Lincoln Speedway opened the local outdoor racing season Saturday with the Ice Breaker 30 for sprint cars.
Here’s a look at a long and eventful day at the Pigeon Hills oval.
8:55 a.m.: For those who work at the speedway, it was time to leave for the race track, but first a call to make sure the weather forecast hadn’t forced a postponement.
Track officials said they were planning to race, and “would do everything possible to complete the show that day.”
How true those words would prove to be. It was cloudy and about 55 degrees when leaving for the track at 9:05 a.m.
9:55 a.m.: Arrival time at the speedway comes about 9:55 a.m., preparing for the gates to open at 11 a.m.
The temperature was about 57 degrees, with cloudy skies.
11 a.m.: The gates open for racers and fans.
It's time to check in what would end up being 27 sprint cars for the day's events. The parking lot begins to fill with fans' cars, but they are slow to enter the new grandstands. Temperature is at 60 degrees, skies still cloudy.
1:05 p.m.: The drivers' meeting for the 27 drivers on hand to describe the day's events and go over the rules for the race. No rules have changed at Lincoln this year, although there will be a change in rules for wheel covers when the World of Outlaws arrive in May. Stands still pretty empty, but the parking lot is getting full. Still cloudy, but about 65 degrees now.
1:25 p.m.: The sprint cars are called to the track for the ritual called “Heat in the Motors.”
With the 900-horsepower aluminum engines, it’s essential to get the operating temperatures up to the right levels before running them fast. Fans seem to realize that Lincoln will be racing and start to fill the grandstands. It’s still cloudy, and perhaps 67 degrees by now.
1:40 p.m.: The first group of cars is called to the track for warm-ups.
Just as the first car appears on the track, the sun breaks through the clouds, and the temperature climbs to its high of 71 degrees. As the first group leaves the track after “hot laps,” announcer Wayne Harper proclaims that “all is again right with the world.” Hey it’s a tradition. By the time warm-ups are completed, the stands are nearly full.
1:57 p.m.: With the stands filled, and the sun still peeking through the clouds, the National Anthem is presented.
2:00 p.m.: The first heat is called to the track and the first race of the season begins at about 2:06 p.m.
Just 2 minutes, 18.648 seconds later, Gerard McIntyre Jr. has won the season’s first non-stop heat over Fawn Grove’s Matt Campbell.
The second heat is called and it takes Lewisberry’s Kyle Moody 2 minutes, 18.958 second to win over Spring Grove’s Tim Glatfelter.
2:16 p.m.: The third heat race is called to the track as the skies begin to really cloud over.
Management announces that, in an attempt to beat the rain that is coming, they will forego the consolation race and start all 27 cars in the feature event. (Normally 24 cars start the feature).
2:18 p.m.: The third heat takes the green flag, but Brandon Rahmer bicycles in the first turn and flips, with western Pennsylvania invader George Hobaugh also tipping over. No one is injured.
2:20 p.m.: As the accident scene is being cleared, the skies open up and rain begins to fall.
Cell phones report tornado warnings. The grandstands clear in a hurry. Eventually hail begins to fall along with the torrential rains.
3:30 p.m.: Still raining and the temperature has fallen to 54 degrees.
3:45 p.m.: Rain stops and work begins to prepare the track again.
4: p.m.: It begins to drizzle again. The rain begins to pick up a bit and at 4:15 p.m. track work stops. It’s 53 degrees.
4:26 p.m.: Rain stops and the track work starts again.
5:16 p.m.: Sunshine returns, it’s 50 degrees.
5:41 p.m.: Push tracks are called to the track to assist the track run-in vehicles. Bright sunshine.
6: p.m.: Heat in the motors AGAIN.
6:20 p.m.: Warm-ups AGAIN. Two sets for each heat race group to finish “running in” the track surface. Still 50 degrees.
6:55 p.m.: Warm-ups are finished and the third heat is called to the track. It’s 48 degrees. Rahmer and Hobaugh make the call for the heat, although they now must start at the back. Just 2 minutes, 24.211 seconds after it starts, heat three is completed, with Dover’s Chad Trout scoring the win over Mike Bittinger. It’s 7:10 p.m.
As the top 12 drivers draw for feature starting spots in the pit area, program prizes and the 50/50 (more than $1,000) are called in the stands.
7:22 p.m.: The reading of the feature starting lineup begins. It’s still 48 degrees. The cars are pushed to the track, and when the reading of the lineup has been completed, the cars are push started for the feature. All 27 have reported to the track.
The race begins with Glatfelter taking the early lead. With just a little more than a lap completed, Etters’ Bradley Howard stops on the track with break issues. It will be the only yellow flag of the race. Glatfleter and Brian Montieth both lead during the early stages of the race.
7:48 p.m.: Danny Dietrich stops in victory lane after winning the Ice Breaker 30. It’s 46 degrees, and DARK outside.
Some folks joke about the “24 Hours of Lincoln.”
Not 24 hours, but almost nine hours from the time the gates opened to complete a show of three heats and a feature.
Of course there were the “added attractions” of torrential rains, gale-force winds, hail and plunging temperatures. By the way, most of the fans stuck around the whole time, although Hanover-area restaurants may have had a late-afternoon surge in business during the rain delay.
This week: Lincoln will be back in action this coming Saturday with another all-sprint-car show starting at 2 p.m. Saturday.
This week’s show has a Sunday rain date.
Car show: The race car show at Lawrence Chevrolet on the Carlisle Pike in Mechanicsburg will be held this weekend, with driver interviews on Saturday evening.
Expect some of the same guys from Lincoln’s races to be on hand for the interviews Saturday evening.
CHAMPION RACING OIL
CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT SERIES
PRESENTED BY HOSEHEADS.COM
1. Danny Dietrich 50
2. Kyle Moody 35
3. Cory Haas 30
4. Gerard McIntyre Jr 25
5. Freddie Rahmer 20
6. Matt Campbell 18
7. Chase Dietz 16
8. Chad Trout 14
9. Shane Hoff 12
10. Billy Dietrich 10
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.