Haas Becomes First Three-time Champ in 358 Sprints
YORK, PA, 11/18/06 - Lincoln Speedway track championships and special year-end awards were handed out at the Holiday Inn Holidome in York Saturday night, November 18th. Close to 400 people were in attendance to watch the crowning of the 410 sprint, 358 sprint, and thundercar champions for 2006. The top ten finishers in the season -long point series for all three divisions were honored as well as special awards for each division.
ESH CLAIMS CAREER-FIRST TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP
Lancaster’s Doug Esh started on a winning note in the "Icebreaker 30" on opening day and scored five more wins along the way in claiming his first-ever track championship in the 410 sprint division.
"The Hammer" scored 21 top ten and 17 top-five finishes in 27 races. Wins included the Pennsylvania Speedweek $10,000-to-win show on July 3rd. Esh turned up the heat from there, winning four more times over the second half of the season en route to a 215-point margin over Niki Young for the 2006 track title. Esh, driver of the Leach family Kinard Trucking/C.W. Fritz Company/Bankwitch & Sons Countertops/Butcher Motorsports #30, trailed only defending champ Fred Rahmer in laps led (91), and his six wins moved him into a 20th-place tie with Neil Haight and Steve Stambaugh on the all time Lincoln win list (15). Among those receiving special recognition at the banquet was chief mechanic Dennis Kohler, who received the mechanic of the year award.
Spring Grove’s Niki Young, although winless in 2006, completed a solid year with 12 top-five and 19-top ten finishes, to edge Fred Rahmer by 140 points in the season series. In addition to his second-place finish in season points, Young was also named the winner of the track’s coveted sportsmanship award, his second in the last three years.
Rahmer, who missed a race to compete in the Knoxville Nationals, settled for third in points with five wins, 18 top fives, and 22 top tens. His win in the season-ending Kenny Weld Memorial moved the Salfordville racer to within two wins of Steve Smith’s record of 150 career wins in the Pigeon Hills.
It was a big year for Denver’s Alan Krimes, who in one season won his first two career Lincoln 410 features, finished fourth in Lincoln points, and was also named Lincoln’s 2006 rookie of-the-year. Krimes scored seven top five and 19 top ten finishes. Krimes’ first career win came in the annual Daryl Gohn/Glenn Gohn, Sr. Memorial on July 15th, and his second win came in the second of twin 20's on Central Maryland Pools Night August 5th.
Phoenixville’s Brian Montieth kept the fans on "the edge" of their seats, using his high-flying style to one win and fifth-place in the season point standings in the Jerry Parrish-owned Premier Auto Works/Auto Locator #21. Montieth scored nine top fives and 14 top tens during the season.
It was a breakout season for Harrisburg’s Chad Layton, who closed out car owner Bob Stewart’s career with Layton’s first five career feature wins in the Apple Motorsports/York Excavating Company #12. In addition to registering his first career win April 15th, Layton went on to score even bigger wins in the 54th Anniversary show on May 24th, the All-Star Circuit of Champions show on May 10th, the Weldon Sterner Memorial on May 17th, and on Kline’s Services Night August 19th.
Seventh through tenth in the season-long point standings were New Oxford’s Jim Siegel, East Berlin’s Eric Stambaugh, Pipersville’s Michael Carber (also named Lincoln’s most improved driver), and Green Lane’s Sam Schlosberg.
In addition to Layton and Krimes, Rick Lafferty scored his first-ever career 410 sprint win during 2006.
Krimes July 15th win made him the 178th different driver to win a race in the history of Lincoln Speedway.
SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (410 Sprints)
410 Sprint Champion - Doug Esh
Mechanic of the Year - Dennis Kohler
Rookie of the Year - Alan Krimes
Sportsmanship Award - Niki Young
Most Improved Driver - Michael Carber
CORY HAAS BECOMES FIRST-EVER THREE-TIME LINCOLN SPEEDWAY 358 SPRINT CHAMP
Dallastown’s Cory Haas became the first driver to win three Lincoln titles in the ten-year history of the 358 sprint division at Lincoln, chalking up one win 10 top fives, and 11 top-ten finishes in 15 events. Consistency earned Haas the title, as he competed with nearly 40 cars weekly in his Michael Barshinger-owned Trone Outdoor Advertising/Kane Hardwood Flooring #39. Haas’s lone win came in the second race of the season for the 358's (4/15), and moved him into a tie with Doug Esh on the all-time Lincoln 358 sprint win list (11 wins).
Haas’ championship came after a season-long dual with Dale Hammaker, whose consistent season included a single win that came in a non-points race on June 10th. Hammaker, who scored seven top five and 10 top-ten finishes, was 60 points behind Haas at the end.
Defending track champ Chad Trout of Felton was the leading feature winner with five, and his six top-fives and nine-top tens was good for third in season points. Mechanicsburg’s Bobby Howard did not win in ‘06, but his seven top tens was good enough for fourth in season points. Trail-Way champ Jeff Rohrbaugh was one of five drivers to score his first-ever Lincoln 358 win en route to fifth place in season points.
Sportsmanship award winner Joe Ilg of Temple, Westminster, MD’s Brad McClelland, Aspers’ Danny Dietrich, former 358 champ Billy Dietrich of Gettysburg, and Abbottstown’s Mike Bittinger rounded out the top ten in season points.
In addition to Rohrbaugh, other drivers claiming their first career wins at Lincoln were Glenndon Forsythe (two wins), McClelland (two wins), Pat Cannon, and Mark Zellers.
Forsythe’s July 15th win brought the total number of 358 sprint winners to 50 in the 10-year history of the division.
SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (358 Sprints)
358 Sprint Champion - Cory Haas
Rookie of the Year - Derek Locke
Sportsmanship Award - Joe Ilg
Most Improved Driver - Adam Wilt
NEIL SMITH WINS FIRST-EVER LINCOLN THUNDERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Hanover’s Neil Smith, who has been racing thundercars since they became division 17 years ago, claimed his first-ever Lincoln track title. And he did it in convincing fashion, crossing in the top ten 23 times in 28 races. His championship season also included two wins and 19 top fives. Despite a tremendous season, Smith still didn’t lock up the track title until the final race of the year. He edged out opening-day and two-time season winner Duane Watson of Abbottstown, who scored 13 top five and 2 top-ten finishes of his own.
In a year which included several big-money and special races for the thundercars. Watson began his late-season push by scoring wins in the both the Australian Pursuit race and the feature event on August 26th.
Nat Tuckey (Kline’s Services Night) and Craig Wagaman (Flooring Outlaw Night) were winners of the two $700-to-win shows during the season.
Sportsmanship award winner Sam Gallagher finished third in points on the heals of one early-season win, 11 top five, and 23 top-ten finishes.
Biglerville’s Tuckey was fourth in points with four wins, 18 top five, and 23 top-ten finishes, and Mike Slaybaugh (who also recorded 23 top-ten finishes) was fifth.
Sixth through tenth in points were Bob Bare, Danny Beard, rookie of-the-year Gino Comi, Bob Stough, and four-time winner Craig Wagaman.
Though he didn’t finish in the top ten in points due to limited appearances, Dover’s Gene Knaub claimed his first career thundercar win on April 15th and went on to score seven more victories before season’s end.
In addition to Knaub, "most improved driver" Al Crammer of Millersville registered his first career win in ‘06, becoming the 74th driver to win a thundercar race in the Pigeon Hills.
SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (Thundercars)
Thundercar Champion - Neil Smith
Rookie of the Year - Gino Comi
Sportsmanship Award - Sam Gallagher
Most Improved Driver - Al Crammer
The 2007 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 and thundercars in the Spring Thaw 20 on Saturday afternoon, February 24th, 2007. Gates will open at noon, with the first official green flag waving at 2 PM.
Mike Walls closes out 2006 with 3rd thundercar win; Neil Smith earns first career thundercar track title
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 10/21/06 - The last time Fred Rahmer and Al Hamilton stood in victory lane together was the Kenny Weld Memorial in 2001. On Saturday night at Lincoln, they celebrated together again, at least for one night.
One race after crawling into the Hamilton No.77 in a much talked-about ride switch with Greg Hodnett, Rahmer led the first lap from his front row starting spot, followed polesitter Michael Carber for seven laps, and then reclaimed the lead for good on the final (ninth-lap) restart to score his 148th career win in the Pigeon Hills.
"At the beginning there, I wanted to get the lead," explained Rahmer in victory lane, "But he got it, and I just sort of saved the tires until we came to lapped traffic. Mike (Carber) is an excellent racer and a great driver."
"Any race named after Kenny Weld is a great race," added Rahmer, "He didn’t just call up on the phone and order parts. He created parts and a whole new way of racing. I am absolutely thrilled to win a race in his honor."
Rahmer’s final margin of victory was 1.57 seconds, but it was the ongoing race for second that had the large crowd’s attention over the final 32 non-stop laps.
EICHELBERGER SUPER SPORTSMAN TOUR CHAMP;
Carl Billet class of limited late model field; Zeigler Jr. Wins first of year in Thundercars
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 10/14/06 - It’s been quite a year for Hagerstown’s Dave Socks. After entering 2006 without a career feature victory, Socks followed first-ever wins at Williams Grove and Susquehanna Speedway Park with a win in the 20-lap super sportsman season finale at Lincoln Speedway Saturday night.
Tour points handicapping placed Socks sixth for the start. After a three-car tangle in turns one and two of the original start and a three-car crash which took out tour points leader Craig Morrow on lap two, Socks advanced to third behind front-row starter Danny Hager and polesitter Brian Boughter. The next 16 laps went non-stop, with Socks getting around Boughter for second on lap six and grabbing the race lead from Hager in turns three and four of lap 12.
Socks’ lead was two and-a-half seconds when the red came out for a flipping Jim Shuttlesworth on turn four of the 18th lap. Before the cars could come to a stop, fifth-place Frankie Herr rolled his sportsman on the backstretch, ending his bid for the season-long super sportsman tour series championship. Neither driver was injured, but both drivers were done for the night.
Socks paced the field through one more caution flag on lap 19, and pulled away to a .78-second win over a charging Rich Eichelberger, who came from 11th starting spot.
Eichelberger’s second-place run, combined with crashes involving Morrow, Herr, and John Stehman and Paul Miller’s fourth-place finish, was just enough to vault Eichelberger from fifth to the top in season points.