LINEHAM SCORES THAT FIRST ROOKIE WIN IN PRO STOCKS
A pair of rookies hogged the front of the Pro Stock feature, neither budging further down the list than fourth place as Ryan Lineham hotshoed the Rollie Lindblad 48 to Victory Lane for a first rookie win. Smokin’ Joe Kohler fought off the veterans for forty laps and shot home a second behind to make it a newcomers’ 1-2 finish. Fred Astle was able to intrude on the dream for 12 laps at the middle of the forty-lapper and Dick Houlihan eased Kohler briefly to fourth at that point, but tough-driving rookies and racing fate intervened and the dynamic duo was back at the front crussing under the checkers with the veteran Scully in hot pursuit.
Kenny Spencer, continuing his hot-handed season ran from 13th to fourth and was the wedge between Scully, Sr. and Scully Jr., which completed the top five.
Lineham and Kohler took the front and Polesitter Lineham pulled ahead at the starting stripe. After a brief duel, Kohler dropped in with Dick Houlikhan on his bumper. Houli was being contested by Tom, Sr. Just beyond the stripe into the second stanza, Kevin Casper, Ryan Lineham and Angelo Belsito found themselves enmeshed in turn three, making their way to the infield amid a wildfire of tire smoke.
Ryan and Smokin’ Joe had the front for the restart with Houlihan and Tom, Sr. at their backs. Now, Freddy and Bob Hussey were row three. Out of the box, Lineham grabbed the front and Kohler settled in. Houlihan nosed under Kohler just as Daryl Stampfl, George Kourafas and belsito got together in turn one. Stampfl had his wheels up on the side of Kourafas’ 21 in full flight. Kourafas lost his left rear quarter, which was hanging loosely from the car.\
A lap two restart saw Lineham with a slight bobble in the box and Kohler powering on the outside. Lineham recovered and Kohler dropped in. But Mike Brithman’s tire went down, spinning him in turn two. He recovered and tried to resume but was forced to limp slowly toward the pits. The field circuited the track and was down upon him before caution flew. He was assessed two laps for the situation.
Lineham and Kohler were away as before. Astle went to the outside of Houlihan, intent on the front. Astle claimed third, then moved Kohler back, three laps later. Lap 10 saw Lineham with a two-lap lead on Astle, who closed to the bumper one lap later.
The field seemed to hold its breath as the battle raged at the front. Positions at the middle held to their place at 80 mph, while Astle set to work on Lineham. Astle tagged the bumper then looked under. He got in. They were door to door crossing the strip into lap 17 and Astle went to the front. But Lineham surprised him with a crossing-under and they were again door-to-door. But Astle powered up on the outside and secured the lead on lap 18, then settled in after an intense battle. He enjoyed a two-car lead by the midway point. Kohler was holding third despite withering fire from Houlihan, who was being pursued by Tom, Sr., with Bobby Pelland, Spencer and Dave Darling seeking access. Dave marched past them both and set his sights on Scully in lap 23.
Astle continued to command in lap 25, four cars up on a stubborn Lineham. Smokin’ Joe continued to apply the afterburners in third, to keep Houlihan off his back, who was dividing his attentions between passing Kohler and defending against Scully and Darling. Spencer moved past Pelland into seventh.
Tom Scully, Jr. got under Pelland and Rick Martin on the backstretch. Scully, Jr. and Pelland came loose and slid into the grass enterin turn three, with Scully getting the call on the assist.
Now Fast Fred and Flyin’ Ryan lined up for the lap 28 restart. Smokin’ Joe and Houli backed them up, and Tom, Sr. and Darling were row three. They came out of the box, wheel to wheel. Lineham pulled ahead, Astle took it back, then nosed ahead. Astle had the lead at the stripe with Lineham, determined, holding on. Houlihan was outside Kohler and Darling the same on Tom, Sr. Martin and Spencer were door-to-door, whipsawing the position. Suddenly, Astle slowed and Lineham shot ahead. Houlihan was forced hard on the binders. As they flew into lap 33, Lineham was four cars up on Astle, Kohler, Houlihan and Scully.
Martin suddenly went into a 720-degree turn in turn one. He and Kevin Folan retreated to the pits for quick fixes.
And Astle lined up outside Lineham. Kohler was behind Lineham with Houlihan outside . . . Scully and Darling looked over their shoulders and worried about Spencer and Tom, Jr. looking hungry behind them. And the lights went green.
Lineham leapt to the front, Kohler roared in behind him and Tom, Sr rocketed in under Houlihan. Astle wound up to catch Kohler, but Stampfl came to a stop in the middle of the backstretch.
They staged as before. But Astle bogged in the box as Lineham hit the boosters. Houlihan piled onto Astle and Kohler shot ahead. Scully, Sr., Spencer, Scully Jr., Darling and Belsito evaded the chaos to set chase. Three laps remained. Belsito nosed past Darling, but Dave snatched it back and Lineham sprinted under the checkers with Kohler a second back.
Sixth through tenth were: Darling, Belsito, Casper, Vanasse and Martin.
LINEHAM SCORES THAT FIRST ROOKIE WIN IN PRO STOCKS