Eash, Linder make tough sprint team

MOTOR SPORTS

April 16, 1995|By STAN DILLON

During the off-season, driver Cris Eash of Woodbine and Sykesville's Tom Linder of Miller Chevrolet in Ellicott City joined together to form one of the most powerful super sprint car teams on the Central Pennsylvania circuit.

Along with them, they brought Miller Chevrolet and E&G Classics of Columbia as sponsors, two Howard County businesses that have used motor sports as a valuable marketing tool.

Next weekend, Miller and Eash will display the team's show car in the Howard County Business Showcase presented by the Chamber of Commerce in the Mall in Columbia. The white open-wheel car will be a show stopper.

So far this season, the new team has lived up to its expectations. It already has won two features at Lincoln Speedway in Hanover, Pa., and is the only team with more than one win. It also has a couple of top-five finishes at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

The first two weeks of the season were rough on Eash. On opening day, his wheel caught a rough spot in the track on the first lap of the feature that sent him tumbling end over end. The next week he did not finish. But he has rebounded with the two wins.

"It really shook his confidence," said Linder. "We didn't go to Florida so we could focus on our racing here. It was like a bad dream for him."

"We didn't have a good start," added Eash, who broke his wrist in the tumble. "But now we are getting back on track."

The new team didn't worry about the start. Eash has been one of the winningest drivers the past two years. He won the championship at Selinsgrove (Pa.) Speedway in 1993 and led all drivers with 13 feature wins. Last year, he finished second in points and had six wins.

Eash started driving 10 years ago after a career in go-kart racing with his father and brother, Darren. He raced with the World of Outlaws for three years, winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1987. Eventually, the travel and expense brought Eash back to the area. He picked up a lot of experience with the Outlaws, which has paid dividends on the local circuit.

Linder, a race fan since he was 4, turned his love for motor sports into a marketing tool to gain exposure for his employer, Miller Chevrolet. Three years ago, Miller's parts department became involved in sprint car racing as a sponsor of the Pennsylvania Sprint Car Championship at Lincoln. The next year they sponsored Dan Dietrich's sprint car.

During the off-season, Miller turned its support to Eash and joined E&G Classics of Columbia as major sponsors.

Linder and the 29-year-old driver are excited about this year, especially after the two wins. Eash loves driving his light 1,500-pound open-wheel, open cockpit car. With more than 700 horsepower coming from his 410 cubic-inch aluminum block engine, he is going to be hard to beat.

Weekend results

In oval track racing last weekend, Gary Stuhler of Westminster grabbed the lead on the second lap and led the rest of the way to win the 20-lap, late-model feature at Williams Grove Speedway. Paul Crowl of Upperco was third. On Sunday, Stuhler finished sixth in the STARS race at Pennsboro (W.Va) Speedway.

At Trail-Way Speedway, Steve Barnes of Westminster won the four-cylinder feature. His brother Matt finished fourth and Westminster's Jeff Young placed eighth. Brad McClelland of Westminster was runner-up in the micro-sprint feature. In the eight-cylinder feature, John McDonough of Finksburg was third, Mark Shorb of Westminster was seventh, Butch Harvey of Westminster was ninth and Roy Warehime Jr. of Hampstead rounded out the top 10. Westminster's Randy Enos was sixth in the street stock feature.

At Hagerstown Speedway, Charlie Schaffer of Hampstead finished ninth in the late-model feature.

In go-kart racing, Patrick Sword of Mount Airy was third in the Junior Sportsman at Monrovia Raceway.

At Mason-Dixon Dragway, Robert McCraw of Sykesville won the motorcycle division and Megan Etzler of Mount Airy was runner-up in the Junior Dragster class.

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