HOUSEHOLDER: Pennsylvania Speedweek has become one of world's biggest sprint attractions

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
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Lance Dewease, seen here in a file photo, has 29 career Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek victories.

The Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek, presented by Red Robin, begins this Friday evening at Williams Grove Speedway.

Speedweek is set for 10 410 sprint races in 10 days.

The history of Pennsylvania Speedweek dates back to 1991, when three tracks offered up a big, longer-than-usual weekend of racing over the Fourth of July weekend. Williams Grove, Lincoln and Susquehanna were involved in the original Speedweek. The recently departed Steve Smith won the first Speedweek race, and also the first Speedweek points title.

Since that five-race series, Speedweek has evolved into one of the world’s biggest sprint attractions. Over the years, drivers from numerous states, and even Australia, have competed. Several Australian drivers have told me that Pennsylvania Speedweek is a “bucket-list” item for drivers from down under.

This year, BAPS Motor Speedway, formerly Susquehanna, returns to the Speedweek fold for the first time since 2006.

Over the years, Speedweek has held 214 races at 12 different tracks with 46 different winners. Fred Rahmer still leads all drivers with 30 Speedweek wins and 13 series titles as a driver. He also has several more wins and one title as a car owner.

Lance Dewease would like to unseat Rahmer from the top of the Speedweek win list and certainly stands a chance of doing so. Dewease is just one win behind Rahmer on the Speedweek win charts with 29. He has won three series titles.

The late Greg Hodnett has won five series titles and has 26 Speedweek wins to his credit.

Brown Tribute Race at Grove: Williams Grove Speedway, in Cumberland County, will kick off this year’s Speedweek activities with the Davey Brown Tribute Race on Friday evening.

The race honoring this area’s most prolific chief mechanic will offer $6,000 to win a 25-lap race. The 358 sprints will also compete.

The Brown Tribute was rained out a few weeks ago and rescheduled as part of Speedweek. Brown started his career as a mechanic in the mid-1950s and has seen his drivers win at least one, and usually many more, races in each year since then. From the full-sized stock cars to the sprint cars of today, Brown has always produced winners. His first win came at Bowling Green in 1954, and his most recent was last Friday at Williams Grove. The 87-year-old will be on hand Friday, but will be working as usual in the pit of Lance Dewease.

Last year, Dewease and eventual series champion Kyle Larson won races at Williams Grove during Speedweek.

Gobecht Memorial: Speedweek moves to Lincoln in Adams County on Saturday for the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Race. The extreme stocks will also be a part of that program. The Gobrecht Memorial will go at a distance of 30 laps with $9,200 on the line for the winner.

Gobrecht moved from the go-karts to micro sprints to sprint cars. He was a fan favorite at Lincoln and won numerous races around the area before going on the road with the World of Outlaws. He suffered fatal injuries in an Outlaw race at Greenwood, Nebraska, late in the 1999 racing season.

Last year’s Speedweek races at Lincoln went to Danny Dietrich and ever-popular Rico Abreu.

Return to BAPS: The much-awaited return to BAPS will happen on Sunday with a 30-lap feature offering $7,000 to the winner. The super sportsmen will be racing that night at BAPS as well.

In past Speedweek action at the northern York County oval, Steve Smith was the first winner in 1991, and his son Stevie won the last two Speedweek races held there in 2005 and 2006. Donnie Kreitz Jr. is the leading winner with three. In addition to Stevie Smith, two-time Speedweek winners at BAPS are Rahmer, Dewease and Cris Eash. Joining Steve Smith as one-time BAPS Speedweek winners are Greg Hodnett, Billy Pauch and, in perhaps the biggest Speedweek upset ever, Brett Mann. The Midwest driver drove for local car owner, and now Lincoln Speedway co-owner, Jerry Parrish, that year.

PIT STOPS

Other Speedweek action next week: Speedweek moves back to Lincoln on Monday evening for a 30-lap feature that pays $7,000 to the winner. Drydene will sponsor the race, and it will be a sprint-only show.

The Speedweek schedule continues with Grandview Speedway in Berks County on Tuesday, Port Royal Speedway in Juniata County on Wednesday, Hagerstown Speedway in northern Maryland on Thursday, Williams Grove on Friday, Port Royal on Saturday and Selinsgrove Speedway in Snyder County on Sunday. 

More information about those races will come next week.

Other weekend races: Trailway Speedway in Adams County races Friday evening, with 358 sprints, 270cc micro sprints, limited stocks, vintage cars and an enduro.

Selinsgrove has the super late models, Mid-Atlantic Modifieds, limited-late models and roadrunners on Saturday. 

Hagerstown also has a big super-late-model race Saturday, with crate late models and hobby stocks also on the program.

Marks wins at Path Valley: Brent Marks won Sunday's 410 sprint feature at Path Valley Speedway in Franklin County and collected $6,000 in the process.

Marks’ win came over T.J. Stutts, with Devon Borden in third. Dylan Cisney and Ryan Smith completed the top five. Rounding out the top 10 were Billy Dietrich, Dillsburg's Anthony Macri, Lucas Wolfe, Spring Grove's Tim Glatfelter and Austin Bishop.

Thomas triumphs at Bloomsburg: Kevin Thomas Jr. won the United States Auto Club sprint feature at Bloomsburg in Columbia County Sunday evening. 

Following Thomas were Tanner Thorson, Brady Bacon, Jake Swanson and Alex Bright.

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

(Wins in parenthesis)

1. Anthony Macri (3)      596

2. Freddie Rahmer (4)   567

3. Danny Dietrich (1)     472

4. Lance Dewease (5)   448

5. Alan Krimes (1)         376

5. Dylan Cisney (1)        376

7. Logan Wagner (1)      374

8. Chase Dietz (1)         361

9. Brent Marks (3)         303

10. Tim Shaffer (2)        281