SPRINTS: Williams Grove, PA 97-04-18 April 18, 1997 Williams Grove Speedway Greetings Sprint Car Fans! Once again I traveled to Williams Grove Speedway to see the PA Posse. On the racing program were the 410 sprints along with...
SPRINTS: Williams Grove, PA 97-04-18 April 18, 1997 Williams Grove Speedway
Greetings Sprint Car Fans! Once again I traveled to Williams Grove Speedway to see the PA Posse. On the racing program were the 410 sprints along with the STARS (Short Track Auto Racing Stars. Signed into the pits were 29 of the 410 sprint cars along with a strong field of 50 of the STARS. This report is only covers the sprints.
Who would have thought we would have completed 7 races prior to tonights event and not have Walt Dwyer's #461 driven by Lance Dewease in victory lane? Well that all changed tonight as Lance inherited the race lead on a restart which saw the leaders car, the #1 of Billy Pauch, break with only two laps to go. Pauch had been able to hold Lance off on several other restarts and even pulled away from him during the green lap segements. For Pauch fans it looked like he was going to prevail after the loss of his engine during his heat race and the win in the consi, but it was not to be his night. The #10N of Jeff Thompson had another excellent, unfortunately he came away with nothing to show for it.
The weather was an important factor in the racing. It was cold, low 40's, and windy. Can someone tell me at what wind speed does the flag stand straight out? It was cold enough that they gave the sprints extra laps prior to their race to get heat in the engines since they had been idle during the STARS qualifying.
I believe there should be a rule change for the Central PA tracks. If it is below 45 degrees and there is a sustained wind of 15 m.p.h. that caution laps should COUNT. Contrary to reports of homeless people at the track it was only Dave Reinger and myself trying to stay warm. Dave offered to share his sleeping bag but I would rather make the front of the Area Auto Racing News someother way. Thanks anyway Dave. I used a tape recorder and tried to tape all the information since writing with gloves is not easy and without gloves, which I forgot, was almost next to impossible. However, the wind noise on the tape was much more than I ever expected so much of my racing coverage was shall we say lost. Even if I had written all the information down the only thing that worked on the score board most of the night was the lap counter, and even that we questioned since we thought it froze on several occasions.
This was the eighth straight racing program for the Grove this year which extended their streak of 38 consecutive racing programs which dates back to the 1996 season.
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.
HOT LAPS Last weeks feature winner Jeff Shepard driving the #41 owned by Jim Shuttlesworth started to smoke heavily during the hot laps and he shut it down and went into the pits. The hot laps also saw Dan Dietrich at the wheel of his car trying to decide if he wanted to race it or not. He decided against it and Jamie Steffy was back in the car.
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.
HEAT ONE Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 12J Bill Jones 15D Brook Weibley (5) 2 07 Dave Haight 5 Craig Eshenaur 3 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh (6) 5G Rod George (2) 4 28 Brian Paulus (4) 88 Todd Shaffer (3) 5 461 Lance Dewease (1) This heat had great racing action including three cars going into turn one side by side. Dewease was low, Haight was the meat in the sandwhich, and Shaffer went high. Dewease ended up getting the lead. The #5 of Eshenaur hit the wall and went into the pits. HEAT TWO Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 53 Shawn Keen 10N Jeff Thompson (2) 2 16C Cliff Brian (5) 92 Brian Gobrecht (3) 3 10 Len Thonmpson 55 Mike Wagner (6) 4 69K Don Kreitz Jr. (4) 12 Kevin Gobrecht 5 41 Jeff Shepard (1) This heat saw the #12 of Gobrecht break a drive line while the #10N of Jeff Thompson ran a great race.
HEAT THREE Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 77T Jess Thomas 121 Judi Bates (5) 2 8 Jamie Steffie (4) 29 Mike Lutz (3) 3 16 Bill Brian (2) 17 Alan Cole 4 17E Cris Eash (1) 1 Billy Pauch 5 77 Fred Rahmer 4K Bill Kiley (6) This heat saw the #77 of Rahmer go high and take third after the completion of the first lap only to t-bone the #77T of Jess Thomas who was sideways at the top of the track between turn one and two. Also involved was the #17 of Alan Cole. Pauch lost an engine near the end of the heat and did not finish.
CONSI Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 07 Dave Haight (3) 10 Len Thompson (6) 2 1 Billy Pauch (1) 12J Bill Jones 3 53 Shawn Keen 77T Jess Thomas 4 5 Craig Eshenaur 12 Kevin Gobrecht (4) 5 77 Fred Rahmer (2) 17 Alan Cole (5)
Feature - 25 Laps Row Car# Driver Car# Driver 1 10N Jeff Thompson 8 Jamie Steffy 2 92 Brian Gobrecht 29 Mike Lutz 3 16 Billy Brian Jr. 5G Rod George 4 28 Brian Paulus 69K Don Kreitz Jr. 5. 17E Cris Eash 88 Todd Shaffer 6. 461 Lance Dewease 41 Jeff Shepard 7. 15D Brook Weibley 16C Cliff Brian 8. 121 Judi Bates 45 Jeff Rohrbaugh 9. 55 Mike Wagner 4K Bill Kiley 10. 1 Billy Pauch 77 Fred Rahmer 11. 07 Dave Haight 12 Kevin Gobrecht 12. 17 Alan Cole 10 Len Thompson The #4K of Kiley elected to start at the rear of the field. The #8 of Jamie Steffy lead early in the feature and looked impressive until he spun in turn four. Steffy managed to keep his foot in the gas and only lost one position which gave the lead to the #10N of Jeff Thompson. Then on lap four in turn four the #77 of Rahmer and the #17E of Eash got tangled together. Now I may be wrong and I will admit it if I am, but it sure seemed to me that the officials played favorite giving Rahmer an extra lap to change his tire from the accident and then he necessitated an extra lap because he did not fall to the rear of the field in time for a start. Top ten were: #10N, #8, #29, #5G, #92, #88, #16, #461, #28, #69K. With five laps down the #28 of Paulus, the #69K of Kreitz, the #17E of Kreitz tangled between turn one and two bringing out the second caution. Not long after the restart the #07 of Dave Haight slowed in turn two and brought out the third caution. Running order was: #10N, #88, #5G, #461. When the green waved again Shaffer tried to put the move on Thompson but Dewease put a move on the the #5G of George and took the position. Just after Dewease got past Shaffer while working the ninth lap he spun out between turn three and four bringing out the third caution of the night. The yellow was replaced by a red flag so that the cars could be fueled. When the green came back out Dewease pressured Thompson for the lead only to have Pauch drive by him to take over the second position. The yellow waved again with ten taps down for #92 of Brian Gobrecht who stopped between turn one and two but was able to rejoin the field. Krietz took advantage of the caution to duck into the pits. Top three were #10N, #1, #461. When the green waved Dewease tried to go low on Pauch but he could not make the pass. Then Pauch passed Thompson and Thompson took it back and then Pauch finally slid back up in front of Thompson to take the lead. Dewease was also able to make it past Thompson. Yellow waved again for the #92 of Brian Gobrecht who contacted the gaurd rail between turn one and two which lead to the red flag coming out for the second time in the evening. When it was announced that it was Brian Gobrecht who was the cause of the red flag and that he had been shaken up but was okay it brought out a round of Hank Williams Jr. song "Just carring on the family tradition" from a group of fans in the grandstand. On the restart the #1 of Pauch was able to start to pull way from Dewease. On lap twenty three the caution waved again for a car between turn one and two. On the restart the #1 of Pauch slowed and Dewease powered on by and assumed the lead and went on to his first win this season at the Grove and his 30th career. There was no victory lane interview.
Finishing order was: 1. #461 Lance Dewease 2. #16 Bill Brian Jr. 3. #77 Fred Rahmer 4. #10N Jeff Thompson 5. #5G Rod George 6. #41 Jeff Shepard 7. #17E Cris Eash 8. #17 Alan Cole 9. #88 Todd Shaffer 10. #8 Jamie Steffey
Not sure if I will make it to the Grove next Friday night due to commitments early on Saturday morning.