.
Allentown's Sean Michael started on the outside of the front row and held off a stellar field to claim the second Lincoln win of his career in the Manufacturers' Appreciation Race Saturday night.
"There are just so many people we need to thank," said Michael in victory lane, "The last two weeks, we decided we haven't been real good and we've changed our program around a little bit. I guess if that didn't work, I was next. Last night, we switched to Penske Shocks, we switched our motor program to Don Ott, Zemco, Pee Wee, John, Maxim Chassis, Hoosier Racing Tires, and the crew. They all worked so many hours for this. This is a Davey Brown motor, but Don Ott made some changes on the fuel system and it did the trick. It made this thing come alive."
Michael's started second after turning third quick time and watching fast timer Greg Hodnett draw pill #4 for the invert. He wrestled the lead away from polesitter Todd Hestor on the first two turns, and led the rest of the way.
"It helped a whole lot starting on the front row," explained Michael, "But you have to hold them off. We were real fast. We don't have rear-view mirrors in this car, so I don't know if anybody was running with me or not. But the car felt real good."
Michael had a 1.17-second lead over Hestor by the end of the fifth lap, as Hodnett, Lance Dewease, and Keith Kauffman battled for third. Kauffman was still running fifth when Todd Hestor bobbled in turn three of the 14th lap and the teammates made contact. Hestor lost three spots and dropped to fifth. Kauffman partially climbed the outside wall and nearly flipped, but made an unbelievable save to stay in the top ten.
Hodnett, Dewease, and Steve Siegel advanced to second through fourth during the incident, and two laps later, Fred Rahmer (who started ninth) got by Hestor for fifth. On lap 18, Rahmer caught Siegel for fourth. At the time, Michael's lead had increased to 1.82 seconds over Hodnett.
By lap 20, Cris Eash and Todd Shaffer had advanced to sixth and seventh, and the leaders were running in the same order when the caution came out for Skip Jackson, who came to a stop on the backstretch just before turn three on lap 22. The same cars were still first through seventh when the final caution came out for a spinning Niki Young in turns three and four of lap 24.
But that's when things went sour. On the green-to-checkered restart, Rahmer's motor shut down, scattering the cars as they went down the backstretch. Steve Siegel flipped violently, knocking the top wing off the #17E of Cris Eash and causing front end damage to the #88 of Todd Shaffer. The three-car crash handed the Port Royal vs. Lincoln challenge (top five winners from each track) to Port Royal by a score of 96-90. Rahmer was able to make repairs during the red flag without losing any spots.
The crash moved Kauffman, Hestor, and Keel into fifth, sixth, and seventh, and that's where they finished after the final restart.
Michael pulled away over the final lap to win by three-quarters of a second over Hodnett, with Dewease, Rahmer, and Kauffman completing the top five. Sixth through tenth were Hestor, Keel, Bobby Weaver, Alan Cole, and Shawn Weaver.
"It's been a good year," reflected Michael in victory lane, "Our luck has been just unbelievable. In the heat race, a shock went through the side guard and stuck my throttle open and bent the throttle linkage up. I just ain't got no luck, man."
After additional reflection on the American flag on the top wing of the John Zemaitis race car, Michael said, "I thought about that as I was driving. I thought, ^ÑThis is the perfect car to be out front alone. I feel so bad for all those family members that lost relatives last week, and it's a terrible deal over there."
Heats for the 39 super sprinters on hand were won by Brook Weibley, Rahmer, Kauffman, and Shaffer, with Cole winning the B-Main. Hodnett, of Memphis, TN, set fast time in time trials with a one-lap time of 13.072 seconds (103.274 MPH).
Drivers who started the feature shared more than $47,000 worth of manufacturer's goods and services arranged by Hank and Denise Gentzler from Hanks Performance Products in York. Nearly 100 prizes, including a Lazy Boy Recliner, donated by Carl Harz Furniture, were distributed to fans who were in attendance.
Gettysburg's Mike Walls completed a perfect weekend by claiming his third Lincoln win of the year in the 20-lap thundercar feature. Walls' dominating performance came on the heals of his fourth consecutive win at Trail-Way Speedway the night before. He started fifth and took the lead from Craig Wagaman in a three-car race that included Mike Zeigler, Jr. on lap six. Zeigler hung on for second, but Wagaman dropped from the field while running third under caution on the 19th lap. Duane Watson came from ninth to finish third, with three-time defending track champ Bobby Beard hanging on for fourth after starting on the pole. Steve Clabaugh came through the field from 15th to finish fifth.
Heats for the 26 thundercars on hand were won by Bobby Rudisill, Neil Smith, and Chet McCormick.
Lincoln Speedway will remain idle next Saturday night, September 29th, for Williams Grove's running of the Williams Grove National Open.
Lincoln Speedway will then close out there 2001 racing season the following Saturday night, October 6th, with the running of the 5TH ANNUAL KENNY WELD MEMORIAL. Gates will open at 5 PM, with hot laps at 6:30 PM and racing action getting under way at 7 PM.