The 29th annual Pensylvania Sprint Car Speedweek will kick off Friday evening, June 29, at Williams Grove Speedway.
This year’s version of Speedweek will feature some greatly increased purses over 10 consecutive days of racing at seven different tracks. The standard $5,000-to-win purse has been increased back through field, but many of the tracks will offer even larger purses.
In fact, only three of the 10 races will offer the standard Speedweek purse this year. The second Williams Grove race will remain the biggest-paying race of the series. That race, the Mitch Smith Memorial, offers $10,000 to win. Six races in the series will offer $7,000 to the winner.
The $5000-to-win races offer $1,000 at 10th place and $400 to start. All the other races hit the $1,000 threshold at the 11th spot and $400 to start.
In all, this year’s Speedweek is offering more than $300,000 in purse money, plus a $17,200 point fund.
Over its previous 28 years, Pennsylvania Speedweek has been contested over 187 races at 12 different tracks. There have been 41 different winners over the years. Fred Rahmer still leads the way with 30 Speedweek wins, followed by Spring Grove’s Greg Hodnett with 26, Lance Dewease with 24, Stevie Smith with 11 and Donnie Kreitz Jr. and Keith Kauffman with eight each.
Rahmer is also the leading Speedweek champion with 13. Hodnett has four, while Dewease and last year’s champion, Lucas Wolfe, have three each. Danny Dietrich, Stevie Smith, Kauffman and Steve Smith each have one.
As noted before, Williams Grove kicks things off Friday, June 29, with a 25-lap, $5,000-to-win show. The 358 sprints also compete that night. Last year, young Freddie Rahmer got his first career Speedweek win in this show.
The series moves to Lincoln Speedway on Saturday, June 30, for the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial race. It's a 30-lap event that pays $7,000 to win. The Legends series cars will also be on hand. Dietrich won this race last year for his sixth career Speedweek win.
Sunday, July 1, Fred Rahmer will promote “The Party at the Path” Speedweek event at Path Valley Speedway. This race, too, will pay $7,000 to win for a 40-lap contest. Only the sprint cars will be on this program. Last year, NASCAR star Kyle Larson scored his first-ever Pennsylvania sprint-car win in this event.
Speedweek will head back to Lincoln on Monday evening, July 2, for another 30-lapper that pays $7,000 to win. The wingless super sportsmen will also compete. At this race last year, Larson made it two in a row.
Tuesday, July 3, it’s off to Grandview Speedway for “Thunder on the Hill.” This is a 35-lap race with $7,000 to win. The Grandview modifieds are also on the program. Larson won this one last year, too.
A slight tweak to the schedule finds Speedweek at Port Royal Speedway, on Wednesday evening, July 4. The 30-lap feature at the Port is also worth $7,000 to win, with the United Racing Club 360 sprints also on hand. This event was last year’s only rainout during Speedweek.
It’s “South of the Boarder” next Thusday, July 5, for Speedweek at Hagerstown Speedway. The 30-lap feature at Hagerstown is one of the $5,000-to-win shows. The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will also have a vintage race-car exhibition. Last year, Lance Dewease won this show.
The Friday, July 6, show at Williams Grove is the Mitch Smith Memorial race with $10,000 for the winner of the 30-lap feature. The Mason-Dixon Limited Late-Model Series will also be on hand. Trey Starks won this one last year.
Saturday, July 7, it’s back to Port Royal for another 30-lap feature that pays $7,000 to win. The Moon Shine Camo Route 35 Challenge Series for the late models is also on the program. Dewease’s second win of last year’s Speedweek series came in this race.
Speedweek concludes on Sunday, July 8, at Selinsgrove Speedway, where the Jan Opperman/Dick Bogar Memorial race will go for 30 laps for $5,000 to win. The 305 sprints also compete. Popular Rico Abreu got his first-ever Pennsylvania sprint-car win in this one last year.
Other weekend action: Trailway Speedway will be in action twice this weekend. Friday, June 29, the 358 sprints, 600cc and 270cc micro sprints and the street stocks compete. Saturday, June 30, it’s limited stocks, figure-eight and powder-puff racing, along with a junk-car demolition derby.
Port Royal has late models, 305 sprints and econo late models on Saturday, June 30, while Selinsgrove offers up 360 sprints, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners on its Saturday show. At Hagerstown Saturday, it’s crate late models, pure stocks, hobby stocks and the PennMar vintage cars.
The Saturday show at BAPS Motor Speedway this week will be highlighted by the Firecracker 40 for the super sportsmen, plus the limited late models and street stocks.
1984: Most of the weekend racing was completed on this weekend in 1984.
Van May drove his Sterner Cement No. 69 to his third win of the season on Friday at Williams Grove, and liked it so much that win No. 4 came Saturday at Lincoln.
Maynard Yingst got his sixth win of the season in Saturday’s show at Selinsgrove. Yingst drove the Gary and Patti Beam No. 88. At Port Royal that night, Allen Klinger drove to the win in Larry Hull’s No. 2. The win was Klinger’s first of the season.
The sprints were back at Susquehanna on Sunday night, where Keith Kauffman scored his 20th win of the season in Al Hamilton’s No. 77. Selinsgrove’s second race of the weekend was rained out on Sunday.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.