Williams Grove report 2002-03-24

Mechanicsburg, PA - 3/24/02 - Simply doing the right stuff can lead to wins. That's how veteran sprint car driver Keith Kauffman puts it. Kauffman drove from his distant ninth starting position on a tricky dry-slick daytime racing surface to...

Mechanicsburg, PA - 3/24/02 - Simply doing the right stuff can lead to wins. That's how veteran sprint car driver Keith Kauffman puts it.

Kauffman drove from his distant ninth starting position on a tricky dry-slick daytime racing surface to track down Upperco, MD racer Jeff Shepard in lapped traffic and pass the former Outlaw racer with a low-side move in the third and fourth turns of the 14th lap to take the lead, and then did all the right stuff to pick up his second win of the weekend in the 25 lap super sprint feature at Williams Grove Speedway Sunday afternoon.

And he did this all in just under nine minutes in non-stop fashion in heavy lapped traffic.

"When it's dry-slick like this it's more of a mental thing and concentration," said the veteran racer from Mifflintown. "You've got to concentrate on your line and your spots and follow the cars and do the right stuff."

"We really have a good team," Kauffman was quick to point out. "We were good here last year but we just never got to the front...we'll be good this year."

Polesitter Tim Kuhn grabbed the lead over outside frontrow starter Chris Knopp at the drop of the green to the final Sunday afternoon race of the season at Williams Grove and led the first circuit. But the Outlaw experienced Shepard quickly drove from his third starting spot to take over the top spot on the second lap, bringing eighth-starting Lance Dewease with him as well.

But Kauffman was on the move as well as he was up to fifth by the third lap. The 51 year young driver then slipped by Knopp into fourth on the fourth lap, then around Kuhn into third on the sixth. Then after chasing down Dewease in lapped traffic he slipped under the Fayetteville speedster in the third and fourth turns to move into second on the 13th.

"We figured Lance (Dewease) would be tough starting up front," said Kauffman. "Then he wiggled a little bit and missed his line getting into the corner and then I got under him...that helps a lot when somebody makes a little mistake."

Kauffman then wasted no time as the hectic non-stop laps clicked off and shot past Shepard into the lead heading up the backstretch of the 15th lap.

"The track got a little bit of rubber on it later on there in the race and if you got out of that you really couldn't do anything," said Kauffman. "You just had to stay in the rubber...you knew that if I could pass them (the lapped cars) I know they couldn't pass me."

Dewease then moved around Shepard into second place on the 17th lap and quickly began to chip away Kauffman's 1.89 second lead as they continued to dice through lapped traffic. But just as quickly as Dewease had narrowed the margin to less than a second, Kauffman kicked it into another gear over the final five laps to take the checkered driving away from the defending Williams Grove track champ.

Kauffman took the checkered 1.60 seconds ahead of Dewease for his 46th career win at the historical Mechanicsburg half-mile, and pocketed a "cool" $3,000 for his non-stop effort in eight minutes 54.61 seconds. The win was also Kauffman's area-leading third win of the year.

"I would just as soon take may chances getting by them (under green) because everybody else has to get by them," said Kauffman on navigating lapped traffic under green flag conditions. "Sometimes it helps, sometimes it don't."

Shepard hung tough to finish third. Sean Michael came from his 10th starting spot to finish fourth, and 12th starting Greg Hodnett finished fifth.

Completing the top-10 were Len Thompson, Kuhn, Knopp, Mark Smith, and Fred Rahmer.

Heats for the 28 Super sprinters on hand were won by Knopp, Dewease, and Kauffman, with Todd Hestor winning the consolation.

Harrisburg's Chad Layton started on the pole, waited one lap to pass first lap leader Mike Miller on the second lap, and then simply dominated the rest of the way to pick up his first win of the year in the season-opening 358 sprint feature.

Layton, the defending Selinsgrove Speedway track champion, out-raced Dallastown's Cory Haas from the fourth lap on, through a pair of caution restarts, and took the checkered 3.13 seconds ahead when the checkered waved.

Haas settled for a well-deserved second place finish, with Miller hanging on to third, Jake Raudabaugh fourth, and defending Williams Grove 358 sprint champ Dale Hammaker fifth.

Completing the top-10 were Blaine Heimbach, Carmen Perigo Jr., Billy Dietrich, Jimmy Layton, and Darren Eash.

Heats for the 46 "358" sprinters on hand were won by Brian Leppo, Haas, Nate Snyder, and Layton. Twin consolations were won by Darren Eash and Billy Johns.


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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Mike Miller
Teams Williams