In return of sprint racing to central Pa., Brian Montieth captures Lincoln Speedway win
Dirt-track racing has returned to central Pennsylvania.
Now, it appears, the regional racing season is ready to swing back into more consistent action, despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Lincoln Speedway, near Abbottstown in Adams County, held its first race in nine weeks on Monday night. Brian Montieth emerged the winner of the 35-lap sprint-car feature, earning $5,000. Lincoln is located about 15 miles west of York.
It was the first dirt-track race on the central Pennsylvania circuit since mid-March. The show attracted a large crowd. Track officials said they followed governmental guidelines for social distancing. Fans in the grandstands were seated by security and every other row was taped off. Hand sanitizing stations were placed throughout the venue and the infield viewing area was expanded to allow fans to spread out and social distance.
Masks were encouraged but not mandatory for the fans, who had to sign a waiver to gain admittance. The race was also live streamed.
During the race, it was announced on the Lincoln Speedway Twitter account (@LincolnSpeedway) that the track would hold another racing program this coming Saturday, May 30, featuring the 410 and 358 sprints, starting at 7:30 p.m.
At about the same time as the Lincoln Twitter announcement, Selinsgrove Speedway announced on its Twitter site (@RaceSelinsgrove) that it plans programs on both Friday and Saturday of next week (May 29-30). Friday's show will feature the 410 sprints and roadrunners with an 8 p.m. start, while Saturday's program will have the super-late models and 305 sprints with a 7 p.m. start. The Friday show will have a rain date of Sunday, May 31.
Selinsgrove is located in Snyder County, about 70 miles north of York.
In Monday's feature at Lincoln, Montieth started from the pole and led wire to wire for his 66th overall Lincoln triumph, winning by 1.789 seconds.
Steve Buckwalter finished second, followed by Lance Dewease, T.J. Stutts and Dillsburg's Anthony Macri. Another York County driver, York's Chase Dietz, was sixth, followed by Chad Trout, Billy Dietrich, Lucas Wolfe and Ryan Smith.
Macri earned the hard-charger award by advancing from the 14th starting position.
Monday night’s nonpoints event followed the Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek format and started off with time trials for the 49 cars in attendance. The field was split into two qualifying groups with Dewease setting overall quick time with a lap of 13.309 seconds. Heat winners were Tim Shaffer, Montieth, Stutts and Buckwalter.
Racing not approved by state: Both Adams and Snyder counties are listed under the yellow phase of the state's COVID-19 mitigation program. Under yellow, events such as car races aren't permitted activities.
Before the Lincoln program on Monday, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development issued the following statement to The York Dispatch on Sunday morning.
"Lincoln Speedway should not host this event on Monday. Per the governor’s phased reopening plan, for counties like Adams that are in the yellow phase, groups of more than 25 are prohibited, as is entertainment, as well as professional sports without an approved plan from the Department of Health. DCED was not informed of their plans, and is not an enforcement agency. Therefore, the agency will not have a presence at the race if it resumes. Local law enforcement would have jurisdiction over enforcement."
Selinsgrove Speedway scheduled sprint shows on May 9 and May 16, without any fans, only to cancel those shows when it did not receive state approval.
Reach Steve Heiser at email@example.com.