Williams Grove report 96-04-12

SPRINTS: Williams Grove 96-04-12 r4 and Mr. G, my ten year old son Matt, traveled to Williams Grove again this weekend. If the weatherman could predict what the weather is really going to do we would have also attended the race at Lincoln,...

SPRINTS: Williams Grove 96-04-12 r4 and Mr. G, my ten year old son Matt, traveled to Williams Grove again this weekend. If the weatherman could predict what the weather is really going to do we would have also attended the race at Lincoln, but that is another story. On the racing card Friday night were the 410 Super Sprints and Williams Grove own 358 Sprint class. In the pits thirty two 410 sprints were signed in while there were twenty five of the 358 sprints present. I will only cover the 410 sprints and will comment on the 358 sprints latter. For the sprint cars the heat races are ten laps with six cars qualifying, the first four being handicapped into the top twelve starting spots by their drivers earning average. Last Wednesday night, on the show RPM 2 night on the ESPN 2 network they showed the highlights from last weeks race at the Grove and mentioned that Williams Grove is the richest weekly sprint car purse in the nation!

HEAT ONE Row Car Driver Car# Driver 1 92A Jon Armstrong 117 Mike Erdley 2 U5 Trevor Utt 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh 3 29 Tim Dietz 17 Alan Cole 4 5K Mark Richard 1 Billy Pauch 5 88 Todd Shaffer 461 Lance Dewease 6 15 Mitch Bodine

As the field took the green flag there was a huge accident that started in turn three and finished in turn four. From where I was it appeared that the #U5 of Trevor Utt lost control and started the accident. Involved in the wreck were the following cars: #17 of Cole who's car was cradled off the track between two wreckers, #45 of Rohrbaugh who had front end damage, #461 of Dewease who was pushed away with a flat right rear, the #15 of Bodine who was pushed away from the wreck without obvious damage, the # 1 of Pauch who was also pushed away from the wreck without obvious damage, and last but not least the #29 of Dietz who appeared to have no damage. All drivers were okay. After the lengthy red flag the field reformed for a complete restart minus the #U5 of Utt, the #45 Rohrbaugh and the #17 of Cole. I still can not figure out the restart order since the #88 of Shaffer was in front of the #1 of Pauch. By the completion of lap one the #88 of Shaffer was in the lead as the #15 of Bodine pulled into the pits. At the completion of lap two the top three cars were the #88 of Shaffer, the #5K of Richard and the #1 of Pauch. On lap three the #461 slowed and came to a stop exiting turn three. He then moved down to turn one and entered the pits. His right rear suspension appeared to have broken. The top four spots were the # 88, #5K, #1 and the #29 of Dietz. The field takes the green and the #5K is all over the #88 going down the backstretch. On lap five the #92A of Armstrong went up in smoke and rolled to a stop on the front stretch bringing out a yellow. The only cars running were the #88, #5K, #1, #29, and the #117. On the restart the 5K jumped all over the #88 but Shaffer pulled away as the #1 of Pauch was now all over the #5K. On lap seven the #1 of Pauch went high after trying the low side the lap before. Pauch used the cushion nicely and took the second spot from the #5K between turn one and two.

HEAT ONE QUALIFIERS #88, #1, #5K, #29, #117 and the #92A who was not running at the end of the heat race.

HEAT TWO Row Car Driver Car# Driver 1 77t Jess Thomas 49 Bob Howard 2 10N Jeff Thompson 5 Craig Eshenaur 3 10 Len Thompson 16 Bill Brian 4 59 K Kauffman 17E Cris Eash 5 69K Don Kreitz Jr. 85 Glen Clarke

The field cleanly took the green and the #5 of Eshenaur passed the #49 of Howard on the back stretch to take the lead. On lap three the #10 of Thompson was all over the #10N of Thompson and the #10 completed the pass on the back stretch to move up the fourth qualifying spot. On lap five the #59 of Kauffman passed the #10N of Thompson to take fifth spot. The #85 of Clarke slowed and went by the starter but it appeared as if he was going to get into the pits. Unfortunately he went all the way around and stopped just shy of the back stretch pit entrance bringing out the yellow. The starter was not happy and waved the yellow and them slamed the flag handle on the starting stand. The half lap lead that #5 of Eshenaur had was gone. The field lined up for the restart in the following order: #5, #49, #17E, 10, #59 and the #10N in the qualifying spots. On the restart the #10 got loose allowing the #59 and others by him. The #5 was able to easily hold off the #49.

HEAT TWO QUALIFIERS #5, #49, #59, #77T, #10N and #10

HEAT THREE Row Car Driver Car# Driver 1 1J Steve Siegel 13 Scott Jones 2 121 Judi Bates 25 Todd Gracey 3 12 Fred Rahmer 3 Bob Bennett 4 55 Mike Wagner 77 Dave Calaman 5 92 K. Gobrecht 1X Rick Hench

Once again the field cleanly took the green and by the completion of lap one the #25 of Gracey was in the lead. On lap two a car got sideways in turn four and the #121 of Bates hits it and slowly flips over, the #77 of Callaman hit the outside guard rail and the #3 of Bennett stopped on the back stretch. The restart order was: #1J, #25, #13, #12, #55, #92, #1X and #77. By the end of lap three the #12 of Rahmer was up to third and by the completion of lap four the #12 had passed the #25 on the back stretch. On lap five the #13 blew up on the back stretch and the # 25 who had been running third stopped on the front stretch. The restart order was: #1J, #12, #55, #92, #77 and the 1X. On the restart the #1J pulled away from the #12 and the #92 of Gobrecht got a little loose in turn four and the #77 got by him. These two cars were fighting for the all important fourth qualifying spot for the remainder of the heat.

HEAT THREE QUALIFIERS #1J, #12, #55, #77, #92 and the #1X

CONSOLATION RACE Since the #92A of Jon Armstrong who qualified through heat one scratched, seven cars from the consolation race would qualify for the feature.

Row         Car         Driver                        Car#        Driver
1        461        Lance Dewease                69K        Don Kreitz Jr.
2        25        Todd Gracey                15        Mitch Bodine
3        17E        Cris Eash                13        Scott Jones
4        U5        Trevor Utt                16        Bill Brian
5        121        Judi Bates                45        Jeff Rohrbaugh
6        85        Glen Clarke                3        Bob Bennett
7        17        Alan Cole                33        Jeremy Trout

Two cars scratched from the consolation race, the #121 of Judi Bates and the #25 of Todd Gracey. On the start the #69K of Kreitz took the lead while the #461 of Dewease was trying to figure out were to get by him. On lap four the #461 riding the cushion and passed the #69K in turn two. On lap five the #85 of Clarke slowed and stopped on the back stretch bringing out the yellow. The restart order was he #461, #69K, #17E, #16,#U5, #45, and the #17. On lap seven the #17E of Eash passed the #16 of Brian on the back stretch for third. On lap eight the #17 of Cole slowed and stopped exiting turn four. He was pushed and restarted the field with obvious wing damage. The field took the green in the following order: #461, #69K, #17E, #16, #U5, #45, #3 and the #33.

CONSOLATION RACE QUALIFIERS #461, #69K, #17E, #16, #U5, #45, #3

25 LAP FEATURE Row Car Driver Car# Driver 1 77T Jess Thomas 1J Steve Siegel 2 49 Bob Howard 5 Cris Eash 3 29 Tim Dietz 12 Fred Rahmer 4 5K Mark Richard 59 K. Kauffman 5 55 Mike Wagner 1 Billy Pauch 6 77 Dave Callaman 88 Todd Shaffer 7 117 Mike Erdley 10N Jeff Thompson 8 92 K. Gobrecht 10 Len Thompson 9 1X Rick Hench 461 Lance Dewease 10 69K Don Kreitz Jr. 17E Cris Eash 11 16 Bill Brian U5 Trevor Utt 12 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh 3 Bob Bennett

First Alternate the #33 of Jeremy Trout. The #117 went back into the pits and had to rejoin the field at the end. As the green waved the action began, the #461 of Dewease went high trying to use the cushion and bounced around. The #77 of Calaman stopped in turn two. The yellow waved, however in turn four the #92 of Gobrecht hit the outside guard rail hard between turn three and four and flipped onto it side. The #117 of Erdley and the #U5 of Utt were also involved and turn over onto their side near the inside guard rail. All drivers were okay. The #92 had severe front end damage and was brought to the pits cradled between two wreckers. The #45 of Rohrbaugh was also brought into the pits on a wrecker. Since a lap had not been completed under the green the field was completely restarted. On the restart the #1J of Siegel took the lead with the #5 of Eash in second. However by end of lap two the #12 of Rahmer was working on taking second from the #5 of Eash. On lap six the #49 of Howard stopped on the back stretch bringing out the yellow. The cars aligned for the restart in the following order: #1J, #5, #12, #59, #1, #77T, #29, #5K, #88 and #69K. On lap seven the #1 of Pauch went above the cushion and lost at least two spots in turn two. By lap nine the #12 of Rahmer was pressuring the #5 of Eash for second spot. On lap thirteen the #5 of Eash brought out the yellow when he came to a stop in turn one, he had been running second at the time. The field formed for a restart in the following order: #1J, #12, #59, #88, #1, #29, #69K, #77, #17E, #5K, #461, #10, #77T, #55, #117 and #10N. As the green waved the #1J still lead the #12 but Rahmer wanted the spot and was putting a great deal of pressure on Siegel. On lap fifteen the #12 of Rahmer jumped low and passed the #1J of Siegel. On lap sixteen the #17E of Eash had a flash fire in the engine area going down the back stretch and finally came to stop in turn four bringing out the yellow. The field reformed for the green in the following order: #12, #1J, #59, #88, #29, #1, #69K, #77, #5K, #461, #10, #77T, #55, #117, and the #10N. The field took the green and the #88 of Shaffer passed the #1J to take third. On lap eighteen the #77 of Calaman violently flipped in turn three and cleared the outside guard rail and was up against the fence above the race track surface. The red flag came out. Calaman climbed from the car and appeared to be uninjured. The wrecker had to go around by the front stretch concession stands to get to the accident location. The #1 of Pauch had a right rear and was forced to the end of the field. Once again the field formed for the restart and took the green with the same result. This time the #29 of Dietz went out of the track at the same exact location. However, this time the car went through the outside guard rail instead of going over it. Tim Dietz also climbed from the car and appeared to be uninjured. Once again the red was out and the wrecker had to go around by the front stretch concession stands to get to the accident location. This was a lengthy red since it required the guard rail to be repaired. A cold front had been forcasted to move through the area with light rain but so far the night had been beautiful. Then the wind hit. The wind was strong, the flags were flying straight out and I would estimate the wind to have hit close to 45 m.p.h. gusts. However, the only pouring was the crowd from the grandstands, I mean the majority of people literally got up and ran for their cars. I firmly believed that the Grove officials would call the race due to the winds but they announced that the accident scene was repaired and that crew members should leave the track. I still could not believe they were going to restart the race but we stayed to watch. On lap eighteen the #88 of Shaffer hit the outside guard rail exiting turn one hard, the front end came way up off the racing surface but he kept his foot on the pedal and the car under control. Could this have been due to the wind? On lap twenty the #117 of Erdley lost control in between turn three and four but managed to regain it.

THE TOP TEN #12, #59, #88, #69K, #5K, #461, #10, #55, #1, #77T

VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW The first thing Fred said in the victory lane interview was that he had all he could do to control the car on the front stretch and back stretch. He even said he wouldn't want to be one of the 358 sprints if they planned on running the feature.

THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE UGLY AT WILLIAMS GROVE o The GOOD, thankfully none of the drivers were injured considering all the equipment that was destroyed. o The BAD, was what I am assuming was a lousy track surface with all the accidents that occurred. I think they must have had launching ramps in the turns. It was a good thing the represenative from the WoO was at the Grove last one week ago and not this week with all the wrecked equipment. In the 358 sprints a car violently flipped in turn one and cleared the fence landing outside the track. The driver was not injured but the brand new race car was demolished. Another bad item was once again the announcing, or should I say the lack of announcing of all who scratched from the events and giving one line up for a restart but actually having the cars in a different order. o The UGLY is the 358 sprint class at Williams Grove. This is STUPID in my opinion! This is our local version of the CART versus IRL battle. Why create another sprint car class? We already have so many that it is confusing trying to figure out what the differences are. How many types of cars can an area support? A few weeks ago at Williams Grove they honored Jack Gunn with a race in his memory. One of the things Jack did was to create the KARS, Keystone Auto Racing Speedways. They have run many races at the Grove over the years, but not this year. The Grove 358 cars are only different from the KARS in a few ways that I can figure out. The KARS has a mandatory club right rear tire while the Grove allows any type of right rear tire but there is a mandatory requirement for a chevy crank.

TRIVIA QUESTION Last week my question was "When was Kevin Gobrecht's first win and at what track?" The answer is July 29, 1995, at Lincoln.

This weeks question is: Who was the first driver to win a race at Williams Grove Speedway?

As always I welcome any comments, suggestions or questions.  You can reach me
at:  rgould@oehs.upenn.edu  

If you drop me a line let me know where you read my report since it does seem to get around. Also please let me know what state you are in since my son is going to keep track of the information and use it in his computer class, my how times have changed. Until next time this is r4 wishing you a clear track.

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About this article
Series Sprint
Drivers Billy Pauch , Glen Clarke
Teams Williams