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HOUSEHOLDER: Kyle Larson emerges as big story during Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
717-505-5403/@ydsports
Kyle Larson
  • Kyle Larson is the 2020 Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek champion.
  • The former NASCAR standout won four events in the nine-race series.
  • Danny Dietrich was second in Speedweek points, followed by Ryan Smith.

The 30th annual Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek is now in the record books.

This year’s series was presented by Red Robin. Kyle Larson was the big star of this year’s Speedweek series. The former NASCAR standout ended the week with four wins, which doubled his previous career Speedweek total.

Actually, this is the first time Larson has competed in the full Speedweek slate. He’s been a part of the series for many years, however, first coming to the area with a family-owned racer when no one outside of sprint racing knew who he was. His best finish that first year was a third at Grandview Speedway in Berks County, which has become his best track in Speedweek competition.

Before this year, Larson had won twice at Grandview, once at Lincoln Speedway in Adams County and once at Path Valley Speedway in Franklin County. This year, he added his third Grandview win in four years, along with initial wins at Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland, Williams Grove Speedway in Cumberland County and Port Royal Speedway in Juniata County. In the nine-race series, Larson had four wins, two seconds, a third, a fourth and a sixth.

The only other driver to put together top-10 finishes in all nine races was Ryan Smith, who had two fourths, a fifth, three sevenths and three eighths. He ended the week third in points.

Danny Dietrich, who ended the week second in Speedweek points, had two wins and was riding a string of all top-10 finishes until mechanical ills sidelined him in the final race. Freddie Rahmer saw a perfect top-10 record fail in the same manner at the final race and ended up fourth in points. Rahmer’s best finish was second to Larson at Grandview.

LOCAL DIRT-TRACK RACING: Former NASCAR standout drives away with Pa. Speedweek title

Brent Marks had his one non-top-10 finish in midweek and ended the series fifth in points with a second-place finish in the final race his best run.

Rico Abreu got a win at Lincoln and ended the week with three finishes outside the top 10 and sixth in the point chase.

Other winners during the week were Dillsburg’s Anthony Macri, who won both the Speedweek feature and a 360 sprint feature on Wednesday evening at Port Royal, and Lance Dewease, who won the opener at Williams Grove.

The Dewease win at Williams Grove was his 99th there and also his 29th in Speedweek competition. Dewease leads on the Grove win list and is now just one behind Fred Rahmer in Speedweek wins.

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Macri ended the week ninth in points and Dewease was eighth.

The other two drivers who made the top 10 in points were Brock Zearfoss in seventh and Sammy Swindell in 10th. Swindell, at age 65, is a legendary racer who was making his first stab at Speedweek. His best runs were a pair of thirds. He opened the week in Trey Heddicks' car for three races and then jumped into his son Kevin’s car for the rest of the week.

This year, 81 different drivers competed in Speedweek shows and a record 18 made it to every event. All Stars Aaron Reutzel and Cory Eliason made a few midweek shows, as did NASCAR Cup series rookie Christopher Bell. Robert Ballou, known for his wingless sprint skills, made it to all nine shows this week.

Car counts were up during the week and crowds were great. The high car count of the week was at Lincoln on the first Saturday with 51 sprint cars on hand. The low count of the week was 31 at Grandview. The average car count for the week was just more than 38 cars per night.

Mother Nature even cooperated this year. All nine scheduled Speedweek shows made it into the record books. There were zero rainouts.

PIT STOPS

Heartwarming win: While Speedweek was in progress, other tracks were racing as well last weekend.

Saturday’s 358 sprint winner at Lincoln Speedway in Adams County is a great story all in its own. A few years ago, Brett Wanner moved from midget competition to the 358 sprints. Saturday at Lincoln, Wanner scored his first 358 sprint win.

Wanner’s win is big news and a heartwarming story, because Wanner and nearly his entire pit crew are unable to hear or speak. They have been working toward this victory for a long time, and in fact had won with the midget racers before moving into the limited sprint cars.

This week: Racing this week includes the 410 sprints and 360 sprints at Williams Grove on Friday; the 410 sprints, 358 sprints and Legends at Lincoln on Saturday; the 410 sprints and late models at Port Royal on Saturday; the 360 sprints' National Open on Saturday at Selinsgrove Speedway in Snyder County; and the super sportsmen on Saturday at BAPS Motor Speedway in northern York County.

Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

2020 RED ROBIN SPEEDWEEK POINTS

1. Kyle Larson                1,439*

2. Danny Dietrich            1,116*

3. Ryan Smith                  1,101*

4.  Freddie Rahmer          1,073*

5. Brent Marks                  1,059*

6. Rico Abreu                    1,056*

7. Brock Zearfoss              928*

8. Lance Dewease             879

9. Anthony Macri                864*

10. Sammy Swindell           831*

*indicates driver has competed in every event

CHAMPION RACING OIL

CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT CAR SERIES

Presented by Hoseheads.com

(Wins in parenthesis)

1. Freddie Rahmer (3)              556

2. Danny Dietrich (3)                446

3. Lance Dewease (3)              423

4. Kyle Larson (4)                      378

5. Anthony Macri (4)                  345

6.Brent Marks                            311

7. Ryan Smith                             289

8. Brian Montieth (1)                    209

9. Logan Wagner                          206

10. Dylan Cisney (2)                     199