Friday, June 29 - Pat pulled into the garage just a few minutes after I arrived home for work and by 5 o’clock we were on the ride to Williams Grove. The plan was to stay Friday night in York after the races then catch a minor league baseball game in Lancaster and follow that up with a visit to Lincoln Speedway on Saturday night for the Pennsylvania Sprint Week opener. We pulled into the parking lot at Williams Grove a little after 7 and made our way up into our grandstand seats overlooking the homestretch. Twenty four 410 sprint cars were on hand including two Australian visitors, Darren Mollenoyux and Luke Bowey. It was championship night for the 358’s but the low water mark of the year at 18 was their car count.
Racing commenced at 7:33 with the first of two 358 sprint car heats followed by three heats for the 410’s and back to the second heat for the 358’s. The heats were nothing special but that is usually the case here as the track works into shape. It was 8:13 when the heats were completed and some track maintenance was in order before the 410 consie was run. Steve Buckwalter outran the field at 8:31 and another short delay was taken as the 410’s always run their feature first and the consie cars needed some turnaround time before racing again. By 8:53 the green was waving on the 25 lap feature event. Gerard McIntyre took the early lead with Brian Montieth racing from the 7th hole to pressure the youngster in the early stages. One failed slid move in turn two where Montieth caught the cushion with McIntyre racing back by was executed to perfection one lap later on lap 9 with Montieth taking the lead. McIntyre backed it into the second turn fence the next lap in his hot pursuit of Montieth and that was it for the night for him. Sheldon Haudenschild who started 12th and Alan Krimes who started 16th were mixing it up for fifth and sixth on lap 13 when they tangled in turn three both sliding sideways into the fence with Fred Rahmer being involved also. Three laps later the caution appeared again and at this time the red was thrown for the dreaded fuel stop. Action resumed after a few minutes and Montieth raced off again with the field in pursuit. The Edge flashed under the double checkered at 9:30 winning his second Williams Grove race in a row over Brent Marks, Danny Dietrich up from 10th, Greg Hodnett from 11th to 4th and Cory Haas turning in another strong performance racing from 14th to complete the top five. Positions six through ten were filled by Chad Layton, Lance Dewease, Don Kreitz Jr., Tyler Walker and Davey Sammons from 20th to 10th.
The 358 sprint car feature would be an extra 5 laps this evening for championship night and the action was underway at 9:40. This turned out to be the better of the two features with 8th starting Ryan Wilson sweeping to the lead off turn four heading to complete lap 11. Eric Tomecek brought out of the pack shortly thereafter and began to track down Wilson. He caught him on lap 15, briefly took the lead but Wilson battled back. In turn two on lap 16 Wilson and Tomecek brushed with Tomecek doing a complete 360 spin and continuing without losing a position. Tomecek got the break he needed two laps later as the caution appeared and Wilson’s big lead was wiped out. On the restart Tomecek swept to the high groove in turn two to take the lead but a spirited duel sparked between Wilson and Tomecek over the remaining five laps of the race as the lightning flashed and the sky lit up off of turns one and two. Tomecek was able to hold off the assault of Wilson to become the seventh different winner in seven events and also recording his fourth career win at the Grove over Wilson with Adrian Shaffer storming from 15th to take 3rd at the end with Kevin Nouse passing Brian Garland for fourth on the last lap after starting 11th. The final checker waved at 10:06 with Tomechek standing in victory lane shortly thereafter receiving his check for $1200 while Brian Montieth took home $3600 for the win plus he rolled the dice which every 410 winner does in victory lane with an extra $1000 appearing on the dice, $500 which was an added bonus for a fourth row starter this evening and another $160 in lap money for a grand total of $5260 to win a normal 25 lap feature!! Not bad money, eh?