Weekly summaries 2003-08-18

Hanover's Cris Eash was racing like the wind on Saturday night at Lincoln Speedway, trying to outrun a determined driver attempting to gain his first career win and trying to beat a storm which was providing a spectacular backdrop with flickering...

Hanover's Cris Eash was racing like the wind on Saturday night at Lincoln Speedway, trying to outrun a determined driver attempting to gain his first career win and trying to beat a storm which was providing a spectacular backdrop with flickering bolts of lightning in the background during the 25 lap 410 sprint feature.

Eash succeeded on both counts and solved his problems to boot to claim his 34th career victory.

Then, after the victory lane ceremonies, rain from the looming storm forced the halt to the program prior to the start of the thundercar feature which will now be held next Saturday night, August 23rd.

"We really need this because we've been horrible the last few weeks at both tracks," Eash said, referring to Lincoln, where he earned his track-leading fifth feature victory of the season, and Williams Grove Speedway. "We worked today on the car and it paid off tonight."

However, the night didn't start well for the Hanover driver, who improved only one spot in his heat race to finish sixth, just enough to make the feature field. The finish forced Eash to start from 16th position, but from there, Eash and his Advance Settlement/Macri Concrete/E&G Classics No. 17E crew went back to the basics.

"We kind of did our normal deal tonight, went back to the books of what we've been doing and did about the same thing and it turned us around," Eash said.

Therefore, while Spring Grove's Brian Leppo raced away to the lead from his outside pole position, Eash steadily worked his way forward, gaining spots with each restart after five caution flags, including two waved for Eash's brother, Darren, whose car stopped and then slowed in the first four laps.

Meanwhile, Thomasville's Josh Wells drove to second place past Jeff Busby on the fourth lap and chased Leppo until Eash dove beneath Wells in the third turn to take the runner-up spot with 12 laps down. The pursuit then lasted seven more laps until a four-car crash in the first turn brought out the red flag and ended the nights of Billy Sims and Busby.

On the restart, Eash drove beneath Leppo in the first turn and came out of the second corner with the point. Slowed by the stopped car of Dan Shetler with five laps remaining, Eash then was able to keep command over the remaining distance to claim the $2,500 first-place purse.

"My motor was stumbling and he (Leppo) was getting pretty good starts. The start before, he had me way slowed down and my motor wouldn't take off," Eash said. "I hung back a little bit and was ready for the next one and got to slide up in front of him."

The victory was important for Eash, whose father Dave is recovering from recent medical problems.

"It's just nice to see my dad back here at the race track supporting us both (Cris and Darren)," Cris said. "We wouldn't be up here without him."

Leppo settled for second place ahead of Brook Weibley, Niki Young, Wells, Johnny Mackison Jr., Doug Esh, Chris Knopp, Jeff Rohrbaugh and Craig Smith, who surged from 15th starting spot.

The rains finally came as the thundercars were being called to the track and forced Lincoln Speedway officials to postpone there 20 lap feature until next Saturday night, August 23rd, as part of the three-division show of 410 sprints, 358 sprints, and thundercars.

Heats for the 25 thundercars were won by Doug Devilbiss, Gregg Messersmith and Bernie Beard. All qualifying events were non-stop races.

OTHER WEEKEND RACING ACTION

LASOSKI WINS THIRD KNOXVILLE NATIONALS CHAMPIONSHIP

Danny Lasoski passed pole-sitter Donny Schatz late in the eighth lap and beat him under the checkered flag by two car-lengths to win his third Knoxville Nationals championship Saturday night in Knoxville, IA.

Lasoski's $125,000 win came over Schatz, Kenny Jacobs and Sammy Swindell.

Pennsylvania Posse hopes of a Nationals victory rested on Greg Hodnett who started on the front row of the prestigious event and ended up with a fifth-place finish.

New Oxford's Stevie Smith finished 10th, Tim Shaffer 11th, Jeff Shepard 18th, Lance Dewease 19th, and Ed Lynch, Jr. 23rd.

SCHATZ WINS NATIONALS PRELIM FOR THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR

Schatz, who started outside the third row, passed Joey Saldana early in the seventh lap and held off two-time Nationals champion Danny Lasoski by one car-length to claim the $10,000 first prize in Wednesday night's first of two qualifying events for the huge sprint car field. It was the third straight year Schatz won a Preliminary Feature at the Nationals.

Hodnett finished third, Lynch finished 16th and Dewease 19th.

'THE KING' WINS NATIONALS PRELIMINARY WITH LATE PASS

Defending and 12-time Knoxville Nationals champion Steve Kinser passed Wayne Johnson during the seventh restart of the race and claimed the $10,000 first prize two laps later in Thursday night second night of qualifying for the 43rd Annual Knoxville Nationals.

Aliquippa's Tim Shaffer finished second, Upperco Maryland's Jeff Shepard finished fourth and New Oxford's Stevie Smith finished 18th.

SCHATZ EARNS POLE POSITION IN KNOXVILLE NATIONALS FINALE

Opening-night Preliminary Feature winner Schatz raced into fourth place from outside the fifth row in the"A" Scramble to claim his second Nationals pole position in three years. Greg Hodnett followed winner Shane Stewart across the finish line in the 12-lap race to gain the other front-row starting position.

Lance Dewease won the B-Scramble and was then able to advance from the B-Main Saturday night into the Knoxville National finale.

Tim Kaeding won the C-Scramble.

Johnny Herrera picked up the win in the special Non-Qualifiers feature over Randy Hannagan and John Vandenberg. Salfordville's Fred Rahmer finished sixth and Mechanicsburg Bob Bennett finished 17th.

DOUG ESH REBOUNDS TO CLAIM CAREER FIRST WILLIAMS GROVE 410 SPRINT WIN

After having victory taken from his grasp due to mechanical problems the week before, Lancaster's Doug Esh came right back to finish the job Friday night in picking up his first career Williams Grove 410 sprint win.

The former 35 8 sprint standout took the lead with six remaining in the 25 lap feature and went on to claim his inaugural 410 sprint win at the historic Mechanicsburg half-mile.

Esh, a two-time winner at Lincoln Speedway in 2003, took home $3,000 for his efforts and was followed by Brook Weibley, Darren Eash, Mark Smith, and Mike Erdley.

Completing the top-10 were Todd Hestor, Adrian Shaffer, Kauffman, Mifflintown, Todd Shaffer, and Donnie Kreitz Jr..

Curt Michael of Ocean View, Delaware, took advantage of a spin by race leader Randy West on the 22nd lap and went on to score the win in United Racing Club action over Trevor Lewis, Danny Massey, Dave Ely and Scott Pursell.

MIKE BALZANO WINS WINCHESTER/HAGERSTOWN SHOOTOUT FINALE

Renegade Dirtcar Racing Series driver Mike Balzano of Parkersburg, WV grabbed the lead from Todd Andrews on the 27th lap and led the rest of the way to win the fourth and final round of the Winchester - Hagerstown Shootout at the Hagerstown Speedway Friday night over Chub Frank and Todd Andrews.

Fourth place Gary Stuhler of Greencastle was the overall winner of the four race series for the second year and picked-up$2,000 for his efforts.

In the 15-lap open competition pure stock feature, Bryan Kerns of Winchester, VA led all the way for his second win of the year.

DAVEY JOHNSON WINS CONOCOCHEAGUE 100 AND $10,000 AT HAGERSTOWN

Greensburg's Davey Johnson made an inside move on race-long leader Bart Hartman on the 65th lap for the lead and never looked back as he won the 22nd Annual Conococheague 100 at Hagerstown Speedway Saturday night. Johnson earned $10,000 for his third Renegade Dirtcar Racing Series win of the year and 50th of his career.

Chub Frank finished second with Bart Hartman, Steve Shaver and Gary Stuhler following respectively.

In the 20-lap late model sportsman summer championship, point leader Richard Walls of St. Thomas recorded his third win of the year.

BRAD MCCLELLAND PICKS UP CAREER FIRST 358 SPRINT FRIDAY AT TRAIL-WAY

Westminster Maryland's Brad McClelland claimed his first career victory in 358 competition Friday night at Trail-Way Speedway. McClelland owns many victories and track championships in micro-sprint competition at Trail-Way and surrounding tracks before moving up to the 358 sprint class in 2003.

The current Trail-Way 358 sprint point leader wasted little time getting to the front from his tenth starting spot and inherited the lead from Neil Amspacher who tangled with a lapped car on the 10th lap.

Once in front McClelland held off the challenges of three Dietrichs, Dan, Billy, and Danny, who finished in positions second through fourth respectively. Scott Tate rounded out the top-five at the end of 25 laps. Completing the top-10 were Mike Bittinger, Rick Horn, Jon Keller, Brian Eichelberger, & Brian Allman.

In thundercar action Ron Shultz held off the challenges of Craig Wagaman over the final laps to claim his first win in 2003 while 2002 street stock champ Danny Beard picked up his first win in 2003 in street stock action.

BLANE HEIMBACH WINS CLINTON COUNTY ED SHAFER MEMORIAL

Selinsgrove's Blane Heimbach picked up the win his ninth win of the season Friday night in sprint car action at Clinton County Speedway during the ninth running of the Ed Shafer Memorial. Other winners at the Lock Haven racing facility on Friday night included Morrrisdale's Emory Rhinehart in super stocks, Lewistown's Kyle Parson in pro stocks, Chris Finnigen of Philipsburg in the daredevils and Roy Mitchell of Hunlock in enduros.

SATURDAY NIGHT RAIN POSTPONEMENTS/CANCELLATIONS

Port Royal, Silver Spring, and Selinsgrove Speedways were all effected by severe thunderstorms that swept through the area Saturday night.

For the second straight week, both Port Royal and Silver Spring had there racing programs canceled.

At Port Royal rain hit the raceway just before warm ups were scheduled to begin. Port will now host a four-division show next Saturday night consisting of 410 sprints, late models, pro stocks and enduros.

The sprint will once again attempt to run the Pete Swarmer Memorial ans the late models will run their Hub City qualifier while the Pro Stocks and Enduro Cars compete in regular events.

At Silver Spring the rain came after warm-ups for the street stocks and super sportsman were completed and street stock time trials for the Street Stock 40 had began.

The Street Stock 40 will be made up on August 30th while the sportsman and limited late models return next week, August 23rd.

There will also be Kids big wheel and bike races with a camera and autograph session prior to the races. Drivers will sit in a dunk tank before the races and will race in their own bike races on the speedway. A free picnic for fans and teams will also be held prior to the races.

For the second week in a row, Saturday night's racing program at Selinsgrove Speedway has been postponed and rescheduled for the following night, Sunday, August 17th.

They were to resume the four division racing program of sprints, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners.

The second of three late model heats was on the track when rain began to fall.

Heats for the 358 sprints were won by Bob Beidleman, Vince Snyder and Chad Layton.

The first late model heat was won by Glen Heddings

-bill meyer-

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Kenny Jacobs , Joey Saldana , Randy Hannagan , Wayne Johnson , Johnny Herrera , Tim Kaeding
Teams Williams