Rescheduled Williams Grove National Open headlines local racing slate

The premier race in the area was moved to this weekend, with other tracks adjusting their schedules to make it happen.

Bryan Householder
For The York Dispatch
Williams Grove Speedway will host the 2022 National Open this weekend after the race was postponed on Oct. 1.

When the Williams Grove National Open was rained out a few weeks ago, things got unsettled on the local racing calendar. With $75,000 on the line for the winner of the World of Outlaws-sanctioned event, it is the highest-paying local race of the year. It’s one event no one wants to see rained out.

When the Oct. 1 event was officially postponed, plans were set in motion for its rescheduling. The World of Outlaws had a free weekend this week, but several local tracks had racing events planned for this Saturday. Williams Grove officials, World of Outlaws officials and the promoters at BAPS Motor Speedway and Port Royal Speedway were burning up the phone lines to work out a way for the National Open to be held.

In the end, the National Open was set for this Saturday and BAPS and Port Royal moved their shows to Friday so it could happen.  An example of how local tracks can work together to make things happen.

So this weekend’s racing schedule finds the Williams Grove National Open on the slate for Saturday evening. As mentioned, the race is sanctioned by the World of Outlaws and offers $75,000 to the winner. First held in 1963, this is one of the country’s biggest sprint car races.

I did learn something interesting about the National Open over the last week.  Track PR guru Shawn Brouse gave me a call asking why I didn’t have a date for the 1964 running of the second annual National Open.  I explained that I had never been able to confirm the date of the event.

Now I know the reason why I couldn’t find the date. The National Open that year was hit by rain after 36 laps with Larry Dickson leading. They tried to complete the race over the next two days (a Monday and Tuesday), but it kept raining.  So the 1964 National Open was called complete at 36 laps. In order to give the racers more time at the speedway, a second open competition event was the scheduled for a few weeks later. Ironically, Dickson also won that race, which was run over a 50 lap distance.

The BAPS Motor Speedway event for this weekend will now be held on Friday evening. It features the 410 sprint cars, the limited late models and the extreme stock cars. The sprint car portion of the show will offer $6,000 to the winner.

One benefit for BAPS is that there should be plenty of invaders in the area for the Grove show, so the track should have a great field of cars. This also gives the traveling racers a chance at two days of racing, all the more reason to return to the area.

Port Royal also moved its Blue Collar Classic to Friday evening. The show at the Port offers big events for the 305 sprint cars, the limited late models and the front wheel drive four cylinder stock cars.

Bedford Speedway already had a big weekend planned for the super late models. The two-day Keystone Cup event features super late model qualifying races Friday that offer $2200 to win.  The semi lates, pure stocks and four cylinders also compete.

Saturday’s main event offers $22,000 to win for the super late models and also features the late model sportsman.

The USAC East Coast wingless 360 sprint cars race at New Egypt Speedway in New Jersey on Saturday.

WEEKEND NOTES

Justin Whittall’s win in the sprint car feature at Port Royal last Friday was his first of the season and second career in a 410 sprint car. While Whittall scored his first win at Williams Grove in 2021, even before the win at the Port last Friday, 2022 had been a much more consistent year for him. He has many more top finishe, including six other top-five runs and a total of 28 top-10 runs.

Danny Dietrich’s win at Lincoln on Saturday was his sixth there this year and his 61st career win at Lincoln in the 410 sprints. It was his 12th win in the area this season and 14th overall win of the year. Dietrich has three wins at Williams Grove and single wins at BAPS, Selinsgrove and Port Royal. He also has Ohio Speedweek wins at Limaland and Attica.

Doug Hammaker spent the 2021 season racing 410 sprint cars, but returned to a limited schedule in the 358 sprints this season. Earlier in the year, he won a race at BAPS, and Saturday, he got his first Lincoln win of the season. In victory lane, he noted that he plans to be much more active next season with the 358s, and his goal is to unseat York's Jeff Rohrbaugh from the top of Lincoln’s 358 win list.  Hammaker is second on that list, three behind Rohrbaugh.

Following Lincoln’s final race of the season on Saturday, Jude Siegel became the fourth generation of his family to turn laps around Lincoln in a sprint car. The 14-year-old was getting his feet wet in the same car that track champion Steve Owings had driven to a second-place finish in that feature a few minutes earlier.

The audition was in hopes that Siegel might be approved for competition next season. He already has several seasons of micro sprint competition under his belt.  

Jude Siegel’s father Jimmy has been a winner in both 358 and 410 sprint racing at Lincoln. His grandfather Steve was a winner and champion in 410 competition at Lincoln and elsewhere. Great grandfather Jim was never a regular in local competition, but led the family to racing in their native Texas, where he was a state champion. The first Jim Siegel did come east and turned some laps at Lincoln in Van May’s race car, but didn’t have great results. As I remember, he flipped the car that night but was uninjured. Of course, this happened very late in his racing career.

CHAMPION RACING OIL CENTRAL PA SPRINT CAR SERIES presented by Hoseheads.com

after Oct. 15

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

1.         39m/11Anthony Macri                1918     22

2.         48        Danny Dietrich              1708     12

3.         19        Brent Marks                    1347     10

4.         8/51      Freddie Rahmer             1237     6

5.         69K      Lance Dewease             986       8

6.         13        Justin Peck                      852       4

7.         5w        Lucas Wolfe                   733

8.         23        Devon Borden               668       2

9.         1          Logan Wagner              636       5

10.       39        Chase Dietz                    634       3

11.       44        Dylan Norris                   613       2

12.       5          Dylan Cisney                  507       1

13.       67        Justin Whittall                491       1

14.       45        Jeff Halligan                474       2

15.       55        Mike Wagner                412

16.       12        Blane Heimbach             355       2

17.       11        T J Stutts                       353

18.       18        Giovanni Scelzi             324       2

19.       19        Troy Wagaman Jr         316       1

20.       33w      Michael Walter II        314

21.       6          Ryan Smith                313

22.       99m      Kyle Moody                   298

23.       75/5      Tyler Ross                   280

24.       11        Buddy Kofoid                275       1

25.       87/27s  Alan Krimes                 267