Career first for Doug Esh in Lincoln Sprints; Leiby fifth different "358" winner in five races; Wagaman claims thrilling thundercar feature. ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 6/1/02 - Lancaster's Doug Esh took the lead at the drop of the green and never looked...
Career first for Doug Esh in Lincoln Sprints; Leiby fifth different "358" winner in five races; Wagaman claims thrilling thundercar feature.
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 6/1/02 - Lancaster's Doug Esh took the lead at the drop of the green and never looked back in claiming his first career super sprint win at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night.
The win turned around what had been a dismal 2002 season for the team.
"With car owners like Dick, Leslie and Tom (Leach)...this was a long time coming really," said a happy Esh in victory lane, "I thought the car, equipment and motor was good enough to win, the weak link was me."
"We struggled pretty bad this year. Moon and Lance and the whole No.77 team really got us going to the point where we could actually race and stay in the front."
The front row stayed there the first 16 laps. Esh led from the pole, with outside front row starter Niki Young running second until veteran Bobby Weaver squeezed by for the runner-up spot on lap 17. By that time, Esh had a 1.14-second lead. Esh had increased the lead to more than two seconds by the time a caution came out for Josh Wells and Mike Rabold on turn two of the 20th lap.
But the hard, slick track took its toll on the Baughman's New/Used/Quality Auto Parts "X" car, and Weaver dropped from contention with a flat right rear during the caution, turning second back over to Young. The track, which began taking rubber during the heats, kept handicapped cars at bay most of the race, resulting in thrilling wheel-to-wheel combat between fifth and 12th positions the entire feature. It wasn't until late in the race that Lance Dewease began to advance, moving from his 12th starting spot into the top five on lap 19, assuming fourth when Weaver dropped out on lap 20, and then taking third from Steve Siegel on lap 21. Dewease passed Young for the runner-up spot on lap 23, but Esh drove away from Dewease and the rest of the field over the last two laps to score a 2.15-second win.
Siegel caught Young for third on the next-to-last lap, and 15th-starting Donnie Kreitz, Jr. passed Young for fourth on the final lap. Young settled for fifth, with Cris Eash, Fred Rahmer, Chris Knopp, Brook Weibley, and Todd Gracey completing the top ten.
"We led for a while and got to lapped traffic, and I saw the 17 car was in second. I thought maybe it might be Cris Eash, because he knows how to get around here. The track actually started laying rubber down and we got going real good on the bottom in one and two. But I just couldn't get through three and four on the top, so I moved to the bottom. I told Dick tonight before I rolled out that 'We're going to be really good...or really bad.' We were really good."
Heats for the 27 super sprints were won by Dewease, Gracey, and Esh, with Bob Beidleman winning the consolation.
Carlisle's Greg Leiby started on the pole and led every lap for his first Lincoln win of the year in the 20-lap "358" sprint feature. With the win, Leiby became the fifth different winner in five "358" races in the Pigeon Hills this year.
Leiby has led every lap he has run since bringing out a new Maxim car last Friday at Williams Grove, where he picked up the win.
Felton's Chad Trout, who started sixth, advanced to second by the second lap, but yielded to second-starting Bill Case, Jr. between laps four and nine. He claimed the runner-up spot for good on lap ten, with Case running third until losing that spot to 10th-starting Cory Haas on the final lap. Finishing fifth behind Leiby, Trout, Haas, and Case was Brian Eichelberger, with Billy Johns, Keith Prutzman, Dale Hammaker, Jim Siegel, and Adrian Shaffer rounding out the top ten.
Heats for the 45 "358" sprints on hand were won by Trout, Johns, Leiby and Siegel. Twin consolations were won by Tony Strine and Alan Krimes.
Craig Wagaman claimed his first win of the year in a thrilling thundercar feature that saw three-wide racing for the lead down the backstretch of the next-to-last lap. Wagaman, who led laps 11 through 14 and the final three laps, took control exiting the fourth turn of lap 24, and drove to a .59-second win over Steve Clabaugh and Mike Zeigler Jr.. Clabaugh and Zeigler raced door-to-door over the final lap, with Clabaugh holding off Zeigler by a half-carlength at the finish.
Mike Zeigler, Sr. led the first five laps over polesitter and 1963 (correct) Lincoln late model champ Kenny Slaybaugh following an opening-lap caution that took out outside front-row starter Steve Gantz, Randy Zechman, Mike Walls, and Kenny Berwager. On lap six, the two leaders got together, handing the lead over to Zeigler's son Mike, Jr..
Zeigler Jr. led the next five laps before a tangle with points leader Bernie Beard allowed Wagaman, who started 10th, to grab the lead. Zeigler recovered and reclaimed the lead on lap 15, but Beard suffered a flat on lap 12 and went to the pits for a tire change.
Wagaman reclaimed the lead for good during the three-car battle on lap 18, giving him his 13th career Lincoln win.
Heats for the 32 thundercars were won by Slaybaugh, Walls, and Beard, with Bobby Rudisill winning the consolation.
Next Saturday night, June 8th, it will be MANHEIM AUTO AUCTION NIGHT at Lincoln Speedway featuring all three point divisions - the Cindy Rowe Auto Glass Super Sprints, the Budweiser 358 Sprints, and the Miller Brothers Chevrolet Thundercars. Gates will open at 5:30 PM, with warm-ups at 7 PM, and the first heat taking the green at 7:30 PM.