NASCAR star Kasey Kahne got a weekend off last week, so he did what he really loves.
He went sprint car racing and he did it in our area.
Kahne raced at Williams Grove and Lincoln last weekend. While his showing at the Grove wasn’t what he wanted, Kahne made up for it at Lincoln on Saturday.
A bad pill draw at the Grove found Kahne starting at the back of a very tough heat race. He didn’t fare too well in that race. The consolation race was a different matter. Kahne started last in the consy and was second by the end of the first lap. That’s where he finished, so he started 20th in the feature event. He finished 15th in the feature, one lap off the leader’s pace.
Saturday at Lincoln, things went much better. While Kahne’s group of four was the next to last out for time trials, Kahne turned in the third-fastest time of the evening. He moved from fourth to second in his heat race.
When fast-timer Lucas Wolfe drew a four for the feature inversion, it placed Kahne second in the starting lineup. However, the driver alongside Kahne in the front row was five-time and defending Lincoln champion Brian Montieth. Kahne got the jump on Montieth at the start and led all 30 laps of the feature to score the win.
The feature went non-stop and the leaders had to battle their way through lapped cars, although the lapped cars were fast, too. In fact, at the end of the race, only four cars had been lapped. That’s not quite true, as York’s Glenndon Forsythe was actually lapped and then un-lapped himself, making him the only driver all night to pass Kahne. All 24 starters finished the race.
To say Kahne was happy to be in Lincoln’s victory lane for the first time would be an understatement. Kahne was also a very generous winner. When I left the speedway about an hour after the completion of the races, Kahne was still at his car hauler signing autographs for the fans. And he still had an eight-hour ride back to Charlotte to be home for Easter on Sunday morning.
Kahne has raced in the area often in the past, and won the season opener at Williams Grove back in 2000, before he even thought about a NASCAR career. While he has run well at Lincoln before, he had never won there. He vividly remembers an early season race at Lincoln where he battled Fred Rahmer and Donnie Kreitz Jr. for the win, and he mentioned that in victory lane.
Perhaps the difference this time was Kahne’s pit-side help. Kahne brought along the crew chief who has placed Kahne’s Brad Sweet-driven race car on top of the World of Outlaws point standings. And, that mechanic has plenty of local knowledge. Second-generation mechanical ace Lee Stauffer of West York handles Sweet’s team on the road and he was with Kahne on Saturday night. Kahne’s sprint cars also use engines built locally by former area sprint car driver Rob Cappetta.
Weekend notes: What an exciting sprint car feature at Williams Grove last Friday.
Brock Zearfoss got the jump on his cousin, Brent Marks, at the start and held off Marks for a number of laps until Greg Hodnett entered the picture and took over the lead. Zearfoss dropped out, but Marks didn’t give up and took the lead from Hodnett, who battled back for the lead. But as Hodnett and Marks were battling, 14th-place starter Brian Montieth nearly stole the show. In the end, Hodnett won over Marks and Montieth.
The late model feature was nearly as good, with Gregg Satterlee throwing the book at Matt Cosner for the late-race lead. Cosner was up to the challenge and scored what was only his second career late model win. Satterlee would win Saturday’s feature at Port Royal.
Aaron Ott must have been in another time zone at Port Royal, where he won by more than seven seconds. And what a contrast in the features from Lincoln and Port Royal that night. Each had one driver lead the whole way, but at Lincoln, where lapped cars are always numerous, 20 cars finished on the lead lap of a non-stop event. At the Port, there were only seven cars on the lead lap.
This weekend: Williams Grove kicks off the the upcoming racing weekend with one of a series of Yellow Breeches 500 events for the sprint cars.
This series of regularly handicapped shows at Williams Grove this season will feature a payoff that offers $500 for last place in the race. In weekly short-track racing, that’s an almost unheard of amount for last place. The 358 sprints make their first Grove start of the season as well.
Path Valley has the wingless super sportsman racers as part of its Friday program this week.
On Saturday, Lincoln offers the sprints, 358 sprints and Legends, while Port Royal has the sprints, late models and 305 sprints.
Susquehanna hosts the super sportsmen, limited late models and street stocks, and Hagerstown has late model racing Saturday.
Trailway plays host to the AMA motorcycles on Saturday
EMMR: The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing at the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds has its spring open house this weekend, with activities on Saturday and Sunday. Sunday afternoon’s round-table discussion will feature racing fathers Steve Siegel and Randy Wolfe, both of whom had great driving careers themselves.
1966: I promised to look back to 1966 as my history feature this year, and then last week I forgot to mention the season opener from 50 years ago. It happened on Sunday, March 27, at Susquehanna. On that day, popular Bobby Abel, from Wrightsville, drove his orange-and-blue Gohn Jewelers No. 2 to the victory over Lynn Paxton. Bobby Gerhart, Ray Tilley and Manchester’s Ed Zirkle completed the top five.
Now on to this coming weekend. The USAC sprint cars raced at the Reading Fairgrounds on Saturday evening, with Larry Dickson taking the win. Susquehanna and Hagerstown both raced on Sunday. At Susquehnna, legendary Mitch Smith drove to victory in the Flack Brothers' Flying Tiger No. 2. Hagerstown found veteran Pete Swarmer in victory lane in his own No. 1.
2016 SPEEDWAY MOTORS/CHAMPION RACING OIL
CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT CAR SERIES
PRESENTED BY HOSEHEADS.COM
Each driver is listed with his car number, points and wins.
1. 27 Greg Hodnett 240 3
2. 21 Brian Montieth 175 1
3. 48 Danny Dietrich 115
4. 25 aaron Ott 100 1
5. 19M Brent Marks 99 1
6. 51 Freddie Rahmer 92
7. 15 Adam Wilt 87
8. 07 Doug Esh 86
9. 11c Cory Haas 76
10. 0 Rick Lafferty 60 1
10. 5c Dylan Cisney 60
10. 55 Mike Wagner 60
10. M1 Mark Smith 60
14. 87 Alan Krimes 56
15. 23 T J Stutts 55
16. 4 Kasey Kahne 50 1
16. 8 Billy Dietrich 50 1
16. 59 Jim Siegel 50
19. 17B Steve Buckwalter 46
20. 1 Lucas Wolfe 42
21. 94 Ryan Smith 40
21. 7W Logan Wagner 40
23. 16 Gerard McIntyre Jr 39
24. 3z Brock Zearfoss 36
25. 2W Glenndon Forsythe 35
2016 CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA 358 SPRINT SERIES
1. 23 Chris Arnold 60 1
2. 16 Matt Campbell 45
3. 27s Adrian Shaffer 40
4. 77 David Holbrook 30
5. 19 Troy Wagaman Jr 25
6. 41 Jeff Halligan 20
7. 119 Chandler Leiby 18
8. 89 Ashley Cappetta 16
9. 28 Matt Findley 14
10. 35 Tyler Esh 12