PORT ROYAL, Pa. — Lance Dewease won the Tuscarora 50 sprint car race for the fifth time Saturday night at Port Royal Speedway.
The Central Pennsylvania veteran, who now owns 100 career victories at the Port Royal “Speed Palace,” as well as 31 career victories against the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions, earned more than $12,000 for his record-setting triumph, crossing under the final checkers nearly eight seconds ahead of Stevie Smith and Dale Blaney.
Dewease took command officially on lap 12 and never looked back, utilizing the bottom groove of the Port Royal Speedway half-mile for the majority of his laps led.
“This feels great. It’s an honor to do it for these guys,” Dewease said. “I think I may have won this race with five different car owners, too, so that makes it pretty special. I wanted this one so bad all year for these guys. We’ve been really good everywhere we’ve went. We had a really good race car last night, but had some mechanical problems that were nobody’s fault. I’m having a lot of fun driving for this race team. We are all really enjoying this limited schedule. We savor every one of these things.”
With a redraw setting the first five starting rows of the 50-lap, Tuscarora 50 feature finale, it was Greg Hodnett and T.J. Stutts setting the tone on the initial start. Hodnett jumped to the early advantage, leading Blaney, T.J. Stutts, and Sheldon Haudenschild at the completion of lap one. Hodnett quickly opened up at the front of the field, extending his lead to a near-two second advantage by lap 10.
In the meantime, Dewease, pilot of the Don Kreitz-owned/Sharman Builders/No. 69k, started to pick his way through the field. The Fayetteville, Pennsylvania, native drove forward from eighth on the grid, securing the third position by lap 10, second position by lap 11, and the top spot by lap 12, but not without help from Hodnett. Hodnett, who was still controlling the point position during Dewease’s charge, slowed to a stop on lap 12, the result of mechanical woes. Dewease took advantage of Hodnett’s misfortune and quickly extended himself from his fellow frontrunners, chased to the lap 25 break by Stevie Smith, Blaney and Sheldon Haudenschild.
“That first 25 laps, I didn’t run that hard,” Dewease explained. “I knew we could go pretty soft on tires because I’m not that hard on tires. We came in during that red and my guys said my tires were still really good. So, I knew I could get going then. I just wanted to get inside the top-four before the break. I just found a line and was able to reel those guys in. You have to be there in the end in this deal. That’s what it’s all about. ”
The second segment of the Tuscarora 50 main event ignited with Lance Dewease returning to his place at the front of the field, followed by Stevie Smith and Dale Blaney. It would not take long for Dewease to once again open up his advantage, stretching to nearly four seconds by lap 30.
While Dewease dominated, a battle for second, third, and fourth would ensue involving Smith, Blaney, and Cap Henry. Smith soon established himself in the runner-up position, followed by a lap-by-lap battle between Blaney and Cap Henry. Despite all of their attempts to catch Dewease, nothing proved to be beneficial. Dewease ultimately scored the five-digit payday, followed by Smith and Blaney.
“There are probably only a few of us here that have experience racing on the same set of tires for all 50 laps,” Dewease said. “There is a little bit of a nact to it and a little bit of a patience to it. I’m happy to get it done for these guys.”
Lance Dewease, Stevie Smith, Dale Blaney, Cap Henry, Danny Dietrich, Lucas Wolfe, Sheldon Haudenschild, Brent Marks, Blane Heimbach, Chad Kemenah, Dave Blaney, Ryan Smith, Dylan Cisney, Doug Esh, Logan Wagner, Mike Wagner, T.J. Stutts, Brian Montieth, Danny Holtgraver, Brock Zearfoss, Andrew Palker, Curt Stroup, Tim Shaffer, Aaron Ott, Greg Hodnett.