Month of Money continues on area dirt tracks
The area’s Month of Money continues this weekend as Lincoln Speedway presents the Dirt Classic on Saturday night. This one offers $20,000 to the winner.
Before the Dirt Classic hits the track on Saturday, there will be two sprint shows in the area that add to the Dirt Classic agenda. Both BAPS and Williams Grove will host Dirt Classic Qualifiers this week. The winners of each of these events are assured starting spots in the Dirt Classic.
BAPS Motor Speedway kicks things off with a Thursday evening show. The first of the qualifiers will run this night, with the PASS 305 sprints also on the racing card.
BAPS will also race Saturday this week, with the 358 sprints invading for the Dirty 30 event. Also on BAPS Saturday slate are the super sportsman, limited late models and limited stocks.
The second Dirt Classic Qualifier will be held Friday at Williams Grove. The All Stars return to the area for this one, which offers the winner $7,000 and a starting spot Saturday at Lincoln.
This all leads up to Saturday’s Dirt Classic at Lincoln, which is All Star sanctioned.
Evolution of the event: The Dirt Classic is the shortest running (time-wise) of the area’s late-season races. Although a point could be made for it being a continuation of Lincoln’s late-season races that began in 1968 as the PA State Championship. This race changed names in 1997 to the Kenny Weld Memorial. In 2011, the name changed again to the Kenny Weld/Hilly Rife Memorial Race.
In 2014 things changed again. Not only was the name changed, but the entire format of the race changed as well, and that’s when the Dirt Classic tradition began. The Dirt Classic uses time trials and a double set of heat races to determine the starting field for the main event. The first set of heats start heads up from time, while the second set are aligned with an invert of eight cars from time.
Points are awarded all the way through the process to determine the qualified cars.
Past winners: The first Dirt Classic in 2014 fell to Stevie Smith. Smith’s father, Steve Smith, had won the PA State Championship four times, while his car owner at the time, Fred Rahmer was a two-time winner of the race as the PA State Championship and a six-time winner of the Kenny Weld Memorial Race. Stevie himself had won the PA State Race once and the Weld Memorial once.
In 2015 Brian Montieth won the Dirt Classic at Lincoln. Prior to that race, Montieth had won two of the three Weld/Rife Memorial Races. Which meant that Montieth had actually won three of the last five big season-ending races at Lincoln.
Stevie Smith was back in victory lane for the 2016 running of the event, again driving for Rahmer.
In 2017, Lance Dewease added his name to the Dirt Classic winners list. Dewease was a previous three-time winner in Lincoln’s late-season big races, with all of his wins coming in the Weld Memorials.
In 2018 the Dirt Classic fell to nationally known racer Tim Shaffer. Shaffer, a Pittsburgh-area resident, has been a frequent visitor to the local area. His win came in the #49x sprinter.
Montieth got his second Dirt Classic win in 2019.
In 2020, future NASCAR champion Kyle Larson added his name to the growing list of Dirt Classic winners. Larson’s win came during the incredible season he spent in exile from the NASCAR circuit and one year before his NASCAR title.
The 2021 Dirt Classic lived up to its name, as All Star regular Justin Peck in the Brownstown-based Tom Buch Motorsports car drove to victory in a race that saw him and Zeb Wise swap the lead numerous times over the closing laps. Freddie Rahmer actually got by Wise on the final lap for second.
Other area races: In addition to Lincoln and BAPS, Selinsgrove also races Saturday. The PASS 305 sprints have a big one that night and are joined by the super late models, limited late models and roadrunners.
Path Valley has the wingless super sportsman as part of their Saturday show this week.
EMMR: The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing ends its summer break for the Third Sunday Roundtables this week. On Sunday, former sprint car owner Bob Stewart will be the guest with form sprint car champion Lynn Paxton throwing out the questions.
20-win season: Last Saturday’s Tuscarora 50 win for Dillsburg’s Anthony Macri was his 20th of the season. That leads all sprint car drivers in the country for wins this year. It also marks the first time since 2016 that a driver from the local circuit has won 20 or more races for the season.
Kyle Larson’s great 2020 season did include more that 20 sprint car wins, but locally he won 17 times that year.
In 2016, the last driver to hit the 20 win mark was the late Greg Hodnett, who won 23 times.