CHRIS KNOPP CLAIMS CAREER SECOND IN LINCOLN SPRINTS Last Saturday night, Delta's Chris Knopp wasn't even fast enough to get to the hospital and join wife Michelle in witnessing the birth of his son Cole. This Saturday, he was faster than ...
CHRIS KNOPP CLAIMS CAREER SECOND IN LINCOLN SPRINTS
Last Saturday night, Delta's Chris Knopp wasn't even fast enough to get to the hospital and join wife Michelle in witnessing the birth of his son Cole.
This Saturday, he was faster than anyone...and claimed his second win of the year in the 25-lap super sprint feature at Lincoln Speedway.
"Last Saturday coming up here my wife wasn't feeling good and my mom and dad took her to the hospital...and he was early," said a happy Knopp in victory lane as he explained the birth of his new son just last Saturday night. "I called before the feature and she said go ahead and race...she said don't come down to the hospital because he isn't coming in the middle of the night."
"Well hell, I got down there and he was already here. This is for my wife, Michelle. She's been to every race but this one here. This is for my new boy Cole. They say when you have a kid it changes ya. To get to hold him was something special. I just more thankful for him being here fine than anything else."
Knopp came out on top in a race that saw two dramatic battles for the lead and six lead changes.
Front row starters Jeff Rohrbaugh and Brian Leppo battled wheel-to-wheel for the first ten laps, with Rohrbaugh scored the leader the first seven laps, Leppo the leader on lap eight, Rohrbaugh the leader on lap nine, and Leppo the leader of lap ten.
That's when the first yellow flag of the race came out for Kevin Drury, who spun on turns three and four. During the caution, fourth-place Glenndon Forsythe went pitside with a badly smoking race car, handing fourth over to Cris Eash. Knopp, who started ninth, assumed fifth for the restart.
Leppo paced the field for the next four laps before Bobby Weaver slid under the GGS Information Services No.71 to claim the lead exiting turn two of lap 15. One lap later, a Jeff Busby flip on turn four brought out the red flag. Busby was uninjured.
"They had that red flag on lap 15 and we couldn't wrench on the car (closed red) and I was like, 'this hurts me," Knopp pointed out. "I thought I was a little better than Cris (Eash)...but I didn't think we were going to win this thing, the car just got better."
"I have to be honest, the track tonight wasn't to our liking," Knopp quickly added. "This car likes being an inch off the wall...not a two or three lane track like this."
"It likes a four lane track and maybe I like that. Me and my mechanic Jimmy Travis work so hard on this car. We talked before the feature and I said to just let it free tonight, instead of going hog-wild. And he left it free."
When the race resumed, Weaver looked to be on his way to his first Lincoln win in seven years. But Knopp (fourth on the 16th-lap restart) had other ideas. He drove around Leppo for third on lap 17 and caught Eash (who had passed Leppo for second on lap 16) for the runner-up spot one lap later.
For the next four laps, Knopp ran the cushion as he closed on Weaver. A slider in the third and fourth turns of lap 22 was the race-winning pass.
"Bob (Weaver) and me are friends off the track, but on the track you don't have any friends," said Knopp. "And I knew that if I didn't get under him quick, and put it to him, he wasn't going to cut me no slack."
"I wouldn't expect him to and I don't think I'd cut him much either. I didn't know if I could get him, he was running really good tonight."
Knopp's final margin of victory was 97-hundredths of-a-second over Weaver, with Doug Esh coming on late from his 11th starting spot to finish third, Fred Rahmer fourth, and Lance Dewease fifth. Completing the top ten were Eash, Niki Young, Leppo, Johnny Mackison, Jr., and Billy Sims.
It's just a team effort. I just get the fun and drive the car," Knopp added. "I didn't know I could win this race, but I knew I couldn't lose it either."
"You can't do it without a team that stands behind you. I'll tell you, this feels great. I've got to thank the sponsors and the crew. Without them I would not be here. And that is the bottom line."
"You know, the weight rule...a lot of people have forgotten about it," Knopp then mentioned. "But look at how many different winners have been here. ..that's a tribute to evening this division out more and more guys deserve to win like me."
Heats for the 22 "410" sprints were won by Rohrbaugh and Busby.
Billy Wampler shrugged off a history of bad luck in the Pigeon Hills and raced from his tenth starting spot to win the 20-lap limited late model feature over Dave Graber and Colby Frye.
Gettysburg's Craig Wagaman got back the one that got away the week before by holding off Mike Zeigler Sr. To win his second 20 lap thundercar feature of 2003. This time Wagaman held off Zeigler's challenges for 15 straight laps to earn his 15th career thundercar win. That broke Wagaman's tie with Zeigler for seventh on Lincoln Speedway's all-time win list.
OTHER WEEKEND RACING ACTION
NIKI YOUNG GETS FIRST GROVE WIN
Spring Grove's Niki picked up his first career Williams Grove victory in the 25 lap 410 sprint feature Friday night.
Rookie Lucas Wolfe took the lead at the start of the sprint car feature and set the pace for the first five laps before Doug Esh, who started 6th, blew by coming off turn two.
Once in front Esh was clearly the class of the field and had opened a lead of a full straightaway.
Young, who started fourth, took second from Wolfe on the 10th lap, but could not gain on the leader.
Two laps from his first sprint car win at Williams Grove, Esh lost power on the backstretch and rolled to a stop bringing out the yellow flag and handing the lead to Young.
Young led the final two tours to score his first career victory at Williams Grove and earned $3450 for his effort. Fred Rahmer made a daring move entering turn three on the 24th lap to move from fourth to second. Keith Kauffman, Brook Weibley and Todd Hestor completed the top five. Todd Shaffer, Lance Dewease, Cris Eash, Don Kreitz and Mike Erdley finished in positions six through ten respectively.
Danny Hager took the lead from Denny Willey on the fifth lap and went on to win the 20 lap super sportsman feature. Frankie Herr came from the rear to finish second ahead of Ken Carberry, Rick Barr and Howie Locke. The program was delayed for more than an hour when light rain began to fall at the start of the sprint feature at approximately 9:30.
SATURDAY NIGHT RAIN Both Silver Spring and Port Royal Speedways were forced to cancel there Saturday night racing action due to rain, while Selinsgrove Speedway got in all qualifying Saturday night before the rains came.
Selinsgrove was to finish there Saturday night action, which consisted of only features, on Sunday night, weather permitting.
HEIMBACH DOMINATES SPRINTS FOR 8TH TIME AT CLINTON COUNTY SPEEDWAY
Selinsgrove's Blane Heimbach picked up his sixth Clinton County sprint car win of the season Friday night to raise his all time win count to 10 at the Lock Haven oval.
The victory moved Heimbach to fifth on the all-time win list, passing Dave Williamson who had nine career victories. Phil Walter of Beavertown holds the current record with 23 wins since the speedway opened in 1989.
Other winners Friday night were Jake Shady in the Super Stocks for his fourth win of the season, Terry Goshorn in the Pure Stocks for his second win, Kevin Vanamburg in Daredevils for his third win of the year and Darren Lucas in the 50-lap Enduro feature.
KASEY KAHN WINS ALL STAR "TWO NIGHTS BEFORE THE BIG ONE"
ROSSBURG, OH - Kasey Kahne scored his sixth career All Star win Thursday night at Eldora Speedway in the All Star sprint car feature which kicked off the Historical Big One weekend. This made the NASCAR Busch Grand National star the 18th different winner out of 35 All Star events this season. Greg Wilson and Chad Kemenah finished second and third respectively.
JASON MEYERS WINS ELDORA FIRST IN THE "NIGHT BEFORE THE BIG ONE"
Jason Meyers became the third and final leader of the World of Outlaws 30 lap A-feature Friday night at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH, in the "Night Before the Big One", passing Stevie Smith with eight laps remaining. Meyers' second win of the 2003 season came over Jac Haudenschild, Steve Kinser, New Oxford's Stevie Smith and Sammy Swindell.
Local racer Greg Hodnett finished eighth.
DARYN PITTMAN WINS $100,000 HISTORICAL BIG ONE
24 year old Daryn Pittman of Owasso, OK, picked the biggest win of his career Saturday night and walked away $100,000 in winning "The 11th Annual Historical Big One" at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH.
Pittman, who started on the pole after only posting 21st quick time in time trails over the 42-car field, led the first 11 laps of the lucrative race before yielding to fourth-starting Paul McMahan on the 12th lap. Pittman didn't give up and reclaimed the top spot on the 15th lap and then led the rest of the way of the 40 lap event to register his fourth win of 2003.
New Oxford's Stevie Smith came away with his best performance of the year by coming from his distant 17th-starting spot to finish second. World of Outlaw point leader Steve Kinser finished third, Randy Hannagan fourth and Friday night's winner Jason Meyers fifth.
Local racer Greg Hodnett set fast time over the 42-car field. But the Memphis, TN, racer failed to transfer into the feature through his heat race. Since Hodnett was guaranteed a feature starting spot for posting fast time, opted to save his car for the feature and did not start the last chance B-Main.
Hodnett then drove from his 23rd starting spot to finish 21st.
BLOOMQUIST WINS XTREME DIRTCAR SERIES USA NATIONALS
Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN drove into the lead on lap 50, and never looked back to win the Annual USA Nationals for the Xtreme DirtCar Series at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, WI Saturday night. The $40,000 victory in the 75-lap event was the tenth of the season for the four-time series champion.
Brain Birkhofer lead for 46 laps, but had to settle for second and Shannon Babb finished third.
Defending and two-time series champion Rick Eckert of York finished sixth.
HODNETT WINS SILVER SPRING SPRINT CAR FEATURE
Greg Hodnett had to wait five weeks to run the sprint car speedweek feature at Silver Spring Speedway, but the results were the same as they've been for Hodnett the past two months.
Hodnett started third, took second from Keith Kauffman on lap 11 and took the lead two laps later from Todd Hestor as they raced through lapped traffic.
From there, Hodnett cruised to his 18th victory of the season and became the ninth different speedway conquered by Hodnett and the Apple Dealerships Team.
It was Hodnett's second career win at Silver Spring, the other came during Speedweek in 1999.
Keith Kauffman, Lance Dewease, Cris Eash and Fred Rahmer completed the top five. Todd Hestor, Todd Shaffer, who started 17th, Johnny Mackison Jr., Weibley and Chad Layton, who started 21st, completed the top-10.
Had the event counted as a speedweek event, it would have been Hodnett's fifth speedweek victory.
Joe Whitely picked up his first win of the year in the 20 lap street stock feature.