With a weekend home by design, it was a good time for a mid season break from travel. But not from racing, as I'm still a race fan. Friday the choice was the annual visit to Williams Grove Speedway. On tap were the 410 Winged Super Sprints as part of the PA Sprint Speedweek. Also joining the card were the All American Outlaws (Vintage Stocks), and the dreaded fireworks. Admission was $18.
Jeff Sands has three reserved seats, so we didn't have to worry about getting there early. We walked in during hotlaps and proceeded directly to some of the best seats in the house. It's good to be pals with a famous impresario. Good thing too, as a very large crowd was on hand.
The Super Sprint car count was a bit less than I had expected and hoped at just 34. The shape of Williams Grove Speedway is not my favorite, but the surface was in wonderful condition for the show. There was a beautiful cushion on the outside and maybe after 20 years they finally figured out that they will have the best racing if they leave the cushion alone and not stomp it down with push trucks, as I have been writing for two decades. The track had two grooves and there was no dust at all the entire night, at least on the frontstretch.
They claim that racing starts at 7:30, but they really mean that's when the time trials start. They do not interest me. During time trials I wandered through the infield at my old stomping grounds, saying hi and stopping to talk to people I no longer see on a regular basis. That was nice. Greg Hodnett set fast time.
The four sprint heats were up next and they were all decent, with the top two from each, plus the two fastest times that qualified in the heats but were not in the top two also made the redraw, putting ten in the draw and 20 in the feature. Next up were two harmless six lap heats for the 19 vintage stocks on hand. Without delay, the B-Main rounded out the qualifying.
Next up were the fireworks, which I do not like. I expected a long delay for them but was pleasantly surprised that they don't even turn off the track lights for the fireworks like most tracks do. I headed down to grab a snow cone and popcorn, and by the time I got back to my seat the fireworks were over and it was time for the A-Main.
I was rooting for Fred Rahmer and Brady Bacon. Bacon's night didn't start too well as he popped the wall and did a "Tommy" in turn one of the second lap. The next 39 laps went non stop. Usually with winged sprint car racing, especially on a big track, passes are permanent, cars string out, and everything is decided long before the finish. Not in this race.
In a wonderful feature, there was a fantastic battle between early leader (thru lap 18) Donnie Kreitz Jr., eventually winner Danny Dietrich, eventual Speedweek champion Greg Hodnett, erratic charger Brent Marks, and late charging Logan Schuchart. I was elated to see that the cushion remained the fast way around, even in the feature. It looked like Fred Rahmer had set up to run the bottom, and he was stuck down there and faded to sixth. Still, he kept his amazing streak of not finishing out of the top ten in PA all year alive, both at The Grove and throughout the rest of the weekend.
I enjoyed the show very much, especially since it was so well run. The sprint feature ended at just a minute or two after 10:00, making this a two and a half hour show even with the time trials. We were on the road before the vintage stocks even got close to hitting the track for their feature. That's two years in a row that my annual Williams Grove visit turned out to be fantastic racing.
Guy & Pam Smith 2013 Summary
2013 New Tracks--Guy 35 / Pam 22
2013 Events-- Guy 50 / Pam 26
2013 Total Tracks-- Guy 51 / Pam 27
2013 Additional new Non TC Tracks--Guy 4 / Pam NA
Lifetime Total Tracks--Guy 1,512 / Pam 859
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