The Knoxville (Iowa) Nationals are now in the record books, and David Gravel has scored his first win in the biggest event in sprint-car racing, earning the $150,000 top prize
Gravel drives for the Jason Johnson team owned by Johnson’s widow Bobbie. This past weekend, an added member of the team was a former sprint-car racer who moved on to bigger things. His name is Jeff Gordon, and he even brought along some added sponsorship from Axalta.
As I’ve noted before, Bobbie Johnson is a native of East Berlin, so there was definitely a local tie to the Knoxville winner.
The local Knoxville angles, however, didn't stop there.
Hanover’s Logan Schuchart drove from 22nd to second in the race, and the top two cars have beginnings within about a 10-mile radius of one another. Of course, Schuchart drives for his legendary grandfather, Bobby Allen, who once won the Nationals out of his Hanover shop.
With Daryn Pittman, who spent four years on the local circuit, taking third, it was yet another bright spot for area race fans at Knoxville.
Unfortunately, that was about all of the bright spots for local drivers. Lance Dewease did make the main event in the field of more than 100 racers, but dropped out before the end for a 23rd-place showing. Other locals at Knoxville over the weekend didn’t fare so well and didn’t come close to making the A-Main.
Lincoln Speedway showed the A-Main from Knoxville on its JumboTron following the conclusion of Saturday’s races. The timing was almost perfect, since Knoxville is one hour behind our region in time zones. A large crowd stuck around to watch the event.
Strong efforts from female drivers: Ashley Cappetta’s win in Saturday’s 358 sprint feature at Lincoln Speedway marked her first win. But she is not the first female to win a 358 sprint race at Lincoln. Brie Hershey has four Lincoln 358 sprint wins and Becca Anderson has two.
For a few laps Saturday, it appeared as if Lincoln just might have two female winners in one night. Haley Kaiser moved from fourth to the lead in the Mid-Atlantic Modified feature, leading laps four through eight of the 20-lap contest before slipping to third at the finish.
Ray Kable Jr. won that race, his second in four tries at Lincoln. Of course the Kable family has strong ties to Lincoln. His grandfather and uncle both won there several times and his grandmother was the chief scorer at the track for many years.
Kody Kinser at Lincoln: While the eyes of the sprint world were on Knoxville, one name well known at the famed track was featured at Lincoln.
Kody Kinser, the son of former racer Kelly Kinser and a nephew/cousin to many of the racing Kinsers, made his first Lincoln start in the 358 sprints. Kody Kinser said the last time he was at Lincoln was when he was 12 years old and his father was racing there.
He came east by himself to join up with a first-time 358 team from New Jersey. Unfortunately he dropped from competition before the end of the event and was credited with a 22nd-place finish.
This weekend: The World of Outlaws' late models come to the area this weekend for two big shows, and the local sprint cars will join them on both nights.
Friday, the WoO late models return to the track where they held their very first race, when Williams Grove Speedway brings them in for a $10,000-to-win show. The Grove’s 410 sprints will also be on hand racing for $4,000 to win.
Then on Saturday, the WoO late models race for $10,000 to win and the 410 sprints for $4,000 to win at Port Royal Speedway.
Lincoln will also offer $4,000 to win its special Valley Supply Night 30-lap 410 sprint feature on Saturday. In addition, the 358 sprints will compete, along with the wingless super sportsmen. The sportsman racers will try for the third time to compete the feature that was rained out on June 1, then compete in a full program. It’s also York County Racing Club Night.
The 410 sprints wrap up a full weekend of racing on Sunday when Trailway Speedway offers up the Armin Hostetter/Bob Weikert Memorial race. The once-a-year 410 sprint race at Trailway honors the track founder, Hostetter, and the famed car owner, Weikert, who lived just a few miles from the speedway. The Legends cars also compete.
BAPS Motor Speedway will present a "Start Them All” program on Saturday when there will be no heat races, and all the cars in attendance will start the features. The super sportsmen, limited-late models, street stocks, Xtreme stocks and Legends are on the card.
Selinsgrove Speedway offers the 360 sprints, limited-late models, pro stocks and road runners on Saturday.
1991: This weekend in 1991 started with Twin 20s for the sprint cars at Williams Grove.
In the first race, Steve Smith drove his own Leiby’s Mobile Homes No. 19 to his 18th win of the season. In the nightcap, it was the “Free Bird” Bobby Weaver in victory lane with the Zemco No. 1. The win was Weaver’s second of the season.
That same night former late-model racer Ed Shafer scored his only career sprint win at Clinton County in his own No. 7UP machine.
Steve Smith made it 19 on the season in Saturday’s show at Lincoln that weekend. At Selinsgrove, Fred Rahmer drove the Bud Lawrence Busch Beer No. 99 to his 15th win of the season. Ironically, in the companion event for the URC sprints, the man who gave Rahmer his first-ever sprint ride, Todd Rittenhouse Sr., raced to the win. At Port Royal, it was Kenny Adams making it three in a row in the Stallings No. 28.
Sunday racing at Susquehanna was rained out that week.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.
CHAMPION RACING OIL
CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT SERIES
Presented by Hoseheads.com
(Wins in parenthesis)
1. Danny Dietrich (10) 1,258
2. Freddie Rahmer (8) 858
3. Lucas Wolfe (5) 821
4. Brian Montieth (3) 691
5. Lance Dewease (7) 640
6. Anthony Macri (1) 590
7. Logan Wagner (4) 536
8. Ryan Smith 484
9. Dylan Cisney (3) 408
10. Alan Krimes (2) 407