Veteran driver Donnie Kreitz Jr. has won a lot of races at Williams Grove Speedway — 59 of them to be exact.
Along the way he has won a number of big races at the Grove, including the National Open and eight World of Outlaws events. But, considering all of that, last Friday's win in a regular show may have been one of his favorites.
That's because he didn't even know he had won the race. Kreitz was pretty certain he had nipped Brian Montieth at the line, but he thought he was racing for third position, not first.
The sprint-car feature at Williams Grove on Friday evening went non-stop, and Kreitz had started in the seventh position. He didn't remember all the cars he had passed, and then there were some lapped cars in the mix as well. When Kreitz moved into second place, Montieth held a lead of more than seven seconds. As the laps wound down, Kreitz was visibly cutting into Montieth's lead. Coming off the final corner, Kreitz pulled up to Montieth's inside, and at the line, electronic scoring showed Kreitz the leader by .010 of a second.
It wasn't until the track official on the in-car radio called the top 10 to the scales that Kreitz realized that his number was called first. Then a quick look at the scoreboard confirmed that he was first.
It was a big win for Kreitz and his team, and came just a week after Kreitz's race-day crew chief had celebrated a milestone birthday. Local racing legend Davey Brown Sr. calls the shots in Kreitz's pit area on race days. Brown, who lives near Pinchot Park, is now 80.
While Kreitz's career total of 198 sprint-car wins is remarkable in itself, Brown's total number of career wins has to be one of the highest in the nation. If only we knew for sure how many there are.
Brown started his wrenching career in 1954 with boyhood friend Johnny Mackison Sr. Over the years he has worked with such luminaries as Ray Tilley, Dick Tobias, Bobby Gerhart, Kramer Williamson, Lynn Paxton, Doug Wolfgang, Kreitz and many more. One question I'm often asked is just how many wins Davey Brown has in his career. I have no idea, and neither does Brown. Considering the win totals of the drivers he has worked with, and the time frames he has been with those drivers, it wouldn't be hard to believe that Brown has close to 1,000 wins in his career.
The victory margin of .010 of a second is certainly the closest finish at Williams Grove since electronic scoring was introduced more than a dozen years ago. It could quite possibly be the closest finish ever at the Grove.
Weekend slate: The All-Star Circuit of Champions Tour races into the area this weekend for shows at Williams Grove and Lincoln.
Friday at the Grove, the All-Stars are joined by the 305 sprints. At Lincoln on Saturday, the 358 sprints are also on the schedule along with "big-wheel" races for the kids.
Trailway hosts the 358 sprints, limited-late models, 600cc micro sprints and limited stocks on Friday.
Williams Grove hosts the Saturday series on that night, with the super sportsmen, limited-late models and street stocks.
Port Royal hopes to clear the decks on Saturday night. The track will offer free grandstand admission for a show that will feature seven make-up features from earlier rainouts. The sprints and late models each have two features on the program.
Selinsgrove offers the Joe Whitcomb Memorial Race on Saturday for the 358/360 sprints. The event will be sanctioned by the Patriot Sprint Group. Late models and pro stocks also compete.
Hagerstown offers the late models, late-model sportsmen, pure stocks and hobby stocks on Saturday.
Susquehanna will race on Sunday evening with sprints and 358 sprints on the agenda.
1980: A full weekend of racing in 1980 found Smokey Snellbaker in victory lane at Williams Grove.
Snellbaker drove the Lloyd's No. 56 to his third win of the season that Friday evening. Smoke came back to win on Saturday at Port Royal as well.
On Saturday at Lincoln, Jay Myers drove to victory in the Ted Brewer No. 35. The win was Myers' fourth of the season.
Bobby Allen won Saturday's All-Star sprint feature at the Atomic Speedway in Ohio.
On Sunday at Susquehanna, Van May scored his second win of the season in the Weldon Sterner No. 69.
— Bryan Householder covers dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.
CHAMPION RACING OIL
PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT CAR SERIES
Presented by Hoseheads.com
(Wins in parenthesis)
1. Greg Hodnett (3) 480
2. Danny Dietrich (2) 376
3. Alan Krimes (2) 298
4. Brian Montieth (1) 270
5. Donnie Kreitz Jr. (2) 265
6. Gerard McIntyre Jr. (2) 249
7. Lance Dewease (1) 243
8. Stevie Smith (2) 210
9. Blane Heimbach (2) 204
10. Jim Siegel (2) 200
11. Cory Haas 184
12. Daryn Pittman (3) 180
13. Rick Lafferty (1) 171
14. Chad Layton 150
15. Doug Esh (1) 149
16. Adam Wilt (1) 148
17. Lucas Wolfe 144
18. Austin Hogue (1) 126
19. Steve Buckwalter (1) 124
20. Robbie Kendall 122
21. Brent Marks 116
22. Steve Owings 108
23. Ryan Smith 106
24. Mike Wagner 104
25. J.J. Grasso (1) 98
Associate sponsors: Winters Performance, Maxim Chassis, RAACE, Hoosier Tire Mid Atlantic, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, ButlerBuilt Professional Seat Systems, Conroy Pneu-Control, Schnee Chassis
Product sponsors: VRP Shocks, Shaver Wesmar Gear Drives, RE Enterprise, Panchos Racing Products, KSE Racing Products, Kreitz Oval Parts, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Rod End Supply, Zemco Speed Equipment, Saldana Racing Products, Hinchman Racewear, Triple X Race Co., ATL Fuel Cells, DriverWebSites.com
358 SPRINT SERIES POINTS
(Wins in parenthesis)
1. Kevin Nouse (4) 425
2. Brad McClelland (4) 384
3. Chase Dietz (2) 280
4. Niki Young (1) 260
5. Matt Campbell (1) 248
6. Chandler Leiby 235
7. Robbie Kendall (1) 216
8. Tyler Esh 173
9. Randy Whisler 171
10. Cody Fletcher 166