HAGERSTOWN, MD - According to the calendar, it was the second day of spring, but the bitter cold temperatures that produced snow showers all afternoon didn't keep the drivers away as 137 cars were signed into the competition area at the Hagerstown Speedway Sunday afternoon.
Frankie Plessinger of Big Tannery, Pa., and Paul Crowl of Upperco ended long dry spells in the late model features and Brett Hearn assured himself a guaranteed starting spot in the Octoberfest 350 with a win in the small-block modified feature. Eric McKinny of Dover, Del., won the 20-lap Team USA-sanctioned modified lite main event.
The 25-lap late model feature, postponed on the 10th lap the previous Sunday because of rain, picked up with Kirk Ryan on the pole for the restart and Gary Stuhler and Frankie Plessinger right behind. Stuhler went high in the second turn allowing Plessinger to move into second on the 11th lap. A lap later, Plessinger slipped underneath the leader when Ryan went high coming off the fourth turn to take the lead on lap 12, bringing Stuhler with him. Stuhler stayed with Plessinger, pulling even with the leader on lap 16, but Plessinger pulled back in front. Stuhler got alongside Plessinger again on lap 21 right before the caution was waved for Charlie Schaffer spinning on the front stretch when he lost his left rear wheel. Stuhler went right after Plessinger on the restart and on the final lap the two drivers raced side-by-side down the back stretch. But Plessinger came off the fourth turn ahead of Stuhler by a car length for his first win since August 2002. Stuhler settled for second with Ryan and Jeremy Miller next across the line. Brent Smith came from the 26th starting spot to round out the top five. Twenty-first starting Dan Stone was next with Jason Covert, Mike Lupfer, Devin Friese and Alan Brannon finishing out the top 10. Heat winners the previous week were Schaffer, Jim Bernheisel, Plessinger, Brannon and Ryan and Randy Stoudt and Drew Koteles were the consolation winners.