Another racing season is in the books.
That means it's time to take a look at the changes near the top of the all-time career win lists in each of the area’s four main racing divisions.
The career win leader in each class has not changed. In fact, there wasn't much movement in the top five in each class.
It should be noted, however, that most of the top drivers in this area also have wins in other classes of racing. For this week, however, I’ll just look at the wins for the classes in question.
Sprints: In the sprint-car ranks, Fred Rahmer still stands tall, well beyond those chasing him.
Rahmer had 420 sprint-car wins during his career, with all but a handful of those coming in what we now call the 410 class.
Lance Dewease added to his second-place ranking with 12 wins this year. Dewease now owns 327 career sprint-car wins. Again, all but a handful are in the 410s. Keith Kauffman is third with 304 wins. Again, a few of Kauffman’s wins came in other sprint classes.
Bobby Allen and Steve Smith round out the area's top-five, sprint-car drivers of all time. Allen has 276 wins and Smith has 266.
Spring Grove’s Greg Hodnett is fast closing on Allen and Smith. Hodnett ranks sixth with 251 wins. Some of Hodnett’s wins also have come in other sprint classes. In fact, if I could find a record of Hodnett’s 360 sprint wins near his native Memphis, Tennessee, his numbers would increase.
Late models: In the late-model ranks, Gary Stuhler is far above his challengers.
"Mr Smooth” added five wins to his total in 2017, bringing that number up to 352 career late-model wins.
Retired drivers Denny Bonebrake and Buddy Armel retained the second and third spots with 212 and 202 wins, respectively.
York’s Rick Eckert moved into the fourth spot all time with his five wins this season. Eckert now owns 190 career late-model wins. Ronnie McBee slipped to fifth with 187.
Super sportsman: The late Gary Wolford is by far the winningest driver in the area super-sportsman ranks.
During his long and colorful career, Wolford won at least 145 races in the sportsman class. I say at least because records are sketchy from years gone by, and it’s possible there are a few more. Before his death, Wolford thought I had come close to finding all of his wins.
Retired drivers Rich Eichelberger, Johnny Murphy and Larry Jackson hold the next three spots. Eichelberger has 88 wins, Murphy has at least 83 (he thinks there may be some more, but I haven’t found them yet) and Jackson has 82.
Semi-retired driver Frankie Herr holds the fifth spot. Herr won two races in a limited schedule this year and now has 79 career sportsman wins.
358 sprints: The top five on the 358 sprint win list did not change this year.
Pat Cannon leads with 85, followed by Brad McClelland with 56, Chad Layton with 55, Mike Lehman with 51 and Jeff Rohrbaugh with 44.
The biggest change on the 358 win list came at the seventh spot, where Kevin Nouse’s two wins this season gave him 33 career wins in the class, allowing him to pass Billy Dietrich.
Adrian Shaffer’s two wins put him at 32, which is tied with Dietrich.
Active drivers of note: Lincoln champ Brian Montieth upped his career total in sprint-car wins to 81 this season. That ranks as a tie with the late Johnny Grum for 35th on the all-time career list.
Mark Smith has a total of 77 combined 410 and 360 sprint wins, while Danny Dietrich upped his total to 75 this year. Doug Esh moved up to 61 wins. Lucas Wolfe has 43.
In the late models, Jeff Rine’s 12 wins this year moved his career total to 149, which is 10th all time, just passing Turk Brukett, who recently died. Jason Covert now has 76 wins and Coleby Frye upped his total to 36.
For the super sportsmen, Carmen Perigo Jr. upped his career win total to 58, which is one behind Fred Putney Sr. for eighth on the all-time list. Russ Mitten now has 33 wins and Steve Wilbur has 27.
In the 358 sprints, Mike Bittinger now has 20 wins, which is 16th all time. Doug Hammaker moved up to 19 wins this season. For the record, Doug Hammaker is now within nine wins of his father Dale on the all-time list. Doug’s brother, Nate, has five 358 sprint wins, giving the family a total of 52 wins in the 358 sprints.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.