MICHAEL BESTS STELLAR FIELD IN LINCOLN ALL-STAR ACTION; ABBOTTSTOWN, PA, 5/3/03 - After finishing second in the spring All-Star show the last two years, the "Flying Fireman" would settle for no less than a win Saturday night at Lincoln Speedway. Allentown's Sean Michael drove around polesitter Chris Knopp for the lead in the first two turns and led wire-to-wire in the 30-lap, $5,000-to-win All-Star "A" Main in the Pigeon Hills. "Starting up front meant a lot," said a happy Michael upon exiting his Zemoco No.1 sprinter in victory lane. "We finished second in this race the past two years behind Lance, so I think we were due to win this thing...actually, we were probably due to win any race."
But, as is normally the case at the Abbottstown three-eighth mile oval, it wasn't as easy as it sounded. Michael took the checkered after challenges from many of the Pennsylvania Posse and All-Stars' best. First it was Greg Hodnett, who ran second to Michael from laps four through 19, except for lap 12, when All Star Jeff Shepard (driving the Bob Miller Rigging No.2) drove around him for the runner-up spot in the third and fourth turns before Hodnett reclaimed the spot a half-lap later. Then it was Lincoln points leader Lance Dewease, who came from 12th to slip under both Shepard and Hodnett in the first two turns of a 20th-lap restart. Both drivers got boxed in behind the lapped car of Greg Wilson, who restarted second on the grid one lap down. Dewease was setting up for a serious backstretch challenge on a 28th-lap restart when his right rear tire lost air pressure and came off the wheel, causing him to slow and collect Chris Knopp, tipping the Acadia Financial Group No.6K onto its side in turn three.
After that, it was Greg Hodnett again, who tried the outside on a 29th-lap restart. But Michael stayed on the bottom, forcing Hodnett to lose momentum exiting turn two. He drove away to a .81-second win over the Apple Dealerships mount, with Shepard, Cris Eash, and All-Star points leader Chad Kemenah completing the top five. "We just weren't fast enough through three and four, and kinda got hung out to dry a couple times around the top just trying to make something happen," said Hodnett on his second runner-up finish in a row. "That last lap was kind of a last ditch effort on that last restart, but it didn't work out for us because we just weren't good enough through three and four."
"I congratulate the Zemco team on a good run. We've been knocking on the door, but we just need a win. Second sucks."
"I knew Hodnett with two to go would have to make one last ditch effort," explained Michael. "But I knew as long as I kept in on the bottom and didn't break the wheels loose I would beat him coming off (turn) two." Eash came from 14th starting spot to cross fourth, passing a fading Jason Johnson. Both Johnson and Shepard had tires going down over the final laps. While Shepard held on for third, Johnson fell from fourth to sixth over the final two laps. "He (Johnson) pulled up beside me and I thought mine was going flat," said Shepard what went on during the late race caution. " I told him his was going flat, and I thought 'Awe (shoot), we're trying to get out there and keep our tires spinning' and they kept holding the yellows, and the yellows, and the yellows, and I was, like, 'Come on, I don't want to blow a tire.'"
On his performance the first two nights in the Miller No.2 sprinter Shepard said, "Our car wasn't bad tonight...we were a little tight in the dash, but we have a lot of room to work on this car. "Two nights...two top-three finishes. We'll take it. The car's still in one piece...we're happy. I got the call (to drive this car) when I was in Florida, and I figured 'Well, I don't get to come back home too often, especially when I get a chance to run at Lincoln for the fans.' I like to come here and race, and we don't get a chance to run here often. We'll get 'em here next time."
The win, Michael's first since the July 3rd 2002 Pennsylvania Speedweek show at Silver Spring Speedway was his second career All-Star victory and the fourth of his career at Lincoln. "I want to thank John Zemaitis and Pee Wee for sticking with me," Michael added. "For the money John spends, there's no doubt that his race car should have more wins, but hey, we win as a team and we lose as a team." "The crew cost us a few and I cost us a few, and we just keep going. I'm still in the race car, and (those calling for my ouster) can go home and whine."
Donnie Kreitz, Jr. (who started 20th), Fred Rahmer, Glenndon Forsythe, and Steve Siegel (who started 21st) rounded out the top ten. The Crown Battery heat fell to Dewease, the B&B Products heat went to Niki Young, the Engler Machine and Tool heat was won by Eash, and the TP Wings heat was claimed by Shepard. The United Aluminum Window Sales & Consulting B Main was won by Forsythe, while Kemenah captured the Haulmark Dash. Dean Jacobs was the Huggins Cams Fast Time qualifier over the 35-car field with a one-lap time of 13.437 seconds (100.469 MPH).
Huggins Cams Time Trials - 1. 29-Dean Jacobs, 13.437 seconds (100.469 MPH); 2. 12, Greg Hodnett, 13.492 ; 3. 22-Jason Johnson, 13.627 ; 4. 2-Jeff Shepard, 13.637 ; 5. 1-Sean Michael, 13.662 ; 6. 6K-Chris Knopp, 13.734 ; 7. 21P-Glenndon Forsythe, 13.746 ; 8. 15K-Chad Kemenah, 13.754 ; 9. 9-Craig Keel, 13.773 ; 10. 10N-Niki Young, 13.794 ; 11. 65-Johnny Mackison Jr., 13.844 ; 12. 30-Doug Esh, 13.949 ; 13. 77-Lance Dewease, 13.955 ; 14. 17H-Jason Hagenbuch, 13.959 ; 15. 17E-Cris Eash, 13.960 ; 16. 63W-Greg Wilson, 13.976 ; 17. 59-Jim Siegel, 13.998 ; 18. X-Bobby Weaver, 14.008 ; 19. 6C-Ryan Coniam, 14.079 ; 20. 88H-Fred Rahmer, 14.083 ; 21. 71-Brian Leppo, 14.095 ; 22. 6B-Bill Rose, 14.105 ; 23. 69K-Donnie Kreitz Jr., 14.122 ; 24. 66-Steve Siegel, 14.135 ; 25. 32-Brook Weibley, 14.166 ; 26. 33-Craig Smith, 14.260 ; 27. 6W-Josh Wells, 14.295 ; 28. 21-Jerry Parrish, 14.353 ; 29. 51-Chappy Knaack, 14.361 ; 30. 84-Greg Coverdale, 14.380 ; 31. 31D-Kevin Drury, 14.491 ; 32. 93-Pancho Lawler, 14.542 ; 33. 63R-Barry Ruble, 14.629 ; 34. 8-Scott Grace, 14.718 ; 35. 8D-Mike Dillman, NT.
Crown Battery Heat (10 Laps/5 to qualify) - 1. 77-Lance Dewease; 2. 29-Dean Jacobs; 3. 1-Sean Michael; 4. 59-Jim Siegel; 5. 9-Craig Keel; 6. 71-Brian Leppo; 7. 51-Chappy Knaack; 8. 63R-Barry Ruble; DNS - 32-Brook Weibley. Time - 2:24.57
B&B Products Heat (10 Laps/5 to qualify) - 1. 10N-Niki Young; 2. X-Bobby Weaver; 3. 12-Greg Hodnett; 4. 17H-Jason Hagenbuch; 5. 6K-Chris Knopp; 6. 6B-Bill Rose; 7. 84-Greg Coverdale; 8. 33-Craig Smith; 9. 8-Scott Grace. Time - 2:26.64
Engler Machine & Tool Heat (10 Laps/5 to qualify) - 1. 17E-Cris Eash; 2. 22-Jason Johnson; 3. 69K-Donnie Kreitz Jr.; 4. 31D-Kevin Drury; 5. 65-Johnny Mackison Jr.; 6. 6-Ryan Coniam; 7. 6W-Josh Wells; 8. 21P-Glenndon Forsythe. Time - 2:29.93
TP Wings Heat (10 Laps/5 to qualify) - 1. 2-Jeff Shepard; 2. 66-Steve Siegel; 3. 88H-Fred Rahmer; 4. 15K-Chad Kemenah; 5. 21-Jerry Parrish; 6. 63-Greg Wilson; 7. 93-Duane "Pancho" Lawler (DNF); 8. 30-Doug Esh (DNF). No Time
Haulmark Dash (4 Laps) - 1. 15K-Chad Kemenah; 2. 22-Jason Johnson; 3. 9-Craig Keel; 4. 12-Greg Hodnett; 5. 2-Jeff Shepard; 6. 29-Dean Jacobs. Time - 59.39
United Aluminum Window Sales & Consulting B-Main (12 Laps/4 to advance to A-Main) - 1. 21P-Glenndon Forsythe; 2. 63-Greg Wilson; 3. 6B-Bill Rose; 4. 32-Brook Weibley; 5. 71-Brian Leppo; 6. 6C-Ryan Coniam; 7. 51-Chappy Knaack; 8. 84-Greg Coverdale; 9. 6W-Josh Wells; 10. 93-Pancho Lawler; 11. 33-Craig Smith; 12. 8-Scott Grace; 13. 63R-Barry Ruble; DNS - 30-Doug Esh. No Time
Haulmark A-Main (30 Laps) - 1. 1-Sean Michael ($5,000); 2. 12-Greg Hodnett; 3. 2-Jeff Shepard; 4. 17E-Cris Eash; 5. 15K-Chad Kemenah; 6. 22-Jason Johnson; 7. 69K-Donnie Kreitz Jr.; 8. 88H-Fred Rahmer; 9. 21P-Glenndon Forsythe; 10. 66-Steve Siegel; 11. 29-Dean Jacobs; 12. 17H-Jason Hagenbuch; 13. 9-Craig Keel; 14. X-Bobby Weaver; 15. 32-Brook Weibley; 16. 6K-Chris Knopp; 17. 31D-Kevin Drury; 18. 65-Johnny Mackison Jr.; 19. 6B-Bill Rose (DNF); 20. 77-Lance Dewease; 21. 63W-Greg Wilson (DNF); 22. 21-Jerry Parrish (DNF); 23. 59-Jim Siegel (DNF); 24. 10N-Niki Young (DNF). No Time
Lap Leaders - Sean Michael (1-30)
All Star Sprint Points: 1 Chad Kemenah 1076 2 Jason Johnson 1019 3 Greg Wilson 973 4 Dean Jacobs 966 5 Bill Rose 860 6 Ryan Coniam 851 7 Craig Keel 848 8 Kelly Kinser 700 9 Jimmy Hawley 622 10 Paul McMahan 615 11 Dale Blaney 615