Legendary dirt-track figures to be honored during area tribute races this week

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
717-505-5403/@ydsports

The Memorial Day Weekend has passed, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at this week’s slate of racing events. 

Most of the area tracks will run tribute races this week, and it starts on Thursday evening.

BAPS Motor Speedway in northern York County will have the first of its two shows this week on Thursday evening when the 410 sprint cars return to compete in the Greg Hodnett Foundation race. 

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Hodnett lost his life a few years ago in a crash at BAPS, and each year the track holds a race to benefit the foundation his family has established. The foundation works to provide scholarships to the children of racing families.

The late Greg Hodnett will be honored at BAPS Motor Speedway on Thursday night.

Hodnett was one of the top sprint drivers in the nation, having won nearly 300 races during his career. The action at BAPS will include the 410 sprint cars and the track’s weekly super-sportsman class.

BAPS returns to action Saturday with legends, 270cc micro sprints, limited stocks, extreme stocks, classic cars and scramble cars.

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Gallagher honored at Grove: Friday racing at Williams Grove Speedway in Cumberland County will include the 410 sprint cars and a special tribute race to Bill Gallagher that will be held for the United States Auto Club East Coast wingless 360 sprint cars. 

Gallagher was a longtime sprint-car owner who died suddenly last summer. Gallagher’s cars raced mostly with the 360 sprint classes and had found a home in the USAC East Coast ranks.

His team has since been purchased by Michael Heffner, and with Briggs Danner driving, has been the top car on that circuit this season. Gallagher’s cars always carried the number 5G, hence the winner’s payoff of $5,000.

Steve Smith is shown here after one of his many sprint victories.

Smith race to offer big purse at Lincoln: Saturday, at Lincoln Speedway in Adams County, it will be one of the biggest nonsanctioned payoffs of the season for the 410 sprint cars.

The race at Lincoln will be run as a tribute to legendary driver Steve Smith, who passed away last summer. Smith was one of Lincoln’s biggest winners, having won 150 sprint races and two late-model races at the oval. In his career, Smith won more than 250 sprint features and more than a dozen in the late models.

The Smith family has worked with Lincoln in making this a big one on the racing calendar. The winner will take home $19,000 out of a purse of more than $60,000. Smith’s own car number was 19 during his storied career. One of Smith’s top rides outside his own car was in Harry Fletcher’s No. 66, and the Fletcher family has kicked in with $660 for each heat-race winner.

Joining the sprint cars at Lincoln will be the USAC East Coast wingless 360 sprints and the wingless midgets.

Kramer Kup at Selinsgrove: Up the road at Selinsgrove Speedway in Snyder County, the United Racing Club winged 360 sprints will compete in the Kramer Kup event there. 

That race honors another legendary local sprint racer in Kramer Williamson. 

Williamson was a champion in both super-sprint, super-sportsman and 360 sprint competition, and won close to 200 features in his career. He was fatally injured at Lincoln.

The URC 360 sprints will be joined by the 305 sprints and the roadrunners at Selinsgrove.

Sagi Tribute set for Hagerstown: The other tribute race of the weekend is Sunday’s Frank Sagi Tribute race at Hagerstown Speedway in northern Maryland.

The late models will star, along with the Mid-Atlantic Modifieds. 

Sagi was the longtime voice of the Hagerstown Speedway and announced at ovals all along the East Coast. His son, Alan Sagi, a top late-model racer in his own right, has been organizing this race each year since Frank’s death.

In addition to the racing action in honor of Frank Sagi, the race also honors living legends of the sport with ties to the Hagerstown area. This year’s honorees are Mert Stine, a Hagerstown champion in the era just before sprint cars; Walter Dyer, whose sprint cars won numerous races and championships, and who is a member of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame; and Gerald Chamberlain, who began his career in the bugs that preceded the local sprint cars before moving to the full-sized modifieds and ending his career in the late models. He was a big winner in all three classes.

At last word, Walter Dyer’s best-known driver, Lance Dewease, has plans to take his first ride in a late model for the event. Dewease, himself, grew up at Hagerstown, where his late father, Stuart, competed in the late models years ago.

Other races: The 410 sprint cars also race at Port Royal Speedway in Juniata County on Saturday, where they will be joined by the late models and limited late models.

Sunday, the 410 sprints move to Path Valley Speedway in Franklin County to make up the race that was rained out two weeks ago. The wingless super sportsmen and limited late models are on Path Valley’s Saturday show.

Big weekend for Macri: Dillsburg’s Anthony Macri had quite a weekend last week, but it could have been even better.

Macri won both nights of the All Star-sanctioned Bob Weikert Memorial at Port Royal, collecting $39,000 for his two victories.

Ironically Macri’s car number is 39m.

But Macri was also running second when he suffered a flat tire on the final lap at Selinsgrove last Thursday. He also didn’t compete in the completion of the make-up 410 sprint race at the Port on Sunday, since he had been knocked from competition before the rains came a week before.

CHAMPION RACING OIL

CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA

SPRINT CAR SERIES

Presented by Hoseheads.com

(Wins in parenthesis)

1. Anthony Macri (10)         757

2. Danny Dietrich (4)          627

3. Brent Marks (3)               429

4. Freddie Rahmer (2)        413

5. Justin Peck (1)                339

6. Lucas Wolfe                    291

7. Logan Wagner (4)           287

8. Dylan Norris (2)               251

9. Dylan Cisney                   230

10. Lance Dewease (2)      226

Reach Bryan Householder at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.