Lance Dewease's win in Saturday's Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway was big enough in itself.
The race was against the World of Outlaws and it paid $20,000 to the winner. A very large crowd was on hand and 43 of the best sprint cars in the nation were in the pits. It was a big win.
What made it even bigger is the fact that it marked the 300th 410 sprint-car win of Dewease's career. Dewease won his first sprint-car race at Hagerstown in 1986. Since that time he has won at least one race every year. His biggest season was in 1994, when he won 31 times. Along the way, Dewease has also won three times in 360 sprint cars and once in a midget.
This year, Dewease changed things up a bit. He is in his first year of driving for the East York-based Dietz Motorsports team. There have been some struggles over the course of the season, as Dewease and the team get to know about each other. Some nights have been good and some have been bad.
Along the way, they have now scored three wins together — once each at Susquehanna, Lincoln and now Williams Grove.
Even this past weekend had its ups and downs. At Lincoln, where Dewease entered the race as the most recent winner at the track, he didn't even qualify for the Outlaws race on Thursday night. Friday at the Grove, Dewease finished 16th. Then he won on Saturday.
Those kind of finishes were typical for most racers over the weekend. It's just that tough when the Outlaws are in town.
Rain made for tough call: Saturday's forecast didn't show much chance of rain, but it still happened at Williams Grove.
It was 9:30 in the evening and the Last Chance Showdown was aligned on the track when it began raining hard enough to put a halt to the action. Three hours later the racing resumed and went to its completion.
Situations like that one are very tough on everyone concerned. It's well known that the neighbors of race tracks aren't happy when racing runs into the early morning hours. Even though most of this area's race tracks were built far out in the country with no homes close by, there are now houses all around them.
The other side of the coin is that a World of Outlaws race usually draws a large crowd from most states in the nation, and even some from other countries. There are usually about a dozen states and at least one other country represented in the drivers' seats as well. It's a tough call to decide when to pull the plug. Add in the fact that the Outlaw racers were set to compete Sunday evening at West Lebanon, N.Y., and it got even tougher.
The only other option on Saturday night would have been to postpone the race until the Outlaws return in October and then add it to an already large program, which would probably have pushed that program into the early morning hours as well.
This weekend: Williams Grove returns with a two-race weekend this week.
Friday the sprint cars are joined by the 358 sprints. The Saturday Night Series includes the super sportsmen, limited-late models and street stocks. Saturday's show will be "Kids Night" with games and prizes for the children.
Trailway also races Friday evening. On the slate at Trailway are the 358 sprints, 270cc micro sprints, limited stocks and Legends.
Lincoln is in action on Saturday with the sprints, 358 sprints and 600cc modifieds, while Port Royal hosts the sprints, late models and 305 sprints Saturday.
The URC 360 sprints join Selinsgrove's regular 358/360 sprints on Saturday, while Susquehanna Speedway Park hosts Christmas in July on Saturday, with the limited-late models, Legends, street stocks, Xtreme stocks, road warriors and minivans.
Hagerstown will host the Hayes/McBee/Jones Memorial Tribute on Saturday, with an 88-lap, late-model feature. Also on the card are the pure stocks and mini stocks.
Sunday, the sprint cars return to Path Valley for the "Posse at the Path" show promoted by former driver Richie Tobias. The SpeedSTR's are also on the slate.
1980: The World of Outlaws were back in the area on this weekend in 1980.
Things got started on Thursday at Hagerstown, where Steve Kinser drove to the victory in cousin Karl's No. 11.
The Outlaws then moved to Williams Grove for two days of racing. On Friday. Billy Steif parked Walt Dyer's No. 461 in Victory Lane for his second overall win of the season. On Saturday, it was Keith Kauffman who put his new ride, the famed Weikert's Livestock No. 29, in Victory Lane. The win was Kauffman's 10th that year. Kauffman came back to win a regular sprint show at Susky on Sunday.
Port Royal also raced that Saturday and Manchester's Ed Zirkle scored his first win of the season in Harold Chubb's Paveway No. 5.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPEEDWAY MOTORS/CHAMPION RACING OIL PA SPRINT CAR SERIES
Presented by Hoseheads.com
(Wins in parenthesis)
1. Greg Hodnett (6) 850
2. Danny Dietrich (4) 595
3. Brian Montieth (2) 571
4. Lance Dewease (3) 502
5. Alan Krimes (2) 483
6. Lucas Wolfe (1) 459
7. Donnie Kreitz Jr. (2) 382
8. Stevie Smith (4) 380
9. Brent Marks (1) 362
10. Blane Heimbach (2) 355
11. Doug Esh (2) 335
12. Gerard McIntyre Jr. (2) 325
13. Rick Lafferty (1) 293
14. Cory Haas 284
15. Jim Siegel (2) 262
16. Chad Layton (1) 256
17. Daryn Pittman (3) 250
18. Mike Erdley (1) 236
19. Mike Wagner 210
20. Ryan Smith 205
21. Robbie Kendall (1) 202
22. Austin Hogue (1) 174
23. Justin Barger (1) 158
24. Steve Buckwalter (1) 152
25. Adam Wilt (1) 148
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