Several Carroll County drivers have been honored at awards banquets for Lincoln Speedway and 75-80 Dragway.
Taking top honors at Lincoln Speedway's banquet was Cris Eash of Woodbine, who won the super-sprint championship at )) the Hanover, Pa., oval.
Eash's first Lincoln track title was by the slimmest of margins, just 55 points ahead of '95 champ Billy Brian Jr. Eash took home a chunk of point-fund money, $3,000, and a trophy for his championship efforts. He was tops in the sprint division with eight wins, doubling his Lincoln career wins to 16, which puts him in a 14th-place tie on the all-time list. David Eash of Woodbine, Cris' father and owner of E&G; Classics in Columbia, received the 1996 car-owner championship award.
"We had a real good season," said John Miller of Miller Chevrolet in Ellicott City, Eash's major sponsor. "We crashed on opening day for the second year in a row, but then we got on track and had a real good season," said Tom Linder of Woodstock, Miller's parts manager.
"Everything fell into place," added the younger Eash. "I never expected to win eight races, nor a track [title], for that matter."
Eash won the track championship at the half-mile Selinsgrove Speedway in 1993, then made Lincoln his home track when he joined Linder and Miller Chevrolet. Some drivers never have the same success on a smaller, 3/8 -mile oval like Lincoln after racing on a larger track, but Eash adapted.
"Last year, we got better," said Eash, who finished second in points in 1995.
"I feel more comfortable on a smaller track now. I got to driving the track right and had the right set-up."
Jesse Wentz of Manchester, who won his first race ever at Lincoln earlier this year and was third in points, won the Hard Luck Award. Former Reisterstown resident Dave Haight was seventh.
In the semi-late division, Don Zechman of Westminster finished sixth in points and had two feature wins. Bean Eyler of Finksburg was ninth and Randy Zechman of Westminster was 10th.
Westminster's Gregg Messersmith was Rookie of the Year. Fred Cullum of Hampstead was 10th in final thunder-car point standings.
Chris Hruska of Mount Airy came away with top honors in Class II Eliminator at the 75-80 awards banquet. It was a year the 41-year old driver won't forget.
In addition to winning the title, Hruska turned in an outstanding performance at the Sears Craftsman ET Bracket Finals at Maple Grove in September -- runner-up out of 256 cars. His effort helped the 75-80 team to a second-place finish in the national event.
"It was a good season," said Hruska. "It didn't look like I was headed that way when I started. We had little mechanical problems with the car when we started, but by the middle of the year, we started going real good.
"This was my first championship," added Hruska. "I had a second once and a fourth and seventh. It really feels good. I wouldn't have been able to do it without Sev Tingle and my sponsor, Pro Start."
Carroll County drivers finishing behind Hruska in Class II in the top 10 in points were Corey Hess, Taneytown; Mikey Kappes, Westminster; Steve Dustin, Westminster; Roger Jorss, Westminster, and Mike Stambaugh, Union Bridge.
Top 10 Carroll drivers in Class I were Sev Tingle, Mount Airy, and Chuck Taylor, Westminster.
Top 10 motorcycle competitors were Marvin Ford, Westminster; Malcolm Ford, Manchester; David Belt, Taneytown; Marion Ford, Hampstead; Gene Belt, Taneytown; Mark Hoff, Westminster, and New Windsor's Tim Lippy.
Other Carroll Countians who received special awards included the Outstanding Motorcyclist, Marvin Ford of Westminster. Joe Bounds of Sykesville was the most improved driver in Class I, and Hruska was the most improved driver in Class II.
Lippy was named the most improved motorcycle rider in 1996 and Marion Ford had the best appearing bike.
Pub Date: 12/01/96