HOUSEHOLDER: Weather permitting, Lincoln Speedway will open 2021 season on Saturday

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
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Lincoln Speedway is scheduled to open the local outdoor racing season this coming Saturday afternoon with the Icebreaker 30 for the sprint cars. 

The 410 winner will take home $5,000.

While the local weather doesn’t look too good right now for racing on Saturday, it will remain to be seen if Lincoln can pull a magic rabbit out of the hat. Track officials have done it in the past.

Right now, there's still a lot of snow on the ground and more may be on the way. Even if the snow gets cleared away, Saturday is supposed to be partly cloudy with little chance of precipitation, but the high is expected to be around 30, with 15 mph winds.

A look back at 1999 opener: The Feb. 20 opening date scheduled for this year matches Lincoln’s earliest opening date on record. It also happened in 1999. Let’s take a look back at that 1999 opening day.

The 1999 race was scheduled to go a distance of 25 laps, with $3,000 on the line for the race winner. A field of 23 410 sprint cars, and 31 thundercars, were pitside.

The first heat race of the day found Billy Pauch in the Zemco No. 1 taking the win over Kenny Adams in the Joe Harz No. 88. In the second heat, Lance Dewease drove Walter Dyer’s No. 461 to the victory over Shawn Keen in his own No. 53. The final sprint heat saw Kevin Gobrecht, in a second Zemco entry (No. 11), best Fred Rahmer in Al Hamilton’s No. 77.

The sprint heats were followed by three heats for the thundercars, which fell to Mike Zeigler Sr, Jerry Bingaman and K.T. Shaw.

The sprint feature: A redraw for the sprint feature found Kenny Adams starting from the pole position, with Fred Rahmer lined up to his outside. Adams, who had moved to Florida after a number of good years on the local circuit, had returned to the area for that season to wheel the car for longtime friend and former car owner Joe Harz.  

The start found Rahmer outgunning his longtime friend and rival into the first turn and grabbing the lead. Adams settled into second for a few laps, but it was Pauch who was on the move. Pauch got by Adams on the eighth lap and challenged Rahmer for the next seven laps before slowing with a broken rear end.

Kevin Gobrecht had started 10th, and he took over second when his teammate dropped from competition. While Gobrecht settled into second, he didn’t have anything to offer Rahmer and they went on to finish in the top two positions.

Meanwhile, all eyes were on Keith Kauffman, who by lap 15 had advanced into the top five from the 21st starting spot. On the restart after Pauch’s problems, Kauffman passed three cars to enter the top five. A lap later, Kauffman moved the Middleswarth Chips No. 7 into fourth, and on the 18th lap he passed Adams for third. Kauffman would finish in third, with Jeff Shepard garnering fourth in the Les Stewart No. 4J. Adams completed the top five. Rounding out the top 10 were Steve Siegel in Sal Scarpitta’s No. 59, Dave Ely in the family No. 77E, Cris Eash in his father’s No. 17e, Jeff Rohrbaugh in Bill and Kay Tanger’s No. 07 and Lance Dewease in Walter Dyer’s No. 461.

Others in the sprint field that day included: Brian Paulus in his own No. 28; Dave Haight in the Neiderer No. 10N; Todd Gracey and Pat Cooper in the Cooper Motors No. 25 and No. 26: respectively; Dan Dietrich and Billy Dietrich in the Dietrich No. 8 and No. 8D, respectiely; Donnie Kreitz Jr. in his own No. 69K; Johnny Mackison Jr. in the Swope No. 65; Jeff Miller in his own No. 03; Bob Bennett in the Acme No. 3; and Steve Wilbur in Jerry Karl’s No. 17K.

Thundercar feature:The thundercar feature wrapped up the day and it was a good one. Cousins Bobby and Bernie Berard swapped the early lead in the 15-lap race. Bernie led the first lap before Bobby got by. Then, Bernie got back on top on the third lap. Bobby sufffered a flat tire on the fifth lap. He would come from the rear of the field after a tire change to finish seventh.

Mike Zeigler Sr. started sixth and took the lead from Bernie Beard on the 10th lap. Later, Bernie Beard would also suffer a flat tire and return to finish 13th. From that point on, Zeigler held sway to pick up the win. K.T. Shaw, Steve Clabaugh, 21st-starter Duane Watson and Jerry Bingaman completed the top five.

Florida results:The Winternationals for the 360 sprints were held at the East Bay Raceway near Tampa, Florida, over the weekend. 

The Thursday and Friday shows were completed, while Saturday’s event was rained out.  

Thursday, Danny Martin Jr raced to the win over Tim Shaffer, who is driving the locally-based Michael Heffner racer. Dale Howard, local racer Mark Smith and occasional local visitor Eric Riggins Jr. completed the top five. Davie Franek finished 14th and Glenville’s Todd Gracey was 16th.

Friday, Tim Shaffer did one better, parking the Heffner machine in victory lane, with Mark Smith finishing second. Martin, Riggins and Terry McCarl completed the top five. Franek was 16th.

Outlaws: The weekend World of Outlaws events in Georgia and Alabama were canceled because of rain and cold.

Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch, He can be reached at sports@yorkdispatch.com.