Sunday, April 14 - Susquehanna Speedway Park has a special five race series of 410 sprints set for 2013. This would be the first today and is known as the Spring Classic. When we left the Easton area it was brisk and windy but by the time we reached the Newberrytown area the temperature had warmed to near 60 and the wind was no where to be found. Many people were lounging in lawn chairs next to their cars and enjoying the warm Spring day. We arrived at 4:50 for the 6 PM start and friends, Dave and Donna, had seats for us with Dwight, Gary, Marshall and John sitting with us also. Our friend from Bucks County, Russ Fri, arrived next and we waved him up to where we were sitting. He had driven out with today’s announcer, Jeff Ahlum, and would be sitting with us today.
Racing got underway at 6:11 with the first of three heats for the 22 358 sprint cars who were sharing the bill on today’s program. Heat winners were Ryan Wilson, Chris Eash and Austin Hogue, the winner at Williams Grove on Friday. With a straight up start for the feature the heat winners looked to be the ones to beat in the feature. Three heats were next run for the 25 410 sprints in attendence with three of the young guns, Logan Schuchart, Ryan Smith and Brent Marks nailing down the victories. The top two finishers of each heat would be inverted and the pill drawn by Schuchart was six so he would start sixth in the main event. All heat qualifying was completed in less than an hour (7:06) with no consies needed and a half hour intermission followed before moving into the 25 lap 410 sprint car feature.
This is the type of program the Central Pennsylvania sprint car fans want to see especially on a Sunday evening and kudos go out to the Susquehanna management for presenting and keeping the program moving along quickly. It was 7:42 when the green flag waved on the front row of Fred Rahmer and Lance Dewease with Rahmer sliding high to try to block the outside lane on the start with Mark Smith using the inside hole to take the early lead. It is always fun watching the sprinters work their way through the lap traffic and many fine moves were engineered during this time. Only three cautions slowed this one but the last on lap 19 would lead to Mark Smith’s demise. Rahmer got a good run on the restart and took the lead on lap 20 and it was lights out for the field. Donnie Kreitz, who has been dubbed Mr. Susky for his fine runs, made a late charge from his 11th starting position to close on Rahmer but time ran out before he could make a serious challenge for the lead. The resurgent Rahmer won his third race of the year at three different tracks (Lincoln, Williams Grove and Susky) over Kreitz with Brent Marks third, Logan Schuchart fourth and Mark Smith fading to fifth at the end. Positons six through ten were filled by Ryan Smith, Alan Krimes, Lance Dewease, Blaine Heimbach and Gerard McIntyre Jr.. The checkered waved on this one at 8:01.
Much of the good sized crowd stayed for the 20 lap 358 sprint car feature but the track was worn and passing was difficult. Don’t tell that to Nikki Young though as he advanced from 21st to 8th at the end. Ryan Wilson started first and opened up a ten car length lead in the middle stages of the contest after being challenged early by fifth starting Kevin Nouse. Wilson went on for the easy win flashing under the checkered flag at 8:39 winning over Nouse with Chris Eash third, Rodney Westhafter fourth and Tyler Ross fifth after starting 14th.
It was good night of racing on this Sunday night and everyone was on the road home before 9 PM. This is the proper way to run a Sunday night race program. Other promoters please take note.
This coming weekend finds us staying close to home as we are camping in our new motorhome outside of the Lehigh Valley and the weather for Friday does not look good for racing in the area. Thursday’s debut for the inner oval at Big Diamond (dubbed Little Diamond) was postponed because of inclement weather. So it could be back to back rainouts after making it through the first 21 shows without any rain.