Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek has offered a series of contrasts during its first three days.
Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway, the feature race went nonstop and Lance Dewease drove away from the field.
Saturday's show at Lincoln Speedway and Sunday's show at Selinsgrove Speedway both saw lots of other action.
At Lincoln, Dover’s Chad Trout and Australian Darren Mollenoyux traded the lead several times before defending track champion Brian Montieth took over in the late going. Danny Dietrich, however, tangled with Montieth while challenging for the lead and both were done for the night, with Trout taking his first Speedweek win.
At Selinsgrove, Dietrich again figured in a crash that most certainly had an impact on the outcome. He clipped Anthony Macri on the start and collected Freddie Rahmer and Ryan Smith. Rahmer and Smith continued from the rear, while Dietrich was done for the night.
Hometown hero Blane Heimbach took off from the pole and looked to be in good shape for the win, with Dylan Cisney and former NASCAR and Indy Car standout Tony Stewart swapping second place numerous times.
Then Ryan Smith’s top wing came off, sending him into a violent series of flips. The loose wing clipped Heimbach’s car, causing considerable damage. Heimbach had to change the wing and go to the rear of the field. That turned the lead over to Cisney, who went on to his first Speedweek win over Stewart.
Speedweek schedule: Speedweek continues through this weekend. Lincoln is back up on Monday, with a sprint-only program that offers a $7,000-to-win purse.
Tuesday, the sprinters move to Grandview Speedway for Thunder on the Hill. The Grandview program includes a 35-lap feature event that offers $10,000 to the winner. Also on the Grandview slate are the modifieds that race there weekly.
Wednesday, Speedweek makes the first of two stops at Port Royal Speedway. Wednesday’s program will be highlighted by a 30-lap feature that offers $7,000 to the winner. The United Racing Club 360 sprints also compete.
Thursday, Speedweek moves south of the border to Hagerstown Speedway, where the Johnny Grum Memorial Race will go for 30 laps with $5,000 on the line for the winner. The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will be on hand, with track time for the vintage race cars.
The crown jewel of Speedweek has always been Friday’s Mitch Smith Memorial at Williams Grove. This year, for the first time, the Mitch Smith Memorial will offer $12,000 to the winner of the 30-lap race. The Mason Dixon limited-late models will also compete.
Speedweek wraps up on Saturday night with the Greg Hodnett Tribute Race at Port Royal Speedway. The 30-lap feature offers $7,000 to win. The Speedweek champ will be crowned after the race. The Speedweek title is worth an additional $5,000. The Route 35 Challenge Series for the late models is also a part of the show at the Port on Saturday.
Other area action: Selinsgrove races on Thursday evening this week. On hand will be the 360 sprints, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners.
Trailway Speedway is in action on Friday. The 358 sprints, 600cc and 270cc micro sprints and the street stocks are in action there.
There are a host of other events on Saturday. At BAPS Motor Speedway, the super sportsmen headline, along with the PASS 305 sprints, street stocks and Xtreme stocks.
Lincoln will host the Summer Series for the 358 sprints on its Saturday program. The wingless super sportsmen will return to complete a feature that was rained out several weeks ago. When that one is completed, all the cars on the lead lap will be inverted and will run another feature. The limited-late models and the 600cc modifieds are also on Lincoln agenda that night.
Hagerstown has the Mason Dixon limited-late models Saturday, along with the Mid-Atlantic modifieds. The pure stocks, hobby stocks and classic cars also compete.
1991: The very first Pennsylvania Speedweek was held on this weekend in 1991.
It wasn’t quite what it is now. Just three tracks participated in its five-day run. Before the local Speedweek got started, a local driver picked up a win in the Ohio speedweek.
Steve Siegel, who I believe was running Ben Cook’s No. 33, won on Monday evening at Buckeye Speedway.
Pennsylvania Speedweek ran its first race on Wednesday, July 3, 1991, at Williams Grove. Steve Smith raced to the win, his 12th that season in his own Leiby’s Mobile Homes No. 19.
Speedweek moved to Lincoln the next night, but it was more of the same, with Smith picking up win No. 13.
It was back to Williams Grove on Friday, when Donnie Kreitz Jr. scored his sixth win of the season in his own No. 69K. Kreitz was back in victory lane on Saturday at Lincoln for his seventh win.
Speedweek concluded on Sunday night at Susquehanna Speedway, where Smith recorded his third win of Speedweek and his 14th of the season. Smith became the first Pennsylvania Speedweek champion.
While Speedweek took the headlines that week, unlike today, it wasn’t the only game in town. Friday night, Alan Cole won at Clinton County Speedway for his fifth win of the season in his own No. 17.
Selinsgrove and Port Royal both raced Saturday night. At Selinsgrove, Fred Rahmer powered Bud Lawrence’s No. 99 to his eighth win of the season. At the Port, it was Joey Kuhn in victory lane for his fourth win of the season in Doc Kronenberg’s No. 2K.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.