There were a lot of prominent racing visitors to the area over the weekend.
Several series had the weekend off for the Easter holiday. In fact, a couple of the visiting drivers came from the big leagues of racing.
Leading the list of big-name visitors was 18-time NASCAR Cup Series winner Kasey Kahne.
Kahne is no stranger to area fans. He has made numerous local visits. In fact, it could be said that his win in Williams Grove’s season opener in 2000 helped launch his career.
Kahne came to Williams Grove and Lincoln speedways over the weekend and walked away with a pair of top-10 finishes. Still, very true to his racing roots, Kahne was one of the last to leave Lincoln on Saturday. He stuck around after the races to meet his many local fans.
One of NASCAR’s most promising rising stars also made a visit to Lincoln on Saturday. Christopher Bell made his first local sprint-car start, but probably went home wondering what could have been. He was running solidly in the top 10 when sidelined with mechanical troubles.
Bell won the NASCAR Truck Series title last year and is running a full Xfinity schedule this season for the Joe Gibbs team. He has also won the last two Chili Bowl midget races.
Former NASCAR driver and World of Outlaws sprint-car champion Dave Blaney raced at Williams Grove and Port Royal speedways over the weekend. Blaney, whose son Ryan is now a big star with NASCAR, had troubles at the Grove, but came away with a top-10 run at the Port.
Rising star Parker Price Miller, a regular with both the All Stars and the World of Outlaws during his young career, made his first unsanctioned local visit over the weekend. Price Miller ran at both the Grove and Lincoln, and came away with a pair of seventh-place finishes.
Trey Starks, in his second season running for Scott Gobrecht, made his first local starts of the season. Starks got a fifth at the Grove, but had mechanical problems while running well at Lincoln.
Other visitors last weekend with only limited success were Caleb Helms and Coleman Gullick, both for the third time this season; Max McGhee for his first time; and luckless Cale Conley, who again towed in from West Virginia only to be unable to race.
Star-crossed season for Montieth: Brian Montieth has had a star-crossed season so far this year. Montieth has won the last two races at Lincoln in exciting fashion, but there is a lot more to the story. Both of his Lincoln wins have come in new cars hastily assembled by his hard-working crew.
The reason Montieth had new cars at Lincoln is because he has destroyed two cars at Williams Grove. In fact, Montieth hasn’t made it past the first turn on the first lap of a Williams Grove feature this year.
By the way, Montieth’s Lincoln win Saturday was his 57th there, which gives him sole possession of fifth place on Lincoln’s all-time win list. The win moved him past legendary local driver Bobby Abel at Lincoln.
Halligan starts fast: Over the winter, Jeff Halligan took the ride with the Hammaker brothers in their potent 358 sprint car. Doug Hammaker was offered a 410 sprint-car ride for this season, but his father Dale and uncle Gary decided to continue fielding a 358 sprinter.
Their decision to hire Halligan seems a good one. He has won in both starts in the car.
Sibling rivalry: The first 358 sprint heat at Lincoln on Saturday offered a bit of a sibling rivalry. Established star Chase Dietz, of York, had to wrest the lead from an unlikely competitor. His little sister Alyson.
Alyson Dietz was making her first Lincoln 358 start, but looked good leading several laps of the event and holding off the advances of “big brother.” Still running second on the last lap. Alyson lost the handle in the second turn. She came back to run the whole feature for a 19th-place finish.
During the heat race I thought it was just as much fun watching Mom and Grandma, as it was watching Chase and Alyson.
This weekend: Williams Grove offers another Yellow Breeches 500 race for the sprint cars Friday, along with the 358 sprints. The Saturday slate finds the sprints, 358 sprints and wingless super sportsmen at Lincoln for a 5 p.m. start, while Port Royal offers sprints, late models and 305 sprints.
Trailway has 600cc and 270cc micro-sprint racing Saturday afternoon, along with the Legends. Selinsgrove opens its season Saturday evening with the 360 sprints, late models and pro stocks. Hagerstown has the Mason-Dixon Series limited-late models, mid-Atlantic modifieds, pure stocks and hobby stocks Saturday.
The BAPS Motor Speedway has a two-race weekend this week. Saturday is Hall of Fame Night for the track’s regular series of super sportsmen, limited-late models and street stocks. Sunday evening, the sprints and 358 sprint race at BAPS. Of course, the fine folks from BAPS have taken over the name sponsorship of the track formerly known as Susquehanna.
The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing has its Spring Open House this Saturday and Sunday with plenty of activities.
1984: The first full weekend of racing unaffected by weather was on tap this weekend in 1984. Keith Kauffman’s hot streak in Al Hamilton’s famed No. 77 continued as the “Man from Mifflintown” scored his fifth and sixth wins of the season with victories at Williams Grove on Friday and Port Royal on Saturday.
Richard Lupo drove Bobby Allen’s No. 2a to his first win of the season Saturday at Lincoln, and New Mexico transplant George Bischoff won at Selinsgrove in the No. 3B.
Reach Bryan Householder at email@example.com.
CHAMPION RACING OIL/STIRLING LUBRICANTS
CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT CARS
Presented by Hoseheads.com
1. Greg Hodnett 134
2. Lucas Wolfe (1) 128
3. Brian Montieth (2) 125
4. Danny Dietrich (1) 101
5. Kyle Moody 87
6. Freddie Rahmer 73
7. Alan Krimes 69
8. Chad Trout (1) 60
8. Ryan Taylor (1) 60
10. Jim Siegel 58