When the 2015 season came to a close, it looked as if Lance Dewease’s sprint car racing career may be nearing its end.
He had been driving the Dietz Motorsports No. 14 machine, but the team was leaving the sport at the end of the season. Dewease was prepared to hang up his helmet.
“I was retired,” Dewease said. “I was done, probably. My wife wanted me to get out of it. When we learned the 14 was done, I was already setting stuff in motion to be done.”
Around the same time, Donnie Kreitz announced his retirement from the sport due to the lingering effects of a concussion.
“I got word that Donnie might be hunting for a driver and I called him and the rest is history,” Dewease said. A phone conversation between the two longtime rivals resulted in a partnership for the 2016 season with Dewease wheeling the familiar No. 69k sprint car.
The results have been nothing short of spectacular with Kreitz, Dewease and 85-year-old Hall of Fame mechanic Davey Brown Sr. turning the wrenches.
“It’s been great,” Dewease said. “What’s been great about it is when we’re no good; we’re no good and nobody worries about it. There’s no pointing fingers. There’s no blaming anybody. We just go on to the next race.”
Dewease has 42 victories driving Kreitz’s powder-blue machine, including eight in 35 starts this season.
“Everybody has so much experience here,” he said. “We’ve all been doing this a long time. We know how quick things can change for the good or the bad. It’s just part of it and you just move on.”
The team doesn’t race every weekend and instead focuses on the higher-paying time-trial races. That plan has worked to perfection as they’ve scored numerous big victories with a ridiculous winning percentage for modern sprint car racing at about 30 percent. Dewease won 12 races in 30 starts during 2018.
Every major event in central Pennsylvania has been won by the Hall of Fame Dream Team at least once in the past four seasons.
“That’s what we gear ourselves up for is all the big shows,” Dewease said. “The schedule we do and everything we work for is geared toward the big shows. We’ve been very fortunate to be fast enough to be in contention for a lot of the big shows.”
There’s no doubt Dewease is happy he didn’t retire.
“This is one of the best things to ever happen to me,” he said. “I’m really having fun again at racing. It’s nice to be doing it at my age now and having fun being competitive anywhere we go and getting to do other things, too, golfing, family time, instead of running 80, 90 races a year. We run this limited schedule, which suites everybody involved. It’s just perfect.”
Dewease, of Fayetteville, Pa., won the Williams Grove Speedway National Open last year, beating the World of Outlaws and earning $56,000. It was his fourth win in the event with his fourth different car owner.
He also won the Summer Nationals and Morgan Cup at the Grove during this incredible four-year run. He broke Fred Rahmer’s win record at the historic half-mile oval last year and has now won 98 features there.
At Port Royal Speedway, he dominated the Tuscarora 50 in 2017 and ’18 and has six victories in the event.
Neither Kreitz nor Dewease raced a lot at Lincoln Speedway, but they’ve been fast there, too. Dewease beat the Outlaws at Lincoln this season. He also won the Weldon Sterner Memorial at the three-eighths-mile track this year.
He has scored nine Pennsylvania Speedweek victories during the past four years as well.