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HOUSEHOLDER: National Open survives rain, produces milestones

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
YorkDispatch

Last weekend's scheduled Williams Grove National Open was seriously hampered by the rain that moved through the area.

This year's 53rd annual National Open was set as a three-day show. It ended up being a one-day show that used the Sunday evening rain date.

Of course with a Sunday evening race, using a rain date, the crowd was off considerably. Still, 49 cars showed up for the event. Had it been able to run during its slated time, there probably would have been at least 10 more.

Stevie Smith scored his third National Open win. That number tied his father's number of wins in the event. The $50,000 first prize was the largest winner's share Smith has collected in any of his 217 career sprint car wins. While the win was Smith's third in the event, it took him 24 years to return to the National Open victory lane.

For Smith's car owner, Fred Rahmer, it also marked several milestones. It took Rahmer his whole career to win this race, and his 2013 win in the event was the last of his 420 sprint car wins. Smith's win this year gave Rahmer an even 100 wins at the Grove — 90 as a driver and 10 as Smith's car owner.

Donny Schatz wrapped up the World of Outlaws point title by starting the event. Schatz finished second. In four Outlaw races at the Grove this season, Schatz has one win and three seconds.

Greg Hodnett wrapped up the Grove's sprint car title by taking the green flag in his time-trial lap. Hodnett was running in the top 10 in the event until he and Brent Marks locked bumpers with seven laps to go.

Local Outlaw Logan Schuchart matched his best run of the season, with a third-place finish. Schuchart's grandfather, Bobby Allen, is a former National Open winner.

Former local racer Justin Henderson, who moved back home to South Dakota several years ago, returned to drive for retired driver Donnie Kreitz Jr. in the event. Henderson finished fourth.

Danny Dietrich started from the pole and led until Smith got by on the ninth lap. Dietrich was running second when he tangled with a lapped car and did a 360-degree spin. He ended up finishing sixth, just behind Lincoln champion Brian Montieth.

The 28-car starting field for the race included 16 local drivers, two of whom got provisional starting spots; seven Outlaw drivers, two of whom got provisional starting spots; three traveling drivers in local cars; and two All Star regulars.

PIT STOPS

This weekend: Williams Grove and Lincoln will wrap up their racing seasons this weekend. Williams Grove races on Friday evening with "Run What Ya Brung" events for the sprints and late models.

On Saturday, Lincoln wraps up its season with the Hank Gentzler Memorial Manufacturers' Appreciation Night for the sprint cars. Thousands of dollars worth of racing parts are the special extra prize for each of the feature starters. The 358 sprints are also on the program. This show has a Sunday rain date.

Port Royal returns to action on Saturday with the Blue Collar Classic. The 305 sprints headline in their biggest event of the year. Also in action are the limited late models, Xtreme stocks and mini stocks.

What's left?: While Williams Grove, Lincoln and Selinsgrove will have concluded their seasons after this weekend, there is still racing action remaining in the area after that. Port Royal, Path Valley, Hagerstown and Susquehanna still have events scheduled.

The weekend of Oct. 17-18 will be a big one. On Saturday evening of that weekend, Port Royal will offer sprint cars and the URC 360 sprints, while Hagerstown has the late models, late model sportsmen, pure stocks and hobby stocks.

On Sunday, Susquehanna and Path Valley go head to head with sprint car racing. Susky offers a regular show with $3,500 to win for the sprints, plus the 305 sprints. At Path Valley, promoter Fred Rahmer will offer $6,600 to win for the sprints. The 600cc micro sprints also compete.

The World of Outlaws sprint cars visit Port Royal on Oct. 24. It's the tour's only stop at the Port this season.

Susquehanna presents the Candy Bowl on Oct. 31. This event has also been combined with the Miller's Racing Parts championship events, so there will be plenty of action. Included will be 305 sprints, sportsman modifieds, Legends, street stocks, Xtreme stocks, road warriors, minivans, micro sprints and vintage stocks.

Susquehanna will wrap up the local season on Nov. 14 with the final showdown. This one offers $10,000 to win for the sprint cars, plus the 358 sprints will race as well.

1970: The only event on the weekend slate on this weekend in 1970 was Lincoln's Sunday afternoon Pennsylvania State Championship event for the sprint cars. The 150-lap contest went to Bobby Allen, who scored his 10th win of the season in "Shorty" Emrich's No. 3. Kenny Weld finished second in the Bud Grimm No. 88, with Gus Linder third in Mickey Banas' No. 69. Ed Zirkle in the Gurtizen No. 50 and invader Steve Unger in the No. 3x completed the top five.

— Reach Bryan Householder at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

Sprint car standings

Speedway Motors/Champion Racing Oil Central Pennsylvania Sprint Car Standings

Presented by Hoseheads.com

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

1. Greg Hodnett (16) 1,854

2. Danny Dietrich (15) 1,697

3. Brian Montieth (9) 1,264

4 Lucas Wolfe (4) 1,164

5. Brent Marks (3) 1,070

6. Lance Dewease (1) 921

7. Stevie Smith (10) 770

8. Aaron Ott (2) 767

9. Alan Krimes (2) 678

10. Cory Haas (1) 570

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. Donny Schatz (1) 190