Greeting Sprint Cars Fans! Well once again I traveled to Williams Grove for their first Friday night event of the year accompanied by my ten year old son Matt. I was calling my reports 4R but Matt says that r4 sounds better so that is what...
Greeting Sprint Cars Fans! Well once again I traveled to Williams Grove for their first Friday night event of the year accompanied by my ten year old son Matt. I was calling my reports 4R but Matt says that r4 sounds better so that is what it will be from now on. r4 stands for Russ's Roaming Racing Reports. If I had been a betting man I would have given the Grove a slim chance of racing on Friday night with rain and snow in the early AM Friday. At about 11 AM the snow was actually sticking to the ground but right after that the sky cleared and the sun came out. Williams Grove Points Standing after the first two races of the year were: 1. 461 Lance Dewease 540 2. 92 Kevin Gobrecht 520 3. 77 Dave Calaman 500 4. 69K Don Kreitz Jr. 430 5. 17E Cris Eash 390 6. 16 Bill Brian Jr. 380 59 Keith Kauffman 380 8. 94 Dale Blaney 370 9. 1 Billy Pauch 330 10. 88 Todd Shaffer 315
Friday nights program consisted of the Sprints and the NAPA Super Sportsman division. There were 31 sprints signed into the pits including an invader from the URC, the #121 of Judy Bates. The NAPA Super Sportsman had 47 cars signed into the pits. There was a unique "air" to the nights racing program. You see the local farmer just across the street applied manure to his field two hours before the gates opened. As race time drew near it was cold, someplace around 30 degree. I will really only be reporting on the sprint cars since that is what I follow. For the sprint cars the heat races qualified six cars with the first four being handicapped into the top twelve starting spots by their drivers earning average. HOT LAPS During the first session the #55s of Bill Sims came to a stop at the start/finish line smoking while the #121 of Judy Bates came to a stop in turn four. During the second hot lap session the #461 of Lance Dewease slowed at the start/finish line on the white flag lap and pulled into the pits. HEAT ONE Row Car Driver Car# Driver 1 3 Bob Bennett 117 Mike Erdley 2 6F Bill Fannasy U5 Trevor Utt 3 10 Len Thompson 39 Dan Dietrich 4 5 Craig Eshenaur 88 Todd Shaffer 5 17e Cris Eash 92 Kevin Gobrecht 6 ma 22 Mark Plumber HEAT ONE NOTES #6F of Bill Fannasy moved to the rear since he is still in a learning curve with the sprints. By lap four the #3 of Bennett and the #88 of Shaffer where fighting for the lead. The #92 of Gobrecht was on the move. On lap seven the #92 of Gobrecht hit the outside retaining wall with his right rear just after the start/finish line but kept on going. HEAT ONE QUALIFIERS #3, #88, #92, #5, #10, and #17E The heat officially timed in 3 minutes and 14.93 seconds.
HEAT TWO Row Car Driver Car# Driver 1 55 Mike Wagner 49 Bob Howard 2 92A Jon Armstrong 29 Tim Dietz 3 10N Jeff Thompson 5K Mark Richard 4 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh 1 Billy Pauch 5 77 Dave Callaman 461 Lance Dewease HEAT TWO NOTES The field did not take the green clean and was forced to restart. At the completion of lap one the 10N slowed and came to a stop on the front stretch. The #49 of Howard had managed to pass the #55 of Wagner and the running order was #49, #55, #29, #5, #461, #45, #77 and #1. On the restart the #55 of Howard and the #29 got past the #49 of Howard. By the end of lap two the #77 of Callaman passed the #461 of Dewease to the crowds pleasure. The #77 of Callaman then passed the #49 of Howard on lap four. On lap four the #49 of Howard got passed by the #461 of Dewease and the #1 of Pauch. HEAT TWO QUALIFIERS #55, #29, #5K, #77, #461, and #1
HEAT THREE Row Car Driver Car# Driver 1 55s Bill Sims 13 Scott Jones 2 07 Dave Haight 12 Fred Rahmer 3 2W Jesse Wentz 17 Alan Cole 4 16 Bill Brian 59 K. Kauffman 5 69K Don Kreitz Jr. 121 Judy Bates HEAT THREE NOTES The #55s and the 2W of Wentz scratched from the heat. Unfortunately the track announcer only mentioned the 55s scratching so it took me a few laps to figure out who else had scratched. On lap three the #07 of Haight slowed and came to a stop on the front stretch, he had been running second at the time. The restart order was #16, #12, #59, #17, #13, 69K, and the 121. Prior to the restart the #59 of Kauffman was put back two positions for jumping the start. On lap six the #59 had the right rear tire hit the wall in turn two and turned over. From where I sat the moon was just rising on the horizon behind some trees where Keith hit. It was a kind of awesome start. Keith got out of the car okay and the car did not seem severely damaged. After the red flag the 69K of Kreitz ran much better after his crew worked on the car. HEAT THREE QUALIFIERS #16, #12, #13, #69K, #121, and #17
CONSOLATION RACE Row Car Driver Car# Driver 1 117 Mike Erdley 49 Bob Howard 2 59 K. Kauffman 39 Dan Dietrich 3 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh 07 Dave Haight 4 U5 Trevor Utt 10N Jeff Thompson 5 ma 22 Mark Plumber 92A Jon Armstrong 6 6F Bill Fannasy CONSOLATION NOTES As the consi was lining up the #12 of Rahmer was pushed around the track without a wing to get the motor started. Turned out they had just completed an engine change. The #16 of Brian was also pushed around the track with his motor sounding very sour. The #59 of Kauffman was headed to the front and took the top position by the completion of lap two. The #39 of Dietrich was also on the move and took over second position by the end of lap four. On lap seven the #10N of Thompson got turned and went into the inside guard rail bringing out the caution. The cars lined up for the restart with the #59 of Kauffman leading the way over #39 of Dietrich followed by #49, 117, 45, U5, ma22. On the restart the #117 of Erdley and the #49 of Howard got together with the #49 getting into the outside guard rail in turn one and the #117 getting into the inside guard rail in turn two. The only cars on the track were the #59, #39, #45, #5, and the ma 22. The #U5 of Utt showed wing damage toward the pit side of the track. As the checkered flag waved the #ma 22 limped across the line. Did I mention it was cold out? CONSOLATION QUALIFIERS #59, #39, #45, #U5, #ma 22 and the #49 who was not running at the end of the race.
25 LAP FEATURE RACE Row Car Driver Car# Driver 1 3 Bob Bennett 55 Mike Wagner 2 13 Scott Jones 29 Tim Dietz 3 12 Fred Rahmer 5K Mark Richard 4 5 Craig Eshenaur 16 Bill Brian 5 88 Todd Shaffer 77 Callaman 6 69K Don Kreitz Jr. 92 K. Gobrecht 7 10 Len Thompson 461 Lance Dewease 8 121 Judy Bates 17E Cris Eash 9 1 Billy Pauch 17 Alan Cole 10 59 K. Kauffman 39 Dan Dietrich 11 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh U5 Trevor Utt 12 ma 22 Mark Plumber 49 Bob Howard First alternate was the #117 of Erdley FEATURE NOTES The feature was 25 laps in length with $3,000 to win. During the line up the #16 sounded absolutely awful and went into the pits during the fourth lap of the line up time period. He did return to the field before the pace car finished its fifth lap. The #5 of Eshenaur was backfiring and came to a stop on the front stretch by pit road. This allowed the #117 of Erdley to make the field. Erdley was also the only car running a cast iron block so he picked up a $225 bonus along with another $225 for just starting in the feature. As the green waved the #55 of Wagner took the lead while the #16 of Brian was barely running as the leaders exited turn one the yellow and then the red flag waved. In turn four the #121 of Bates and the #45 of Rohrbaugh were involved in an accident with the #121 rolling over. Both drivers were uninjured. The #16 of Brian pulled into the pits. Since a lap had not been completed, a complete restart occurred. On the restart another accident occured in turn four bringing out yet another yellow. I counted four cars stopped on track which included the #69K of Kreitz, #117 of Erdley with front wing damage, the #92 of Gobrecht with front wing damage and the #59 of Kauffman with wing damage. The #U5 of Utt was in the pits along with the #1 of Pauch but they returned to the track. The only car out of the feature was the #69K of Kreitz who had to be cradled by two wreckers to get him off the track. Once again the field took the green with the #3 of Bennett in the lead. The #92 of Gobrecht had obvious front wing damage. By lap four the #12 of Rahmer slowed and the yellow waved. The top twelve as the field re-formed for the green was #3, #55, #29, #88, #5, #17E, #13, #461, #77, #39, #92, and the #1. Prior to the green the #12 of Rahmer rejoined the field. On lap six the #55 passed the #3 to take the lead. On lap ten the #92 of Gobrecht got into the #39 of Dietrich while passing him. Meanwhile the #59 pulled into the pits. On lap sixteen the #88 of Shaffer got past the #55 of Wagner for the lead on the backstretch. On lap 20 the #77 of Calaman hit the outside wall while passing the #29 of Dietz at the start/finish line. As the field took the green the #13 of Jones and the #29 of Dietz were involved in a crash in turn four with the #13 flipping violently. Both drivers were reported to be okay. A tire from the #13 cleared the fence. TOP FIVE FEATURE RESULTS #88 Shaffer, #55 Wagner, #3 Bennett, #461 Dewease and the #1 Pauch
The NAPA Super Sportsman feature saw the #80 of Smokey Snellbaker putting on quite a show as he moved through the pack. The top three finishers were the #22 of Mark Smith, #80 of Smokey Snellbaker and the #23 of John Stehman.
AROUND THE GROVE Todd Shaffer had his nose tapped to try to prevent the face shield from fogging. He picked that tip up from Dale Blaney last week and told his crew if he won it was staying on. This obviously could have been the reason for all the crashes. Last week Steve Smith (Sr.) showed up at the Grove with his familiar #19 for the Jack Gunn Memorial. He ran well and even won his heat race. He started the feature in thirteenth spot and managed a fifth place finish even though his car was only running on seven cylinders. Smith will only run the larger races in 1996 and should make more shows than he did last year. Although he has some sponsorship from Leiby's Mobile Home Sales the majority of his expenses must be covered by his on track performance. I missed the first racing program at the Grove this year. I would have liked to seen the #92 of Kevin Gobrecht win his second sprint car race, his first at the Grove, while beating the All Star invader Dale Blaney. Kevin was named the 1995 National Sprint Car Rookie of the Year and has shown that he will be a force to be reckoned with in Central PA. Of course he has a good car, the family owned team purchased the car used by by Mark Kinser to win last years National Open at the Grove from car owner Karl Kinser over the winter. Last week I reported on the crash of #5K of Mark Richard who had blown a tire entering turn one and flipped violently. He ended up walking away from the crash, however he later became ill and was taken to the hospital and held for observation suffering from an apparent concussion. It was good to see him back this week. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly at the Grove € The Good was management's effort to get the show in. € The Bad was the microphone problems in victory lane. How much can it cost to get a system that works so the fans can hear what is being said? This was a problem last year so I thought that management would have enough time to get the problem fixed. Another bad item was the completion of the consolation race even after there were only 5 cars on the track and the racing was poor. It probably was not as cold in the booth as it was in the stands. € The Ugly was the lack of announcing all the cars that scratched from events, announcing who was involved in the crash at the end of the feature, and for management not working with the farmer so that he could have waited until Saturday to apply the manure to his field. So far the Grove has raced three times this year with the following results: March 24 Sprints: # 92, Kevin Gobrecht, Hartlaub Used Auto Parts/GCS* 358 Sprints: # 8, Danny Jones March 31 Jack Gunn Memorial Sprints: #461, Lance Dewease, Dwyer Masonry April 5 Sprints: # 88, Todd Shaffer NAPA Sportsman Modifieds: #22, Mark Smith *CGS is Golf Cart Services which is the family owned business
Trivia Question When was Kevin Gobrecht's first win and at what track? The answer next week.
As always I welcome any comments, suggestions or questions. You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I had planned to go to Lincoln on Saturday but it was to cold for me to sit outside a second night in a row. Oh by the way Port Royal had cancelled their opener already by show time at the Grove on Friday night. If you drop me a line let me know where you read my report since it does seem to get around. Until next time this is r4 wishing you a clear track.