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Rookie John Martin claims first career victory in PASS Racesaver Sprints
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 9/19/2015 – The driver known as “the big cat” donned his big cat shirt in victory lane after scoring his first-ever “Lawrence Chevrolet Sportsman 100” win at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night.
“Back in February or March, (friend and sponsor) Hal (Bitner) came back from Florida and was in the shop and he brought me this shirt and told me if I won the 100-lapper this year, I’d have to wear it in victory lane,” said Martinsburg, West Virginia’s Chad Criswell in victory lane, “I told him that if I win the 100-lapper, I’ll wear a dress in victory lane!”
Counting the $4,000 win, $500 fast time award, $100 bonus for the most laps led, and $1,120.11 in lap money (ask Justin Loh about the 11 cents), Criswell’s total payday was $5,720.11.
Criswell started fourth after drawing the #4 inversion pill following his record-breaking time trial run (first driver ever under 15 seconds for a lap in the super sportsman division), and was running third through a series of caution laps when second-place Frankie Herr spun out in turn three of lap 16.
Criswell grabbed the lead from polesitter and race-long leader Jay Fannasy on lap 20 and led the final 80 laps.
Though Criswell led the rest of the way, it appeared he would receive a serious challenge from Kevin Nouse, who spun on lap three and came back through the field to take the runner-up spot from Mike Enders on lap 73. Nouse was quickly erasing Criswell’s two-second lead when Nouse broke a brake rotor and spun in turns three and four of the 83rd lap.
Enders assumed second for the restart, but ended up dropping from the field with a flat tire on lap 96. Chad Trout, who was running fourth, had a tire going down at the time and dove into the pits for a tire change during the final caution. Doug Dodson, who started 17th, was second for the final restart and finished there. Steve Fannasy (who started 12th), hard charger Dave Socks (who started 22nd), and Kenny Edkins (who started 23rd) rounded out the top five.
“I’m just happy to come through and get this one off the list,” said Criswell, “This was a long couple of weeks preparing for this race. I’m just happy to be standing here in victory lane. I’ve been a bit of a bear the past two years by finishing second, and I was motivated ever since the end of last year. I keep a photograph of the finishing order of the past two years on my phone just so I can look at it and get mad. That motivates me to keep working hard.”
“My guys did a great job tonight,” continued Criswell, “They gave me a good car and we had some luck. I was glad to see that caution with four laps to go. I was trying to not have to deal with lapped traffic. I’ve wanted to win this race for a long time. It’s been on my bucket list ever since I started running in this division. It’ll sink in tomorrow. I love these cars, I love the no power steering, I love the racers…it’s fun, and I’m really proud to win this race.”
Sixth through tenth were Tony Jackson (who came from the rear after hitting the restart cone on lap 11), Carmen Perigo, Jr., Bobby Hockenberry, Steve Wilbur, and Jay Fannasy.
Fast time in time trials over the 33-car sportsman field was set by Chad Criswell with a NEW one-lap TRACK RECORD time of 14.985-seconds (90.090 MPH). Twin qualifying races for the sportsman were won by Hockenberry and last year’s winner Scott Dellinger, who dropped from the feature on lap 40 and was credited with 23rd.
Rookie driver John Martin of Chambersburg raced to his first career win in the 20-lap PASS Racesaver (305) sprint car feature. Martin started second and chased polesitter Ken Duke for the fist nine laps. Once he took the lead in lapped traffic, he drove away from the field.
Duke settled for second, with 23rd-starting Tyler Reeser, Erin Statler, and Cale Reigel completing the top five.
Heats for the 26 PASS RaceSaver Sprints were won by Stephanie Dodson, Colby Dice, and Reigle.