LEPPO OVER HODNETT & RAHMER IN 53RD ANNIVERSARY SHOW AT LINCOLN Point Leader Ron Schultz Wins 2nd In-a-row, 3rd of the Year in Thundercars ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 5/25/05 - Spring Grove's Brian Leppo openly admits he still has a lot to learn behind...
LEPPO OVER HODNETT & RAHMER IN 53RD ANNIVERSARY SHOW AT LINCOLN
Point Leader Ron Schultz Wins 2nd In-a-row, 3rd of the Year in Thundercars
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 5/25/05 - Spring Grove's Brian Leppo openly admits he still has a lot to learn behind the wheel of a sprint car. And that's bad news for the rest of the Northeast's best sprint car teams. The learning curve came closer to full circle Wednesday night, as Leppo raced from his sixth starting spot to claim the 53-lap, $5,300-to-win John Gleim Excavating 53rd Anniversary show at Lincoln Speedway.
Leppo passed 139-time Lincoln winner Fred Rahmer heading up the backstretch of the 20th lap and then sealed the deal by pinching-off the eight-time track champ heading into the third turn for the lead and then led the rest of the way despite numerous red- and yellow-flag restarts for the biggest win of his young 410 sprint career.
"We just passed four or five of the best sprint cars in the country...at the very least in Pennsylvania," said Leppo upon exiting his Kinard Trucking No.71 sprinter in victory lane in front of a wildly-cheering grandstand crowd. "This feels better than the first (win) one...to hold those guys off on all those restarts."
"I'm just learning and still learning and trying to earn respect from these guys. I drove by them and had some clean racing and hopefully I learned a little tonight."
The emerging sprint car superstar set fast time in time trials and pulled the No.6 pill for the inversion earning him an outside third-row starting position for the 53-lap test.
Leppo had advanced to fourth by the end of lap three, just after Fred Rahmer slid under polesitter and race-long leader Josh Wells for the race lead exiting turn four. Third-starting Greg Hodnett passed Wells on lap seven, with Leppo getting by Wells a lap later.
That's when the first red flag of the night came out for Brian Montieth, who flipped in turn four.
Leppo immediately challenged Hodnett for the runner-up spot on the restart, and the two battled wheel-to-wheel for the next nine laps before Leppo finally claimed the spot on lap 17. Then after the leaders passed the flagstand, Larry Shive brought out the caution and then successive red flags were thrown, first for Mike Erdley and Chris Knopp, who crashed in turn one, and then Jeff Shepard, who flipped on turn four.
Rahmer then continued to lead through the 19th lap before Leppo brought the packed grandstand crowd to it's feet with his dramatic pass for the lead heading up the backstretch of the 20th lap.
"Just keep it straight," said Leppo on what was going through his mind as he passed Fred Rahmer for the lead. "He's just like anybody else, but, of course he's Fred Rahmer...it's always been a dream of mine to drive by those guys."
"It just feels awesome."
Leppo then had to survive seven more caution periods, including a 41st-lap fuel stop, to lead the rest of the way.
"We were pretty good when we got going," said Leppo. " But those yellows and reds gave Fred and Greg (Hodnett) all those chances...I just had to keep my head in it."
Hodnett caught Rahmer on the backstretch of the 41st lap restart to move into second. Those two battled for the runner-up spot the rest of the way, crossing second and third, allowing Leppo to surge further ahead over the final laps to register a 1.32-second victory for his second career win at the Pigeon Hills oval.
Hodnett held off Rahmer for second, with Jason Johnson finishing fourth and invader Stevie Smith rounding out the top five.
The only other cars running at the end were Sam Schlosberg (sixth), Jeff Busby (seventh), Jim Siegel (eighth), and Brent Kluge (tenth). Lance Dewease came to a stop exiting turn four of lap 52, and was credited with a ninth-place finish.
Heats for the "410" sprinters were won by Dewease, Erdley and Montieth.
Fast time in time trials over the 24-car field was set by Leppo with a 13.516-second lap (99.882 MPH) around the lightning-quick three-eighth's mile high-banked Pigeon Hills oval.
Cashtown's Ron Schultz picked up his second win in-a-row, and the third of the year in the 20-lap thundercar nightcap.
Schultz, who started 12th, stalked race-long leader Tom Slusser Jr. lap-after-lap before finally slipping around for the lead on the 12th lap. The series point-leader then held on to the top spot the rest of the way to record his 12th career thundercar win and moved into the top-10 all-time win leader chart.
Dan Zechman made a gallant last lap charge to actually challenge Schultz in the final turns to the checkered, but was just short and settled for second.
Slusser held on for third, with Mike Walls finishing fourth and Sam Gallagher fifth.
Completing the top-10 were Jim Rost, Jake Markey, Duane Watson, Mike Slaybaugh and Larry Niederer.
Heats for the 26 thundercars were won by Wagaman, Zechman and Watson.
Lincoln Speedway swings back into action this Saturday night, May 28th. It will be Kline's Services Night with the 410 sprint and thundercar regulars being joined by the INEX Legends. That show will get underway at 7:30 PM, with gates opening at 5:30 PM.
To get all the latest news, results, schedule changes and rule changes, visit Lincoln Speedway's website at http://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.
Feature (53 Laps) - 1. 71-Brian Leppo ($5,300); 2. 77-Greg Hodnett; 3. 88H-Fred Rahmer; 4. 22-Jason Johnson; 5. 19-Stevie Smith; 6. 70-Sam Schlosberg; 7. 47J-Jeff Busby; 8. 59-Jim Siegel; 9. 25-Lance Dewease (DNF); 10. 29K-Brent Kluge; 11. 93-Glenndon Forsythe (DNF); 12. 10N-Niki Young (DNF); 13. 1-Mark Smith (DNF); 14. 6W-Josh Wells (DNF); 15. 30-Doug Esh (DNF); 16. 43-Larry Shive (DNF); 17. 12-Jeff Shepard (DNF); 18. 11-Mike Erdley (DNF); 19. 6K-Chris Knopp (DNF); 20. 10X-Doug Rohrbaugh (DNF); 21. 23-Todd Zinn (DNF); 22. 21-Brian Montieth (DNF); 23. 65-Johnny Mackison Jr. (DNF); DNS - 4-Eric Stambaugh. No Time
Lap Leaders - Josh Wells (1-4), Fred Rahmer (5-19), Brian Leppo (20-53)
1st Heat (10 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 25-Lance Dewease; 2. 77-Greg Hodnett; 3. 70-Sam Schlosberg; 4. 71-Brian Leppo; 5. 65-Johnny Mackison Jr.; 6. 6K-Chris Knopp; 7. 29K-Brent Kluge; 8. 23-Todd Zinn. Time - 2:22.20
2nd Heat (10 Laps/6 to qualify) 1. 11-Mike Erdley; 2. 30-Doug Esh; 3. 1-Mark Smith; 4. 93-Glenndon Forsythe; 5. 12-Jeff Shepard; 6. 59-Jim Siegel; 7. 10N-Niki Young; 8. 43-Larry Shive. Time - 2:24.69
3rd Heat (10 Laps/6 to qualify) 1. 21-Brian Montieth; 2. 19-Stevie Smith; 3. 22-Jason Johnson; 4. 47J-Jeff Busby; 5. 6W-Josh Wells; 6. 88H-Fred Rahmer; 7. 10X-Doug Rohrbaugh; 8. 4-Eric Stambaugh (DNS). Time - 2:22.45
Time Trials - 1. 71-Brian Leppo, 13.516 seconds (99.882 MPH); 2. 1-Mark Smith, 13.577; 3. 88H-Fred Rahmer, 13.593; 4. 77-Greg Hodnett, 13.680; 5. 12-Jeff Shepard, 13.730; 6. 6W-Josh Wells, 13.768; 7. 29K-Brent Kluge, 13.825; 8. 59-Jim Siegel, 13.830; 9. 19-Stevie Smith, 13.887; 10. 25-Lance Dewease, 13.911; 11. 30-Doug Esh, 13.931; 12. 22-Jason Johnson, 13.982; 13. 6K-Chris Knopp, 13.985; 14. 11-Mike Erdley, 13.992; 15. 47J-Jeff Busby, 14.018; 16. 65-Johnny Mackison Jr., 14.030; 17. 93-Glenndon Forsythe, 14.031; 18. 21-Brian Montieth, 14.076; 19. 70-Sam Schlosberg, 14.100; 20. 10N-Niki Young, 14.144; 21. 10X-Doug Rohrbaugh, 14.775; 22. 23-Todd Zinn, 14.857; 23. 43-Larry Shive, 15.526; 24. 4-Eric Stambaugh, NT.
Feature (20 Laps) - 1. 31-Ron Schultz; 2. 2-Dan Zechman; 3. 91-Tom Slusser Jr.; 4. 52-Mike Walls; 5. 20-Sam Gallagher; 6. 37-Jim Rost; 7. 12-Jake Markey; 8. 3W-Duane Watson; 9. 61M-Mike Slaybaugh; 10. 21N-Larry Niederer; 11. 11-Gregg Messersmith; 12. 1E-Greg Emlet; 13. 3-Mike Gladfelter; 14. 07-Bob Stough; 15. 81-Mike Zeigler Sr. (DNF); 16. 1-Neil Smith (DNF); 17. 30-Craig Wagaman (DNF); 18. 34M-Jim Martz Jr. (DNF); 19. 15-Doug Devilbiss (DNF); 20. 22-Nat Tuckey (DNF); 21. 5-Bobby Rudisill (DNF); 22. 70-Duane Hahn (DNF); 23. 10-Don Waynick (DNF); 24. 11R-Al Crammer (DNF); DNS - Jim Rost Jr., Rick Weaver. No Time
Lap Leaders - Tom Slusser Jr. (1-11), Ron Schultz (12-20)
1st Heat (8 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 30-Craig Wagaman; 2. 61M-Mike Slaybaugh; 3. 31-Ron Shultz; 4. 52-Mike Walls; 5. 34M-Jim Martz, Jr.; 6. 07-Bob Stough; 7. 20-Sam Gallagher; 8. 5-Bobby Rudisill (DNF): 9. 70X-Rick Weaver (DNF). No Time
2nd Heat (8 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 2-Dan Zechman; 2. 91-Tom Slusser, Jr.; 3. 15-Doug Devilbiss; 4. 1E-Greg Emlet; 5. 12-Jake Markey; 6. 22-Nat Tuckey; 7. 11-Gregg Messersmith; 8. 37-Jim Rost. Time - 2:53.61
3rd Heat (8 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 3W-Duane Watson; 2. 81-Mike Zeigler Sr.; 3. 21N-Larry Niederer; 4. 1-Neil Smith; 5. 3-Mike Gladfelter; 6. 10-Don Waynick; 7. 9-Al Crammer (DNF); 8. 70-Duane Hahn (DNF); 9. 11R-Jim Rost Jr. (DNF). No Time