Another great season of sprint-car racing finally came to an end in Central Pennsylvania a few weeks ago.
The first race of the season was held at Williams Grove Speedway March 19 and was won by Fred Rahmer. Chad Layton won the final event at Susquehanna Speedway Park Nov. 13.
In between, more than 90 features were held at the three main sprint-car tracks, along with special races throughout Central and Eastern Pa.
Greg Hodnett was the overall Speed Dawg Central Pennsylvania Sprint Series champion. He won eight races overall. He was the Pennsylvania Speedweek champion. His biggest win came in the Summer Nationals at the Grove where he won his first track title.
Lance Dewease celebrated his 25th season of sprint-car racing in 2010. He scored two big wins against the World of Outlaws — one at Williams Grove as part of the historic win streak and one at Western Pa.’s Lernerville Speedway.
Dewease won 10 features including his 75th at Williams Grove. He traveled around, so he wasn’t in contention for any track championships. Dewease will return to the Don and Lisa Owens sprinter next season. He had the most wins in the area.
Lincoln Speedway champion Brian Montieth had nine wins, including a first in Port Royal Speedway’s Tuscarora 50. He also won a 360 sprint-car feature during the Kasey Kahne Foundation event at the Grove. He won four at Lincoln and at the Grove.
Former Outlaws driver Daryn Pittman made his presence known to the mid-state after moving into Mike Heffner’s sprinter. He won eight races in Central Pa. and 12 overall. His biggest win came during the Mitch Smith Memorial at the Grove. He was the Keystone Cup Champion winning three of five events.
Tyler Walker’s first season in Central Pa. resulted in six wins. Walker underwent knee surgery in October, but should be back in Jesse Keen’s sprinter next season.
The Pennsylvania Posse’s winning streak against the World of Outlaws came to an end in October when Sammy Swindell won the Morgan Hughes National Open. Although not a full-time driver with the Outlaws this year, Swindell is certainly not a Williams Grove regular. The streak was at nine straight.
We have numerous teams in Central Pennsylvania where sons are driving cars owned by their fathers. These drivers include Alan Krimes, Aaron Ott, Brent Marks and Adam Wilt.
Krimes had the best season of this group with three wins and top-five point finishes at the Grove and Lincoln. Krimes led the Speedweek points for six races before a broken U-joint cost him the point lead.
Gary and Patty Beam retired from owning sprint cars this season. Gary believes more and more teams will be owned by fathers for their children and not people hiring outside drivers. They owned cars for 30 seasons, almost all with Todd Shaffer.
Keith Kauffman will return to the cockpit next season. The 60-year-old Hall of Famer will race for Heckman Tree Farm Racing. The plans are to compete in all of the Port Royal Speedway races and other select shows in the area. Kauffman, who raced half a season this year in the John Trone sprinter, has the most track championships and wins at Port Royal.
Stevie Smith will return to the John and Pee Wee Zemaitis-owned Zemco sprinter next year. He won three races this season.
Overall, the crowds were good and so were the cars counts. The season-ending big money shows produced over-flow crowds at some tracks.
The sprint-car season in Central Pa. is scheduled to get underway Feb. 26 at Lincoln Speedway. Many of the top sprint-car teams from Pa. will head to Florida in February.