Jeff Rohrbaugh Claims Second Career Lincoln 358 Sprint Title;
Sam Gallagher also a second-time champ in Thundercars;
Gene Knaub Claims Fourth Straight 358 Late Model Championship
YORK, PA, 11/19/2011 - Lincoln Speedway track champions and special year-end awards were handed out at the Holiday Inn in York Saturday night, November 19th. More than 200 people were in attendance to watch the crowning of the 410 sprint, 358 sprint, thundercar, and 358 late model champions for 2011. The top finishers in the season-long point series for all four divisions were honored as well as special awards.
MONTIETH CLAIMS FOURTH STRAIGHT LAWRENCE CHEVROLET TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP
It was another banner year for Phoenixville’s Brian Montieth, whose six wins included the season-opening “Icebreaker 30,” the Lincoln Keystone Cup Series event, the 8th Annual Weldon Sterner Memorial, the Hank Gentzler Memorial Manufacturers Race, and the annual Kenny Weld/Hilly Rife Memorial race en route to his fourth straight Lawrence Chevrolet 410 Sprint Track Championship.
The driver known as “the Edge” dominated with 102 feature laps led during the season. And his six wins bumped him up to 10th on the all-time Lincoln career win list (within two of Van May on the Lincoln career win list with 26 wins).
In 26 events, Montieth amassed 19 top-10 and 12 top-five finishes to go along with his six wins.
Only Fred Rahmer (10) and Steve Smith (9) have more track championships.
It was also the fourth track title for car owner Jerry Parrish and sponsors Premiere Auto Works and Auto Locator. Montieth’s title also secured chief wrench Scott Zellers his fourth Mechanic of the Year award.
Danny Dietrich was the second winningest driver and nailed down second in season points in the Gary Kauffman-owned Sandoe’s Fruit Market #48. Among Dietrich’s four wins were the All-Star Circuit of Champions show on June 11th and a win in the final race of the year, the second of twin 20’s on Lincoln’s 59th Anniversary show.
Dietrich finished a slim 20 points behind Montieth in a points chase that went down the final lap of the final points race of the year. Dietrich scored 14 top-five and 18 top-ten finishes during the year.
New Oxford’s Brian Leppo had another great year, finishing third in points on the strength of two wins, ten top-fives and 17 top-10 finishes. Leppo’s wins included the Lincoln Spring Championship event in April.
Denver’s Alan Krimes scored one win, seven top-fives and 17 top-tens to finish fourth in season points.
Brad McClelland followed up his 2010 national sprint car rookie of-the-year honors with the 2011 most improved driver award after his fifth-place finish in season points. McClelland picked up his first career 410 sprint car win at Lincoln on Premier Auto Works/Auto Locator night July 24th. His sophomore season included six top-five and 12 top-ten finishes.
Completing the top ten in season points were Jimmy Siegel (1 win), Cory Haas (2 wins), Sportsmanship Award winner Brent Marks (2 wins), Aaron Ott (1 win), and winless Adam Wilt.
Other Lincoln wins in 2011 were recorded by Greg Hodnett (2 wins), Bill Stine (first time career win), Gerard McIntyre, Jr., Mike Bittinger, and Doug Esh.
All told, there were 14 different winners in 26 races at Lincoln in 2011.
Second-generation driver Chad Criswell, who finished the season 13th in points, was recognized as Lincoln’s 2011 rookie of-the-year.
SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (410 Sprints)
Super Sprint Champion - Brian Montieth
Mechanic of the Year - Scott Zellers
Rookie of the Year – Chad Criswell
Sportsmanship Award – Brent Marks
Most Improved Driver – Brad McClelland
JEFF ROHRBAUGH CLAIMS SECOND LINCOLN SPEEDWAY KEIZER ALUMINUM WHEELS TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP
In a season that saw 15 different winners in 17 events, West York’s Jeff Rohrbaugh the most consistent of all drivers in claiming his second track title in the 358 sprint car division.
Rohrbaugh’s lone win came in a make-up feature on June18th, but ten top-five and 12 top-ten finishes in the 17 events resulted in an 80-point lead over Billy Dietrich at season’s end.
The only repeat winners at Lincoln in ‘11 were 2010 track champ Logan Schuchart (who among his two wins came from 21st to win the 358 Sprint Car Championship on September 10th) and Sportsmanship award winner Niki Young (who won the season opener and the Hank Gentzler Memorial Manufacturers Race).
2005 Lincoln champ Billy Dietrich finished second on the strength of a win, eight top-five, and 11 top-ten finishes.
2004 Lincoln champ Chad Trout and Young finished third and fourth in season points. Tim Wagaman finished fifth in points for a second straight year.
Sixth through tenth in season points were rookie of-the-year Billy Pauch, Jr., most improved driver Nathan Berwager, one-time winner Glenndon Forsythe, 2009 track champ Dale Hammaker (1 win), and Schuchart.
Six different drivers picked up their first Lincoln career wins in 2011, including Niki Young (2 wins), Jay Galloway, Scott Fisher, Jan Luckenbaugh, Mike Bittinger, and Joey Allen.\
SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (358 Sprints)
358 Sprint Champion – Jeff Rohrbaugh
Rookie of the Year – Billy Pauch, Jr.
Sportsmanship Award – Niki Young
Most Improved Driver – Nathan Berwager
SAM GALLAGHER CLAIMS SECOND LINCOLN SPEEDWAY THUNDERCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Just like Jeff Rohrbaugh in the 358 sprints, Sam Gallagher followed up his 2008 track title with his second championship season in the thundercar division.
Gallagher’s season performance was dominant, as the Hanover veteran finished in the top ten in all 16 events, including 15 top-five finishes and a division-leading six wins. He was also named the PAThundercars.com “Driver of Year.”
Ironically, he did not lead the most laps. That honor went to two-time track champ Duane Watson, who came on strong at season’s end to lead 65 laps, score five wins, and finish second in points.
Mike Slaybaugh, son of legendary racer Kenny Slaybaugh, recorded 10 top-fives and 12 top-tens to finish third in season points. Fourth and fifth-place season points finishers were most improved driver Danny Beard (1 win) and Mikey Guise.
Sixth through tenth in points were Todd Miller, Roy Warehime, Jr., Jamie Zentmyer (1 win), Jimmy Combs, and Brian Walls (1 win).
Other thundercar winners in 2011 were Justin Mong, Kyle Martin, and Larry Neiderer.
Andrew Walls was named the division’s Rookie-of-the Year, and Gallagher was given the Sportsmanship Award.
There were seven different winners in 16 races.
SPECIAL AWARDS WINNERS (Thundercars)
Thundercar Champion – Sam Gallagher
Rookie of the Year - Andrew Walls
Sportsmanship Award –Sam Gallagher
Most Improved Driver – Danny Beard
GENE KNAUB CHAMPION IN 358 LATE MODELS
Dover’s Gene Knaub claimed his fourth straight track title in the 358 late models by winning four of the six events. Knaub’s dominance in the competitive division recorded another top five, and he was only out of the top ten one time.
The battle for second in season points was extremely competitive and went down to the final event. In the end, Grant Adams (1 win) edged out Chase Billet, Travis Mease, and Bobby Beard (1 win) for runner-up honors.
Adams finished 80 points ahead of Billet, but the final tally for third through fifth was only separated by 35 points.
Steve Weikel, Bernie Beard, D.J. Mease, Cam Zeigler, and Tyler Horst finished sixth through tenth in points.
Don’t forget to check-out Lincoln Speedway On-line at http://www.lincolnspeedway.com for all the final results of the 2011 season along with statistics and point standings. The 2012 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 25, 2012. Gates will open at noon, with the first official green flag waving at 2 PM.