Lincoln Speedway report 2002-03-13

Kauffman becomes first 2002 Central Pa repeat winner in Lincoln Main; Chad Trout claims opener for 358's; Duane Watson victor in Thundercar feature ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 3/23/02 - Once again, a veteran showed how it's done. The early season ...

Kauffman becomes first 2002 Central Pa repeat winner in Lincoln Main; Chad Trout claims opener for 358's; Duane Watson victor in Thundercar feature

ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 3/23/02 - Once again, a veteran showed how it's done.

The early season winning-streak of Central Pennsylvania sprint car veterans continued Saturday night, as Keith Kauffman became the first two-time winner of 2002 in claiming the 25-lap super sprint feature at Lincoln Speedway.

Kauffman, who started a distant 10th on the first night of handicapping, chased early-race leader Greg Hodnett for several laps before passing the Memphis, TN racer on the backstretch of the 17th lap. He then held off a hard-charging Todd Shaffer in a final three-lap dash to the checkered to register his 12th career win at the Pigeon Hills oval.

"I think I got a couple more wins left in me," said the ageless veteran driver (51) of the Middleswarth No.7 sprinter, "It was a pretty good night."

"I wasn't sure if it was Todd or Fred (Rahmer) back there...all I knew it was an 88," Kauffman added. "There was a lot of good race cars here tonight. That Apple car and driver is good, and Lee (Stauffer) is a great mechanic, but we were just a little bit better tonight."

Outside frontrow starter and former ARDC Midget champion Tim Dietz grabbed lead at the drop of the green with polesitter Glenndon Forsythe dropping to third when fourth-starting Hodnett blew past as well.

Hodnett charged under Dietz in the first and second turns of the fourth lap for the lead, just before the first caution waved when Sean Michael got tangled up against the backstretch guardrail and spun entering the third turn. Hodnett held firm on the restart, with Dietz holding down second and Kauffman already up to third.

A caution for a slow Scott Burnnell and a stopped Glenndon Forsythe sprinter brought out the caution once again on the sixth lap. On the restart, Kauffman got around Dietz to move into second and immediately closed on the leader's bumper.

Dietz's great run came to an end on the 10th lap when he hit the outside wall entering the first turn. Third-running Todd Shaffer (who started ninth) spun in the same turn, but kept going, allowing him to hold onto his third position. Kauffman had driven under Hodnett exiting the second turn for the lead, but the caution placed him back to second for the restart.

Hodnett swapped his high line for the low line on the restart, allowing Kauffman to build up momentum around the top of the track. Another caution on the 13th lap (for a spinning Niki Young) gave Hodnett a little breather, as Kauffman kept up his relentless attack. Kauffman was finally able to get the momentum he needed off the second turn of the 17th lap to grab the lead heading up the backstretch.

Shaffer caught Hodnett on the 22nd lap and passed him for second, just before the race's final caution waved for Cris Eash, who stopped on the second turn with a flat left rear tire on lap 23.

Shaffer tried to mount a final charge on the restart, but Kauffman was up for the challenge and raced away to a half-second win over Shaffer.

"I didn't bother calling because I knew Lincoln would be racing," said Kauffman when asked about the cold temperature, "It don't matter about the weather...we just came down the road. It was just a cold night. The wind blows you around a little bit and you don't know whether it's the wind or the car or the track, but it was a great race track tonight, and a lot of good people come out here and stood in this cold. I'm just glad to be standing here."

After thanking the fans, Kauffman turned his attention to the team.

"It's taken a lot of work and we have a bunch of great guys," said Kauffman, "They just kept working and everybody believed in me and I believe in them. I think it's starting to show a little bit now."

Points leader Fred Rahmer came from 12th starting spot to cross fourth, with Jeff Shepard advancing from 15th starting spot to finish fifth. Completing the top ten were Brook Weibley, Johnny Mackison, Jr., 20th-starting Steve Siegel, Chris Knopp, and 21st-starting Bobby Weaver.

Heats for the 28 "410" sprints on hand were won by Hodnett, Sean Michael, and Kauffman, with Eash winning the consolation.

Felton's Chad Trout took to the top of the race track on the advice of his crew chief after an 8th-lap red flag and drove to the win in the season opener for the "358" sprinters. Trout started third and was scored second the first six laps, but then gave way to defending champ Eric Stambaugh on lap seven. A lap later, Cory Haas spun on the second turn and collected Jake Raudabaugh, bringing out the red flag. Neither driver was injured.

On the restart, Trout drove around Stambaugh to reclaim the runner-up spot. A lap later, Trout drove around race-long leader Alan Krimes for the lead exiting the second turn. He led the rest of the way, with Bill Dietrich coming on strong at the end to finish second 69-hundredths of a second behind. Chad Layton moved through the field from his 17th starting spot to cross third, with Stambaugh and Krimes completing the top five. Sixth through tenth were Dan Dietrich, Blaine Heimbach, Dale Hammaker, Brian Leppo, and T.J. Stutts.

Heats for the 31 "358" Sprints on hand were won by Heimbach, Krimes, and Dan Dietrich, with Joe Ilg winning the consolation.

Abbottstown's Duane Watson grabbed the lead from race-long leader Nat Tuckey on the fifth lap, raced-away to a huge lead, then held off yet another late-race charge by Bernie Beard in a final two-lap dash to the checkered to pick up the win in the 20 lap thundercar feature.

Watson, who was involved in a huge crash on opening day, atoned for his misfortune by holding off all challenges en route to a .34 second win - the fourth of his career at Lincoln.

Bernie Beard settled for a hard-fought second place finish after starting 12th and took over the points lead in the season-long battle for the Miller Brothers Chevrolet track championship. Defending track champ Bobby Beard finished third, with David Prunkl fourth, and Craig Wagaman fifth, coming from the rear after being involved in an opening lap crash.

Heats for the 24 thundercars were won by Watson, Tuckey, and Bobby Beard.

Lincoln Speedway comes right back with another three-division show next Saturday night, March 30th, with the super sprint and thundercar regulars being joined by the Vintage Stock Cars. Gates will open at 4 PM. The Annual Easter Egg Hunt for the kids will begin at 5:15 PM, with hot laps at 5:30 PM, and the first heat getting underway at 6 PM.


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Series Sprint , Stock car