From TJ Buffenbarger
Attica, OH — (September 6, 1998) — Mike Linder has run very strong with the Challenger ASCS Sprint Car Series after picking up a ride during the middle of the season. The 1998 305 Econo Sprint Champion at Attica Raceway Park used his knowledge of the race track hold of current point leader Phil Gressman to pick up his first ever Challenger ASCS Sprint Car victory.
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. We had the best of the best on the front row, and we still won it!”, Linder said in victory lane.
Mark Long and Gressman were on the front row for the 25-lap feature event. Gressman took the lead at the start, but Kyle Sauder got crossed up in front of the field and was hit by Greg Wilson, which caused Wilson to turn over and Matt Alloway to spin to avoid the crash. All drivers were uninjured.
Long got the jump on Gressman during the second attempt to start the feature and pulled out to a three-car length lead. Matt Linder also moved past Gressman down low in turn two. Barney Westler then got into the front stretch wall and flipped hard down the front stretch to bring out the second red flag of the feature. Westler was okay.
On the restart, Long once again was able to pull away from Linder and Gressman. The best battle early on in the event was for fourth between Paul Weaver, Jimmy Johnston, Doug Stanley, and Bobby Clark. Weaver and Clark were able to hook up on the high side of the track to move into fourth and fifth. While the battle for fourth was heating up, the top three cars began to run into lapped traffic. Then the yellow appeared again on lap seven for Steve Krieg’s spin in turn two.
Linder was right on Long’s rear bumper after the restart going through turns one and two. By the time the duo got to turn three, Long had a better run and pulled out to a three-car length lead. This is also when John Ivy started to move into contention. Ivy started 20th in the feature after having a wing bracket break during his heat race, and had to transfer through the B-Main. Ivy moved into the fourth position around Clark, and began his pursuit of the leaders.
The yellow appeared again for Kreig on lap 13 when he spun in turn one. Because Kreig caused two cautions, he had to retire from the event.
Long once again pulled away on the restart from Linder and Gressman. Then on lap 15 Long missed the cushion in turn three and slid off the racetrack to bring out the caution. This gave Linder the lead, while Long had to restart at the rear of the field.
Linder, Gressman, Weaver, and Ivy were nose to tail for the next restart. Gressman was able to stay right within striking distance of Linder after the restart. The race for third heated up the very next lap, as Ivy was able to slide up in front of Weaver to take away the third position in turn two. Just as it appeared Ivy would create a three-car race for the lead something broke in Dee Genzman’s car and Ivy came to a stop in turn four.
After another caution for a spin by Trent Walter, the field prepared for the last restart at the backstretch cone. Gressman got a good start and moved low on Linder and slid up racetrack. The pair made heavy contact in turn four, and Linder continued on in the lead. Gressman was not as lucky as he came off the turn three wide with Weaver and Bobby Clark. This allowed Linder to open up to a straightaway lead. It’s a lead that would be insurmountable as Linder went on to take the victory over Weaver, Gressman, Clark, and Long after spinning off the track salvaged a fifth place finish. Linder, Long, Sauder, and Weaver won heat races held for the 32 cars on hand, while Matt Alloway won the B-Main. Jeff Williams took a very hard flip in the B-Main, but was uninjured.
Heat 1: Mike Linder, Greg Wilson, Jimmy Johnston, Steve Krieg, Matt Alloway
Heat 2: Mark Long, Bobby Clark, Barney Westler, J.B. Scarbrough, Andy Novak
Heat 3: Kyle Sauder, Steve Leiber, Ray Moon, Mike Zeiter, Paul Weaver,
Heat 4: Paul Weaver, Doug Stanley, Phil Gressman, Trent Walter, Ronnie Beale
B-Main: Matt Alloway, Cub Burden, Andy Novak, John Ivy
A-Main: Linder, Weaver, Gressman, Clark, Long, Stanley, Burden, Zeiter, Mooon, Johnston, Leiber, Walter, Scarbrough, Sauder, Wilson, Alloway.