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HOUSEHOLDER: Big year for Fawn Grove teen Matt Campbell

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
505-5403/@ydsports
  • The Williams Grove National Open is set for this weekend.
  • The three-day show starts Thursday and ends Saturday.
  • The winner of Saturday's feature will earn $50,000.

Fawn Grove’s Matt Campbell has had quite a year on the local dirt tracks.

First off, he graduated from high school this year.

Fawn Grove's Matt Campbell, a recent high school graduate, has enjoyed surprising success on the local sprint-car circuit.

The teenager, who has been racing since he was 5, also raced a 358 sprint car regularly at Lincoln Speedway this season, finishing second in points. He also switched between the 358s and 410s at Williams Grove Speedway all year, with three top-10 finishes in the 410 sprinter at the Grove, including a second and a fourth.

Saturday's Dirt Classic was the first time Campbell had raced a 410 sprinter at Lincoln. He out-qualified the entire 48-car field in time trials and then raced to a ninth-place finish in the feature.

That's quite an achievement for a young driver in one of the season's biggest races.

Visitors from all over world at Dirt Classic: The Dirt Classic drew a number of visitors to Lincoln, both in the pits and in the overflowing grandstands.

Visitors pit side included; California’s Tim Kaeding (12th), NASCAR veteran Dave Blaney (15th), Australian James McFadden (16th), Wisconsin’s Bill Balog (22nd), Iowa’s Terry McCarl (23rd), Washington state’s Trey Starks (13th B-Main) and Australia’s Lynton Jeffery (14th B-Main)

Stevie Smith went home with $20,000 for his win in the Dirt Classic, which aided the Kasey Kahne Foundation. The Dirt Classic uses a unique format. Drivers earn points in time trials and a set of heat races. Each car competes in time trials and two heat races. The first set of heats are “heads up” from time trials, while the second set of heats has an eight-car invert.

When all the qualifying was in, Lucas Wolfe and McFadden shared the front row for the feature. Smith started third and Danny Dietrich was fourth. Wolfe led the first three laps until McFadden flipped in turn four. At the same time, Wolfe suffered engine troubles and dropped from the race. McFadden actually continued.

DIRT TRACK RACING: Stevie Smith captures Dirt Classic

Smith and Dietrich swapped the lead a couple of times during the mid-to-late stages of the race, with 11th-starter Greg Hodnett of Spring Grove close behind. That’s how they finished.

Lance Dewease came from the 14th-starting spot for fourth, and Brian Montieth came from 15th for fifth.

PIT STOPS

National Open this weekend at Williams Grove: This week, Williams Grove presents the biggest of all local races, the National Open, and there will be even more visitors to the area.

The World of Outlaws sanctions the Open and the touring circuit will bring many more cars with them.

This year, the Grove will again try to present the first three-day National Open. Full programs are set for Thursday and Friday evenings , leading up to Saturday’s main event.

Points will be tabulated on both Thursday and Friday to set the field for Saturday’s qualifying. There will be no time trials on Saturday.  The Thursday and Friday shows each pay $10,000 to the winner, while Saturday’s main event offers $50,000 to the winner.

The first National Open was held in 1963, and future two-time Indy 500 winner Gordon Johncock was the victor. Last year Stevie Smith was the winner after the first three days were rained out, and the event was moved to a one-day show on Sunday.

Other races: Three other programs are planned for the area on Saturday.

Trailway has the “Thunder on the Farm” stock-car program, with limited-late models, limited stocks, street stocks and classic cars competing.

The wingless super sportsmen are at Path Valley, with the 305 sprints.

Hagerstown offers up a full slate of stock-car racing, with the late models, late-model sportsmen, crate late models, pure stocks, hobby stocks and e-mods on hand.

50 years ago: It was a big weekend 50 years ago in 1966, but most all of the action was planned for Sunday.

Williams Grove hosted the National Open that weekend as well, while Lincoln, Hagerstown and South Penn all planned Sunday races. Winchester, Virginia was to have raced Friday night, but the feature got rained out and was finished the next week.

At Williams Grove, the National Open was won by Lou Blaney in the No. 10. The Blaney family has figured in local and national racing ever since. Lou’s sons, Dave and Dale, have both been national sprint-car champions, with Dave moving on to NASCAR before returning to sprint cars. Dave’s son, Ryan, is now one of NASCAR’s top rookies.

At Lincoln that Sunday, it was Kenny Weld scoring the victory in his family-owned No. 94. Gerarld Chamberlain won at Hagerstown in the Don Rice Ford No. 31, while South Penn in Everett was rained out. Blaney’s win was his second on the local circuit that year, while Weld’s was his fifth and Chamberlain’s was his ninth.

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

2016 SPEEDWAY MOTORS/CHAMPION RACING OIL
CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT CAR SERIES
PRESENTED BY HOSEHEADS.COM

1. 27 Greg Hodnett  2007 18
2. 48 Danny Dietrich 1460 8
3. 1 Lucas Wolfe  1150 4
4. 21 Brian Montieth 982 5
5. 19M Brent Marks  952 4
6. 87 Alan Krimes  860 2
7. 07 Doug Esh  799 3
8. 51s Stevie Smith  784 4
9. 69k Lance Dewease 754 10
10. 94 Ryan Smith  633 1
11. 25 Aaron Ott  603 2
12. 51 Freddie Rahmer 565 2
13. 3z Brock Zearfoss 545 2
14. 11c Cory Haas  483
15 52 Austin Hogue  395 1
16. 12 Blane Heimbach 297 1
17. 17B Steve Buckwalter 294 2
18. 16 Gerard McIntyre Jr 291
19. 59 Jim Siegel  272 1
20. 1 Dale Blaney  253 2
21. 20 Ryan Taylor  248
22. 5 Dylan Cisney  243
23. 55 Mike Wagner  227
24. 55K Robbie Kendall 225
25. 15 Adam Wilt  216