Tuesday, May 21 - After bailing out on two nights of racing on Saturday and Sunday nights due to weather concerns today was projected to be a nice day. Pat would not be able to go along so I gave a call to Ron Oswald from nearby Bethlehem,PA and we made arrangements to team up and head to the New Egypt Speedway for the WOO sprint cars making their first appearance at the 7/16 mile dirt oval in six years. We left early and took the Pa. Turnpike and then Rt. 276 over into New Jersey before arriving at New Egypt around 3:30. Gates would open at 4 so we lounged in two lawn chairs and ate our freshly prepared Wawa hoagies before heading into the speedway grounds. Ron likes sitting in turn one (I have never sat there) so off we went into the turn one bleachers. It is a unique view of the track and allows good sight lines of the entire track.
Time trials got underway at 6:41 and just twenty minutes later the 33 car field had taken time with 17 of them breaking the existing track record. The fastest of the bunch turned out to be Oklahoma’s Daryn Pittman, driving the #9 Great Clips sponsored Kasey Kahne owned sprinter, with a time of 13.396 seconds. The track was in fine shape and plenty fast. A half hour later the first of four heats was trackside for qualifying with the top five advancing to the A main. The top two out of each heat would be inverted according to the number on a pill selected by the fast timer. Three out of the four heats were entertaining with a decent amount of passing with only the fourth heat strung out with little passing occuring. Greg Hodnett, Joey Saldana, Ryan Smith and Craig Dollansky prevailed in the heats which were spun off in less than a half hour. The dash for the eight cars from the heats with an inversion of six was next up and Sammy Swindell wired this one from the point. This race set the top eight starters in the main event. The only qualifying left to run was the B main set for 12 laps with four to qualify. URC pilot and sometime 410 racer from New Jersey, Robbie Stillwagon, looked like he was going to win this one but last night’s Orange County Fair Speedway WOO winner, Kraig Kinser, caught and passed him on the last lap. Ryan Boehlke and Brent Marks were the other two to advance to the A main from this one. Kerry Madsen, a WOO regular, got behind the eight ball early by timing 31st out of 33 cars and with time trials being so important in WOO racing he had his work cut out for him during the evening starting in the rear in his heat and the B main. Madsen probably passed the most cars on the night but did not make the starting field and was out of provisionals until July so he loaded his mount early.
It was intermission time at 8:40 and the track crew worked the surface which had held up well with only one bump of note in the middle of turn one. By 9:15 the green was waving on the 30 lap main event and they were off and running. For the second night in a row the feature went non-stop and this one only took 8 minutes to complete. Daryn Pittman who started third caught Sammy Swindell on lap 6 in lap traffic to take the lead and had clear sailing from that point onward. Swindell who started first finished second with second starter, Jason Sides, taking third, fourth starter, Tony Stewart, remaining fourth and fifth starting Donnie Schatz coming home fifth. Positions six through ten were filled by Joey Saldana (8th starter), Paul McMahan (6th starter), Greg Hodnett (9th starter), Craig Dollansky (7th starter) and Kraig Kinser (11th starter) rounding out the top ten. Do you see a pattern developing here? The entire program was over by 9:23, a well run program, but the lack of passing was evident. This was Pittman’s fifth WOO win of the year for the current point leader and the most of any WOO driver so far in 2013.
If you read the South Jersey Dirt Racing web site this morning you would think this was the greatest show of the year. One person noted the lack of passing and another person countered with well J.J. Grasso advanced from 17th to 11th what were you watching. Well I know I scan the field constantly but look to see runs from the middle or rear of the field to the front and when nine of the top ten finishers started in the top ten positions don’t tell me what were you watching. These people need to go to Lincoln or Williams Grove where the point leader starts 12th and works his way to the front. Yes, the speeds are spectacular and they race in close quarters but this night the passing in the feature was minimal.
Yes, the World Of Outlaws are the best drivers in the country but they use a lot of hype and glitter to impress. Their format which relies heavily on time trials is flawed and they are trying to recify this with dash inversions as a start but unless they use a handicap system it will not be as good as weekly sprint car racing. Also cars that qualify through the B main should not get their times back and start in front of guys or gals that qualified through the heat races. But these drastic changes will not happen any time soon as the traveling outlaws have become prima donnas and would not tolerate having to pass 10 or 11 cars to score a WOO victory. That is why we do not attend very many WOO sprint car events. Don’t know how you feel but I like to see lots of passing and not just big named drivers driving fast.
To give credit to New Egypt Speedway though they provided a good race track to race on and the program was moved along well taking just two hours and forty five minutes to run from the start of time trials until the checkered waved on the A main. That is very good on a weekday night when the majority of attendees have to work the next day. And the crowd was large and they seemed to enjoy it so I say to each his own but for me give me handicaping!!
Sunday, May 12 - It was the second Sunday sprint car special at Susquehanna Speedway Park on Mother’s Day and we headed westward to take in the action. On tonight’s card would be the 410 sprints and the 358 late models, the top Saturday night class here. We sat to the right of the flagger’s stand toward turn one with Dwight Bucks, Gary Grim and Marshall Kern and chatted before racing got underway at 7:15. That is 15 minutes off the scheduled starting time of 7 but is about normal for Susky.
The 358 late models started out the racing with three qualifying heats for their 27 car field with some good racing in each with Chase Billet, Steve Billet and Gene Knaub prevailing. The 410 sprints would run three heats also for their 24 car field with Fred Rahmer, Brent Marks and Jason Leffler looking good in winning their respective heat races. It was only 8:11 and only the late models would need a consie. When the consie race dwindled down to six and all would qualify the checkered was waved at 8:24 to complete qualifying.
After a short intermission to water the track some it was time for the 25 lap 410 sprint car feature. Danny Dietrich and Mark Smith would bring the field down to the green flag. Smith got the jump and took the lead which he would hold until Danny Dietrich made a nifty move in lap traffic on lap 11 to take the lead. Smith stayed right with Dietrich with Brent Marks reeling in the leaders as the laps spun off after starting fifth. It looked like this one was going to go the distance non-stop but with two laps to go Jacob Allen slowed in turn four and the only caution of the race appeared. This set up a two lap shootout and on the ensuing green Dietrich jumped back out front and was not to be denied his first career Susqehanna victory winning over Smith and Marks. Fred Rahmer and Jason Leffler rounded out the top five. It was Leffler’s best showing in Central Pennsylvania so far this season and it was good to see the USAC veteran notch a good finish with the air foil on the top. Logan Schuchart, Blaine Heimbach, Don Kreitz Jr., Greg Hodnett and Lance Dewease completed the top ten. The checkered waved just 11 minutes after the initial green.
There was still one feature to run with about half the people in attendence exiting after the sprint car feature. The 358 late model feature was a decent run but was hampered by six cautions in their 25 lap event. Randy Stoudt started first and took off at the drop of the green flag. Gene Knaub was on the move from his seventh starting spot and took second at the halfway mark and took up the chase of Stoudt. A lap 19 caution put Knaub on the rear bumper of Stoudt but Stoudt was up to the task and held off Knaub for his second consecutive win. Justin Ehrhart nailed down third with Chase Billet fourth and Larry Baer rounding out the top five. Good strong runs were turned in by Kyle Martin who came from 16th to 7th with J.R. Rodriguez up from 14th to 8th and Chris Knopp, a former sprint car driver, coming from 18th to 9th. The final checkered waved at 9:43.
Susquehanna management has produced two good Sunday night programs with finishes before 10 PM and this is what the race fan is looking for on a Sunday night with work to follow on Monday. Management has come to realize that the Central Pa. sprint car fan does not want to see any match races or other unnecessary delays but just want to see good, hard sprint car racing and get home at a decent hour. Good job to the Fishers’ on running an efficient program!!
Thursday, May 16 - Today was the nicest day we have had so far this year. Temperatures were in the 80’s with mostly sunny skies. It was the third race of the Little Diamond Thursday night series and I promised to take Pat to this one as she was not able to attend either of the other two. We arrived close to 7 PM and parked right in front of the ticket booth. Upon entering we found Dwight Bucks and Marshall Kern in the top row and we set aside some rocks holding down the Friday night regulars plastic to reserve their seats and sat in front of them. Racing got underway at 7:11 for the slim field of four slingshots and seven 270 micro sprints on hand. One heat was run for each class which were completed by 7:19. A twenty minute intermission was taken and I didn’t think they had a shot to beat the 51 minute show I had witnessed at the end of April.
The 20 lap slingshot feature was first up with Alex Schoffstall taking the lead on lap two and leading the remainder of the event. Young Schoffstall is now three for three on the Little Diamond season and looks like he will be tough to beat unless the field picks up in number. Matt Miller brought his car home second with newcomer Tess Horvath rounding out the top three in the non-stop race ending at 7:49. The 20 lap 270 micro sprint feature was green flagged at 7:52 with first night winner, Ed Kenderdine, taking the lead. He was not to be headed and came home the victor over Luke Kroboth with newcomer Quinn Roberts taking third. The final checker waved at 7:58 beating the first night time of 51 minutes by 4 minutes.
As I am writing this blog I received an unconfirmed report that Little Diamond will be switching to Sundays and in my opinion this probably is a good move as they should bring out more cars and fans on a Sunday. Hopefully Little Diamond will stick with it and try to make this operation a success. Good luck to them.
Saturday, May 4 - Packing and clean up work continues at the homestead as the house goes on the market on Monday. Therefore Pat decided to stay at home and continue work while I scooted off to Grandview once again. I arrived around 6:40, ate my Vito’s Sub Shop tuna hoagie in the car before venturing into the track. I opted for the press box once again as the night was about to turn colder. I settled in my seat after race director and window washer, Mark Garman, cleaned the large windows in the press box and waited for the starting time watching warmups until slightly after 7. The starting time has been changed for the balance of the year with 7:30 being the new time to begin racing. The press box door was open at the moment as it was stuffy in there but soon I walked over and closed it as it was becoming cooler by the moment. In fact the sweatshire I brought in was donned before the first heat started.
Racing started three minutes early at 7:27 with the late models taking to the track for their two heats for their 23 car starting field. The sportsman would run three heats for their 29 entrants on hand before the 358 modifieds took to the track with four heats for their 41 car field. In the sportsman heats Jordan Henn looked impressive in winning his heat race and veteran Dean Bachman, a former Nazareth regular, had his strongest run of the early season in his return to racing after many years away raising his family. In the 358 modifieds young Eric Biehn continues to impress winning heat one with last week’s winner, Duane Howard, coming from the rear to score a win in heat two. Ryan Grim held off the field in heat three and Tim Buckwalter, the 2012 ARDC midget champion, in his rookie year in the 358 modifieds won heat four after finishing sixth last Friday at Big Diamond.
The late models run their feature event first and the 25 lap affair took the green at 8:27. After two consecutive good runs by the late model guys tonight would end their streak. Six cautions ruined this race and was almost a replay of the 358 modified feature at Big Diamond last week which had a great race up front for the lead but knuckleheads trailing far behind disrupting the good racing up front. Tonight it was a battle royal between ninth starter, Mike Kellner, and sixth starting Danny Snyder. These two guys ran each other hard but clean and were very enjoyable to watch when the caution was not waving. At the end of 25 laps it was Kellner first across the line for his second win of 2013 at Grandview with Snyder second, Wayne Pfeil third after starting eighth, with Chuck Schutz fourth after starting tenth and Jason Miller collecting fifth after starting back in 13th.
The 358 modifieds needed two consies which ran next and the sportsman ran one. It was now 9:25 and time for intermission. Track maintenance was performed during the 25 minute intermission and then the 30 lap 358 modified feature was called to the post. When the green dropped at 9:56 it was Eric Biehn jumping out front with Tim Buckwalter charging from sixth to second in the opening laps. The first caution flew on lap three when Jeff Strunk pulled up lame with a flat tire. On the restart Buckwalter passed Biehn for the top spot and took the point. After flat was suffered by Strunk and the caution appeared again. Action continued until lap 14 when Craig VonDohren running in the top ten at the time dropped to the infield with mechanical woes. The caution waved at the halfway mark when Ryan Grim lost a tire and on the green Buckwalter went back out front with Biehn second and Kevin Hirthler third. By lap 22 Jeff Strunk after suffering two flat tires made his way back into the top ten. In the meantime last week’s winner, Duane Howard, had steadily worked his way to the front and appeared in the top five. He dispatched Manmiller for the third spot and took up the chase for Biehn for second. By lap 27 Howard had caught and passed Biehn and went after the high flying Buckwalter Coming for the white flag Howard performed a perfect slid job on Buckwalter to take the lead in turn three and Buckwalter switched lanes and dove low and the two raced side by side past the starter’s stand for the lead. Entering turn one Buckwalter tried to slid job Howard but hit the black slick section in turn one and looped his Gary Spots owned #91. It was a very disappointing turn of events for the first year 358 runner who went to the back of the pack for the restart. Doug Manmiller dispatched Biehn for second on the restart and tried to challenge Howard for the lead but ran out of the laps to do so. The checkered waved at 10:18 with Howard winning for the second week in a row over Manmiller with Biehn third, Hirthler fourth and Jon Kellner Sr. in a fine run to round out the top five. Howard gave a lot of credit to Buckwalter in victory lane on his fine run and predicted that he would be a multi-time winner in the near future.
We still had one more feature to go with the sportsman set to go 25 laps in distance in their main event. Jamie Undercoffler went to the front on the start but it was not long before Paul Kline (lap two) was the leader. Kline led until the halfway mark when his car began to smoke and he was passed for the lead by ninth starter, Kyle Borror. Borror paced the field the rest of the way but 14th starter, Craig Whitmoyer, was making up big chunks of real estate in the late going. Whitmoyer dove under Borror exiting turn four coming for the checker and almost pulled of the pass for the win but came up about a half car length short at the line. It was Borror’s first win at Grandview and second win in the sportsman overall and he was one happy fellow. Brad Brightbill came from deep in the field to finish third with Jordan Henn completing a good run in fourth with Kenny Gilmore rounding out the top five. Brian Hirthler ran a fine race and picked up the hard charger award after starting 20th and finishing 7th. It was 10:50 when the final checker waved on the evening.
Yes, it was once again a good night of racing on the hill in Bechtelsville.
Sunday, May 5 - Today was a perfect day with bright blue skies with puffy white clouds and temperatures in the high 60’s. The racing clan was invading the sleepy area located off Route 15 at the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds which would spring to life with the sound of engines. The first Sunday in May the racing faternity gathers at Latimore Valley for the annual Gary Wolford Fish Fry. Wolford was the all-time winning driver at the now closed Silver Spring Speedway in the super sportsman division and this event which started out as a small gathering of some friends at Wolford’s garage has now blossomed into a major get together with over 1000 + people in attendence this year. Over 400 pounds of fish was fried up along with french fries and other goodies and the line waiting to be served at 10 AM numbered over a hundred, We were near the front of the line as we had been warned to get their early and Pat’s dad, Junior, was skeptical when we drove into the infield around 8:45 with only a few other folks on hand. By 10 he realized that this was a big time event to be enjoyed with old cars on display, both race cars and spectator vehicles, and an auction of racing memorabilia taking place. After filling our stomachs with some good tasting fish and other items we took the shuttle up the hill to the Eastern Museum Of Motor Racing. Admission is free for the museum with donations gladly accepted. What laid beyond the walls of the building was a wonderful display of motor racing in the east. The majority of displays were open cockpit racing machines but there were some stock cars to be found also. For Junior who grew up in the Oley area there was one display which tickled his fancy as the reconstructed garage of Oley racer, Tommy Hinnershitz, with the original work benches and tools that Tommy used to work on his sprint cars. Junior relayed a story of when he was a kid and Tommy would drive his Miracle Power #1 down the backroads of the Oley area tuning it up and driving right by where Junior lived. The photos, posters and displays were numerous and this is one fine racing museum. They are open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 4 from April 5th through October 27th. Leave extra early for a Saturday race at one of the Central Pa. tracks and drop by the museum located off Route 15 south of Williams Grove. There is a big sign with an old sprint car on it so you can’t miss it.
Also on tap today starting at 1:30 would be the annual blindfold race which in the past has been run in many varieties of race cars. Today four team race would run in identical Ford mini-vans with father-son teams at the wheel. Van I was the Seigel team of Steve and Jim. Van II was the Pauch team of Billy Sr. and Billy Jr. Van III was the Rahmer van which consisted of Fred Rahmer and another gentleman who I did not catch the name of. The Rahmer boys were scheduled to be there but media day at the Kutztown Fairgrounds with their Tobias Speedstrs took priority. Van IV would be the Mackinson van of Johnny and Jordan. The rules were simple. One driver would drive the van blindfolded for three laps guided by his partner and then in the second three laps the other person would take the wheel blindfolded with the previous driver as guide. A pace vehicle, pick up truck, would pace the field to try to keep the speeds down somewhat as in previous years some damage was done to the fencing and such. If you bumped the pace truck it was $20 per hit. It was all in good fun!! After the end of the first three laps it was Team Rahmer leading Team Pauch and Team Seigel with Team Mackinson dropping from the event with mechanical woes. Jordan Mackinson jumped in the back seat of the Team Rahmer van for part two. Team Pauch with Billy Sr. driving took a big lead over the other two. The slowing pace truck bunched the field and coming off turn four it was close. Team Rahmer with Fred at the wheel spun the pace truck out of the way and it was a scramble to the finish with Team Rahmer edging Team Pauch by inches with Team Siegel third. We have never seen Billy Pauch Sr. and Fred Rahmer smile and laugh as much as they did on this afternoon. Everyone loved it!! After the finish the remaining three vans decided to have a “mini” demo derby which included a front end loader toward the end. After exiting the vans the entire group climbed on the sinking roof of the disabled van and had a group photo taken. They all made it back down safely and their interviews were classics!! It was a fun day of viewing, touring and watching a novelty race and the big crowd went home happy and full!!
Until next time get out there and support your local race track and enjoy some good short track racing.
Friday, May 3 – Our usual Friday night stop is Williams Grove but every now and then we deviate to another track. On this particular night I was running late from work and did not pull up the driveway until after 5:30. It is a 2 hour drive to the Grove with Friday night traffic and we were not going to make it on time for the 7:30 start. One of the good things about the Grove is they very rarely do not start on time and that is not in your favor when you always get there right at show time. Therefore the decision was made to head north instead where we would have plenty of time to get to Big Diamond. Not only do they start ½ hour later they are also 40 minutes closer. We arrived in the parking lot at 7:25.
It was a breezy cool night and when at Big Diamond the temperature is always a few degrees cooler simply because you are on top of a mountain. The car counts were low compared to years past but there were still enough cars to run three heats for the modifieds and sportsman with two heats for the road runners. The two roadrunner heats took the green at 8:08 and they were quite competitive. They were followed by three modifieds heats and three sportsman heats. As usual when one qualifying event pulled off the next one was pulling on to take the green. In 45 minutes they ran off the 8 events and immediately afterwards the roadrunners were pulling on for their 20 lap feature event. This was one exciting race. Even though there were 5 cautions, it came down to the final circuit before the winner emerged. Marc Berzowski took the lead on the final lap and went on to win his third in a row victory. It was 9:15 and a 25 minute intermission followed.
The main division, small block modifieds, ran their 30 lap feature next. I must admit I was a little disappointed that Duane Howard was a no show, since he is my favorite modified driver. The green dropped at 9:41 and while they were racing it was good but there were 6 cautions that really took away from the event. It seemed the cars at the back of the pack could not keep out of each other’s way. But on the other hand the high point drivers do not start up front at Big Diamond and it makes for some good dicing up through the pack. Jeff Strunk, who started 10th, took the lead on lap 6 with 9th place starter Craig Von Dohren hot on his rear bumper. It remained this way until a lap 16 restart when Von Dohren took the lead and never looked back. Von Dohren went on to win the event and this week he did not run out of gas. Von Dohren took the checkered flag at 10:12 and earned $3,000 for his win in the 30 lap event. Strunk finished second followed by MeMe DeSantis, 19th starter Frank Cozze and Doug Manmiller.
The 20 lap sportsman feature was last on the card and even though the night was still young the weather turned quite chilly by the 10:20 start. I was tired from a long hard week at work and when the caution came out for the third time on lap 4 I threw in the towel and headed for the car. Bruce decided to follow and we started the trip home.
Saturday, April 27 - It was another solo run to Grandview as Pat stayed at home to work in the house, cleaning and packing, for our future move to Indiana. It was another cold night on the hill in Bechtelsville and I took advantage of the press box to cut down on the cold of the evening. At Grandview you are always welcomed by the race director, Mark Garman, and track announcer and PR man, Ernie Saxton, ventured over before the preceedings began to chat for a few minutes.
The first late model heat for their 21 car field took the green flag at 7:19, still a bit late for such a cold night. These two heats were exciting with Kory Fleming and Kyle Merkel garnering the wins. They were followed in quick order by three heats for the 25 car sportsman field who also turned in credible performances with Kevin Beach, Ryan Lilick and Craig Whitmoyer prevailing. Four heats were needed for the 40 car 358 modified field with some of the up and comers, Tommy Sheetz III, Don Norris Jr. and Jordan Umbenhauer, winning and one veteran, Jeff Strunk, scoring a heat win. It took exactly an hour to spin off nine heat races and with good organization (having the next two heat races staged in the infield) a lot of racing can be accomplished in an hour.
By 8:23 the green flag was waving on the first feature event of the evening, the 25 lap late model feature. For the second week in a row these fellows ran a good, tight race with only two cautions and in between produced some good side by side racing. When it was all said and done at 8:43 second year driver, Steve Nederostek, held off Sean Merkel to score his first career win. The big guns were right there with Merkel, Jason Miller, Chuck Schutz and Mike Kellner (who started 20th) chasing him to the finish. The only division needing consies were the 358’s and they were spun off by 9:04 and it was time for intermission. Track maintenance was performed during the short 20 minute break and soon it was time for the 30 lap 358 modified feature.
It looked like it might be a night for the young guns as Tommy Sheetz III came out of the sixth hole to lead the race and looked awful strong going to the front. Oley’s other racer, Nate Christman, also came on strong from his eighth starting spot to put the pressure on Sheetz. They had a nice battle running each other clean. In the meantime 13th starter, Duane Howard also from Oley, was working his way forward with no help from the yellow flag. By lap 17 he had cracked the top five and the chase was on. The first caution appeared on lap 19 and this was just what Howard needed as he was now running third. On the restart entering turn two Howard split the leaders on a nifty move and challenged for the lead. Howard was able to wrestle the lead away coming to the flag for lap 21 and at that point it was all but decided. The two young guns gave it their best but Howard was not to be denied for his first victory of the year at Grandview aboard his new Bicknell chassis machine and number 201 in his career after scoring number 200 the night before at Big Diamond. It was indeed a productive weekend for the Oley resident! Sheetz III and Christman flashed across the line in second and third with John Willman driving a good race to finish fourth and Jeff Strunk advancing from 16th to round out the top five in a race that only had two caution flags. Frank Cozze, Craig VonDohren (from 22nd), Mike Gular (from 20th), Kyle Weiss and Brad Grim completed the top ten with the checkered waving at 9:45.
The only race left to run was the 25 lap sportsman feature and though it had four cautions it still was a good, competitive run. Kevin Beach Jr. after winning one of the heats looked strong this evening and indeed he was as he climbed from his 10th starting spot to take the lead in the later part of the feature go. Joe Funk advanced from 12th to take second with 13th starter, Craig Whitmoyer, taking third with Ron Krex fourth and Mike Lisowski claiming the fifth position. The final checker of the evening waved at 10:15 and everyone went home early and happy after seeing three good, competitive feature events. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Friday, April 26 – It was the usual rush home from work, throw on some jeans and then out the door to get to the races in time. On this particular night we were traveling west to Williams Grove Speedway one of our normal Friday night stops. Tonight was a little special as the All Star Sprints were in town along with the ARDC midgets. This is a time trial race for the sprints so we knew if did not get there exactly at starting time we would still be okay. However, we pulled onto the parking lot at 7:30 as the sprints were finishing up warm-ups. It was a beautiful clear day in the 60’s and there was a nice crowd on hand. Forty three sprints took time trials and Chad Layton set fast time with a time of 17.378.
There was a ½ hour break between the time trials and the time the first sprint heat took the green. They ran off the four heats prior to the ARDC midget heats, of which there were three. The midgets heats were over at 9:30 and 20 minutes later the sprint Dash was run. By this time the night air started to turn cool and it was getting quite chilly. Fred Rahmer won the 6 lap event which gave him the pole position for the main event. This was followed by a 12 lap sprint B main. All qualifying was complete by 10:15. Now if this was a normal Friday night two division show of 410 and 358 sprints, the 410 sprint feature would likely have already been complete. The Grove always starts promptly and rarely takes breaks other than a short intermission. Most complete shows are over by 10:30 – 10:45. This really is nice when you have a 2 hour ride home. But the All Stars were in town and we know they always mess around keeping you there until after 11:00.
The sprint feature took the green flag at 10:43 and it was a good one. Many times when the fast cars all start up front the race is not that exciting but tonight was different. There was a battle from the drop of the green. Fred Rahmer and Tim Shaffer immediately put on a show for the lead. Rahmer had the top spot. Shaffer took over on lap 4 and one lap later Rahmer reclaimed the lead. As the two battled for position it was easy to miss the forward motion of Don Kreitz Jr. in the blue number 69K. Kreitz started in 10th and by lap 10 moved into third. Two laps later he just drove by both Rahmer and Shaffer and that was the end of the story for the lead. In no time he built up a big lead over the rest of the field. There was only one caution in the 30 lap event and that came out on lap 14 for Mark Smith when he came to a halt on the homestretch. The final 16 laps were clean and green with Kreitz taking the checkered. The last time Kreitz won an All Star race at the Grove he came up light on the scales, but not tonight. Following Kreitz across the line were early race leaders Fred Rahmer and Tim Shaffer with Lance Dewease and Alan Krimes rounding out the top 5. The checkered fell at 10:58.
The final event of the night was for the ARDC midgets and they ran a 20 lap feature. I love midgets. So much so that Bruce and I are moving to Indiana so we can see wingless sprints and midgets every weekend. However, the Grove is just too big for the mighty fierce but small cars. Where they are perfectly suited for the bull rings of Indiana, the big ½ mile at the Grove is not ideal. It was 11:16 and cold when the green dropped and there were three cautions in the first 4 laps. With each caution more fans picked up their belongings and headed to the parking lot. However, after the lap 4 caution the race was run off nonstop. Probably less than a third of the original crowd was there to see Steve Buckwalter pull into victory lane shortly after 11:35. Once Buckwalter took the lead on lap 12 he was never challenged. Following Buckwalter across the line were Steve Drevicki, Tim Buckwalter, Ryan Greth and Brenden Bright.