Saturday - June 23, 2001 Lincoln Speedway Abbottstown, Pa 11th Annual Carquest Auto Parts Pennsylvania Speedweek Opener 2nd Annual Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Shaffer Makes Thrilling Last Lap Pass To Win Carquest Speedweek Opener; 30 Lap Time Blows...
Saturday - June 23, 2001
11th Annual Carquest Auto Parts Pennsylvania Speedweek Opener
2nd Annual Kevin Gobrecht Memorial
Shaffer Makes Thrilling Last Lap Pass To Win Carquest Speedweek Opener;
30 Lap Time Blows Away Steve Kinser's Record by More than 12 Seconds
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 6/23/01 - They don't call him "Mr. Excitement" for nothing.
Millerstown's Todd Shaffer dove under race-long leader Keith Kauffman in the final turns two turns to give Bob and Don Leiby their 200th career win as sponsors in the 2001 Carquest Pennsylvania Speedweek opener at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night. And the 30-lap time of 7 minutes, 30.17 seconds shattered Steve Kinser's existing track record by more than 12 seconds.
"Man, it doesn't get any better than that," shouted a victorious Shaffer in victory lane. "We used to sneak into the pits and hide under Keith Kauffman's rig at Port Royal...Keith is a good friend of mine and we raced hard. It's easier to be in second in lapped traffic and I just got a shot there at the end, took it, made it, and we're here. This is something else."
"For the Leiby's, this is there 200th win," Shaffer added. "Last night at the Grove I saw they had a sign in the trailer and I just shook my head and walked away...the last time they made a sign it was for my 100th and I didn't win for three months. I'm glad we got that 200th win for them because they've been a lot of help and I wouldn't be here without them."
The former Kauffman stowaway started on the inside of the second row by virtue of his fourth quick time, but yielded to Steve Siegel in the first two turns. He crossed fourth at the end of the first lap, followed Siegel for the first 14 laps before swapping the runner-up spot on laps 15 and 16, claimed second for good on lap 17, and then tracked down Kauffman over the final 13 laps before making the race-winning move on the final turns.
Siegel passed polesitter Greg Hodnett for second on lap seven, and Shaffer raced with Hodnett for the next seven laps before getting by on lap 14. By the time Shaffer moved into second, Kauffman held a commanding 1.2- second lead.
Shaffer began reeling in the leader as the laps wound down, but it didn't appear he would be able to catch Kauffman with the white flag waving. A lapped car became a factor in turns one and two of the final lap, giving Shaffer the break he needed as he closed onto the back bumper of the Middleswarth Potato Chips #7 as the two went down the backstretch the final time. Kauffman stayed on the cushion through the final turns, but couldn't hold off the charging Shaffer, who hung it out with a big-time slider exiting turn four. Shaffer's margin of victory was less than a carlength.
"I didn't see a flag until five laps to go," said Shaffer, "Then I started counting them down and I thought, ^ÑMan, if I could just get a little closer', and I was fortunate to hit turns one and two perfect and a lapped car helped me get a run on him. He would have confused me if he stayed on the bottom through the final two turns, but I'm sure Keith saw the (score)board and he stayed on the top to block either Lance or me. This is one we'll savor for a while."
Siegel crossed third, with tenth-starting Fred Rahmer finishing fourth and Lance Dewease completing the top five. Sixth through tenth were Cris Eash, Sean Michael, Hodnett, Chris Knopp, and Johnny Mackison Jr.
Heats for the sprints were won by Jeff Rohrbaugh, Rahmer, Shawn Keen, and Cliff Brian. Johnny Mackison Jr. won the B-Main. Fast time in time trials over the 40-car field was set by Craig Keel from Weedsport, NY, with a one-lap time of 13.146 seconds (102.693 MPH).
Spring Grove's Mike Zeigler, Jr. assumed the lead when race-long leader Craig Wagaman dropped out during an tenth-lap caution and went on to win his fifth of the year in the 20-lap thundercar feature. Ken Berwager chased Zeigler the rest of the way to finish second, with Craig Smith, Nat Tuckey, and Chet McCormick rounding out the top five. Bernie and Bobby Beard, battling for second in the season-long point standings, got together on the frontstretch while racing for the runner-up spot on lap 12, ending Bernie's night and sending Bobby to the pits for repairs. Bobby returned to the field and finished 11th.
The win was the seventh of Zeigler's career in the Pigeon Hills, moving him into a tie with Les Davis and Denny Hahn for 13th on the all-time Lincoln thundercar win list.
Heats for the 31 thundercars were won by Ziegler Jr., Bobby Beard, and David Prunkl, with Bobby Rudisill winning the consolation.
Next Saturday night, June 30th, the ARDC Midgets will share top-billing with the 358 sprints as the 410 sprinters will be given the night off to participate in Pennsylvania Speedweek activities elsewhere. The thundercars will round out the night's racing action with gates will opening at 5:30 PM, hotlaps at 7 PM and racing action getting underway at 7:30 PM.