HOUSEHOLDER: Racing's family bonds on full display during Lincoln Speedway's sprint finale

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
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Danny Dietrich is shown after his 410 sprint victory at Lincoln Speedway on Saturday night.
  • Lincoln Speedway held its final sprint show of the season on Saturday evening.
  • The event drew 39 410 sprint cars and featured a large crowd.
  • Danny Dietrich won Lincoln's finale, but Freddie Rahmer took the 410 track title.
  • The event also put the sport's family bonds on full display.

It’s amazing sometimes what the end of the racing season will bring.

All of this season’s big end-of-the-year races have featured big car counts and large crowds. Last weekend, Lincoln Speedway ended its season with what was basically a regular show. The event was the final points race of the season at the Adams County track, with two drivers still in contention for the 410 sprint crown and four mathematically in contention for the 358 crown.

Still, it was really just a regular show with regular payoffs for the drivers. Nevertheless, Lincoln drew 39 410 sprint cars for a regular handicapped program and 32 358 sprints for a similar event. The crowd, despite government restrictions, was good too.

Most of all, the Lincoln show fully displayed the family bonds that run deep through the local dirt-track community.

With this year’s handicapping system at Lincoln, which only uses average money won over a driver’s last three races, a number of drivers took advantage of what they thought would be up-front starting spots. Of course, with so many cars on hand, that didn’t quite work out. The drivers with the best averages were set deep in the pack for their heat races.

The Dietrich and Rahmer families: Danny Dietrich came from the last row of his heat to contend for the win, while point leader Freddie Rahmer just missed the handicap in his heat race. That set them up in the 12th- and 16th-starting spots for the feature. Dietrich got through for the win, while Rahmer got all the way up to fourth. Rahmer took the overall track crown over Dietrich. It was his first title at Lincoln.

Rahmer’s father, Fred Rahmer, has 11 Lincoln titles. Dietrich’s father, Dan, has two Lincoln titles, and his brother, Billy, has a 358 sprint crown. Danny has a sprint title at Lincoln as well.

Invader Bill Balog, who hadn’t raced at Lincoln all year, had to start last in his heat and got up to the last qualifying spot. He then raced from 20th to ninth in the feature. Balog, known as the "North Pole Nightmare," was driving the locally-based Mark Coldren No. 07. A native of Alaska, Balog now lives in Wisconsin.

DIRT-TRACK RACING: Danny Dietrich wins race, Freddie Rahmer earns track title at Lincoln

The Howard family: While those drivers were coming forward, a number of young drivers were showing well at the front — perhaps none more so than York’s Bradley Howard. 

Howard led the first 20 laps of the feature and just lost second at the line to Chase Dietz by .003 seconds.

Howard is a second-generation driver from a family with a long racing history. His grandfather, J.L. Howard, sponsored race cars for many years. His father, Bob Howard, was a winner in both sprints and super sportsmen, while his uncle, Bill Howard, and aunt, Mary Senft, also both raced sprint cars.

The Dietz/Haas family: Dietz was making his first start in John Trone’s No. 39 that was raced last year by his uncle, Cory Haas. This year, Trone had three other drivers, Cale Thomas, Jason Sowald and Justin Peck. Dietz’s finish was his best of the year.

Like Howard, Dietz comes from a long line of racers. His grandfather, Larry Haas, raced sprint cars; his father, Tim Dietz, was a winner in sprints and midgets; his uncle, Cory Haas, won in 410 sprints and 358 sprints; and his sister, Alyson, is also racing in the 358 sprints.

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Trone, of course, is the son of longtime car owner Ray Trone, who fielded cars from the 1950s through the early 1970s. John has been at it for a long time as well.

The Fletcher family: The 358 sprint title went to Cody Fletcher, who is yet another member of a family that has been involved in racing for a long time.

Cody’s father, Bobby, joined a list of winning drivers in potent cars provided by Cody’s late grandfather, Harry. Dizzy Dean, Johnny Grum and Steve Smith all put the Fletcher car in victory lane around the area, with Grum and Smith both earning Williams Grove National Open titles for the Fletcher family.

The Rittenhouse family: While Cody picked up the title, it had to be a disappointing night for Todd Rittenhouse Jr.

Rittenhouse entered the night with the point lead in that class and needed to finish sixth to clinch the crown. He was running in that spot when he got caught up in an incident that ended his night, and his title hopes.

Like those mentioned above, Rittenhouse also has a long family history in racing. His father, Todd Rittenhouse, was a winning sprint driver and, as I mentioned last week, even fielded a car in which Fred Rahmer drove his first sprint race.

The Dodson family: Here's another interesting fact.

When Doug Dodson won both 305 sprint features at BAPS Motor Speedway in northern York County on Friday he was greeted in victory lane by his wife, Stephanie.

The twist? Stephanie, who raced and won in the 305 sprints herself, is now the series announcer and was in victory lane to interview the winner.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: 

Big program at BAPS: The local racing season is rapidly winding down now.

There is still racing this weekend, and some of it is close to home, while fans of some classes might have to do some traveling.

BAPS has a big program set for Saturday with the 410 sprint cars and super sportsmen on the card, along with the extreme stocks in an enduro-type race. For the super sportsmen, it will be their final race of the season, while the 410 sprints have one more program after this one. That one is also at BAPS, and is set for Nov. 14.

Port Royal's FallFest: Port Royal Speedway in Juniata County will wrap up its season on Saturday with the annual big event for the 305 sprints during Juniata County’s FallFest. 

Also on the Port’s racing schedule on Saturday are the limited-late models and the four-cylinder limited stocks.

Trailway finale: Trailway Speedway in Adams County wraps up its season Saturday with “Halloween Havoc.”

The program includes a junk-car demolition derby, limited stocks and figure eights.

Bedford's late-model show: For late-model fans, Bedford Speedway in western Pennsylvania has a big weekend planned with the Keystone Cup set for the late models on Saturday. Friday evening, the late models have qualifying events, with features for the semi-lates and pure stocks.

Saturday at Bedrord, the late models go 60 laps for $20,000 to win. Also on Saturday’s program are the late-model sportsmen and modifieds.

Monster trucks at Lincoln: While Lincoln’s actual racing season has ended, they do have one more event. 

The monster trucks will invade Lincoln this Saturday.

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

CHAMPION RACING OIL

CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT CAR SERIES

Presented by Hoseheads.com

(Wins in parenthesis)

1. Danny Dietrich (12)             1,256

2. Anthony Macri (8)                1,174

3. Freddie Rahmer (7)             1,097 

4. Brent Marks (3)                     997

5. Kyle Larson (12)                    935

6. Lance Dewease (6)               858

7. Brock Zearfoss                      528

8. Dylan Cisney (2)                    519

9. Logan Wagner (1)                  454

10. Brian Montieth (1)                 439