Friday night, Pat Cannon FINALLY got that monkey off his back and picked up his first 410 victory of the season. Pat drove his butt off from the 4th starting position. After some great racing between Rick Lafferty and Cannon, Pat got the lead on lap 14 but it wasn't easy and he wasn't going to keep the lead very easily either. Danny Dietrich started 9th (somehow still haven't figured that one out) and looked to be well on his way to his division leading 13th feature win of the season when entering turn 1 his wheel cover came flying off and that ended his run to the front as it mud packed his RR and he drove the next few laps with a badly vibrating wheel before finally coming to a stop. By this point, Lucas Wolfe had worked his way into 2nd and it looked like he would give Cannon a run for his money, but even with two different restarts Cannon would use the clean air in front of him to race off to victory lane.
The two big things from the 410 feature that should be talked about a bit are:
1. Does Williams Grove Speedway know what their own rule is for the "penalty box"? How do you make a lineup, and after the race team gets in your officials face determine your wrong and change it to suit that driver? Guess when you only have 19 410s show up you have to do whatever needs to be done to keep it from being 18 the next week?
The 358 feature was crazy. Drivers making moves, blocking with little regard for consequences, and just driving over their heads. Doug Hammaker ,who put his stamp on the 358 division this weekend (more on that later folks) would come from 9th starting spot to pick up his 2nd victory of the season at the track and 4th overall in 2015. Chase Dietz would finish 2nd AGAIN and looked to maybe have a shot at his 3rd win of 2015, but he drove a very smart race, taking his time picking his way through the field, but ultimately got caught up with a very game Kevin Nouse racing for 2nd, and just ran out of time to catch Hammaker.
Overall Williams Grove gave the fans a great night of racing action. Great surface, and even with the small car count, gave us some great racing.
Saturday night, Port Royal Speedway hosted the 9th annual Living Legends Dream Race (formally the Dream Extreme) and saw its first repeat winner of the event. Greg Hodnett would pick up $10,820 for his victory from the 9th starting spot (not bad for a time trial show) by passing race long leader Aaron Ott with 2 laps to go would take the lead and the victory. With the race being a big non-sanctioned race for our local drivers in Central PA it was great to see Brock Zearfoss,Mike Erdley and Ryan Taylor all get a great finish in the top 5. Zearfoss has had some great runs as of late in his family owned 3z, while the 98 car that Erdley is driving has had a horrible year until making the switch to the veteran driver. Taylor has missed a few weeks, so it was great to see all 3 teams pick up a great chunk of change this weekend.
BUT, does anyone up at Port Royal understand what a revenge draw is? Didn't look like it Saturday night. A driver doesn't get to pick a pill and keep it. But hey guess not every race gets ran without a hitch right? Nobody is perfect, especially in this sport.
Down at Lincoln Speedway the 358 division finally got to headline a race for the first time in 2015 and the good crowd on hand were treated to a show that rivals a 410 race in terms of just flat out driving. Fred Putney gave the 358 teams a 410 race track (and even #SavedTheCushion all night) which led to some high speed rim riding by those youngsters who were brave enough to challenge it. Chandler Leiby would dominate Round three of the Nouse Signs and Graphics 358 Summer Series and at one point had over a 7 second lead (half a track folks) on 2nd place Matt Campbell. Leiby was doing his best Brian Montieth impression running the top like he had been doing it his whole life. We did see a couple red flags and one of those was for a scary wreck when Jeff Halligan lost an engine going down the backstretch which collected Kody Lehman and Brad McClelland. Lehman took a scary flip but would walk away okay. Under this red flag 2nd place Campbell would have his LR go flat and would have to pit to get it changed, handing not only 2nd place in the race but also the Lincoln 358 point lead over to Doug Hammaker. Hammaker would have 5 laps, and 4 lapped cars to catch Leiby but it was to no avail. Leiby once again checked out for the biggest winners check for the 358's in 2015 $2,700.
Now some random musing from yours truly....
Finger of shame needs to be pointed at the two car loads of fans who showed up to Lincoln Speedway Saturday night only to find out the 410's were not on the card and packed up and left the track. Nothing pisses me off more than the 410 mentality in this area. Why drive all the way to a race track, only to leave because the 358's where the headliner that night instead of the 410's ? I'm sorry, but you are not a true sprint car fan if spending the night at home is a better alternative then watching the 358's after you already showed up to the track.
If you didn't know the name Doug Hammaker before you better learn it and remember it. Doug is poised right now to make history in the 358 division. No driver has ever won the 358 championships at Williams Grove, Lincoln Speedway and the Central PA 358 Point Series presented by Capitol Renegade in the same year. The only driver who has accomplished anything close was Pat Cannon who won the track championships at Williams Grove and Selinsgrove Speedway while also being the overall 358 champion and accomplished that feat twice in his rein with the 358s. For the second generation driver and son of the " God Father" it's a great spot to be in and have your name beside Cannon as one of the top drivers in the 358 series if he can pull it off. He has three races left at Williams Gove Speedway but Chase Dietz and Matt Campbell are breathing down his neck to be crowned the track champion. While at Lincoln Speedway, Campbell is also Doug's biggest challenger for the title there and thanks to his 2nd place finish last night Doug retook the point lead by just a few points with just four races to go. He has a comfortable 118 point lead in the Central PA 358 Point Series but anything can happen with only a few races left.
If you are still not tuning in to Slingin Dirt presented by Slicks N Sticks on Thursday nights what the hell are you waiting for? This past Thursday night, host Kristina Chambers interviewed 358 driver Adrian Shaffer, 410 driver Mike Bittinger and 600 Micro Sprint Phenom Darren Kauffman whom told his story to the world about being a handicapped driver in the sport and making it work. There are three interviews you will only hear on Thursday nights with us. Remember folks we are the only national sprint car show in the USA that interviews all the drivers in Central Pa, NOT JUST THE CHOSEN ONES. And this coming Thursday's show will be no different and I can tell you that we will be having one of this weekend's big winners on the show to talk about not only his career but also his win this weekend and the big races he has coming up for the rest of 2015. Not to mention two of the young up and coming sprint car stars in Central PA. All three exclusives will only be heard on Slingin Dirt presented by Slicks N Sticks
Also if you are a driver. car owner or race promoter who would like to be on the show you can contact me at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org to see if we can schedule you for the most listened to racing show in Central PA.
Well that's it for this week. Thank you again for checking out the site every week, as well as reading My Thoughts on a Racing Weekend Gone By. This coming week while most of the America will be watching the sprint car capital of the world.. Knoxville as they are running the Knoxville Nationals our local guys will be here in Central PA still putting on a show for everyone. Friday night the 410's and the 360's will be back at Williams Grove Speedway, while down at Trail Way Speedway the bullring will host the only 358 race of the weekend. Saturday night, Lincoln has the 410 sprints and EMMR vintage cars and Port Royal host the 410's, Super Late Models for Dollar Dog and Camera and Autograph night. Selinsgrove Speedway will be the place to be for local fans on Saturday night as they will have the Mach 1 Selinsgrove National Open for the 360 sprint cars and it is the biggest paying race for the 360's with a $10,000 pay day to the winner. I'm hoping to be in attendance Saturday night to catch the biggest 360 race in Central PA, and to see if anyone can stop the 1m of Mark Smith from taking home his bosses money.
But as always no matter where you take in a race this coming weekend I hope your weather is warm, your beverage of choice is Ice Cold, and your racing is red hot. Have a great week folks, and good luck to Danny, Greg, Stevie, Brent, Logan, and Jacob. Lets hope one of our local and not so local hometown guys can bring the trophy back to Central PA next weekend.
©Bill McIntyre and Central PA Racing Scene 2015