Esh survives final harrowing laps to score second Lincoln win of 2002; Trout ends Haas winning streak in 358s; Herrick wins first of the year in Thundercars. ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 8/3/02 - Lancaster's Doug Esh marked his first anniversary with the ...
Esh survives final harrowing laps to score second Lincoln win of 2002; Trout ends Haas winning streak in 358s; Herrick wins first of the year in Thundercars.
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 8/3/02 - Lancaster's Doug Esh marked his first anniversary with the Leach Brothers Motorsports team by scoring a convincing win over an impressive field in the 25-lap sprint car feature at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night.
Despite winning by 1.6 seconds, a tiring Esh struggled over the final five laps, surviving several close encounters with lapped cars and the Lincoln walls.
"I've bounced off these walls many times in the 358's...it was like old times tonight," quipped Esh in victory lane after coming down from his famous wing dance on top of the car, "That was scaring me. I couldn't believe we were getting into lapped traffic as quick as we did...I knew we were good and motoring along."
Esh was so fast that he was catching back within three laps of each restart. Leads between the caution flags ranged from 2.7 to four seconds. Esh started third, drove under polesitter Dan Shetler on the second turn, then pulled the slider on outside front row starter Jimmy McBee in turn four to lead lap one. No one got close the rest of the night, but wheel-to-wheel racing with lapped cars took its toll. Esh bounced off the frontstretch wall exiting turn four of lap 28, and finally looped it in turn two after taking the checkered flag.
Just one night earlier, Esh crashed into a flipping car while leading at Williams Grove.
"After last night, I couldn't help but think is was going to happen again. You just have to race through those times. Those times are tough. It makes the whole team hang there heads low. There's time when you think anything that can go wrong will go wrong. You lose your rhythm, your head kind of gets looking at the stars, and you just miss the corner."
"I kept watching the scoreboard going down the straightway and I said 'Holy crap! The 88 or 77, or somebody, has to be coming," said Esh, "When we got into lapped traffic there at the end, I knew somebody would have to be really good if they were going to be getting by us."
Cris Eash was really good. He came from tenth starting spot to edge Billy Sims for second at the finish, with Fred Rahmer and Lance Dewease completing the top five. Sixth through tenth were Steve Siegel, McBee, Jeff Rohrbaugh (in the Jerry Karl sprinter), Kevin Drury, and Niki Young.
Esh's second win of the year at Lincoln came one year to the day after he joined the Leach team, and was worth $2,500.
"We came here tonight and knew we had a good shot at a win," Esh added. "We were good in the heat race. I've been in lapped traffic a lot this year, but so have they."
Heats for the 27 super sprints were won by Siegel, Esh, and Dewease, with Jerry Parrish winning the consolation.
It looked like a fourth straight win for Cory Haas before Chad Trout took matters into his own hands in the 20-lap "358" sprint feature.
Haas advanced from 12th starting spot to fourth by the end of the first lap, and passed Trout for the lead on a lap four restart. But Trout pulled up the boot straps, went to the top, exchanged the lead five times with Haas over the next three laps, took the lead for good on lap eight, and ran away over the second half of the race to score his second win of the year in the Pigeon Hills.
Though his winning streak ended at three, Haas held on for second, with Dan Dietrich coming from ninth to finish third, Eric Stambaugh advancing from 14th to cross fourth, and Shawn "Big Block" Weaver finishing fifth. Completing the top ten were Dale Hammaker, Alan Krimes, Judd Shepard, Brian Leppo, and Brian Eichelberger.
Heats for the 36 "358" sprinters were won by Michael Creaghan, Keith Prutzman, Dan Dietrich, and Randy Neiman. Twin consolations were won by Billy Johns and Billy Dietrich.
Littlestown's Sean Herrick grabbed the lead from the pole position and held off all takers to claim his first win of 2002 in winning the 25 lap thundercar feature. Herrick, sporting a Bobby Beard powerplant under the hood, first held off the charges of outside frontrow starter Ron Shultz for the first nine laps before Shultz pulled into the pits with mechanical problems. This put fourth-starting David Prunkl on Herrick's bumper laps 10 through 13 before 12th starting Bernie Beard grabbed the spot laps 14 through 16. Prunkl fought back to take second back on the 17th and 18th laps before the final caution waved with two laps to go. Beard dove under Prunkl on the restart to take second and chased Herrick through the final turns but fell short by one car length as Herrick recorded his fourth career Lincoln Speedway win.
Finishing third was Prunkl, with Mike Ciezobka and Mike Zeigler Sr. finishing fourth and fifth respectively.
Heats for the 29 thundercars were won by Zeigler Jr., Nat Tuckey, and Herrick, with Chet McCormick winning the consolation.
Next Saturday night, August 10th, Lincoln Speedway will host a special evening of wingless sprint car racing as the California-based SCRA Wingless Sprinters come to the Pigeon Hills oval with fourth leg of the Annual Non-Wing World Championship Series. The super sprint regulars will be given the night off due to the Annual Running of the Knoxville Nationals.
Rounding out the evening's racing action with the SCRA wingless sprinters will be the Miller Brothers Thundercars. Gates will open at 5:30 PM, with hot-laps getting underway at 7 PM and time trials commencing for the sprinters at 7:30 PM.