"The Gas Man" Richard Griffin wins SCRA Non-Wing World Championship thriller in final turns. They call them the Wingless Warriors for a good reason - they battle to end. The SCRA Wingless warriors came to Lincoln Speedway Saturday night for ...
"The Gas Man" Richard Griffin wins SCRA Non-Wing World Championship thriller in final turns.
They call them the Wingless Warriors for a good reason - they battle to end.
The SCRA Wingless warriors came to Lincoln Speedway Saturday night for the fourth race of there 14-race 2002 Non-Wing World Championship Tour. And in the end, not one person was sitting in there seats as Tony Elliott of Kokomo, Indiana and Richard "The Gas Man" Griffin of Silver City, New Mexico battled side-by-side for the final 20 laps of the 30 affair. Elliott took the high road and Griffin the low road lap-after-lap with Elliott leading the way the entire distance except for the 20th lap when Griffin edged ahead at the flagstand to lead lap 20.
But on the final lap Elliott got held up momentarily by a lapped car in the final turns to the checkered, allowing Griffin to charge off the bottom in a race to the checkered and steal the win by a half a car length over Elliott for his first win of the 2002 Non-Wing World Championship Tour.
"I was having a great time out there and Tony (Elliott) was racing me clean," said the defending two-time Non-Wing World Championship winner as he exited his Ron Chaffin-owned/Jon Boy Chassis/Shaver-Powered/Arizona Race Mart/Circle C Marketing No.50 sprinter in victory lane. "The main thing I hope these guys that came out to watch this non-wing racing got there monies worth."
"I had a heck of a time. That was about 20 laps side-by-side there and it was nerve-racking. We were just lucky enough that lapped traffic came into it. We fell back a bit when there were some guys on the bottom (lapped cars) and then Tony got hung up a little there a little bit those last couple of laps. I can't say enough for him because he raced me nice and clean. It was just a great race for the fans."
Outside frontrow starter Elliott grabbed the lead at the drop of the green and paced the field while polesitter Rickie Gaunt, third-starting Corey Kruseman, fourth-starting Damion Gardner and fifth-starting Tony Jones gave chase.
All eyes quickly shifted to the lone Pennsylvania racer to make the Dash, Johnny Mackison Jr., as he began to work the bottom of Lincoln's 3/8th-mile high-banked oval and had moved by Kruseman and Griffin to move into second place. Griffith fought back and suddenly Mackison found himself behind Griffin once again in third. Mackison then shifted his line from the bottom of the track to the top. That provided to be his demise as the York speedster jumped the cushion in the third and fourth turns on the 10th lap and hit the wall, causing him to flip his mount and bring out the red flag.
"He (Johnny Mackison Jr.) blew by me on the bottom in the first couple of laps," said Griffin on Mackison who looked to be a factor in the early stages of the race. "I really didn't know where to go and what to do...we kind of set up for the top because I really don't like running the bottom and I'm really not very good at it."
"When he blew by me and a couple other guys got by us I thought I was going to have to at least try to block them or something so they just don't drive by me. I just got down there and the car was working good. Then we got by a couple of guys and lucky enough the red came out and it wasn't for us. We made some more changes on it and tightened the car up for the last half and helped it and didn't screw up."
From there the Elliott and Griffin battle began an as Elliott drove almost along the outer wall while Griffin skimmed the inner guardrail lap-after-lap. Griffin got a run off the fourth turn of the 20th lap and nipped Elliott at the line to lead the 20th lap. But Elliott continued around the top and regained the lead once again on the 21st lap.
As the laps wound down lapped traffic loomed ahead with 10 laps to go. Griffin was the first to encounter cars on the low-side of the track, causing him to lose valuable ground to Elliott with about five laps to go.
But as Griffin cleared the lapped cars Elliott's line around the top became congested with the white flag waving, allowing Griffin to close on the leaders bumper heading up the backstretch on the final lap.
Elliott was forced from the top entering the final turns in an attempt to hold Griffin at bay, but Elliott slipped up exiting the turn and opened the door for Griffin. Griffin the got the bit he needed coming off the turn and surged ahead as he took the checkered for his fifth overall win of 2002.
"I saw it coming (lapped traffic) but I didn't know if it would become a factor or not," said Griffin on the final laps. "Sure enough there on the last lap it looked like they were holding Tony up a little bit."
"I was down on the bottom and Tony went to the bottom on the last lap and he just got in a little bit hotter than he should have and missed it and slid up. I actually followed him in there as hard as I could and just about missed it too. It's just one of those circumstances in racing. It's happened to me before. It's no fun I know that. But it sure is fun winning one like this."
The packed grandstand then tried to sooth the agony of defeat for Elliott as he graciously accepted the roaring applause for the thrilling battle that left him with a disappointing second place run after nearly leading the entire race.
"That's just a part of racing," said a despondent Elliott on losing to Griffin in the final turns. "We've won a few races like that but obviously we lost one tonight."
Kruseman watched from third place nearly the entire race and was clearly not able to make a move on the leaders this night. Kruseman also set fast time over the 26-car field with a one-lap time of 15.970 seconds.
"We were a little bit loose tonight," said the third place Kruseman. "But I 'll tell you what, you had a great prepared race track....we've been to a lot of places and you guys definitely took a lot of time and got us a great non-wing race track. I really appreciate what you did for us."
"Elliott got the top going pretty good and you had a local guy that was going pretty Good (Mackison), but unfortunately he a some bad luck. We got the bottom working pretty good and I guess Richard nipped him at the line. Hopefully there was some good racing and get to come back here next year."
Mike Kirby (Torrance, CA) came from his 11th starting spot to finish fourth and Tony Jones (Garden Grove, CA) finished where he started in fifth.
Hanover's Pat Cooper was the highest finishing local driver as he came from his 21st starting position to finish ninth.
Biglerville's Nat Tuckey charged from his 10th starting position to pass race-long leader Sean Herrick for the lead on the 12th lap and then lead the rest of the way to pick up his third win of the year in the 29lap thundercar feature.
Herrick, last week's feature winner, started outside the frontrow and grabbed the lead at the drop of the green and survived numerous early race cautions to lead the first 11 laps. Tuckey moved around Bobby Rudisill on the ninth lap for second, setting up his race-winning move on the 12th lap.
Point leader Bernie Beard and five-time thundercar winner Neil Smith were closing fast on the leader and actually passed Tuckey for what appeared the win on the final turns to the checkered. But in a rare occurrence in local racing, both Beard and Smith were deemed a lap down to the race leading Tuckey after being involved in accidents earlier in the race.
Herrick settled for second, with Allen Cullum third, Mike Ciezobka fourth, and Duane Watson fifth.
OTHER AREA AND REGIONAL ACTION
KAUFFMAN WINS PADS PORT POINT LEAD WITH 7TH WIN
Lady luck was on Keith Kauffman's side Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway as the Mifflintown speedster inherited the lead with three laps to go and went on to win the 25 lap super sprint feature for his seventh win of the year at the Juniata County racing facility.
Kauffman held off teammate Todd Hestor in a final three-lap dash to the checkered for his 11th overall win in 2002, with Dave Hahn finishing third.
The night had championship implications as Kauffman padded his points lead over Todd Shaffer, who had a flat tire for the second week in a row while leading, and Hestor. The trio were separated by just thirty points entering Saturday nights competition.
New Cumberland's Mike Hess returned to victory lane for the 16th time in his career at Port Royal in the 20 lap late model feature after a long absence. Hess's last win at Port came back in 1996.
Glenn Miller won the pro stock feature for his first win of 2002.
PAT CANNON GETS FIRST WIN OF THE YEAR AT SILVER SPRING
Mechanicsburg's Pat Cannon started 14th and took the lead from Bill Heckert on the 18th lap and went on pick up his first win of 2002 over Carmen Perigo, Heckert, and Scott Dellinger in the 25 lap super sportsman feature Saturday night at Silver Spring. The win was his fourth of his sportsman career at the Springs as he became the 15th different winner in 19 races.
Three-time champion Mark Billet passed Randy Schaeffer with two laps remaining to score his second win of the year in the 20 limited late model feature. Carl Graves passed Schaeffer on the last lap to finish second.
Frankie Herr started on the pole and led all five laps of the cash dash to earn an extra $250.
YORK'S ADRIAN SHAFFER WINS SECOND IN 358 SPRINT ACTION AT SELINSGROVE
Harrisburg's Chad Layton appeared to be on his way to his eighth win of the season at Selinsgrove Speedway until the right rear tire on entering turn three on the 21st lap of Saturday night's 358 Sprint feature at Selinsgrove Speedway.
That open the door for York's Adrian Shaffer to inherit the lead and powered to his second win of the season at the Snyder County oval and his fourth overall in 2002.
Glenn Heddings of New Columbia wired the field for his first career Late Model victory in the division's 20-lap main event, while Gerald Kratzer of Selinsgrove won the inaugural Pro Stock 20 championship event. Rick Bixler of Tower City won his third roadrunner race of the year.
RICH KING WINS FIRST AMA GRAND NATIONAL AT HAGERSTOWN
Rich King of Dysart, IA inherited the lead when Ken Coolbeth Jr dropped out of the race with mechanical problems and held off the challenges of Johnny Murphee to win the 25-lap Progressive Insurance Hub-City Classic Grand National at the Hagerstown Speedway Saturday night. It was King's first win of the year and first career win at Hagerstown.
King became the 10th different winner in 12 races so far this season in the most competitive season in Grand National history.
In the 12-lap Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance feature, 16 year old Jared Mees of Honey Brook, PA made a daring outside move in the first and second turn mid-way through the race to pass A J Eslick for the lead, then pulled away for his fourth win of the year in nine events. Mees padded his points lead over Scott Scherb who finished seventh.
WOLFE EARNS 3RD VICTORY OF THE YEAR IN TRAIL-WAY 600CC ACTION
Points leader Lucas Wolfe picked up his third win of the year in 600cc micro-sprint action at Trail-Way Speedway Saturday night over Drew Heistand and Jimmy Brookens.
Bill Brown Jr. picked up the win in classic car action and defending tack champion Arlin Brougher won his third as well in four-cylinder stock car action.
Figure 8 Racing was also on the schedule tonight with
Randy Crunkilton picking up his fifth win of the season by beating Tom Caravello and Paul Tiemann in the Figure 8 111 division while Wes Kellison earned his third win of the season in112's. In scramble car action John Spangler and Harold Wire were feature race winners.
PURCELL WINS FIRST IN URC ACTION
Scott Pursell of Frenchtown, NJ scored his first URC win of the season and his second career win in thrilling fashion last Saturday night at the New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey. Pursell took the lead of the twenty-five lap feature from Glen Clarke with just two laps remaining and earned the $1,500 winner's share of the purse.
STEVE KINSER WINS 12TH KNOXVILLE NATIONALS CHAMPIONSHIP
Steve Kinser led all 30 laps on his way to winning his 12th Mopar Parts Knoxville Nationals championship Saturday night.
"The King of the Outlaws" battled pole-sitter and defending Nationals champion Danny Lasoski through the first half of the race and held off Donny Schatz by one-third of a second to claim the $125,000 first prize, his first title since 1995.
Fayetteville's Lance Dewease was the best finishing Pennsylvania Posse racer with a 14th place finish and Upperco's, Maryland's Jeff Shepard, who qualified for the Nationals feature through the B-Feature, finished 21st.
Salfordsville's Fred Rahmer failed to advance to the National after finishing 12th in the B-Feature.
McDOWELL WINS 311 BATTLE - RICK ECKERT FINISHES FOURTH TO MAINTAIN POINT LEAD
Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA led all 100 laps en route to eighth win of the season Saturday night in the United Dirt Track Racing Association Pro DirtCar Series race at 311 Motor Speedway in Madison, NC.
The $20,000 win was McDowell's 28th career win in UDTRA competition.
Steve Francis of Ashland, KY finished second and Booper Bare of Rockridge Baths, VA finished in third.
The Defending UDTRA Champion and current point leader Rick Eckert of York was running third on the last lap, but he lost a tire coming down for the checkered flag and finished fourth. Eckert now leads Francis in the UDTRA points chase by 125 points, and third-place McDowell closed to within 157 points of Eckert.