GIBSONTON, FL (February 4, 2021): A pair of local favorites, Mark Whitener, of Middleburg, and Justin Webster, of Sarasota, were victorious in the 45th running of the Winternationals at East Bay Raceway Park. Whitener captured the win in the Crate Racing USA Late Models, while Webster scored with the Top Gun Sprints.
When threatening weather forced another series to cancel their Super Late Model races at a different Florida track, Whitener went to Plan B, to run his Crate Late at East Bay. The decision was almost his undoing. While loading that car into the hauler to make the trip to East Bay Whitener fell and sustained a leg injury. He even fell several times at the track, but the injury did not slow his pace in the race car one bit. “I’m gimped up pretty bad right now, but it didn’t really affect me in the race car.”
Whitener made it a clean sweep, setting the fastest time over the 78 car field, winning his heat race, and getting the feature win.
Although Whitener started on the pole for the thirty lapper, he lost the initial lead to Joseph Joiner. Joiner led the first thirteen laps over Whitener, Kyle Lukon, Phillip Cobb, and Dylan Knowles. Kyle Hardy soon cracked the top five, and reached the third position by lap ten. Hoiwever, he was unable to reel in the leaders.
Whitener made a two-for-one move in the first corner with thirteen laps complete. He got by both the leader Joiner and a lapped car to assume command. The leaders went on to complete the lap before another caution was displayed, so Whitener was on the point for the Delaware double file restart.
The restart was costly to Hardy, who got out into the loose dirt at the top of the speedway. He lost four positions, allowing Lukon, Knowles, and Cory Hedgecock to scoot by.
Whitener maintained his advantage but Joiner stayed close until misfortune struck. He clipped the outside wall in turn three and brought his car to a stop. Another quick caution gave Lukon a second shot at the leader, but he was not up to the task.
Whitener completed the remaining six laps without difficulty. Lukon was second in his debut at East Bay. Hedgecock was third despite using a provisional to start dead last in the race. Ashton Winger and Hardy completed the top five.
Frankie Lloyd, Jake Rainey, Dylan Knowles, Jake Knowles, and Jeremy Shaw finished sixth through tenth.
Whitener’s quick time was 15.995 seconds. Joining him as heat winners were Richie Stephens, Shaw, Winger, Joiner, Dylan Knowles, Lukon, and Nick Gainey. Four B Mains were held, with victories going to Logan Roberson, Colton Leyendecker, Jason Welshan, and Garrett Mosley.
In the Top Gun Sprints, passing points set the starting line up. Dylan Colding and Garrett Green were in the front for 25 trips around the Clay by the Bay. Justin Webster and Shane Butler were in the second row, with Danny Martin, Jr. and A.J. Maddox in row three. Robbie Hoffmann and Ethan Barrow were paired in row four, with Will Hull and Billy Bridges in row five.
Green rolled out to the early lead over Butler and Colding. Martin spun on lap two, with Tyler Orzichowski bringing out the caution soon thereafter.
Green stayed out front until his car suddenly slowed between turns three and four with seven laps in the books. That handed the lead to Webster, who would never be headed.
Webster deftly maneuvered his way through the heavy traffic for fourteen laps until the race was halted due to the flip by John Kall. Kall was unhurt in the wreck. Through that long run, Butler and Hoffman were battling for second. However, all eyes were on Martin, who was picking his way through the field. He lined up fourth for the penultimate restart, with Maddox in fifth.
When racing resumed, Martin swept past Hoffman and now he was all over Butler for the second position. Contact ensued, and Butler’s car turned over in turn four with just four laps remaining in the contest. Hoffmann skipped by the crash scene and was lined up in second for the final restart. He could not hold off the fleet Martin however.
Webster, Martin, and Hoffmann earned the podium positions. Maddox was fourth, with Tyler Clem in fifth. Larry McVay, Barrow, Brandon Grubaugh, Hull, and Luke Hill rounded out the top ten.
Four heats were held for the 28 cars on hand. Victories belonged to Webster, Hoffmann, Barrow, and Green. Andy Cobb prevailed in the B Main. Webster’s heat and feature wins added the Lee and Jeff Barfield Memorial Clean Sweep award to his bounty.
Determined Dewease Destroys Port Royal in Night Two of Tusky 50 Weekend
PORT ROYAL, PA (September 9, 2022): Lance Dewease romped to an impressive win on night two of the Tuscarora 50 weekend at Port Royal Speedway. The $10,000 win was number one hundred twenty-one in his career, putting him just eight wins behind Keith Kauffman on the track’s all-time list. For Dewease, it was his ninth Port Royal triumph against the All Stars in the fifty-nine races held at the Speed Palace, and his fourty-third career triumph with the touring series.
Dewease stamped himself as one of the favorites to take home the $60,000 winner’s share that will be on the line Saturday night. He has seven career wins in the classic, more than any other driver.
“It was a really good car last night, and it was good all night. We just timed sixth against a good group.” On this night, he timed second second in his group, which put him on the pole of his heat race. Although he had another tough group to race against, he had a much better starting position and easily won the preliminary to lock into the dash. While he did not get a good pill draw, he did pick up a couple of positions to move ahead in the feature line-up.
Dewease explained that his veteran crew made a motor change during the day and that they wanted to see how it would perform. The team also made a few other changes which he did not disclose. He added, “they know what they need to do to make it better.”
Dewease noted that the car does not like the dirty air. “I didn’t do a good job last night staying out of the dirty air. I did a better job with that (tonight). I was pretty good tonight keeping the wing loaded.”
Dewease mentioned that he got a break on a pair of lap eleven restarts. On the first try, Dewease entered the corner low to try to pass Giovanni Scelzi for second, and Danny Dietrich was able to sail past Dewease on the high side. But a multi-car wreck in the middle of the pack in turn one wiped that pass out and Dewease altered his strategy for the second go at it. That time, he entered the first corner in the middle and Dietrich did not have as much room to make a run on the outside. Dewease held third and then he went to work on Scelzi.
After dispatching Scelzi rather quickly, it only took Dewease three more laps to pass Brian Brown for the lead. “I didn’t want to show Brian a lane,” Dewease said. By the time Brown knew Dewease was down on the guardrail, the pass was history.
Dietrich used the high line to pass Brown about a lap later, and he was reeling in Dewease. The fans were ready for a full tilt fight for the lead in the waning laps, but Dietrich suddenly slowed coming off turn two on lap twenty-two. He stopped to bring out a caution. He went to the work area with teh assistance of a push vehicle, but the car was sitting down on teh right rear corner with apparent suspension damage that could not be repaired.
By winning the dash handily, Brown started from the pole. Scelzi was on his flank. Behind them were Cory Eliason and Kasey Kahne. Dietrich and Tyler Courtney lined up in the third row, followed by Brent Marks and Lance Dewease. Justin Peck and Rico Abreu were in row five, as the last of the dash competitors. Austin Bishop and Sye Lynch represented the millennials well in row six.
Brown, Scelzi, Courtney, Dietrich and Eliason led the way atthe start. Kahne, Marks, Dewease, Lynch, and Abreu followed. Dietrich slipped into third on lap two and he started to close on Scelzi when the first caution was displayed for Zeb Wise five laps into the contest.
Two laps after the race resumed, Dietrich was riding second, but Dewease was up to fourth and he was clearly the fastest car on the track at that time. Dewease sparred with Dietrich for a couple of laps before assuming the third position.
Another stoppage for Bill Balog set up the pair of restarts with eleven laps in the books. The first start was called off because of the chaos in turn one involving Lynch, Kahne, Bishop, and Mike Wagner. Wagner got airborne after running over the left front wheel that came off Lynch’s car. Wagner’s car was struck by two other cars while in the air and it briefly hung up on the tin that sits above the tiers of Armco barriers that ring the first and second turns. Fortunately, none of the drivers were injured in the wreck.
When the race officially resumed, Dewease was on a mission. He passed Scelzi for second on lap thirteen and Brown for the lead three laps later. Dietrich followed his advance, but he was several car lengths behind Dewease. The anticipated battle between Dewease and Dietrich never materialized, though, because of a mechanical failure.
Dewease easily outdistanced Brown over the final eight laps. Scelzi crossed in third. Marks briefly challenged for that position, but Scelzi was able to hold him off. Peck snuck by Marks for fourth in the final rounds. Positions six through ten went to Courtney, Dylan Cisney, Justin Whittal, Anthony Macri, and Eliason.
Whittal was the hard charger, coming from twenty-fourth to eighth.
“We were a third place car,” Brown said. He added that he was in the right place when Dietrich broke. Nevertheless, he was pleased with his run and he was looking forward to the fifty lapper on Saturday.
By starting the A Main with a provisional, Logan Wagner was named the 410 Sprint Car champion atthe speedway for the fifth time in his career.
The five heat winners were Eliason, Kahne, Dewease, Dietrich, and Abreu. Abreu battled Macri in the early going, but Macri made hard contact with the wall followed by a 360 between turns one and two. Somehow, he kept the car going and limped into the work area. Although the right rear tire was replaced, other damage prevented his return. Macri rebounded for the B Main victory. The C Main winner was Zach Hampton. For the second night in a row, Courtney was the fastest qualifier. His lap time was 16.225 seconds.
In the Super Late Model feature, veteran Jason Covert picked up the win. Although he started on the pole, he lost the lead at the start to his dancing partner, Mike Lupfer. Lupfer led the first ten laps before Covert took control. Once in the lead, Covert disappeared from the field.
In the second half of the race, Lupfer had an extended battle with Hayes Mattern for the second position. Lupfer held him off, though. Taking fourth at the end of the race was Colton Flinner. That assured him of his first track title. Gary Stuhler, who had a mathematical chance of taking the crown, was fifth. Last year’s titleholder, Dylan Yoder, was sixth. Gene Knaub, Trever Feathers, Dillan Stake, and Deshawn Gingerich rounded out the top ten in the non-stop affair.
Late Model preliminaries went to Lupfer, Yoder, and Flinner. There was no B Main.
Macri Masters Port Royal Tusky Opener
PORT ROYAL, PA (September 8, 2022): Anthony Macri celebrated the return to his familiar, family-owned mount by steering it into victory lane on the opening night of the Tuscarora 50 weekend at Port Royal Speedway. The $8,000 victory was his eighteenth of the season overall.
“We spent a month on the road and we got our butts kicked a little bit, but I learned a lot, different scenarios and tracks,” Macri noted. Truth be told, his experience behind the wheel of the Sam McGhee Motorsports number 11 was not all bad. He did chalk up a win with the car at the Bedford Speedway a couple of weeks ago. But, you could tell that he was more comfortable, and more aggressive, in his own car.
Macri fell back at the beginning of the race. While that may have concerned some, it was all part of his strategy to save his tires. He noted how tires worn in the heat races, and he wanted to make sure that he had enough rubber to go the distance. Conserving tires will be even more important in the big fifty lapper that will close out the fifty-fifth running of the Tuscarora 50.
“I wanted to play the beginning of the race calm and cool,” he explained. He dropped to third behind Bill Balog and Danny Dietrich. “Balog got out there and I decided , I knew, it was time to go.” And, once he got going, there was no stopping him.
Dietrich, who finished second, quipped, “I kept Anthony honest up until lap twenty-two. Then I came up on some lapped cars. They were running three abreast, a lot of dirty air.” Nonetheless, Dietrich was pleased with his performance. “That’s the best by far that this car has been up here. It really stuck in the middle.”
Perhaps the fastest car on the track in the second half of the race, though, was the Zemco number 1 driven by Logan Wagner. Wagner, who is seeking his fifth track championship this weekend, came on strong to take the third position. Wagner was disappointed with his run in the dash, which was only good enough to put him eighth on the grid. “I feel if I had capitalized a little better in the dash and put ourselves into a better position . . .” his voice trailing off.
Balog was on the pole as a result of his dash win. Macri was his wingman. Justin Peck and Dietrich occupied row two. Giovanni Scelzi and Mike Wagner were in row three. Jeff Halligan was slated to start inside row four, but when he had a fuel pump problem, he had to borrow a car to start at the rear of the field. That moved Lucas Wolfe up a row and placed him beside Logan Wagner. Justin Whittal and Cory Eliason made up row five. Freddy Rahmer, Jr. and Brian Borown were paired in row six.
The talent laden field included Brent Marks in row seven, Lance Dewease and Rico Abreu in row nine, Tyler Courtney in row ten, and Dylan Cisney in row ten.
Balog led Macri into turn one, with Dietrich fighting Peck for third. Dietrich prevailed, and he immediately pressured Macri for the second spot. Dietrich to that on lap two. Macri regained the second spot as the field completed lap five.
Meanwhile, Balog was setting a blistering pace. He was more than two seconds ahead of Macri at one point. However, Macri tracked him down and assumed command on lap eight. Soon thereafter, Dietrich took over second again and he began to reel in Macri.
By the halfway mark, Balog was fading. The top five included Macri, Dietrich, Peck, Mike Wagner, and Scelzi. Logan Wagner was sixth. After Balog came Whittal, Abreu and Marks. Dewease was up to eleventh and he was stalking Marks for a position in the top ten.
Logan Wagner picked up speed as the race went on. He was up to fourth by lap twenty and third by lap twenty-five. While he continued to close in on Dietrich, he was unable to make a move for second in the final rounds.
At the checkers, it was Macri over Dietrich, Logan Wagner, Peck, and Mike Wagner. Whittal was sixth, followed by Scelzi, Abreu, Dewease, and Marks.
Heat wins went to Balog, Eliason, Wolfe, Dietrich, and Halligan. The C Main went to Zach Hampton, with Courtney taking the B Main. The evening’s fastest qualifier was Courtney, who turned in a lap of 16.371 seconds.
In the PASS 305 Sprint undercard, it was Garrett Bard who was the third and final leader of the event. Drew Young started on the pole and led the first ten laps. However, he withdrew from the race after taking the crossed flags. That put Zach Rhodes into the lead, which he held for six rounds before giving way to Bard.
Rhodes held on for second, followed by Mike Melair, Ken Duke, and Jeff Weaver. Justin Mills, Scott Frack, Jimmy White, Tyler Snook, and Josh Spicer completed the top ten.
Bard, Rhodes, Mills, and Frack were the heat winners. The twin B Mains went to Kenny Heffner and Chad Phillips. The second B Main had a wild, three-car crash on the opening lap. Fortunately, none of the drivers were injured in the melee.
Rahmer Races to Sixth Win and $7,000 at Lincoln Speedway
ABBOTTSTOWN, PA (September 3, 2022): Freddie Rahmer, Jr. caught the breaks and held off the challenges of Troy Wagaman, Jr. to score his sixth victory of the season at the Fabulous Lincoln Speedway. The tribute to Elijah Hawkins, a child who succumbed to burn injuries in 2021, was worth $7,000 to the third generation driver from Salfordsville, PA.
Also celebrating in victory lane were Wyatt Hinkle in the 358 Sprint Cars and Travis Perry in the Central PA Legends.
“We got fortunate enough to win that one,” a relieved Rahmer said. “We weren’t good enough.” Rahmer explained that he wasn’t comfortable racing up against the big curb that developed in turns one and two, but that when he went to the inside and pulled his wing back, he was unable to get down the straights and he wasn’t able to get through turns one and two very well. “I could creep around turns three and four.”
Despite his complaints, Rahmer was good enough to keep Troy Wagaman, Jr. at bay. His efforts in that regard were aided by a couple of well-timed cautions, which cleared the lapped traffic. Rahmer was decent enough in clean air to maintain his lead. And, while Wagaman was able to close in on him in traffic, Wagaman could not pull off the pass before another caution would come out.
“I thought that I had it there,” Wagaman noted of one particular circumstance on lap nineteen. Wagaman added, “I didn’t want to show him the bottom too early. I had him before that incident.”
The incident to which Wagaman referred happened in turn one when he made a strong inside move on Rahmer and got a nose ahead. Rahmer was committed to the middle, but when a lapped car came up on him, his evasive maneuver took him into another lapped car, that of Chris Arnold, who took a nasty tumble as a result of their contact. “I didn’t mean to get into that lapped car, but an apology doesn’t fix nothing,” Rahmer noted.
Rahmer was restored to the point for the ensuing restart and, as happened at least two other times, he was able to scoot away from Wagaman in clean air.
Rahmer Jr. had the pole by the luck of the draw in this Speedweek format event. Next to him was Tim Glatfelter. Chad Trout and Robbie Kendall lined up behind them. Troy Wagaman, Jr. and Dylan Norris were paired in the thord row. Zane Rudisill and Brandon Rahmer started from wow four. Kyle Moody and Aaron Bollinger made up row five. The sixth matched Arnold with Jimmy Siegel.
Rahmer bolted out to the early lead over Glatfelter, Wagaman Jr., Trout, Norris, and Kendall. A caution just four laps into the contest bunched the field again.
Rahmer resumed the lead, with Galtfelter holding second again over Wagaman Jr. Norris moved up a notch, and then Glatfelter began to struggle. He fell back several positions in the running order.
Dominic Melair tumbled in between turns one and two for the next stoppage of the race on lap ten. On the restart, Wagaman Jr. stayed close to Rahmer Jr. Entering turn one on lap twelve, Wagaman made his first feint to the inside. However, Rahmer had enough momentum up top to maintain his advantage.
Rahmer Jr. began to separate himself from Wagaman Jr, who was searching around to find a quicker line. When the leaders encountered slower cars, though, Wagaman was able to close in on the leader. On lap nineteen, Wagaman had a good run coming off the inside of turn four. While Rahmer still crossed the scoring loop in front, Wagaman had the better corner entry and got ahead slightly. Rahmer checked up for a lapper that crossed his nose and there was heavy contact between Rahmer’s right rear tire and Arnold’s left front. Arnold went hard into the wall in one and flipped wildly. Fortunately, he was not hurt in the wreck.
Rahmer had the point again and led Wagaman. As the laps wound down, Wagaman started to close in again in traffic. He was ready to strike when the caution came out with three laps remaining in the contest.
Rahmer was able to complete the final rounds without another challenge from Wagaman. Taking third was Norris. Fourth went to Chase Dietz, who passed a dozen competitors in the thirty-five lapper. Dietz received an extra $250 for the effort. Trout crossed in fifth. Glatfelter, Brandon Rahmer, Moody, Tyler Ross, and Siegel completed the top ten.
There were three heats this night for the 410 Sprints. Taking the $100 wins were Kendall, Glatfelter, and Norris. There was no B Main. Rahmer Jr. also snagged a $250 bonus for setting the fast time, with a lap of 13.328 seconds.
A caution on the initial lap and then a six-car pile-up on the second attempted start marred the beginning of the 358 Sprint Car feature. Two cars flipped, but neither Jordan Strickler nor C.J. Tracy were injured. However, once the race officially began, it ran off without a hitch.
Wyatt Hinkle grabbed the lead from the pole position over Frankie Herr, Nat Tuckey, and Dave Holbrook. By lap five, Chris Frank took over second, followed by Herr, Kody Hartlaub, and Tuckey. Soon thereafter, Tuckey began to slide back in the field.
Hinkle and Frank threaded their way through traffic over the second half of the race. Frank drew close but could never find an opening to make a bid for the lead.
Hinkle crossed the scoring loop first at the end of the twenty laps. Frank was second, followed by Hartlaub, Herr, and Holbrook. Hayden Miller, Jeff Rohrbaugh, Logan Rumsey, Cody Fletcher, and Steve Owings were sixth through tenth.
Hinkle dedicated the win to his late brother, who would have turned thirty on this day.
The four heat winners were Hinkle, Herr, Holbrook, and Rumsey. There was no B Main.
In the Central PA Legends, Travis Perry made a last lapp pass to defeat Travis McClelland by 0.024 seconds for the win. Stephen Wurtzer, Bill Diehl, and Chris Transeau rounded out the top five. Nest to cross were Shaun Abney, Brent Marquis, Aaron Updegraff, Preston Alleman, and Choya Young.
McClelland locked himself into the A Main with a fast timed hot lap of 20.032 seconds. The twin non-qualifier races went to Aaron Updegraff and Cody Altland. A banner field of fourty-six Legends signed in for this event.
Next weekend, there will be no Sprint Cars racing at Lincoln Speedway due to the Tuscarora 50 at Port Royal Speedway. The Super Late Models will race for $4,000. They will be joined by the Wingless Sportsmen, and two divisions of Stockers. Then, on Saturday, September 17 will be Dirt Classic IX, sanctioned by the All Stars Circuit of Champions. Karts and motorcycles will compete on September 24 and October 1, respectively. The 410 Sprints will be back on October 4 for the Brian Montieth Tribute.