SPRINT: Williams Grove, PA 97-04-11 April 11, 1997 Williams Grove Speedway Greetings Again to all Sprint Car Fans! R4 (Russ's Roaming Racing Reports) is back again with all the racing action from Williams Grove Speedway and the...
SPRINT: Williams Grove, PA 97-04-11 April 11, 1997 Williams Grove Speedway
Greetings Again to all Sprint Car Fans! R4 (Russ's Roaming Racing Reports) is back again with all the racing action from Williams Grove Speedway and the PA Posse. On the racing program tonight were the 410 sprints along with the 358 sprint cars. Signed into the pits were 31 of the 410 sprint cars while a strong field of 42 of the 358 sprint cars division were present. Missing from the 410 sprint car ranks was the #5K of Mark Richard.
In the 410's there was no denying Jeff Shepard this week as he rocketed to a win in just his third race in the #41 owned by Jim Shuttlesworth. The #10 of Len Thompson was involved in a ferocious accident in his heat race but luckily he was not injured. In the 358's Mike Lehman wins his third in a row at the Grove.
The big news at the Grove was the point fund. Cindy Roe Auto Glass is now the official point fund sponsor at Williams Grove. The total point fund is now $36,800 which represents a 23% increase over last years. The team of the track champion can expect to split $15,000.
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. Starts come between turn three and four while restarts at the Grove come on the backstretch just prior to turn three.
Heat Races are ten laps in distance with the heat starting positions being handicapped by the drivers earnings. Six cars qualify for the feature from each heat race with the first four being handicapped into the first twelve starting positions. Top six qualifiers have their finishing position listed behind their name.
410 HEAT ONE Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 3 Bob Bennett 30 Daryl Stimeling 2 121 Judi Bates (2) 16C Cliff Brian 3 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh 16 Bill Brian Jr. (4) 4 55 Mike Wagner (5) 69K Don Kreitz Jr. (3) 5 88 Todd Shaffer (6) 1 Billy Pauch (1)
The start saw the #121 of Bates jump into the lead and by the end of the first lap the #1 of Pauch was behind her. As fast as Pauch moved up the #3 of Bennett moved to the rear of the field. By lap two Pauch passed Bates by going low in turn three and sliding up in front of her coming out of turn four. The only real battle on the track was for third position between the #16 B. Brian and the #69K of Kreitz who took the position on lap eight. This was the fourth heat race victory for Pauch this year at the Grove.
410 HEAT TWO Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 53 Shawn Keen 10N Jeff Thompson (3) 2 8 Jamie Steffy (5) 92 Brian Gobrecht 3 29 Mike Lutz 10 Len Thompson 4 17 Alan Cole (6) 17E Cris Eash (1) 5 12 Kevin Gobrecht (4) 77 Fred Rahmer (2)
Prior to the field taking the green the #92 of B. Gobrecht had to be pushed of the track due to mechanical problems. This moved the whole outside row up one position. On the start there were problems right away as the cars jostled around quite a bit and the #10 of Len Thompson hit the outside guard rail exiting turn four. The car hit the guard rail and climbed on top of it and started to tumble along the front stretch while riding the guard rail. The car finally ended up upside down on the front stretch directly in front of where we were sitting and we could see Len moving around trying to get out of the car. Len did emerge from the car and was escorted off the racing surface by his parents. The car was destroyed and had to be cradled between two wreckers after it was turned right side up. It was latter reported that even the chassis came apart in the front of the car. Len's car got quit high while tumbling along and he snapped one of the poles holding the retaining fence in place at the beginning of the front stretch. It was a scary crash, there was the concern for the driver but also for us as it looked like the car was going to come through the retaining fence for a moment. Right Dave?
On the restart the #92 of B. Gobrecht made the call since they had corrected their problems and a lap had not been run under green. On the restart the #17E of Chris Eash and the #77 of Fred Rahmer looked to be on rails as they rocketed towards the front. The #12 of Kevin Gobrecht was slow to start the move towards the front but on lap eight he hooked up and passed three cars to move into the fourth qualifying spot.
410 HEAT THREE Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 77T Jess Thomas (6) 77E Dave Ely 2 07 Dave Haight (2) 5 Craig Eshenaur (5) 3 41 Jeff Shepard (3) 5G Rod George 4 2$ Tim Kuhn 28 Brian Paulus (4) 5 461 Lance Dewease (1) 48 Larry Miller 6 49 Bob Howard
The #07 of Dave Haight jumped into the lead by flying by on the inside of turn four with the #41 of Jeff Shepard following him. The question in this race was could the car of Haight last the event since it was smoking so badly. Shepard pressed Haight but the #461 of Dewease had moved up behind Shepard by lap four. On lap five Dewease dove low in turn one and passed Shepard for second position. Dewease then set his sights on Haight and on the very next lap in turn two Dewease assumed the lead. Haight managed to hold onto second even with the car smoking badly.
410 CONSI Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 16C Cliff Brian (1) 92 Brian Gobrecht (4) 2 77E Dave Ely (6) 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh (2) 3 53 Shawn Keen 29 Mike Lutz (5) 4 3 Bob Bennett 49 Bob Howard 5 2$ Tim Kuhn (3)
410 FEATURE, 25 Laps Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 10N Jeff Thompson 121 Judi Bates 2 69K Don Kreitz Jr. 41 Jeff Shepard 3 28 Brian Paulus 17E Cris Eash 4 461 Lance Dewease 12 Kevin Gobrecht 5 77 Fred Rahmer 1 Billy Pauch 6 8 Jamie Steffy 55 Mike Wagner 7 88 Todd Shaffer 5 Craig Eshenaur 8 77T Jess Thomas 17 Alan Cole 9 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh 16C Cliff Brian 10 92 Brian Gobrecht 2$ Tim Kuhn 11 77E Dave Ely 29 Mike Lutz 12* 07 Dave Haight 16 Bill Brain Jr. * Both drivers in row twelve qualified better but request to start at the rear of the field.
On the start the #10N of Jeff Thompson took the lead followed by the #69K of Kreitz and the #41 of Jeff Shepard. By lap two the #461 of Lance Dewease was in fifth and racing with the #121 of Judi Bates for the fourth position, which he took exiting turn four. Back up front Kreitz was riding the rail and trying hard to get past J. Thompson who was working the cushion. By lap five Dewease was pressuring Shepard for third. Meanwhile further back in the pack the #12 of Kevin Gobrecht and the #1 of Billy Pauch were battling for position. On lap seven Kreitz took the lead and caution immediately waved for the 16C of Cliff Brian who stopped on the back stretch. Running order was: #69K, #10N, #41, #461, #17E, #77, #28, #1, #12, #88, #17, #55. On the restart Kreitz retained the lead but Shepard blasted by J. Thompson for second while J. Thompson started dramatically dropping back. On lap ten Shepard used the cushion to pass Kreitz who was riding the rail for the lead. On lap twelve the caution waved for the #77 of Fred Rahmer, current points leader coming into tonight's event, who came to a stop on the back stretch. Rahmer had not finished outside of the first two positions this season at the Grove prior to tonight. Running order was now: #41, #69K, #461, #17E, #28, #1, #12, #10N, #88, #55, #17. On the restart the #12 of Kevin Gobrecht got past the #1 of Billy Pauch for sixth. On lap fourteen the caution once again waved for the #8 of Jamie Steffy who came to a stop in turn two after a spin. Running order was: #41, #69K, #461, #17E, #12, #1, #28, #88, #55. On the restart Dewease was all over Kreitz which allowed Shepard to pull away. On lap seventeen it appeared that K. Gobrecht just barely hit the wall exiting turn two in the same place that Len Thompson had started his wild ride earlier in the evening. On the very next lap the #88 of Todd Shaffer tagged the wall with his right rear in the very same spot but kept going. On lap twenty Dewease was running the cushion and Kreitz was running the rail and at the exit of turn two Dewease had the position. On the very next lap the #17E of Eash passed Kreitz in the same place. Kreitz started to fall back while. Meanwhile the #41 of Shepard was unchallenged and took the checkered flag with his fist clenched and raised.
The top ten finishers were: 1.#41 Jeff Shepard 2.#461 Lance Dewease 3.#17E Chris Eash 4.#69K Don Kreitz J. 5.#12 Kevin Gobrecht 6.#1 Billy Pauch 7.#55 Mike Wagner 8.#88 Todd Shaffer 9.#17 Alan Cole 10.#45 Jeff Rohrbaugh
Victory Lane Interview Jeff Shepard got his start at Williams Grove and also won his first sprint car feature at Williams Grove. This was Jeff's third race in the car. Jeff said "Kreiner gave us a real good motor he told us today that he needs more wins with the guys that he builds motors for and I told him I that him that I would give it my best." Jeff also said that "I spent a lot of years here and a lot of heart aches and it is about time it starting to pay off. If you are going to win here at Williams Grove it just seems like you got to get on top and just get going no matter how close you come to the guard rail. If you hit it, you hit it. If you don't hit it your gonna win, if your fast. He was asked how the deal came about to be in the #41 Jim Shuttlesworth owned car. Jeff explained he has been sitting at home waiting for a call but the phone was quite. He did go to Florida but things did not work out and he was looking for a job. Jim Shuttlesworth called him and they have known each other for a long time and Jim supplied the car and Jeff supplied two engines and some parts. They only have one car and are racing lap to lap as Jeff explained. Jeff was also angry that the folks who should be there to help, they only want to be associated with winners and the only people that believe in him are his close friends and family, obviously Jim Shuttlesworth is one of his close friends.
Jim Shuttlesworth also was interviewed in victory lane. Jim has been in victory lane at the Grove but never in sprint cars. Jim said that he finds it worse to watch than to drive. The scariest part is that "he would win here and that the money guys would say they need to get him and Jim would hate to see him get out of his car, but he knows that he is a great race car driver, I knew he was a great race car driver. I tell you what if he get money look out Steve Kinser, I guarantee you that. If Jeff does leave Jim probably would not drive the car. The car was bought from Steve Smith Sr. and his crew has been helping out. They are looking to get another car and hope to race at the Grove. Jim also said "It is just a beautiful race track, especially since they won." 358 Sprints Heat races for the 358's are eight laps with four cars to qualify. The first three cars draw for starting position in the feature. Each car also drew for its starting position in the heats. I will only list the qualifiers from each heat and consi with their starting positions in parenthesis.
HEAT ONE, 11 cars with one scratching Finish Car # Driver Started 1. 59 Mike Lehman (8) 2. 1J Jeff Shepard (2) 3. 6e Doug Esh (4) 4. 27 Frankie Herr (6)
HEAT Two, 10 cars Finish Car # Driver Started 1. 119 Greg Leiby (5) 2. 66H Dale Hammaker (2) 3. 88 Terry Leininger (4) 4. 33 Jeremy Trout (7)
HEAT Three, 10 cars Finish Car # Driver Started 1. 80R Dan Richcreek (1) 2. V1 Fred Sabatino (4) 3. 2S Burt Shoop (2) 4. 30 Tom Leach (3)
HEAT Four, 11 cars Finish Car # Driver Started 1. 14 Don Wolfe 2. 81 Bob Beidleman 3. 12 Jimmy Stitzel 4. 10K Mark Yinger
CONSI #1 Finish Car # Driver Started 1. A18 Becca Anderson (1) 2. 50 Brian Seidel (5) 3. 60 Bernie Lemaster (2) 4. 88B Dean Bush (6)
CONSI #1 Finish Car # Driver Started 1. 01 Rick Horn (2) 2. 6F Bill Fannasy (1) 3. 22J Joe IIg (4) 4. 7 Dave Ammon (7)
358 FEATURE, 20 Laps Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 12 Jimmy Stitzel 1J Judd Shepard 2 14 Don Wolfe 6E Doug Eash 3 2S Burt Shoop 80R Dan Richcreek 4 88 Terry Leininger V1 Fred Sabatino 5 81 Bob Beidleman 59 Mike Lehman 6 119 Greg Leiby 66H Dale Hammaker 7 27 Frankie Herr 33 Jeremy Trout 8 30 Tom Leach 10K Mark Yinger 9 A18 Becca Anderson 01 Rick Horn 10. 50 Brian Seidel 6F Bill Fannasy 11. 60 Bernie Lemaster 22J Joe IIg 12. 88B Dean Bush 7 Dave Ammon
There was a complete restart of the race since officials did not like the way it started. There was one red flag due to an accident in turn one which involved the #3, #7, #6F, #10K and the #A18. The #A18 of Becca Anderson was able to continue. The #50 of Brian Seidel was sidelined with mechanical problems after stopping in turn two. One the #59 of Mike Lehman got out front he took off as if he was on rails and had a full straight away lead at the end. This was the third time in a row that Mike Lehman has won at Williams Grove in the 358's. Through team coverage we hope to bring to you as much in depth coverage of the PA Posse as possible. You can obtain some information, driver points, owner points and the schedule, from Williams Grove Speedway home page located at: www.wmgrove.com
As always your comments, suggestions and criticism is always welcomed. You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org although that may change in a couple of weeks.
Once again I would ask the Australian reader who sent me a racing magazine with Australian racing coverage please drop me a line. I managed to lose your address during my move and would like to return the favor.