Lincoln Speedway race report 2003-03-22

Dewease wins career 20th in Lincoln Sprint main; Billy Dietrich claims season opener in 358's; Nat Tuckey wins on last turn pass in Thundercars ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 3/22/03 - Fayetteville's Lance Dewease took advantage of a good starting spot while...

Dewease wins career 20th in Lincoln Sprint main; Billy Dietrich claims season opener in 358's; Nat Tuckey wins on last turn pass in Thundercars

ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 3/22/03 - Fayetteville's Lance Dewease took advantage of a good starting spot while he could get one, and wired the field in winning the 25-lap 410 sprint feature at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night.

"You've got to take advantage of these good starting spots like this, because in a week or so there's no way we're going to be starting up there," said a happy Dewease upon exiting his Al & Betty Hamilton-owned Manheim Auto Auction No.77 in victory lane. "The racetrack was a little tricky tonight."

The win, in only the second race at the Pigeon Hills lightning-fast 3/8th-mile oval in 2003, was almost text-book for the veteran Dewease as he grabbed the lead from his outside front row starting spot at the drop of the green over polesitter Jason Hagenbuch.

Third-starting Todd Shaffer shot around the polesitter into second on the opening lap, and immediately pressured Dewease for the lead on lap two. Shaffer passed Dewease for the lead in the first and second turns, but Dewease blew back around the Millerstown speedster down the backstretch and continued to pace the field after lap two.

Ohio-invader Dale Blaney advanced from sixth to third by the end of the second lap, but then lost the handle in the first and second turns of lap three to bring out the caution. One lap later, the caution came out for Tennessee-driver Greg Hodnett, who spun in the fourth turn while running seventh. Under the caution, Hanover's Cris Eash also came to a stop in the second turn. Both drivers were able to rejoin the field on the restart.

From there, Dewease put on a clinic as he simply began to drive away from the field. He opened up a two-second lead by the time he reached lapped traffic on the 10th circuit.

"That just makes it more interesting," said Dewease when asked about lapped traffic. "There on that one run, I was catching Hodnett. He isn't the easiest guy to pass, and didn't want to get passed so he could get a caution and come back around."

"I think we had a harder tire on than anybody else. With starting up front like that, we thought we'd go with a harder tire and get out there and get going. My car was pretty nice the whole time, but, we can do a whole lot better."

Billy Sims' flat right-rear tire brought out the caution on the 11th lap, allowing Shaffer to close on his bumper one more time with Johnny Mackison Jr. in third, 410 rookie Jim Siegel fourth, and defending track champ Fred Rahmer (who started 11th) fifth.

But Dewease simply picked up where he left off, and pulled out to a commanding 2.68-second lead by the time he entered lapped traffic again on the 19th lap.

The race's final caution waved on the 21st lap, when Lancaster's Doug Esh spun out in the first and second turn, giving Shaffer one last shot. A late surging Rahmer was making things interesting, as he moved around Mackison into third on the restart. But the outcome was never in doubt, as Dewease pulled away over the final four laps to register his 20th career Lincoln win by 2.43 seconds over Shaffer.

"I don't know what anybody else was like. We were okay. We were better than we were last week. This was a different car than I raced last week. We're still tuning it some. We'll keep working hard at it."

"We got a couple other new cars and we're going to be bringing them out. I'm still getting use to the Hoosier Tires."

Rahmer settled for third, Mackison fourth, and Sean Michael (who started 15th) finished fifth. Completing the top ten were Keith Kauffman, opening day winner Chris Knopp, Niki Young, Donnie Kreitz Jr., and Eash.

Heats for the 37 "410" sprints on hand were won by Hodnett, Mackison, Eash, and Shaffer. Twin consolation events were won by Donnie Kreitz Jr. and Steve Siegel.

Billy Dietrich grabbed the lead from polesitter Mark Freeland in the first two turns and led every lap for his second career Lincoln win in the season opener for "358" sprint cars. With defending Lincoln champ Cory Haas starting sixth by the luck of the draw, Dietrich moved to the low side for the rest of the race.

Dietrich, normally a rim rider around the top, explained his plan in victory lane.

"I figured if I stayed on the bottom, they'd have to drive around me or through me to take this one away."

Haas did advance to second by lap six, but looped it in turn three of lap 14 as the caution was coming out for a spinning Jeff Young in turn two. Haas rejoined the rear of the field, and crossed ninth.

Eric Stambaugh and Shawn "Big Block" Weaver battled for position from lap six on, with Stambaugh crossing second and Weaver third. Alan Krimes and Darren Eash completed the top five. Sixth through tenth were Billy Johns, Keith Prutzman, Jack Raudabaugh, Haas, and Freeland.

Scott Ausherman was transported to Hanover Hospital after complaining of dizziness following a flip onto the fourth turn inside guardrail on the first lap.

Heats for the 30 "358" sprints on hand were won by Eash, Chad Trout, and Krimes, with Adrian Shaffer winning the consolation.

Biglerville's Nat Tuckey gave himself a birthday present with a last-turn pass of all-time winner Bernie Beard to claim the 20-lap thundercar feature. Opening day winner Beard, who started third, grabbed the lead with a low-side move on the first two turns and led the first 19 laps. Tuckey started sixth and advanced to the runner-up spot by lap eight, then chased Beard the rest of the way. Tuckey was unable to make a pass until Beard bobbled on the final turn, giving Tuckey an opening to slide under Beard and beat him in a drag race to the checkered. The final margin of victory was a scant 22-hundredths of a second.

Polesitter Neil Smith finished third, with 12th-starting Steve Clabaugh and 10th-starting Mike Zeigler, Sr. completing the top five.

Heat for the 25 thundercars on hand were won by Smith, Zeigler Jr., and Beard.

Next Saturday night, March 29th, Lincoln Speedway will hold it's second of three straight 6 PM starts before moving to 7 PM on April 12th with the 410 sprint and thundercar regulars being joined by the INEX Legend cars.

Gates will open at 4 PM, with warm-ups taking the track at 5:30 PM, before the first heat takes the green at 6 PM.

To get all the latest news, results, schedule changes and rule changes, visit Lincoln Speedway's website at www.lincolnspeedway.com to stay up-to-date on all the action or pending weather conditions at Central Pennsylvania's "Premier" Saturday night race track - The Fabulous Lincoln Speedway.

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Neil Smith