Monday, July 06, 2015

Re: My thoughts on a SPEEDWEEK gone by

Hello and welcome back race fans. This week instead of my normal thoughts on a racing weekend gone by, I'm going to share my thoughts on the now completed Speed Week that has gone by which was 8 races in 9 days! Fans filed in from all over to witness these events and drivers endured a long week of ups and downs. There was a lot of history made and for the first time in the 25 year history of PA Speed Week we had a driver win 5 races. Before I start talking about the racing, lets look at a few numbers and stats from the week:

2 - The average starting position for the feature winner this week.
4 - Number of different winners
5 - Number of wins by Stevie Smith
8 - Number of drivers who ran all 8 races
86 - Number of drivers who competed in at least 1 Speed Week race.
1,286 - Most points ever scored by the champion during Speed Week
10,000 - Highest total ever paid for a Speed Week champion
43,200 - Number of dollars Stevie Smith won during Speed Week
0 - Number of races Greg Hodnett won this week after being picked as the favorite to win it all in 2015.

Those last two stats are completely incredible considering Hodnett had been red hot and that's a lot of money for one race team to bring home. Stevie Smith and the whole 51s team shown why they should be considered one of if not the best big money team in Central PA. And to think in his 30 years of racing, Stevie has never won a Speed Week championship and to do ir in such dominating fashion was fun to watch. 25 years after his father Steve Smith won the very first Speed Week championship, the Smith family is back on top.

1. Stevie Smith 1,286
2. Danny Dietrich 1,119
3. Greg Hodnett 1,100
4. Lucas Wolfe 1,020
5. Aaron Ott 856
6. Brent Marks 846
7. Doug Esh 629
8. Alan Krimes 623
9. Brian Montieth 580
10. (tie) Lance Dewease and Brock Zearfoss 482.

Danny Dietrich had a great week as well after coming off a stretch where he ran Ohio Speed Week before starting PA Speed Week. He picked up a victory at Lincoln Speedway Monday night and finished 2nd in the points. Danny's average finishing position was 3.75. His worst finish was 8th at Williams Grove on Friday night.

Greg Hodnett while not winning a race this week would come home with an average finish of 5.62 his best finish was 2nd 3 times while his worst finish being 10th at Path Valley.

Lucas Wolfe would have a solid week not finishing outside the top 10 with his best finish being third at Lincoln and his worst finish being 9th. His average finish was 6.12

Aaron Ott continues to show why he should be a lock for everyone's comeback driver of 2015. He would score a week best 3rd last night at Selinsgrove and other then his DNQ Thursday night at Lincoln after taking a bad flip on the front stretch never finished below 7th the entire week.

Brent Marks continues to be very consistent as he would score an average finish of 7.87. Mid week was a struggle for him with finishes of 14,11,11 hurt him, but he ended the week with 2 very strong top 5's.

Doug Esh would pick up the crown jewel of Speed Week Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway and walk away with $10,000 for the Coldren Motorsports team. Not the best week for the driver from Lancaster as he only scored 1 other top 10 that being the final race of the week at Selinsgrove Speedway.

Alan Krimes had a good week running 6 of the 8 races, he chose to skip Port Royal Speedway and the finale at Selinsgrove Speedway. His best finish was 2nd at Lincoln on Monday night while his worst finish was 16 at Williams Grove Speedway.

Brian Montieth had a good week with 3 top 5's and a pair of 2nd place finishes, but he also had a weeks worst 18th at Path Valley and skipped 3 of the races.

Lance Dewease would score his week's best 5th at Path Valley and an 8th at Hagerstown. Other then that it was not a good week for the Dietz 14 team. The team decided not to run the final race of the week at Selinsgrove and would finish the week with an average finish of 14.14 in 7 races.

Brock Zearfoss didn't have the best of weeks, but a 3rd place showing at Williams Grove on Friday night showed the 2nd year 410 driver is ready to break out and get that first win.

Also need to give a shout out to TJ Stutts who ran the entire Speed Week with a week's best 4th at Path Valley on Sunday night.

All in all it was a great week that saw great car counts and packed grandstands. You can't ask for anything better than that for the July 4th week full of racing.

Now for a few news bits that came out this week while Speed Week was going on: 

Sad to hear that newly inducted Hall of Famer Donnie Krietz Jr. will be sidelined indefinitely from effects from a concussion he suffered in a bad wreck at Susquehanna Speedway back in 2013. Hope this is not the end of the blue 69. Donnie is one of the nicest guys in the pit area, and has been mentoring young drivers the past few years. He deserves better then to have his career stopped by a head injury. Here is to hoping he gets better fast and can get back on the track before the end of 2015.

Mike Erdley was announced as the new driver of the 98 car previously driven by Tyler Bear. Glad to see Mike back in a sprint car and just hope he can do what no one else has been able to do in the 98 car, and that's put it in the winners circle. I hope Mike didn't just jump into a no win situation just because he wanted to drive a sprint car again.

Tyler Bear will be back in his family owned 25 car for the rest of the season. Tyler is one of the young guns here in Central PA, but has struggled so far in a 410. He has not scored a top 10 yet after having a lot of success in the 305 division. Lets hope he gets things figured out and turned around. Hate to see a talented youngster get out of the 410 division before he can reach his full potential.

The Central PA 358 Point Series presented by Capitol Renegade has a new point leader. Brad McClelland picked up his 4th win of 2015 and has taken a 22 point lead over Doug Hammaker. Things will be very interesting the next two weeks as the 358 series starts the Nouse Signs and Graphics Summer Series. This week they will kick it off at Williams Grove Speedway before heading down to Lincoln Speedway the following week. All four races in the summer series are double point races for the series, so things are going to be changing in a hurry.

Speaking of the summer series, they are using the Central PA 358 Point Series points to handicap the starting lineup. No penalty box for teams that don't normally run at either track. That sounds like a fair and awesome idea to me. Maybe the 410 division should look into doing something like that at the 3 area tracks. It would shake things up, make it more fair, and might just help make the 410 point series relevant again.

OK folks that's enough for this week. 

This coming weekend is another jam packed weekend of racing and the weather looks good to finally see two nights of racing at every track in Central PA. Friday night, Williams Grove will host a 410/358 double header and Trail Way Speedway has the 358 late models down for a special night of full fendered racing. Saturday night, Port Royal host the 410 sprints as well as a special Late Model Championship, Williams Grove will host the Saturday night Series once again while down at Lincoln Speedway they have jam packed the racing into one night for the fans. We will get to see NATIONAL FALLEN FIREFIGHTERS NIGHT IN MEMORY OF BRANDON LITTLE for both the 410 and 358 sprints. The 410's will race for $5,000 to win while the 358's will have their Championship event. Also on the card is the makeup 358/360 Challenge race rescheduled from last years USAC race.

Until I see everyone Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway, I hope you all have a great week. Lets hope our weather will be warm, our beverage of choice will be ice cold, and our racing will be red hot.

©Central PA Racing Scene 2015
Bill McIntyre

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