MONTIETH CLAIMS SECOND STRAIGHT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP;
Dale Hammaker Claims First Career Lincoln 358 Sprint Title;
Duane Watson earns Second Thundercar Title in Three Years;
Gene Knaub Claims Second Straight 358 Late Model Championship
YORK, PA, 11/21/09 - Lincoln Speedway track champions and special year-end awards were handed out at the Holiday Inn in York Saturday night, November 21st. Close to 400 people were in attendance to watch the crowning of the 410 sprint, 358 sprint, thundercar, and 358 late model champions for 2009. The top ten finishers in the season -long point series for all four divisions were honored as well as special awards.
MONTIETH CLAIMS SECOND STRAIGHT LAWRENCE CHEVROLET TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP
A year after winning his first career Lincoln track championship without registering a win, Phoenixville’s Brian Montieth came back with vengeance in 2009 by winning seven races en route to his second straight Lawrence Chevrolet 410 Sprint Track Championship.
It all began for the driver known as "the Edge" in the 2009 season-opening Ice Breaker 30 on February 28th by registering the win. And when the proverbial dust had settled at years’ end, Montieth had driven his Jerry Parrish-owned Premiere Auto Works\Auto Locator No. 21 sprinter to a career-high seven wins and another Pigeon Hills track title.
In 26 events, Montieth proved he was more than deserving of the title "Track Champion" as he amassed 19 top-10 and 12 top-five finishes to go along with his seven wins.
It was also car owner Jerry Parrish’s second track championship as well as sponsors Premiere Auto Works and Auto Locator. Montieth’s title also secured chief wrench Scott Zellers his second Mechanic of the Year award too.
Denver’s Alan Krimes improved on his 2008 fifth place finish in the final championship point standings with a well-deserved second place. Krimes led all racers in top-10 finishes with 21 out of 26 events along with 11 top-five finishes. Though winless at Lincoln in 2009, Krimes actually led the point standings at one point and was in the hunt for the coveted track title all year long and earned the Sportsmanship Award winner for his on-and-off track efforts.
10-time track champion Fred Rahmer of Salfordville made some noise too in 2009 as he won three races to up his all-time win leader total to 164 wins. After earning his first win of the season in the second race, Rahmer went on to notch two huge milestone wins.
On April 4th Rahmer recorded his 400th career sprint car win and then on May 2nd recorded his 500th career overall win against the O’Reilly All Star Circuit of Champions. Following his milestone wins, Rahmer capped off his history-making season by being inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa on May 30th.
In all, Rahmer recorded 19 top-10 finishes along with 10 top-fives en route to his third place finish in the final point standings.
After finishing out of the top-10 in points in 2008, York’s Brian Leppo rebounded with a fourth-place effort in 2009 on the heels of five top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes. Leppo proved he had one of the fastest sprint cars during the year as he was the fastest in time trials three times during the year against the best (May 2nd - All Stars, May 23rd Keystone Cup, and Aug. 8th Sterner Memorial).
New Oxford’s Jimmy Siegel picked up his sixth career win during the 2009 season and improved on his 2008 performance finishing fifth in the final standings by added six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.
The third generation diver showed a lot of determination on his lone July 18th win after crashing out and finishing last the week before, knowing he had the car to beat that night. At the end of that night, Siegel held the potential fourth generation Siegel, his son Jude, in victory lane.
Completing the top ten in season points were Niki Young, first-time winner and Most Improved Driver award-winner Cory Haas, veteran Cris Eash, two-time winner and Outlaw-bound teenage sensation Cody Darrah, and 2006 track champ Doug Esh.
Other Lincoln wins in 2009 were recorded by Darrah (2 wins), Jeff Busby, Lance Dewease, Esh, and Johnny Mackison Jr., along with six first time winners Danny Dietrich (2 wins), Doug Dodson, Scott Geesey, Tim Glatfelter, Haas, and Gerard McIntyre Jr.
All told, there were 16 different winners in 2009 over 26 events.
Big race winners were Rahmer (All stars), Darrah (Keystone Cup), Montieth (All Stars, Kevin Gobrecht Memorial & Weldon Sterner Memorial), Haas (Hank Gentzler Memorial/Manufacturers Night), and Stevie Smith (Kenny Weld Memorial).
Adam Wilt picked up Rookie of the Year honors after finishing only 15 points out of 10th place in the final standings.
SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (410 Sprints)
Super Sprint Champion - Brian Montieth
Mechanic of the Year - Scott Zellers
Rookie of the Year - Adam Wilt
Sportsmanship Award - Alan Krimes
Most Improved Driver - Cory Haas
DALE HAMMER CLAIMS FIRST KEIZER LINCOLN SPEEDWAY ALUMINUM WHEELS TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP
Grantville’s Dale Hammaker competed in the most competitive Keizer Aluminum Wheels 358 Sprints season in recent memory at Lincoln Speedway in 2009 and earned a well-deserved track title for his efforts.
Hammaker picked up his lone win of the season on May 30th and jumped from fourth to first in the tight points race that night. Hammaker’s win at the time marked the fourth different winner in four events. That streak would continue through July as the highly competitive 358 sprint division produced nine different winner in as many events.
Through it all Hammaker continued his trademark consistency and produced six top-five finishes along with an astounding 10-top-10 finishes out of 11 events run during the season. His only finish out of the top 10 was a 13th place finish in early June.
The lone blemish on the 358 sprint season for Hammaker may have been the last race of the season - the rained-out 358 Sprint Championship. Without it, Hammaker was crowned the champion without the glory of being track side when he clinched the coveted track title.
The final race may have been a mere formality for Hammaker as he enjoyed a 165 point advantage heading into what would have been the final points race of the season.
After finishing ninth the past two seasons, Aspers’ Glenndon Forsythe finished second in the final championship standings. Forsythe proved he was a contender after becoming one of nine different winners this season with his third career win in July. His seven top-10 and two top-five finishes gave him a narrow margin of 15 points in securing the runner-up spot.
Defending champ Jeff Rohrbaugh looked good out of the gate in defending his 2008 track championship by winning the division’s season-opening race back in March. But after a missed race in April, Rohrbaugh had to dig out of a big hole the rest of the year and steadily moved up the standings until ending up with a solid third-place finish in the end.
That season-opening win was Rohrbaugh’s fourth career win and was followed by a division-leading nine top-five finishes along with 10 top-10 finishes - a record that at first glance would be good enough for a track title if it were not for that one missed event.
East Brunswick New Jersey driver Kevin Nagy may have traveled a good distance to compete at Lincoln this season, but it was worth it as took home fourth place honors in 2009. Though not picking up a win, Nagy proved his 150 mile drive was worth the effort as he qualified for every event and only failed to finish one race. His five top-10 and lone top-five finish, not to mention his endurance, earned him a well-deserved fourth place in the final championship standings.
2005 track champ Billy Dietrich of Gettysburg continued his racing family’s tradition by turning in another solid performance in 2009 to finish fifth in the year-end standings.
Dietrich’s lone win of the year in July, his eighth career Lincoln win, moved him into a three-way tie for seventh place on the all time win list. Being one of nine different winners, along with his five top-five and seven top-10 finishes once again put the Dietrich name in Lincoln’s record books.
Completing the top-10 in points was a rare 2009 two-time winner in Brad McClelland, Tim Berkheimer, Most Improved Driver award winner Tim Wagaman, Eric Tomecek, and the other two-time winner and 2009 Rookie of the Year Kyle Moody.
Other winners in 2009 included first time winners Matt Boland and Gerard McIntyre Jr. (2 wins), along with Adrian Shaffer who picked up his sixth career Lincoln win along the way.
Also worthy of mentioning was female racer Nicole Bower who actually had a share of the point lead early in the season and came very close to recording a win one night. Her efforts earned her the Sportsmanship Award.
SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (358 Sprints)
358 Sprint Champion - Dale Hammaker
Rookie of the Year - Kyle Moody
Sportsmanship Award - Nicole Bower
Most Improved Driver - Tim Wagaman
DUANE WATSON CLAIMS SECOND CHAMPIONSHIP IN THREE YEARS IN THUNDERCARS
Abbottstown’s Duane Watson returned to Thundercar competition in 2009 after testing the late model waters last year following his 2007 thundercar championship to pick up his second track title in three years.
And as has become traditional in the most competitive support division in the country, it came down to the final race of the year as he trailed defending track champion Sam Gallagher by five points.
Much like how he trailed defending track champ Neil Smith in the final race of 2007, it took a good car and good fortune in the 2009 thundercar finale to jump past Gallagher in final standings to earn the track championship.
Like Montieth did in the 410 sprints, Watson won the season opening Spring Thaw 20 back in March and won another six events along the way to lead all thundercars with seven wins and moved into a tie for fifth on Lincoln Speedway’s all time thundercar winners list with 27 career wins.
But defending champ Gallagher bounced back to win the second race of the year and from that point on the battle was on.
Along the way Watson won one of three thundercar non-stop features, recorded back-to-back wins on May 23rd and June 6th and at one point mid-season had won four of eight races. His seven features wins, coupled with a division-leading 13 top-five finishes and 14 top-10 finishes in 17 events gave him the 2009 track championship when the dust settled in their finale.
Defending thundercar champ Sam Gallagher of Hanover gave it everything he could to defend his crown by winning two races in 2009 and had the point lead heading into the finale.
Gallagher’s consistency almost got him the championship as he added a total of 12 top-five and a division-leading 15 top-10 finishes along with his wins. One of those wins was a lucrative Championship event on August 8th as the battle for the top spot was heating up.
Landisville’s Larry Niederer finally picked up his first career Pigeon Hills win, finish twice in the top-five and 10 times in the top-10 en route to a third place finish in the final standings.
Fan favorite Gino Comi of Pylesville Maryland had to settle for his second consecutive fourth place finish in the final standings. Though not winning in 2009, Comi overcame mechanical problems mid-season and was once again a contender to win every night over the final races. Comi’s seven top-five and 12 top-10 finishes were a testament to his determination all year long in the competitive thundercar division.
Hanover’s Danny Beard was another thundercar regular who also had a shot to win on any given night and settled for a career-best fifth in the final point standings. Beard picked up a single win along with 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes and was closing on the point leaders heading into the final month of the season. His win was also one of the three non-stop thundercar features in 2009.
Completing the top-10 in points were Rick Weaver, Most Improved Driver award winner Jimmy Combs, Brad Shank, Sportsmanship award winner Mike Slaybaugh, and Justin Mong.
Mt. Airy Maryland’s Todd Miller Todd Miller impressed many in the thundercar division and earned Rookie of the Year honors on the heels of his one top-five and five top-10 finishes en route to finishing 13th in the season-long points chase.
Other winners over their 17-race season were second generation racer Slaybaugh, first-time winner Jamie Zentmyer, Niederer, and Will Walls. Not only did Walls pick up his first career thundercar win on May 2nd, he set a new 20-lap track record in the non-stop feature. He then went on to win three more races in his break-out season for a total of four and finished just out of the top-10 in the final point standings.
In all there were three non-stop feature runs in 2009 for the thundercars. They also had several nights where all their heats were run in non-stop fashion, earning the respect of their fans and peers as well.
SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (Thundercars)
Thundercar Champion - Duane Watson
Rookie of the Year - Todd Miller
Sportsmanship Award -Mike Slaybaugh
Most Improved Driver - Jimmy Combs
GENE KNAUB CHAMPION FOR SECOND YEAR IN-A-ROW IN 358 LATE MODELS
Two-time 2009 winner Gene Knaub of Dover once again proved he is the man to beat in 358 Late Model competition at Lincoln in 2009 by winning his second championship in-a-row. Not only did Knaub finish in the top-10 in all six races run in 2009, he finished in the top-five five of those times. In the three years the late models have run for points at the Pigeon Hills oval Knaub has recorded seven wins, and finished 14 times in the top-five and 18 times in the top-10 out of 19 events.
Knaub edged out a trio of former Lincoln thundercar drivers for the title. 21-time former thundercar driver Mike Walls of Gettysburg finished second in points with four top-five and five top-10 finishes.
Three-time thundercar champion and one time 2009 winner Bobby Beard finished third, 27-time thundercar winner Craig Wagaman recorded two wins en route to finishing fourth followed by McConnellsburg’s Cory Houck in fifth.
Completing the top-10 were Jake Lettick, Bernie Beard, Chaz Walls, Mike Spangler and John Baker.
Don’t forget to check-out Lincoln Speedway On-line at http://www.lincolnspeedway.com for all the final results of the 2009 season along with statistics and point standings. The 2010 Lincoln Speedway schedule is still being finalized and is planned for release in the near future. This we do know, Lincoln will host its traditional Northeast Season Opener featuring the 410 sprints in the Ice Breaker 30 on Saturday afternoon, February 27, 2010. Gates will open at noon, with the first official green flag waving at 2 PM.