posted April 14, 2001 08:31 AM
WILLIAMS GROVE SPEEDWAY
HODNETT OUT RUNS RAHMER TO EARLY BIRD CHAMPIONSHIP WIN AT WILLIAMS GROVE
MECHANICSBURG, PA, 4/13/01 - I was only a matter of time.
Since his return to Central Pennsylvania racing this season, Memphis,
Tennessee's Greg Hodnett and his Apple Motorsports Team had been searching
for that first win.
The key words after Friday night was - "had been searching".
After struggling with set-ups, bad luck, and a few bad crashes, the search
was finally over.
Hodnett grabbed the lead from his pole position at the drop of the green
and out-ran four-time track champ Fred Rahmer over the race's final 22 laps
to win the lucrative 30-lap Early Bird Championship at Williams Grove Friday
night. And with the win, became the sixth different winner in six races this
season at the historic Mechanicsburg half-mile.
"It feels a lot better than it has the last few weeks I can tell you that,"
said Hodnett. "The guys have been working there tails off, we crashed a
couple cars...this Apple Chevrolet Cars by Dealers, Rudisill Auto Body Maxim
has really done a good job for us."
"You can make or break yourself with these things. I kind of think we over
thought ourselves for the last few weeks and kind of went back to basics and
it seems to have worked out very well."
Hodnett's $6,000 victory from the pole was not an easy one. Hodnett had to
race through heavy lapped traffic with Rahmer on his tail over the closing
stages of the race, and endured a final two-lap dash to take the checkered
1.79 seconds ahead of the Salfordville racer for his seventh career Williams
"I think we're going to be around here quite a bit," said Hodnett on the
teams plans this season. "We want to run up front every day but the
competition here every week here is something...thank god for a safe race
and hopefully he'll let us win a few more here this year."
After qualifying sixth quick in time trails, Hodnett finally got a dose of
good luck as fast timer Dave Ely picked the number six for the feature
inversion which placed Hodnett on the pole for the first Diamond Series race
of the season a Williams Grove.
Hodnett out-raced fellow frontrow starter Sean Michael though the first and
second turns at the drop of the green for the lead. Just before the race's
first caution on the fifth lap for a James Chesson spin in the third and
fourth turns, Rahmer (who started seventh) slipped into third place.
The restart saw Hodnett get a good jump on second place Michael as the
Allentown fireman immediately had to contend with Rahmer for the runner-up
spot. Rahmer secured second place by the seventh lap as Hodnett streaked out
to a 2.08 second lead.
And the chase was on.
Hodnett, continually reminded by the third turn scoreboard that Rahmer was
in second place, streaked around the cushion lap after lap and opened up a
3.56 second lead by the time he began to head into lapped traffic on the
10th lap. A battle between Mark Smith and Mike Wagner for position in front
of Hodnett allowed Rahmer to slowly close on the former World of Outlaw
racer and had narrowed the gap to less than one second with 10 laps to go.
A daring move between Wagner and Smith entering the third turn allowed
Hodnett to momentarily streak away as Rahmer now had to contend with the
same lapped cars.
"I got up behind Mike (Wagner) and I didn't get all the way in front of him
so I wanted to leave him some room," Hodnett said. "Then I had to race him
for six or seven laps...I didn't want to make that mistake again so I blew
right past him there and made him shut down."
Just when it appeared Hodnett the victory in hand, the action came to a
halt with two laps to go when Brook Weibley erupted a motor in a ball of
flames in the third and fourth turns. The fire, which was quickly
extinguished but leaving Weibley with slightly burned ankles, allow the
crews one last chance for some final changes for the two lap dash to the
"We tightened up the car a little bit," said Hodnett on the changes they
made under the stoppage of action with two laps to go. "We were a little
loose when I tried to go in under and they said Fred (Rahmer) had been going
kind of through the middle and bottom so I wanted to be able to block if I
had to go through the middle."
"But the way it turned out we had a couple of lapped car in there. The way
they start now on the frontstretch it gave me an extra lap or so to free
A lapped car between himself and Rahmer on the restart allowed the
Tennessee racer to race away over the final two laps to notch his second
overall win of the season.
"Fred (Rahmer), Lance (Dewease), Cris (Eash), Donnie (Kreitz) and
Kauffman...I'll tell you what, these guys are good," Hodnett pointed out.
"If anybody says anything else...they are the best in the business and I'm
very proud to run against them on a full time basis."
Rahmer, who is seeking his first win at Williams Grove this season while
trying to win a record-tying fifth consecutive track champion settled for
second, with Sean Michael third, Donnie Kreitz Jr. fourth, and Lance Dewease
Completing the top-10 were Keith Kauffman, Ely, last weeks winner Curt
Michael, Cris Eash, and Billy Pauch .
Fast time for the 33 sprinters on hand was set by Dave Ely with a one-lap
time of 17.13 seconds. Heats were won by Billy Pauch, Mike Erdley, and
Johnny Mackison Jr., with Rahmer winning the B-Main.
Friday - April 13, 2001
WILLIAMS GROVE SPEEDWAY
EARLY BIRD CHAMPIONSHIP/DIAMOND SERIES
Feature (30 Laps) - 1. 12-Greg Hodnett ($6,000); 2. 77-Fred Rahmer ($4,000);
3. 1-Sean Michael ($2,500); 4. 69-Donnie Kreitz Jr. ($2,000); 5. 88H-Lance
Dewease ($1,800); 6. 7-Keith Kauffman ($1,500); 7. 29-Dave Ely ($1,300); 8.
461-Curt Michael ($1,100); 9. 17-Cris Eash ($1,000); 10. 55P-Billy Pauch
($900); 11. 7M-Todd Hestor ($800); 12. 88-Todd Shaffer ($700); 13. 22-James
Chesson ($600); 14. 10-Len Thompson ($575); 15. 10N-Chris Knopp ($550); 16.
55-Mike Wagner ($525); 17. 22M-Mark Smith ($500); 18. 0-Rick Lafferty
($475); 19. 30-Darren Eash ($475); 20. 65-Johnny Mackison Jr. ($475); 21.
32-Brook Weibley ($475); 22. 76-P.J. Chesson ($450); 23. 3-Jeff Rohrbaugh
($450); 24. 11-Mike Erdley ($450). No Time
Lap Leaders - Greg Hodnett (1-30)
1st Heat (10 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 55P-Billy Pauch; 2. 88-Todd Shaffer; 3.
88H-Lance Dewease; 4. 3-Jeff Rohrbaugh; 5. 69-Donnie Kreitz Jr.; 6. 29-Dave
Ely; 7. 77-Fred Rahmer; 8. 55-Mike Wagner; 9. 07-Cliff Brian; 10. 21-Danny
Murray; 11. 22M-Mark Smith; 12. 6W-Josh Wells. No Time
2nd Heat (10 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 11-Mike Erdley; 2. 17-Cris Eash; 3.
32-Brook Weibley; 4. 461-Curt Michael; 5. 1-Sean Michael; 6. 30-Darren Eash;
7. 17B-Troy Whitesel; 8. 49-Mike Walters; 9. 76-P.J. Chesson; 10. 0-Rick
Lafferty; 11. 53-Shawn Keen. No Time
3rd Heat (10 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 65-Johnny Mackison Jr.; 2. 10-Len
Thompson; 3. 7-Keith Kauffman; 4. 12-Greg Hodnett; 5. 22-James Chesson; 6.
10N-Chris Knopp; 7. 7M-Todd Hestor; 8. 3B-Bob Bennett; 9. 37-Shawn Stidfole;
10. 5G-Todd Rittenhouse; 11. E7-Lynton Jeffrey. No Time
B-Main (10 Laps/6 to qualify) - 1. 77-Fred Rahmer; 2. 22M-Mark Smith; 3.
7M-Todd Hestor; 4. 76-P.J. Chesson; 5. 55-Mike Wagner; 6. 0-Rick Lafferty;
7. 53-Shawn Keen; 8. 3B-Bob Bennett; 9. 37-Shawn Stidfole; 10. 17B-Troy
Whitesel; 11. 07-Cliff Brian; 12. E7-Lynton Jeffrey; 13. 49-Mike Walter; 14.
5G-Todd Rittenhouse; 15. 21-Danny Murray; DNS - 6W-Josh Wells. Time -
Time Trials - 1. Dave Ely, 17.13 seconds; 2. Curt Michael, 17.16; 3. James
Chesson, 17.28; 4. Lance Dewease, 17.30; 5. Sean Michael, 17.40; 6. Greg
Hodnett, 17.43; 7. Fred Rahmer, 17.46; 8. PJ Chesson, 17.57; 9. Don Kreitz,
17.63; 10. Todd Hestor, 17.63; 11. Cris Eash, 17.73; 12. Chris Knopp, 17.81;
13. Todd Shaffer, 17.87; 14. Keith Kauffman, 17.88; 15. Darren Eash, 17.88;
16. Billy Pauch, 17.91; 17. Brook Weibley, 17.95; 18. Len Thompson, 17.98;
19. Jeff Rohrbaugh, 18.00; 20. Mike Erdley, 18.00; 21. Johnny Mackison,
18.06; 22. Mark Smith, 18.08; 23. Shawn Stidfole, 18.14; 24. Mike Wagner,
18.26; 25. Troy Whitesel, 18.31; 26. Rick Lafferty, 18.45; 27. Bob Bennett,
18.59; 28. Cliff Brian, 18.66; 29. Shawn Keen, 18.75; 30. Lynton Jeffrey,
18.78; 31. Josh Wells, 18.83; 32. Mike Walter, 18.85; 33. Todd Rittenhouse,
19.34; 34. Danny Murray, 20.94.