HOUSEHOLDER: Five central Pa. sprint races thus far have featured five different winners
We are five races into the 2021 central Pennsylvania sprint season, and there have been five different winners.
It looks like it could be a season of more parity on the regional tracks.
The first week of the season produced the biggest surprise of the five, since it marked only the second time that Tim Wagaman Jr. had driven to a win in a 410 sprint car. Still, Wagaman has won a championship in the 358 sprints, so his winning the Icebreaker 30 at Lincoln was not a complete surprise.
Tim Shaffer drove to the win on the second week at Lincoln, and that should never be a surprise. The veteran driver has been a winner with both the World of Outlaws and the All Stars, and he has won sprint racing’s biggest prize, the Knoxville Nationals. That Shaffer will compete on the local circuit this year for car owner Michael Heffner is nothing but a plus for the local tracks.
That brings us to last weekend, when all of the local winners were certainly not surprises. In fact, the only surprise could be that none of the three had won during the first two weeks of the season.
Danny Dietrich has been at or near the top of the local winners list for a number of years now. Last season he was Lincoln’s leading winner. In fact his win there on Saturday moved Dietrich to 55 career wins at Lincoln. That is just one shy of catching legendary Bobby Abel for sixth on Lincoln’s all-time win list.
Most of what was said about Dietrich can also be said of Lance Dewease, who won Port Royal’s opener on Saturday. Dewease has been at or near the top of the local win lists for many years now. Since he teamed with Donnie Kreitz Jr. and Davey Brown, they have been labeled the “Super Team” or “The Hall of Fame Team.” Dewease’s win at Port Royal was his 116th there, which is second only to Keith Kauffman’s 129. Dewease also leads all winners at Williams Grove, where he has won 99 times.
That brings us to Freddie Rahmer’s win in the Williams Grove opener on Sunday. Rahmer has won two of the last four championships at the Grove and his father has more Grove titles than any other driver. He hasn’t yet topped the local win list for the year, but has been near the top in each of the last several seasons. His win at the Grove was his 14th there.
Car counts were at their highest for the local season over the weekend. Lincoln was at the low end of the totem pole with 29 cars, while Port Royal had a field of 30 sprints. That’s 59 sprint cars on the local circuit on one chilly winter day in March. Williams Grove drew the most cars with 32 signed in for Sunday.
Sunday at Williams Grove, a brisk wind played havoc with the track surface. In fact, the wind gusts were so strong at times that they moved cars across the race track. Several cars struck the inside tractor tire barriers in turns three and four when a gust of wind forced them down the track. While warmups and qualifying were quite eventful, things settled down a bit for the feature race, although the wind continued to blow.
This weekend: Things get more active on the local racing circuit this weekend, with more tracks opening for the season, and the first scheduled three-day racing weekend of the season.
Things kick off on Friday evening with Williams Grove’s first evening show of the season. The 410 sprint cars will headline the show at the Grove, with the United Late Model Series super late models joining the action. It will be the first of three consecutive nights of racing for the ULMS cars.
Saturday, Port Royal still has a 4 p.m. start, with the sprint cars joining the ULMS super late models and the limited-late models for action. The Port will also be in action Sunday this week with a 2 p.m. show that features the Short Track Super Series modifieds and the ULMS super late models.
The STSS modifieds start their weekend on Saturday at Selinsgrove, where they will be joined by the 602 Crate sportsman modifieds.
Lincoln Speedway moves to a 6 p.m. starting time on Saturday with the 410 sprints back for the fourth time this season. The 358 sprints will open their season as part of Lincoln's show.
BAPS Motor Speedway will open its racing season on Saturday with the super sportsman cars headlining a show that also features limited-late models and Legends cars.
EMMR: The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will host one of its popular Third Sunday Roundtables at 1 p.m. Sunday. This time around, Kathy Armstrong, racing wife and mother, has put together a panel of “Ladies of Racing: Past, Present and Future”.
The panel will include sprint racers, past and present, Judi Bates; Brie Hershey; Nicole Bower; Mares Stelfox; third-generation racer Kassidy Kreitz, who drives 305 sprints; former micro-sprint racer and track official Dianne Tobias; and drag racer and speed record holder Marcia Barker.
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 CAR SERIES
Presented by Hoseheads
(Wins in parenthesis)
1. Lance Dewease (1) 80
2. Danny Dietrich (1) 78
3. Tim Shaffer (1) 70
4. Hunter Schuerenberg 65
4. Kyle Moody 65
6. Freddie Rahmer (1) 64
6. Dylan Cisney 64
8. Justin Peck 57
9. Tim Wagaman Jr. (1) 50
9. Matt Campbell 50