Williams Grove National Open rescheduled after weekend rainout

Bryan Householder
For the York Dispatch
Lance DeWease won a 10-lap Williams Grove National Open preliminary on Friday.

Everything was in place for the 60th running of the Williams Grove National Open presented by Champion Race Oil. Friday’s preliminary event produced 51 cars, and the mix between the World of Outlaws racers, the PA Posse and the Invaders was impressive.

The racing was hot and heavy, and there was still a good mix as the feature took to the track that night. Unfortunately, Hurricane Ian was fast approaching. The rain started falling seven laps into the feature, with local favorite Lance Dewease leading the way.  At that point, there were three Posse members and two Outlaws in the top five.

That first bout of rain passed, and the race resumed for three more laps until Brent Marks crashed out of third place. In fact, Marks crashed out of the Speedway, vaulting the third turn fence and landing against the sheet metal fence that surrounds the speedway grounds.

Marks was uninjured, but the rain came again while his car was being towed back to the pit area. Despite the rain again slowing down, and the track being prepared again, rain returned before racing could resume.

This time, the race was called official. That was it for last weekend’s National Open competition, as the rain stayed in the area Saturday and caused the postponement of the National Open. Officials announced Sunday that the race will be rescheduled for Oct. 22. To accommodate the change, BAPS Motor Speedway moved its Saturday show to Friday, while Port Royal Speedway canceled its races for that weekend.

The 56-year-old Dewease was declared the winner of Friday’s 10-lap feature event. That distance ties for the shortest Outlaw race ever held, and it also beats the 15-lap Outlaw feature held at Lincoln in the 1980s. That race at Lincoln was shortened by fog and Sammy Swindell was declared the winner.

Most local fans are aware that on the local circuit, a rain-shortened race can’t be declared official before half the scheduled distance has been completed. That is not the case with the World of Outlaws series, although Outlaw officials tried everything in their power to get the race to at least the halfway point Friday night. 

The evening's starting time had been moved ahead, the show went through quickly and officials reworked the track twice in the midst of the feature after rains hit. When the rain first fell at seven laps, it was just 8:20 p.m.; the rain was forecast for 9, so it's possible that the race could have been completed had the elements held off just a little longer.

Since Dewease was leading, not many local fans complained that the race didn’t get to the halfway point, but I’m sure some questioned the Outlaw procedure. I, for one, understand their situation.

The World of Outlaws are a traveling group, and often don’t get back to a track a second time until a year later.  It would be almost impossible to postpone the finish of a race for that long. Now it’s true the Outlaws race more often at Williams Grove, but they have to maintain a procedure for all their races during the season.

Just be glad that we know the winner, and look forward to the National Open being run as an Outlaw race with $75,000 still on the line for the winner in just a few weeks.

The Outlaws remain in the area this weekend for a two-day show at Port Royal on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s show will offer $10,000 to the winner and the limited late models will also be on the program. Saturday’s race pays $15,000 to the winner, with the PASS 305 sprints also racing.

NASCAR star Kyle Larson won when the Outlaws visited the Port in July. Last year, Kerry Madsen and Spencer Bayston won on this weekend at the Port.

Lincoln Speedway will host a special sprint car show on Tuesday night. The Brian Montieth Tribute Race will honor the seven-time track champion, who ranks fifth on Lincoln's all-time win list with 66 wins there. Montieth will be on hand to greet fans and sign autographs. The race for the sprint cars will be run under the PA Speedweek format and offer $7,000 to the winner. It will be a sprint car-only show.

Lincoln Speedway will also be racing on Saturday, with the super late models headlining for the second time this season. The late models were once a regular attraction at Lincoln.  Last time out, Dylan Yoder picked up the win. This time, Lincoln’s 358 sprints and the Legends cars join the program.

The wingless super sportsman and limited late models race at Path Valley this Saturday, while BAPS will host a go-kart classic on Saturday.

CHAMPION RACING OIL CENTRAL PA SPRINT CAR SERIES presented by Hoseheads.com (after 9/30)

Listing — position, car number, driver, points, series wins

1.         39m/11Anthony Macri                1800     20

2.         48        Danny Dietrich              1599     11

3.         19        Brent Marks                     1312     10

4.         8/51      Freddie Rahmer              1175     6

5.         69K      Lance Dewease             921       8

6.         13        Justin Peck                      822       4

7.         5w        Lucas Wolfe                   657

8.         23        Devon Borden               654       2

9.         39        Chase Dietz                   634       3

10.       1          Logan Wagner              586       5

11.       44        Dylan Norris                  583       2

12.       45        Jeff Halligan                   474       2

13.       5          Dylan Cisney                 456       1

14.       67        Justin Whittall                416

15.       55        Mike Wagner                  400

16.       12        Blane Heimbach              355       2

17.       11        T J Stutts                      353

18.       19        Troy Wagaman Jr              316       1

19.       6          Ryan Smith                       301

20.       33W     Michael Walter II              300

21.       75/5      Tyler Ross                        280

22.       18        Giovanni Scelzi              274       1

23.       99M      Kyle Moody                     268

24.       87/27s  Alan Krimes                     267

25.       7BC      Tyler Courtney              258