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.