Hello and welcome back to another fun filled edition of My thoughts on a racing weekend gone by. After beautiful weather the past month or so, mother nature has decided to spoil our fun again this weekend. Got hit with another major rain storm on Saturday washing out all the racing we race fans had hoped to watch. But before the rain hit we had the start of the 25th annual Jakes Wayback Burgers/Trone Outdoor PA Speedweek at Williams Grove Speedway as well as the 358's down at Trail Way Speedway for another shot at glory at the bullring.
Up at Williams Grove Speedway Stevie Smith would lead every lap off the front row, Yep another Time Trial Special folks, as he held off the best driver in Central PA Greg Hodnett to pick up his second victory of the season. This one was worth $5,000 to the 51 team, and they made it look pretty easy. The big news for me was only 33 cars where pit side for what some feel is the biggest week in sprint car racing here in Pa. Now I know what some of you are saying, 33 cars is great for Williams Grove Speedway, but go look at the car counts in Ohio for their Speed Week shows and tell me how good it really is? Danny Dietrich, Lucas Wolfe, and Brent Marks would round out the top 5 Friday night but the only thing anyone was talking about was Fred Rahmer doing what he does best.....Talking asses into the seats. Fred was quoted as saying..."Out there, Hodnett was cheating his [butt] off on the starts. That is what his job is, but we want someone to beat his [butt] for the points this week, and Stevie is the one to do it, I think." "Greg is a great driver, but we want to keep him honest. There are a lot of great drivers, but Stevie is better than all of them and we will see what happens." Now if any of you really think Fred was calling another driver out for cheating your a fool. What Fred was doing was creating drama where he thinks it is needed. Remember folks controversy creates cash, and Fred was stirring up a little for his big race Sunday night at Path Valley. Did it work? I think so. After I got back from Trail Way it was all I saw being talked about on social media. Nothing about how good or bad the race was, or about how good or bad the surface was. All anyone wanted to talk about was Fred calling Greg a cheater. Mission accomplished.
Down at Trail Way Speedway Jeff Halligan picked up his 3rd feature win of the season, and first at the track. Jeff started on the pole and lead every lap, but boy it wasnt easy. Seth Kearchner started right beside him on the front row and pressured Jeff the first half of the race, while Brad McClelland who started 17th, yes folks that was 17th out of 18 cars, pressured him the last 6 laps. Brad would pull up beside him coming to the checker flag, but Jeff would hold him off for the very popular win. That makes the third consecutive 1st time winner at Trail Way Speedway. It was started by David Hollbrook, then Cody Fletcher would win last Friday night, and now Jeff Halligan. So much for easy wins for the 6r and 19z every week. Dwight Leppo would finish 4th in the feature while 410 driver Mike Bittinger would make his return to the track to finish a hard fought 5th. Was a great night of racing. Trail Way tied their highest car count of the year with 18, and they had a real good crowed show up to watch the action. Those are the kind of nights that race track needs.
One other streak was continued this past Friday night. Halligan was the third straight guest of the Slicks N Sticks radio show: Slingin Dirt, to visit victory lane in as many weeks. Matt Campbell and Cody Fletcher won last Friday night after being guest on the show the past 2 weeks, and now Jeff. Looks like Kristina and the crew are bringing some major good luck to all the 358 guest on the show. Wonder how hard it's going to be to book guest on the show now? Oh and 1 last thing about Slicks N Sticks radio show. Congratulations to Kristina and everyone involved with the show. They have now moved to their own station, so look for more shows in the coming months on the network. I can tell you that no lady has worked harder to put that show on the map, and the 3,000,000 listeners she is getting every week to listen to the drivers of the Central PA sprint car circuit. This is a testament to all the hard work and dedication she is bringing to that show. Remember folks that is the show that brings you live interviews with all the divisions of sprint car racing in Central PA. Nowhere else will you hear from 305,358,360, and 410 drivers. So bookmark Slicks N Sticks Radio Show so you can tune in live every Thursday night, and if you cant tune in live you can go back and listen to any of her past shows right on the site.
We are at the half way point of the racing season so I think it's time to upset a few people and give out my mid season report cards for the 358 and 410 division. Here are my thoughts on how the drivers and race tracks are doing so far in 2015.
410 Greg Hodnett !!! What else needs to be said that hasn't been already? 9 wins at 4 different Central PA race tracks. The man is by far the top driver in our area.
358 Doug Hammaker - 3 wins, 8 other top 5's and points leader at Lincoln Speedway and the Overall Central PA 358 Point Series leader.
410 Brian Montieth - 8 total wins for "The Edge". All coming at Lincoln and Williams Grove Speedway's. He has picked up his game during heat races as well, as he has 6 heat wins.
358 Brad McClelland - 3 wins , 5 other top 5's and is closing fast on his 2nd straight Central PA 358 Point Series Crown.
358 Isaac Sneeringer - 3 wins at Trail Way Speedway. Point leader at the track as well on the strength of 7 other top 5 finishes.
410 Danny Dietrich - 5 wins so far, 2 of them coming at Susquehanna Speedway. 11 other top 5's and 6 top 10's.
358 Jeff Halligan - 3 wins and sits just outside the top 5 in Central PA 358 Point Series.
358 Matt Campbell - 2 wins 7 other top 5's and sits third in the overall 358 standings. Has been one of if not the fastest 358 at every track he has raced at all season.
410 Lucas Wolfe and Aaron Ott - 2 wins a piece for these two talented drivers. Lucas has 14 other top 5's while Aaron has 11. They both have 6 top 10's. Ott has to be the comeback story of 2015.
410 Steve Buckwalter - 2 win at Port has shown the 17 team is a contender. Almost picked up a win at Williams Grove a few weeks back.
358 Jeff Rohrbaugh - Just 1 win on the season but has 4 top 5's. Is only racing at Lincoln Speedway in 2015.
358 Cody Fletcher - Finally got that breakout win 2 weeks ago. Has been very strong with 7 other top 5's and 5 top 5's.
410 Alan Krimes - Just 1 win so far in 2015 but has 6 other top 5's and 9 top 10's.
358 Adrian Shaffer - 2 wins to kick of 2015, and then the bad luck started to hit. The team can and I'm sure will turn things around.
358 Dwight Leppo - 1 win at Trail Way after getting a late start to the season. Has been strong since he came out, as he sits 7th in the overall 358 standings.
410 Brent Marks - Yeah I know let me here ya all say it before I explain why I only gave Brent a C......Come on get it all out.....Ok here's why....15 top 5's and 7 top 10's for Brent. But he gets a C grade for 1 glaring omission...Brent has 0 wins in 2015. He finally gets that 1st win and his grade jumps to a B- real quick. Brent gets on a roll like he did last season,and he could contend for driver of the year in Central PA just off how consistent he has truly been in 2015.
358 Kevin Nouse - 7 top 5's but has yet to find victory lane in the 358 division. That first win is right around the corner for the driver who had 10 of them in 2014.
358 Case Dietz - 1 win 2 top 5's and a top 10 all at Williams Grove Speedway. The kid has been bad fast in the 5 car all season.
410 Lance Deweese - 1 win, 4 top 5's and 12 top 10's. The big story for the 14 team has been missing races. Lance did not qualify for a race at Lincoln Speedway. That tells you how bad that team is struggling. But remember folks, he started off last season the same way, and won the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove Speedway, so anything is possible.
358 Brie Hershey - 1 win 2 top 5's and 4 top 10's. Has been a tad inconsistent
410 Rodney Westhafer and JJ Grasso - 1 win....that's it. Makes you wonder if it was just luck since neither have been able to find anything since their wins. Both are fast talented drivers, and should bounce back soon.
358 Todd Rittenhouse - won opening night at Lincoln but has not been a factor since.
Even I'm not that big of an asshole to give drivers an F, but there has been a lot of drivers who have underachieved in 2015.
Here is just a small sample of drivers who have visited Victory lane before, and can't seem to find anything the first half of 2015...
410 Gerard McIntyre
410 Pat Cannon
410 Doug Esh
410 Robbie Kendall
410 Bill Dietrich
410 Blane Heimbach
410 Rick Lefferty
410 Dave Ely
410 Jim Seigel
You just expect to see these drivers in victory lane at some point, and whether its from bad luck or just not having a good season in general, these guys have nowhere but up the second half of 2015.
Well that's it for this week folks. Hope everyone has a great week at the race tracks. If you have an opinion on this weeks article you all know how to get in touch with me. You can leave a comment in the comment section of the article, but use your real name or I'll just ignore it since you can't stand by your opinions like I do. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on twitter @BillMcIntyreIII . I want to hear what you all think. Until then I will see everyone Thursday night for my only Speed Week show of 2015. I'll be back at Trail Way on Friday night and Lincoln Speedway Saturday night for 2 nights of 358 racing action. Keep your racing hot, and your beer cold folks, and enjoy this week of racing action.
©Central PA Racing Scene and Williams McIntyre