Weekend race notes 2003-04-27

CHRIS EASH BECOMES FIRST REPEAT WINNER IN LINCOLN SPRINT ACTION Hanover's Cris Eash became the first repeat winner at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night in 410 sprint competition. In a display of sheer power and finesse, Eash grabbed the lead from...

CHRIS EASH BECOMES FIRST REPEAT WINNER IN LINCOLN SPRINT ACTION

Hanover's Cris Eash became the first repeat winner at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night in 410 sprint competition. In a display of sheer power and finesse, Eash grabbed the lead from Craig Smith on the ninth lap and simply drove flawlessly the rest of the way to take the checkered by such a large margin that second place Lance Dewease actually thought he had won the race after the checkered flew a little over six minutes later after it was started.

"I can't ever remember coming out of the blocks this good," said Eash on his early season success. "It's usually halfway through the season when we start getting our act together, and we're usually pretty good towards the end. Hopefully we can keep this deal rolling. The car's been real good."

"We've been struggling a little bit at Williams Grove, but we're going to make some changes and get better there, too."

Outside frontrow starter Jeff Busby grabbed the lead over polesitter Dan Shetler at the outset and paced the field for the first three laps. A vastly improved Craig Smith drove from his fourth starting to the front and slid under Busby in the third and fourth turns of the fourth lap to take over the top spot.

Meanwhile 10th-starting Eash, sitting third in the point standings behind Dewease and Greg Hodnett after five races at the Pigeon Hills oval, slid under Steve Siegel in the third and fourth turns to move into the top-five by the third lap.

Then while Smith was driving under early-race leader Jeff Busby for the top spot in the first two turns of lap four, Eash was slipping under Brian Leppo for fourth. Eash then drove around polesitter Dan Shetler for third on lap five, as Smith was extending his lead to 78-hundredths of-a-second over Busby.

Eash then closed on Busby for two laps before making the pass for the runner-up spot in the third and fourth turns of lap seven. At the time, Smith's lead was 59-hundredths of-a-second.

Smith's lead evaporated quickly and Eash simply powered under the leader exiting turn four of lap nine and immediately began to pull away from the rest of the field.

His final margin of victory, 4.337 seconds, over points leader Dewease was so big that Dewease had to be waved away from victory lane after he thought he had won the six minute 27.03 second 25-lap event.

Six-time defending track champ Fred Rahmer came from ninth to finish third, with Doug Esh and 11th-starting Greg Hodnett completing the top five. Sixth through tenth were Smith, Brook Weibley, Siegel, Chris Knopp, and Billy Sims.

"I'll tell you what, this car was on a rail tonight," said a happy Eash in victory lane. "I could pretty much drive it anywhere I wanted to go...it stuck really nice."

"We've been pretty good here all year long. We've just found a good set-up. I've got to thank my guys, Shawn, Wayne, Donnie, Todd...my dad has been putting a lot of input into this deal now and things are working real good for us right now."

"You used to be able to look up through the heat lineups, and say 'This guy's gonna go back, and this guy's gonna go back...but you look at them now, and you're hoping and praying that you going to get some openings to pass some cars in the heat race and transfer, because everybody has good engines out here these days, and these (young) guys are doing a heck-of-a job."

Two-time defending ARDC champ Ray Bull started fifth, had the lead by turn two of the first lap, and stormed to victory in the season opener for the Ray's Yamaha/Polaris Victory ARDC Midgets. Bull's final margin of victory was 1.1 seconds over runner-up Bryan Kobylarz, who returned from a crash in his heat and advanced 13 spots in the feature. Bull teammate Marc Daily of Brownsburg, IN finished third, with Don Trent and Steve Lenig completing the top five.

Abbottstown's Craig Wagaman became the fourth different winner in six events in claiming his 14th career win in the 20-lap thundercar feature. Wagaman started inside row two and grabbed the lead from polesitter Greg Feltch by the end of the first lap. Although he ran uncontested the rest of the way, 21st-starting Bobby Rudisill closed fast at the finish, crossing 94-hundredths of a second behind the winner.

Eighth-starting Steve Clabaugh, 11th-starting and points leader Bernie Beard, and 16th-starting Chet McCormick completed the top five.

OTHER WEEKEND ACTION

MARK COLDREN PICKS UP FIRST CAREER 410 WIN AT PORT ROYAL

Mechanicsburg's Mark Coldren became the newest member of the elite 410 sprint winners club Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway by pulling off one of the biggest upsets in recent history.

Starting from the outside pole, Coldren grabbed the lead and never looked back in the 25 lap sprint feature. But numerous cautions and a last lap fuel stop kept the outcome in doubt.

" I wanted this one over," said Coldren on the late-race restarts.

Coldren was called for jumping the gun on a lap 23 restart and was told to try it again one more time.

" I can't believe this," said Coldren afterwards. "This motor wouldn't even run this morning...a bunch of guys, including Brook Weibley's gang, came over this morning and helped out and changed a magneto and other things and here we are."

Polesitter Kyle Ganoe started on the pole but was out-gunned by Coldren on the start.

The first caution came with two laps complete when Dan Bolger of Lewistown stopped in turn three. Coldren re opened his lead again, only to have the race slowed two laps later for Kevin Sheaffer who stopped in turn four.

Upon restarting Coldren opened a comfortable lead over Rick Lafferty but closed in lapped traffic by lap ten and was with in striking distance when yet another yellow slowed the race with fourteen laps complete.

The race continued with Lafferty again challenging Coldren for the lead in lapped traffic and it appeared Lafferty had made the race winning move on the back stretch during lap 23 when he got by Coldren exiting turn two when the caution lights came on for Mark Smith who suffered a flat left rear tire.

Coldren was back in front for the restart but the yellow came out one lap later for Todd Shaffer who stopped on the back stretch.

Coldren then put the final laps in the books to register his inaugural win over Lafferty, Len Thompson, Mike Erdley and Keith Kauffman.

Travis Dillman then scored his first career win in the late model feature that followed while Gary Beward became the first repeat winner at Port in 2003 winning his second pro stock feature in as many weeks.

RICHIE HARTMAN WINS SECOND CAREER SPORTSMAN FEATURE

Shoemakersville's Richie Hartman, after struggling through the first three races of the season and failing to qualified any race, started second and led all 25-laps of the super sportsman feature for his second career Silver Spring win Saturday night.

Hartman started off the night by winning his 10-lap heat race in a record time of two minutes 37.63 seconds, besting the old mark of two minutes 39.91 seconds set by Rich Eichelberger in 1993. He also became the fourth different winners in four races at the Cumberland County oval.

Enola's Kenny Riland started on the pole and led all 20-laps of the limited late model feature for his first career win and Arlin Brougher of Gettysburg took the lead from Jerry Bard on the backstretch of lap three and went on to win the non-stop 15-lap 4-Cylinder feature.

CHAD LAYTON & DALE KERSTETTER WINNERS AGAIN AT SELINSGROVE

Both Chad Layton & Dale Kerstetter backed up wins from last week with wins again this week in the 358 sprint and late model divisions respectively.

Harrisburg's Layton became the first two-time winner in 358 sprint action at the Snyder County oval in 2003 by taking the checkered over Donnie Beaver and Kyle Purks.

Dale Kerstetter picked up his second win in-a-row in late model action over Jeff Smith and Alan Sagi.

Tracy Miller became the fifth different winner in as many races in pro stock action while Matt Drum remained perfect in the roadrunner division with his third straight win.

KELLY KINSER TOPS IN ALL STAR FREMONT ACTION

Kelly Kinser was the master of lapped traffic Saturday night at Fremont Speedway in Fremont, OH, in the All Star sprint car 40 lap feature. His expertise paid off to the tune of $5,000 for his first win of 2003 and he becomes the tenth different All Star winner in 13 races this season.

"We've been struggling a bit," Kinser said from victory lane. "But tonight we got back to what we needed to do. I knew someone was right behind me because of all the photographers taking pictures, so I knew they were coming up on me."

That driver was Chad Kemenah, who eventually finished third behind runner-up Greg Wilson.

Friday night's All Star race at Limaland Speedway in Lima, OH was canceled due to rain.

ARP HOLDS OFF McDOWELL FOR NORTH GEORGIA WIN

Even though he had to change his line and go where he didn't want to go, Skip Arp of Georgetown, TN held off the hard late-race charge of Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA to win the $10,000 Xtreme DirtCar Series 60-lap Peach State Classic on Saturday night at North Georgia Speedway in Chatsworth, GA. Arp pocketed $10,100 for the win.

Arp took the lead on lap five and was able to use the smooth high line around the 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval to maintain a four car-length advantage over the 1999 series champion McDowell. But in the closing laps of the race, lapped traffic forced Arp to the bottom of the track.

McDowell, who worked the inside part of the track to his advantage throughout the race, closed in on Arp and was able to pull along side the leader with three laps to go. Arp cleared the traffic in the last two laps to take a two car-length win over McDowell.

Two-time defending Xtreme DirtCar Series Champion Rick Eckert of York had to settle for an 11th place finish and remained in fourth place in the series standings behind Jimmy Mars, Earl Pearson Jr. and Steve Francis.

WEEKEND RAIN-OUTS

Williams Grove Friday night action postponed until Sunday April 27th. Friday night Trail-Way Speedway action canceled due to rain. All Star Circuit of Champions Friday night action at Limaland Motorsports Park in Lima, OH canceled due to rain.

-bill meyer-

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About this article
Series Sprint , Stock car
Drivers Rick Eckert , Jimmy Mars , Bryan Kobylarz , Tracy Miller , Ray Bull , Greg Wil , Steve Francis , Jeff Smith , Chad Kemenah
Teams Williams , HART