After postponement, Ice Breaker provides great show

Bryan Householder
The York Dispatch

The local outdoor auto racing season is now underway.

Spring Grove's Greg Hodnett continued his dominance this year by winning the Harry Fletcher Tribute Race at Path Valley Speedway on Sunday night.

Lincoln Speedway opened on Sunday afternoon with the Ice Breaker 30 for the sprint cars. Spring Grove’s Greg Hodnett won the event for the second year in a row.

Lincoln was scheduled to open on Saturday, but after heavy rains during the middle of the week, elected to push the show back one day to the scheduled rain date of Sunday afternoon. The decision was made on Friday morning when it was determined that the Speedway grounds would still be too wet for a Saturday show.

Lincoln Speedway has plenty of parking areas, but they are all grass lots. Those lots were still saturated on Friday morning. In the end it proved to be a good decision because every available parking space was filled on Sunday afternoon. The crowd at Lincoln on Sunday was one of the largest in recent memory.

The move also allowed some local fans to take in not only the races at Lincoln, but also the final event of the winter indoor series on Saturday at Trenton. More then a few people spent Friday and Saturday in Trenton, New Jersey and then came to Lincoln on Sunday. For those fans it was a three-day race weekend in the Mid-Atlantic.

Sunday’s show at Lincoln was run under sunny skies with very mild temperatures for February. The warm day with sun and some wind did produce some tricky track conditions for the racers, as the first and second turns were wetter and built up a nice cushion, while the thrid and fourth turns were dry and slick all the way to the outside wall.

Lincoln drew a full field of 24 sprint cars for the opener, with a number of cars still not ready to compete. Since it had been three years since a February race went into the record books, some teams just didn’t expect to be racing already.

One car had mechanical problems in the heat races and didn’t start the feature, but there were still 18 cars running at the finish of the event. Like many opening races of the season, the early portion of the race produced some spins and crashes followed by a long run of green flag racing.

Hodnett was fortunate enough to draw a front row starting spot and led the entire 30-lap distance, but the race for second place was very interesting for a long time. Invader Cole Duncan held that spot for many laps before faltering with lapped traffic. Duncan slipped to fifth spot and then spun into the first turn wall for the race’s final caution flag on the 22nd lap.

York’s Adam Wilt finished second, with track champion Brian Montieth in third. Montieh came from the 11th starting spot. Between them, Hodnett, Wilt and Montieth have won the last six Ice Breakers, with each driver having two wins.

Lincoln is scheduled to race again this Saturday afternoon with another sprint car only program. The Sunday raindate is in effect for each of the first three daytime shows at Lincoln.

This weekend's long-range weather forecast looks to be better for Sunday, so it might be a good idea to check with the Speedway before heading out to the races again this week.

Lincoln notes: Scott Fisher won the first heat race at Lincoln to open the season, with Montieth and Gerard McIntyre Jr. claiming the other two heat races.

For McIntyre, the day sure didn’t start out that well. He was the first driver to pull a pill for heat racing starting spots, drawing 61 out of 65.  That ended up being the highest pill draw and he was scheduled to start last in the third heat race. As it turns out one driver elected to start on the rear and another crashed early in the event, leading to McIntyre starting a few positions better. He ended up winning the heat and then finishing fourth in the feature.

For much of the day it looked like Danny Dietrich would much rather have been doing something else Sunday afternoon. He had problems and dropped from the heat race. He started 23rd in the feature and then spun on the opening lap, requiring a trip to the pits. In the end he charged through the field to finish ninth.

Car show: Lawrence Chevrolet on the Carlisle Pike near Mechanicsburg will once again present it’s annual race car show this Saturday.

The Lawrence show has become a staple of local auto racing.

Gary Lawrence has long been a supporter of local auto racing. First at Silver Spring with the super sportsman racers and then more recently as the sprint car point fund sponsor at both Williams Grove and Lincoln.

While the show will be going while Lincoln plans to race, it also offers Saturday’s Lincoln racers to be a part of the evening portion of the show. Saturday evening’s at the Lawrence show are when numerous driver interviews are conducted. Each year many of the big name racers from the area are a part of the interviews and often the winner from Saturday afternoon at Lincoln is on hand for the interviews.

Point standings:

listing; position, car number, driver, point total, series wins in parentheses

AFTER; 2/28/16

1. 27 Greg Hodnett  50 (1)
2. 15 Adam Wilt  35
3. 21 Brian Montieth 30
4. 16 Gerard McIntyre Jr 25
5. 59 Jim Siegel  20
6. 87 Alan Krimes  18
7. 44 Chase Dietz  16
8. 51 Freddie Rahmer 14
9. 48 Danny Dietrich 12
10. 99M Kyle Moody  10