For the first time in his career, Brian Montieth was the leading winner on the local sprint-car circuit with nine victories.
If that total sounds low, it certainly is one of the lowest win totals on record for the area. In my records, I have to go back to 1951 to find a lower total, and that is in question. I'm pretty certain that my records for 1950 and 1951 don't include races from tracks that have long been shuttered. Those are the only two years since 1950 when the season win total didn't make it into double digits until this year. In 1950 I have nine wins for Eddie Adams, and in 1951 I have eight wins for Buck McCardle.
The next lowest total is for 1953, when I have Walt Ragan with 10 wins. The highest win total I have is in 1985, when Doug Wolfgang won 55 races while operating out of the area with the Weikert Livestock No. 29. While the majority of Wolfgang's wins that season came on the local ovals, he won all over the country that season, and one of the wins didn't come in Weikert's sprint car, but in a midwestern dirt champ car.
This season's win list was one of parity for the local racers. Montieth won nine times, while Thomasville's Greg Hodnett won eight. Fred Rahmer, Donnie Kreitz Jr. and Danny Dietrich each won seven times. Five more drivers, Brent Marks, Alan Krimes, Hanover's Logan Schuchart, Chad Layton and Blane Heimbach, each won five races. In all, 33 drivers won 410 sprint-car races on the local circuit this season.
Wolfgang led the area in wins in three consecutive years, 1985-1987. He won 55 in 1985, 40 in 1986 and 32 in 1987. That's a total of 127 wins in three years.
Ray Tilley led the area in wins in 1965-66 and again in 1968-69. In 1965 he won 47 times, while in 1966 he won 42 races. His totals in 1968 and 1969 were 25 and 26. Tilley joined the local circuit in 1962 and suffered career-ending injuries at the end of the 1969 season. He won just once in 1962, but was near the top of the win lists every year after that. In those eight short years he won 181 races.
York's Johnny Mackison Sr. was the first to dominate at the top of the win list. His career started in 1954, and ended one race into the 1963 season. In that time, Mackison was at the top of the season win list three times, including 1961 when he won 41 times. Considering that he took part of a local season off to race with NASCAR, and then spent some time in the service during his career, his career win total of 132 is pretty amazing.
Others with really big numbers during a season include Jan Opperman with 39 wins in 1973 and Kenny Weld with 41 wins in 1974.
The driver who has led the season win list most often is Rahmer, who has headed the list nine times, but his biggest year was 2004 when he won 34 times.
The next closest drivers in years at the top of the season win list are Tilley, Steve Smith, Lance Dewease and Hodnett with four years each at the top.
Comparison: So let's compare just a few years with this year. Sixty years ago in 1953, Walt Ragan was the area win leader with 10. My results for that year include Port Royal Lincoln, Selinsgrove, Lancaster, Bowling Green, Gold Mine and Snow Shoe. I have 38 drivers winning races.
Fifty years ago in 1963, Seven Valleys' Bud Folkenroth was the big winner with 15 wins. At the time, Folkenroth was driving a supercharged "bug" for the Gurtizen Brothers of York. Tracks included in my totals that year are Williams Grove, Lincoln, Port Royal, Selinsgrove, Susquehanna, Hagerstown, Winchester, Saint Thomas, Everrett, Dorsey and Bedford. There were 53 different winners around the area that year.
Moving on to 40 years ago in 1973, as I noted above, Weld was the win leader that year with 41, with 33 of those 41 wins coming at local tracks and the rest coming outside the area, including the Knoxville Nationals. Local tracks included in my totals that year were Williams Grove, Lincoln, Port Royal, Selinsgrove, Susquehanna, Hagerstown and Penn National. As you might expect with a big win season like Weld had, there were less winners overall. Just 22 local drivers won races, and one of those, Bobbie Adamson, won just one race in Tampa, Fla., before the local season began.
Thirty years ago in 1983, Bobby Davis Jr. was the area's big winner at 26, with all but three on local tracks, and those three wins came no farther away than New York. Local tracks in my count that year were Williams Grove, Lincoln, Port Royal, Selinsgrove, Hagerstown, Grandview, Bedord and Bridgeport, N.J. A total of 39 drivers won local sprint-car races that year.
Looking at 1993, which was 20 years ago, the area win leader was Rahmer, with 24. The majority of Rahmer's wins that season came on local tracks, although there was one in Florida, two in western Pennsylvania and a big late-season win in the televised series from Arizona. Williams Grove, Lincoln, Port Royal, Selinsgrove, Susquehanna, Hagerstown, Path Valley, Grandview, Bridgeport, N.J., Delaware International, Bedford and Clinton County were local tracks in my count. There were 34 different winners that season.
I'll wrap up with 10 years ago in 2003. That season, Hodnett was the season win leader, with 25. Most came at local ovals, although that season he scored a big sweep of two Outlaw races at the Delta Bowl Speedway late in the season. Local tracks on the schedule that season included Williams Grove, Lincoln, Port Royal, Selinsgrove, Susquehanna, Hagerstown, Grandview, Clinton County and Bedford. There were 32 different winners.
Allen family headed to Outlaws: Bobby Allen, one of the original outlaws, will bring two young guns on the World of Outlaws trail in 2014.
Allen, a member of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and the owner of Shark Racing, will field sprint cars for his grandson, Logan Schuchart, and his son, Jacob Allen, in the World of Outlaws (WoO) STP Sprint Car Series. The series features 92 race nights at 52 different tracks in 24 states and three Canadian provinces, including the prestigious Knoxville Nationals in Knoxville, Iowa, which Bobby Allen won in 1990.
Shark Racing is based in Hanover. Schuchart was born in York, and he's a graduate of Spring Grove High School. Jacob Allen was born in Indianapolis and he is a graduate of Brownsburg High School in Brownsburg, Ind., but he moved to Hanover about three years ago.
Schuchart turns 21 on Monday and Jacob Allen is 19.
Both will vie for the series' Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year Award. Schuchart, who has been racing longer than Jacob Allen, was voted the 410 Sprint Car Rookie of the Year in 2012 by the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum.
Another big race: Lincoln Speedway has had some big news already this winter.
First off was the announcement that the Outlaws will visit the track twice in 2014. Then came the return of the USAC wingless sprints. Now Lincoln has announced that its late-season big event, the Kenny Weld Memorial Race, will pay $20,000 to win in 2014.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.