With the local season now ended, it's time to begin my annual look at the area track champions.

This week, I'll focus on the full-sized, open-wheel cars.

Thomasville's Greg Hodnett was the champion of the area's Speedway Motors Series for the 410 sprint cars. The overall title was Hodnett's fourth in a row, and the fifth of his career. On the way to that title, Hodnett drove the Trone Outdoor No. 39 to 16 area wins.

Hodnett also secured his second Williams Grove 410 sprint-car title in the past three years. At the Grove, Hodnett won five times.

Danny Dietrich claimed his first career 410 sprint-car title this year at Lincoln Speedway. Dietrich joins his father Dan as a Lincoln sprint-car champion. His bother Billy is a former Lincoln 358 sprint title holder, as well. Dietrich scored nine of his 10 wins this season at Lincoln. The title was also the first for car owner Gary Kauffman of Sandoe's Fruit Markets.

Chad Layton claimed his second Port Royal 410 sprint-car title in the last three years. Layton drove the Middleswarth Potato Chips No. 7 to three wins at the Port this season.

In 358 sprint competition, Fairview Township's Pat Cannon secured his second Hoosier Tire overall point title this season. Cannon won 12 358 sprint races this year in the Highland's Tire No. 3.

In addition to the overall title, Cannon also claimed his fifth Williams Grove 358 sprint title in the past six years. He won three times at the Grove. Cannon also won seven races at Selinsgrove on his way to his third point title there.

Hanover's Tim Wagaman won a pair of 358 sprint point championships. Wagaman won titles at both Trailway and Lincoln, which were his first ever in 358 sprint competition. Wagaman won twice at Trailway, but won the Lincoln title without a win there.

Wagaman joins his uncle, York's Jeff Rohrbaugh, as the only drivers to win the Lincoln and Trailway 358 sprint titles in the same year. Wagaman drives his own No. 1* 358 sprinter.

On the super-sportsman tour, it was business as usual. Series veteran Frankie Herr used three wins at Williams Grove to win the series point title. Herr drove his own No. 99 to his 11th sportsman-tour title, and third in a row.

While Herr has become the most prolific champion the sportsman series has ever seen, some folks may not remember that he took a few years off from the sportsman tour to race in both the 358 and 410 sprint cars. In fact, Herr won eight times in 358 sprint races to go along with his 66 super-sportsman wins.


LINCOLN BANQUET: Lincoln Speedway hosted its annual awards banquet on Saturday evening at the Holiday Inn in West York.

Champions Dietrich, Wagaman and Duane Watson (thundercars) were honored, and a number of special awards were also presented.

In the sprint-car division, York's Hunter Mackison was named Rookie of the Year, Gerard McIntyre Jr. was selected the Most Improved Driver and Chad Criswell earned the Sportsmanship Award. Jacob Hinkle, who wrenched the championship car of Danny Dietrich, earned the Mechanic of the Year Award.

For the 358 sprints, Ryan Wilson was named the Rookie of the Year, while Manchester's Austin Hogue was named Most Improved. Hanover's Cris Eash was the Sportsmanship Award winner. Hogue also picked up a special Delco Signs Award for passing the most cars in the 358 sprint division this year. Hogue passed 84 cars this season based on original starting position. Second-place Niki Young passed 82 cars.

In the thundercar ranks, Jimmy Jesmer was named Rookie of the Year, Mikey Guise was named Most Improved and Mike Slaybaugh again won the Sportsmanship Award.

THUNDER DVD: Award-winning videographer Lynn Schaeffer of Dillsburg has done it again.

Schaeffer's two-DVD, four-hour recap of the local open-wheel season meets his usual high standards.

Schaeffer has been producing the "Thunder in the Pa. Mountains" DVDs (originally VCR tapes) since 1987, and each year his review of the season is highly anticipated. Before 1987, Schaeffer would host movie parties to present his season reviews.

Each year, the Schaeffer collection includes feature winners, action and crashes from all of the area speedways, plus some extras from around the country.

York's Wayne Harper narrates the two DVDs, which according to the package, include 42 race tracks, 225 feature events and 127 different winners, from the sprint cars, 358 sprints, 360 sprints, super sportsmen, midgets and micro sprints.

Contact lynnschaefferproductions.com for more information.

Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdis patch.com.