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HOUSEHOLDER: Williams Grove National Open now three-day show

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
YorkDispatch

An old friend has a new look.

The 53rd annual Williams Grove National Open will be an expanded event this year.

The World of Outlaws will come to town for what will now be a three-day show. The National Open and all its extra activities will wind up with Saturday's $50,000-to-win feature event.

Racing starts on Thursday evening with a full program of Outlaws racing with $10,000 awaiting the feature winner. A similar program will be reeled off on Friday evening with another $10,000 for the winner.

Saturday's slate will find yet another full program, but instead of time trials to set the line-ups for the event, accumulated points from the first two nights will set Saturday's qualifying event line-ups.

It all wraps up with the big $50,000-to-win feature.

David Gravel won last year's National Open, but over the years the winners' list for this race reads like a who's who of racing talent. Future two-time Indy 500 winner Gordon Johncock won the very first National Open back in 1963.

Who can forget Fred Rahmer finally winning the race in his final try in 2013?

For for those of us with a longer memory, there was Lynn Paxton leading the whole race to score his second consecutive National Open win in his very last race in 1983.

Donny Schatz has the most National Open wins with five. Steve Kinser has four, while Steve Smith, Lance Dewease, Doug Wolfgang and Kenny Weld have three each.

Joining Paxton as two-time winners are Bobbie Adamson, who was the first repeat winner in 1967 and 1968, Mark Kinser, Sammy Swindell and Stevie Smith.

Joining Rahmer, Gravel and Johncock as one-time winners are Larry Dickson, Henry Jacoby, Lou Blaney, Gene Varner, Johnny Grum, Bobby Allen, Van May, Kramer Williamson, Smokey Snellbaker, Allen Klinger, Joey Allen, Kenny Jacobs, Donnie Kreitz Jr., Billy Pauch, Doug Esh, Cody Darrah, Greg Hodnett and Jason Meyers.

PIT STOPS

Other racing: Trailway offers its "Thunder on the Farm" stock car program on Saturday. The limited late models, limited stocks and street stocks compete.

Hagerstown is also in action on Saturday with "Topless Night." The late models, late model sportsmen, pure stocks and hobby stocks compete.

Right time to win: Brian Montieth started the season very well. On June 13 he scored his eighth win of the season. By that point, he had five wins at Lincoln and three at Williams Grove. Since then it seems he just couldn't get back to victory lane. Something always happened.

Saturday night at Lincoln, he turned things around, and he did it at the right time. Montieth's win in the Dirt Classic was worth $20,000.

For the record, Montieth now owns 50 career wins at Lincoln. That's good enough for sixth on the track's all-time career sprint car win list. Fifth-place man Bobby Abel has 56 career wins there, so fifth place on the list isn't out of the question.

Beyond that it's a little tougher. Win leader Fred Rahmer has 169, Steve Smith has 150, Bobby Allen has 75 and Kenny Weld has 73.

For his career, Montieth now has 72 career sprint car wins. That number moves Montieth into the top 30 in all-time career wins for area drivers, and this season he has moved ahead of longtime favorites Jimmy Nace and Van May, who each have 70 career wins.

Dietz/Godfrey team: York area teenager Chase Dietz has had a busy year. After winning last year's Lincoln Speedway 358 sprint point title, Dietz teamed with Scott Gobrecht for a run at the 410 sprint cars this season at Lincoln. While there were, of course, some learning curves, it's been a successful season, and Dietz was able to score his first 410 sprint win in the Gobrecht car.

After the 410 sprint plans were firmed up, Dietz also got the nod to drive for the southern York County based Godfrey team in 358 sprint competition at Williams Grove. The season didn't start out too well. There were problems in the first two races that dropped the team from competition. What has happened since then is simply amazing.

In the final nine races of the Grove's 11-race 358 sprint season, Dietz and the Godfrey team have four wins, four seconds and one third. He won the last two races of the season at the Grove and the rebound from early season misfortune was so good that he earned the Grove's 358 sprint point title.

Now the really amazing part. The Godfrey team and Dietz have donated every penny of their earnings to charity. Each week they chose a charity, and each week they donated all their earnings. Over the year that amounted to more than $10,000.

Kreitz retires: Earlier this season, Donnie Kreitz Jr. scored his 200th career sprint car win and was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. Not long after that, however, he began suffering concussion-like symptoms, which still haven't been diagnosed. Now Kreitz has decided to retire from driving race cars.

Last Friday his car was at Williams Grove with Midwestern standout, and former local regular, Justin Henderson at the wheel. While the team had early issues, they plan to return for this weekend's National Open.

1970: In 1970 the National Open was still almost a month away, but there was racing action in the area on this weekend.

Williams Grove opened the weekend with a special USAC wingless sprint car show on Friday evening. Ralph Ligouri scored that win for his only career win at the Grove.

Lincoln was in action on Saturday with a make-up feature from the previous week, plus a full regular program. Car owner "Shorty" Emrich walked away a proud man as his Emrich Chevrolet cars each scored a win.

In the make-up race, Bobby Allen drove Emrich's No. 3 to his ninth overall win of the season. Then in the regular race, it was Paxton in victory lane with Emrich's No. 1 for his 10th overall win that year. Allen finished second.

The Grove was back in action on Sunday afternoon, and Snellbaker drove to the win in Roy Morrall's No. 880. The win was Snellbaker's fifth that season.

— Bryan Householder writes about dirt track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

Speedway Motors/Champion Racing Oil Central PennsylvanIA Sprint Cars

Presented by Hoseheads.com

Driver (Wins).....................................Pts.

1. Greg Hodnett (16) 1,854

2. Danny Dietrich (15) 1,679

3. Brian Montieth (9) 1,244

4 Lucas Wolfe (4) 1,164

5. Brent Marks (3) 1,070

6. Lance Dewease (1) 909

7. Aaron Ott (2) 767

8. Stevie Smith (9) 720

9. Alan Krimes (2) 662

10. Cory Haas (1) 560

11. Steve Buckwalter (3) 550

12. Austin Hogue (1) 490

13. Doug Esh (2) 303

14. Freddie Rahmer (1) 280

15. Brock Zearfoss 273

16. Jim Siegel (1) 264

17. Ryan Taylor 254

18. Mike Wagner 251

19. Tim Glatfelter 242

20. Dylan Cisney 234

21. Kyle Moody 217

22. Robbie Kendall 214

23. Ryan Smith 198

24. Logan Wagner (1) 197

25. Davey Sammons 180

CAPITAL RENEGADE 358 SPRINT SERIES

Driver (Wins).....................................Pts.

1. x-Doug Hammaker (5) 1,131

2. Brad McClelland (8) 977

3. Matt Campbell (3) 841

4. Issac Sneeringer (5) 729

5. Cody Fletcher (2) 718

6. Adrian Shaffer (3) 616

7. Chase Dietz (4) 539

8. Chandler Leiby (1) 531

9. Kevin Nouse 520

10. Jeff Halligan (3) 508

x-clinched title