HOUSEHOLDER: Pa. Sprint Car Speedweek off to strong start, with lots more action remaining

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
717-505-5403/@ydsports
NASCAR star Kyle Larson, seen here in a file photo, is expected to compete in several Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek shows in the coming days.

Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek, presented by Red Robin, has gotten off to a great start, with good weather, lots of cars and very large crowds.

Racers have come from across the nation to compete, and there are others expected during the coming days, as well, including NASCAR star Kyle Larson.

Lance Dewease kicked things off on Friday at Williams Grove Speedway in Cumberland County with a win for his crew chief, Davey Brown, in a race that honored Brown’s long, outstanding career in the sport. Dewease’s win Friday was the 795th career confirmed win for Brown as a crew chief, with many more as an engine builder for other teams.

Perhaps one of the best moments was a phone call that was broadcast to all, from one of Brown’s winningest drivers, Doug Wolfgang.

Brent Marks then took center stage with wins at Lincoln Speedway in Adams County and BAPS Motor Speedway in northern York County the next two nights.

After Sunday’s show at BAPS, 63 different drivers had already competed in 2021 Speedweek shows, with others expected during the week. Williams Grove had 38 cars, Lincoln had 48 cars and BAPS had 35 cars.

Drivers thus far have represented 10 states and Canada.

Locally-based cars that compete on touring circuits have brought three out-of-state drivers to the area for the week. The CJB team has brought in Nashville’s Paul McMahan and California’s Buddy Kofoid, while the Mark Coldren team has brought in Canada’s Skylar Gee. Washington state’s Devon Borden is now the driver of note for the Michael Heffner team.

Some others in the area for the week include Texan Sam Hafertepe Jr., the always-popular Californian, Rico Abreu, and Indiana’s Justin Peck.

It’s expected that Larson and Christopher Bell, another NASCAR racer, will make some midweek race visits. Larson is expected from Monday through Thursday and Bell, in the Kevin Swindell car, is expected Monday and Tuesday. 

Some other surprises may be in store, too. The All Stars have the rest of the week off, so some of the drivers from that circuit may make appearances.

Remaining schedule: After another Lincoln stop on Monday for a 30-lap sprint-only Drydene feature that pays $7,000 to the winner, Speedweek picks up Tuesday at Grandview Speedway in Berks County for the Hodnett Cup. 

The Grandview event offers $10,000 to win a 35-lap feature. Grandview’s modifieds also compete. In the last four Grandview Speedweek races, Larson and Bell have been the winners, with Larson winning in 2017, 2018 and 2020. Bell won in 2019.

Wednesday, Speedweek moves to Port Royal Speedway in Juniata County, where it’s $7,000 to win a 30-lap feature. The United Racing Club 360 sprints also compete. At the Port show last year, Dillsburg’s Anthony Macri won both the Speedweek feature and the URC race.

Hagerstown Speedway in northern Maryland has its "South of the Border” Speedweek event on Thursday evening. It’s a standalone sprint show with a 30-lap feature. Originally, the top prize was set for $6,000 at Hagerstown, but bonus money was added by an anonymous supporter. The winner will now receive $7,000. The other 23 starters will get an additional $150. Track time for the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing’s vintage race cars will fill the gaps. Last year, Larson was the Hagerstown winner.

Friday at Williams Grove, it’s the sprint cars and fireworks for the “Crown Jewel” of Speedweek, the Mitch Smith Memorial Race. The 30-lapper offers $15,000 to win. Larson also won the Smith race last year.

Port Royal on Saturday will feature the Greg Hodnett Tribute Race, with $10,000 to the winner of the 30-lap feature. The Port’s own late models will also compete. Last year, Larson clinched his Speedweek crown with the win in this event.

This year, Selinsgrove Speedway in Snyder County is back as the final night of Speedweek on Sunday. The 30-lap Jan Opperman/Dick Bogar/ Ralph Heintzilman Memorial Race offers $7,500 to win in honor of the track’s 75th anniversary. Opperman (the driver), Bogar (the owner) and Heintzilman (the mechanic) comprised one of this area’s top teams in the early 1970s. The 305 sprints also compete. Danny Dietrich won last year’s Selinsgrove Speedweek show.

Other races: Trailway Speedway in Adams County offers up a two-night weekend of racing in appreciation of our nation’s military. Friday, the 358 sprints, legends, 600cc micro sprints and street stocks will be featured. Saturday, a junk-car demo headlines, along with the figure eights, limited stocks and a powder-puff race.

BAPS will play host to the annual Firecracker 40 for the super sportsmen on Saturday. Also on the BAPS schedule are the limited-late models, extreme stocks and limited stocks.

Lincoln has the monster trucks on Saturday evening, along with a full program of racing for the legends cars.

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