SPRINTS: Williams Grove, PA 97-04-04 April 4, 1997 Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA Greetings Sprint Car Fans! I am back with my reports. You can obtain some information, driver points, owner points and the schedule,...
SPRINTS: Williams Grove, PA 97-04-04 April 4, 1997 Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA
Greetings Sprint Car Fans! I am back with my reports. You can obtain some information, driver points, owner points and the schedule, from Williams Grove Speedway home page located at: www.wmgrove.com However, you will not get as much race information as I provide.
Williams Grove is a 1/2 mile semi banked clay oval located seven miles southeast of I-76 on US 15, then 1.5 miles northwest on SR 74, then 1.5 miles west on Park Place. Restarts at the Grove come on the backstretch just prior to turn three.
On the racing card this gorgeous night was the Jack Gunn Memorial, a 30 lap feature with $5,000 to win along with heat money, cast iron engine bonus and tow money. Jack Gunn is credited by many for making sprint car racing what it is today in Central PA. Long before Ted Johnson and the World of Outlaws came along Jack Gunn had his KARS racers on the road.
The format for the Jack Gunn Memorial was as follows. All car took time trials and the fastest 24 cars were inverted into their respective heat. Each heat was 10 laps in length with the top six qualifiers getting their times back. The consi's would qualify six cars with the top three drivers getting their time back.
I was somewhat disappointed with the number of cars in the pits this year for this prestigious race. Only 33 of the 410 sprints were signed into the pits as compared to 41 cars for last years Jack Gunn Memorial.
The following is the time trial results:
Car # Driver 1st Lap 2nd Lap Top 10 17 Alan Cole 17.83 17.73 3 121 Judi Bates 18.54 18.31 41 Jeff Sheppard 17.85 17.75 4 5G Rod George 18.06 18.07 29 Mike Lutz 18.20 18.00 55 Mike Wagner 18.02 18.03 30 Daryl Stimeling 18.86 18.73 5 Craig Eshenaur 18.47 18.37 92 Brian Gobrecht 18.36 18.10 77E Dave Ely 18.40 18.55 55X Jerry Speek 26.16 12J Bill Jones 19.71 19.00 88 Todd Shaffer 19.97 8 Jamie Steffy 18.53 18.63 17E Cris Eash 17.86 17.70 2 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh 18.88 18.82 2$ Tim Kuhn 18.81 18.68 16 Bill Brian Jr. 18.40 18.28 16C Cliff Brian 18.76 18.62 12 Kevin Gobrecht 17.62 17.67 1 10 Len Thompson 18.37 18.27 461 Lance Dewease 17.76 17.82 5 07 Dave Haight 18.82 18.72 28 Brian Paulus 17.95 17.78 6 69K Don Kreitz Jr. 17.95 17.91 10 77 Fred Rahmer 18.04 17.87 8 15D Brook Weibley 18.96 19.00 53 Shawn Keen 19.05 18.90 7 Barry Camp 18.93 19.42 10N Jeff Thompson 18.60 18,60 77T Jess Thomas 19.36 18.95 1 Billy Pauch 17.98 17.87 9 5K Mark Richard 18.05 17.82 7
Jeff Sheppard was driving the #41 owned by Jim Shuttlesworth. Jamie Steffy was driving the #8 owned by Dan Dietrich. Todd Shaffer only took one qualifying lap and then shut it down. Jerry Speek missed his qualifying run and got only one lap and experienced some sort of difficulty. Brian Paulus almost lost control during his second qualify lap. Mike Lutz had his engine cowling start to come off at the end of his second qualifying lap and almost lost it. Several cars second laps were not timed so they got another attempt.
HEAT RACES Top 6 finishing positions who got their time back are given next to the drivers name.
Heat One Car# Driver Car# Driver Row 1 10N Jeff Thompson 5 Craig Eshenaur (5) Row 2 10 Len Thompson 55 Mike Wagner (1) Row 3 69K Don Kreitz Jr. (3) 5K Mark Richard (6) Row 4 41 Jeff Sheppard (2) 12 Kevin Gobrecht (4) Row 5 07 Dave Haight 53 Shawn Keen Row 6 15D Brook Weibley
Heat Two Car# Driver Car# Driver Row 1 16C Cliff Brian (1) 77E Dave Ely (2) Row 2 16 Bill Brian Jr. 5G Rod George Row 3 88 Todd Shaffer (3) 77 Fred Rahmer (4) Row 4 461 Lance Dewease (6) 17E Chris Eash (5) Row 5 30 Daryl Stimeling 7 Barry Camp Row 6 12J Bill Jones
Heat Three Car# Driver Car# Driver Row 1 2$ Tim Kuhn (4) 8 Jamie Steffy (2) Row 2 121 Judi Bates 92 Brian Gobrecht (3) Row 3 29 Mike Lutz (5) 1 Billy Pauch (1) Row 4 28 Brian Paulus (6) 17 Alan Cole Row 5 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh 77T Jess Thomas Row 6 55X Jerry Speek
The big news in heat race three was that Alan Cole did not get his time back through the heat race. Cole would have to finish third or better in the Consi to get his time back, which would give him the outside pole for the feature.
CONSI Lineup for the Consi was determined by finishing position in the heat races. Thus the first non qualifier from heat one is first, first non qualifier from heat two is second, .....
First three qualifiers in the Consi get their time back while the others are put to the rear of the feature.
Row Car# Driver Car# Driver Row 1 10 Len Thompson (1) 16 Bill Brian Jr. (2) Row 2 121 Judi Bates 7 Barry Camp (4) Row 3 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh (5) 10N Jeff Thompson Row 4 12J Bill Jones 17 Alan Cole (3) Row 5 15D Brook Weibley 5G Rod George Row 6 77T Jeff Thomas 07 Dave Haight (6) Row 7 30 Daryl Stimeling 55X Jerry Speek
10N of Thompson and the 5G of George scratched from the consi.
FEATURE LINE UP Kevin Gobrecht the fast qualifier pulled a pill to determine how many cars would be inverted. Choices were 4, 6, or 8. Kevin pulled four and seemed happy about that.
Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 41 Jeff Sheppard 17 Alan Cole 2 17E Chris Eash 12 Kevin Gobrecht 3 461 Lance Dewease 28 Brian Paulus 4 5K Mark Richard 77 Fred Rahmer 5 1 Billy Pauch 69K Don Kreitz Jr. 6 88 Todd Shaffer 29 Mike Lutz 7 55 Mike Wagner 92 Brian Gobrecht 8 10 Len Thompson 16 Bill Brian Jr. 9 5 Craig Eshenaur 77E Dave Ely 10 8 Mike Steffy 16C Cliff Brian 11 2$ Tim Kuhn 7 Barry Camp 12 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh 07 Dave Haight
At the start the #41 of Sheppard took off into the lead with the #12 of K. Gobrecht moving up to second with the #461 of Dewease in fourth. By lap three the #69K of Kreitz was pressuring the #28 of Paulus for seventh position and on lap four Kreitz moved past Paulus in turn two. By lap five the #12 of K. Gobrecht was pressuring the #41 of Sheppard for the lead and on lap six Gobrecht made the pass in turn three to take the lead. By lap eight Gobrecht was lapping traffic and starting to pull away from the rest of the field. The #41 of Sheppard had his front right wheel off the ground for most of the front stretch and was giving the car an impressive run.
Lap twelve brought out the first caution when the #88 of Shaffer slowed for a slower car and was tapped from behind into the front stretch inside guardrail ending his night. The running order at this point was: #12, #17E, #77, #41, #461, #69K, #17, #1, #5K.
On the restart the #77 of Rahmer dove to the inside the #17E of Eash going into turn three and slide up in front of Eash to take second exiting turn four. Eash decided to return the favor and dove on the inside of Rahmer going into turn one but when he slide up in front of Rahmer exiting turn two Eash slide a little more than he bargained for and ended up in the outside guardrail bring out the second caution.
On the restart the #77 of Rahmer dove low going into turn one and tried to pass the #12 of K. Gobrecht but was unable to complete the pass. On lap eighteen the caution flag waved again for the #41 of Sheppard who had come to a stop in turn three thus ending a great run for both the car and Sheppard. Running order was: #12, #77, #461, #69K, #1.
On the restart the race for second really started to sizzle. The #461 of Dewease dove low and got past the #77 of Rahmer in turn two. However, the #77 of Rahmer dove low in three and passed the #461 of Dewease exiting turn four. This went on for the next several laps and allowed the #12 of K. Gobrecht to pull away while second place was contested. Second place finally did end up with the #77 of Rahmer. On lap twenty the #1 of Pauch finally was able to make the pass on the #69K of Kreitz stick and took fourth position. The #461 of Dewease did pressure the #77 but he did not seriously challenge again for the position. By lap twenty-five the #12 of Kevin Gobrecht almost a full straight and was able to drive the #12 Apple Chevrolet/York Excavating Co. owned by Bob Stewart to victory lane.
VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW In victory lane Kevin said that they experimented and had tried something in the heat race and found out that it did not work. During the feature the car worked well on the high side. Kevin said that it was great to win since the team has worked so had this season and so far the season has been frustrating. The win was rewarding since Kevin was able to bring the car home in one piece with a win.
Car owner, Bob Stewart, said that it felt great and that it has been a difficult start to the season but the car has been fast. Bob also said that "the driver had to catch up with the car and that last week at the Lincoln Speedway Kevin caught up with the car even though the results did not show it.
Top Ten Results and Feature Payoff 1. #12 Kevin Gobrecht $ 5,000 2. #77 Fred Rahmer $ 3,500 3. #461 Lance Dewease $ 2,000 4. #1 Billy Pauch $ 1,300 5. #69K Don Kreitz Jr. $ 1,100 6. #55 Mike Wagner $ 1,000 7. #10 Len Thompson $ 900 8. #17 Alan Cole $ 800 9. #17E Chris Eash $ 700 10. #28 Brian Paulus $ 600 As always your comments, suggestions and criticism is always welcomed. You can reach me at: email@example.com although that may change in a couple of weeks.
I plan to make as many races at the Grove as possible but with a major road project in the works in Lancaster County it will make it difficult, especially as tourist season starts to kick in here in Amish country. I also plan to make as many races at Lincoln as I can, which should be easier since they race Saturday night and I do not have to rush.Thought for the week: If there really is a tourist season, how come we can't shoot them?
To the Australian reader who sent me a racing magazine with Australian racing coverage please drop me a line. I managed to lose your address and would like to return the favor.