Track announcers are growing increasingly fond of calling the pairing of driver Lance Dewease and former-driver-turned car owner Donnie Kreitz Jr. a "Hall of Fame Team."
Kreitz was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame last year, and most feel that Dewease is a sure bet for induction next year, which will be the first time he can be considered for the Hall.
Sunday evening, the Dewease-Kreitz team won its first race together. Since they are running a very limited schedule this season, I believe that was only the fourth time they have raced this year. Dewease passed area win leader Greg Hodnett for the lead on the 22nd of 30 laps and went on to the win. That should have been Dewease’s 306th career win in a sprint car. Owner Kreitz won 200 times in sprint car competition.
Dewease ranks second all-time for local sprint car wins behind only Fred Rahmer. Kreitz is 10th all-time among local sprint car winners.
However, there is a third reason folks are calling this a "Hall of Fame Team." That would be crew chief Davey Brown. Brown is a southern York County native who has lived near Pinchot Park for many years. His career in local auto racing dates back to his friendship with Johnny Mackison Sr.
Mackison and Brown first hit the local tracks late in the 1953 racing season. They scored their first win together in 1954. Although there have been numerous teams and a host of drivers on Brown’s resumé since then, one thing remains a constant — victory lane.
I chatted with Brown briefly in victory lane Sunday night and asked how many years he has been able to make at least one trip to victory lane. He said that would be every year since the first one in 1954. That’s 62 consecutive years of wrenching winners.
There were many years during that span with many more than one just win. Mackison won 13 times in 1954, 20 times in 1955, 14 times in 1956 and 14 again 1957. The numbers fell off to only a total of eight wins over the next three years, but that’s because Mackison did some NASCAR racing and also spent some time in the service of his country. Then came the big season. In 1961 Mackison and Brown won 41 times, with another 22 in 1962. Then Mackison retired, but Brown didn’t. He won with Bobby Abel in 1963, and then moved to the Emrich team with Dick Tobias and Milford Wales in 1964. Tobias won 36 races, and Wales another three.
From there, Brown began branching off to the “Heavies,” as the Reading-style modifieds were then known in the area. He worked with both Tobias and Bobby Gerhart Sr., winning regularly. Gerhart kept a car for the local circuit, and in 1967 he and Brown won 12 races here to go along with the modified wins.
Brown kept his hand in things around the area over the next few years, including a stint with a sprint car rookie named Kramer Williamson and others. The next really big years, however came with a guy named Lynn Paxton and the Maynard Boop team. That team won 25 races in 1979, 20 in 1980, 12 in 1981 and 19 in 1982 before Boop retired and Brown followed Paxton to Al Hamilton’s team for another season and another nine wins. He worked some with Hamilton and Keith Kauffman the next year, but then moved to Hamilton’s rival, Bob Weikert, and a driver named Doug Wolfgang. In 1985, Brown had the biggest of his many big years, with 54 wins, including 18 in a row. The Weikert team won 40 races in 1986, and most of Wolfgang’s 31 wins in 1987 were with the Weikert team as well.
After that, there were several teams and drivers, before Brown moved to the Kreitz operation, where he has been for many years, and many more wins.
No one can say for sure how many races Davey Brown has won as a crew chief, but most agree that the total has to surpass 1,000. Brown was a very early inductee into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame.
This weekend: Williams Grove offers a World of Outlaws Tune-Up Race for the sprint cars Friday evening, with $4,000 awaiting the winner. The 358 sprints are also on the program.
Trailway has the limited late models, limited stocks, 600cc micro sprints and classic cars on Friday, while the wingless super sportsman racers are at Path Valley.
Saturday, Lincoln offers the sprints $5,000 to win on BAPS Night. The 358 sprints and All American Outlaws are also there. The sprints also headline at Port Royal, where they are joined by the late models, 305 sprints and econo late models.
Saturday’s show at Susquehanna includes the super sportsmen, limited late models and extreme stocks, while at Selinsgrove, the 360 sprints are joined by the late models, a championship run for the pro stocks and roadrunners.
Hagerstown has the late models, late model sportsmen, pure stocks, hobby stocks and crate late models Saturday.
Dover driver wins at Susquehanna: Sunday’s 358 sprint feature at Susquehanna stretched a little bit past press time.
Dover’s Chad Trout drove to victory in that event. Trout took the lead from Lewisberry’s Jordan Givler on the fourth of 25 laps and had to fend off Doug Hammaker in lapped traffic at the end. Kevin Nouse finished third, with Givler and Dwight Leppo in the top five. Rounding out the top 10 were Brent Shearer, Hellam’s Adrian Shaffer, Jared Esh, York’s Glenndon Forsythe and York’s Dalton Dietrich.
EMMR: The third Sunday round table at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing on Sunday will feature new Susquehanna Speedway owner Scott Gobrecht and his general manager, Kolton Gouse.
1966: This weekend was a busy one in 1966, with racing at four tracks Friday, three Saturday and two on Sunday. Three drivers had double-win weekends.
Ray Tilley drove Bud Grimm’s potent No. 88 to wins at Williams Grove on Friday and Selinsgrove on Saturday to push his win total to four for the season.Ray Dovel upped his win total to three with wins at Winchester on Friday, and Hagerstown on Sunday in the Lee Stultz No. S-3.
The area’s leading winner to that point, however, was the legendary Mitch Smith, who used wins at Bedford on Friday and Port Royal on Saturday to up his win total for the season to five in the Flock Brothers' “Flying Tiger” No. 2.
York’s Bobby Myers won at Dorsey on Friday in the Gurtizen No. 51, while Bobby Gerhart drove his own Davey Brown-wrenched No. 5 to Lincoln’s victory on Saturday.
Sunday’s show at Susquehanna was won by Johnny Crawford in the Kuhn Brothers No. 8.
Personal note: I would like to sincerely thank everyone who offered their condolences over the past week after the death of my father.
My Dad was a great guy, and started my love of local auto racing by taking me to the races even before I can remember.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.