Archive for June, 2016

Friday night was supposed to be the opening race for the 2016 PA Speedweek, at Williams Grove Speedway. Mother Nature had different plans, washing out Friday’s race with a lot of rain. After Friday’s rain out teams headed to the Lincoln Speedway for 17th running of the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial race, and the first race of PA Speedweek. 

40 sprint cars filled the pits for the the nights $7000 to win race on the beautiful red clay oval. Along with the sprint cars, there were 30 legend cars on hand for a action packed night of racing. This was my first trip to Lincoln Speedway. I have been to most of the other well know sprint cat tracks in PA, but never Lincoln. My good friend Bill,( a former sprint car driver) and I headed south early afternoon for some much needed Sprint car racing. From where we live it is a four hour drive. Some may say that’s crazy, but we say not at all. We live in Dirt Modified country, which is great, but we love our sprint cars as well. 

                           Fred Rahmer Racing had three cars on hand for the nights event 

Our 4 hr. trip was a good one, we caught up on things in our life and of course talked some racing.😀 we arrived at the track around 5:15 or so..gates opened at 5:30, so we where right on time.  Just like most of the PA tracks, we are on a narrow winding road and then all of a sudden there is a awesome Sprint car track in the middle of no where. I love the. Character of the tracks in PA, they have a history to them, and it shows when you are walking around the grounds. 

We bought our pit passes and headed into the pit area to scope out the iron that would be competing for $7000. Just as we thought a stought field of cars for sure we’re in hand, including Stevie Smith in the Rahmer #51s, always fast Greg Hodenett, and USAC ace, Bryan Clauson.  That is just a few of the heavy hitters we noticed when we first walked into the place. 

The grand stands filled up fast, along with the infield with loyal PA sprint car fans. I love this about PA the fans are dedicated, and the tracks let them go into the infield with their family to watch the races from there. I would love to see Some of our Modufied tracks in NY do that as well. Around 7:00 the sprint cars were pushed out onto the track for their hot laps before time trials. I was able to get some good shots in turns three and four during hot laps. Turns one and two had a tall fence in the infield that was to high to just stand there and shoot. This sucked because it would have been great shooting at that end if the track. Next time I am bring a ladder. 

Soon after practice the cars made their way into the track two laps of time trials. Greg Hidnett set quick time at a 13:3 second lap, for a 102mph average speed on the tight narrow track. The early cars had a advantage for sure with a heavier track. 

After time trials were over the teams prepared their cars for four exciting heat races. Heat one was a battle with Stevie Smith taking the win in his Rahmer 51s ride. The second heat winner was #59 Jim Siegel, and #11c Cory Hoss getting the top two spots. Winners of the last two heat races were  Lucas Wolfe in the Zemco # 1, and  # 87 Alan Grimes. All four of the 8 lap heats were exciting to watch, with battles all through the field. 

Next up were the legend cars, which put on a great show for the fans. These cars get it on for sure at Lincoln. As soon as the heat races were over the track crew went to work preparing the track for the nights main events. After the the redraw for the sprint cars , lance Dewease found himself starting in the Pole with Lucas Wolfe along side in the front row. Dietrick, Hodnett, and Smith rounded out the top five for the 30 lap main. 

Before we cloud go A-Main racing we needed to have the B-Main fill out the stellar field. Now this race was a barn burner. With both Rahmer Boys trying to get into the Main and a host of other fast guys gunning for the $7000 purse as well not only revere they racing for a nice purse at Linclon, but they scored points for all of the races all night.  These points add up all week at every track they compete at towards the PA Speedweek point title. This puts more pressure on the teams every time they hit the track. 

#51 Freddie Rahmer, and #3z Brock Zearfoss battled mist of the B main with Zearfoss getting by Rahmer on the last lap. Chad Dietz, and Brandon Rahmer also made it into the nights A-Main. Fred Rahmer wS pacing back and fourth in the infield watching his sons trying to make it into the main. It was a great race from strart to finish. 

After the dust setteld from that race it was time for the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial race. This is what we drive 4hrs to see. The stage was set, and the cars were being pushed off for their main event. At the drop of the green flag Lucas wolfe put his Zemco #1 out in front of Dewease, and Smith. Wolfe lead the field for the first 8 laps, until Lance and his famous #69k made a move for the top spot in traffic. Smith, Hodnett, Dietrich all followed putting Wolfe back into the 5th spot.A Donnie Kreitz cars hasn’t been to victory lane at Lincoln Speedway in ten years. So the fans were in their feet when the blue car went to the front. 

Dewease pulled out a good lead until the first caution tighter up the field again. After the restart Stevie Smith made a couple attempts to get by Lance but just could. Not make it stick. Mean while Dan Dietrick was up to third charging up on Smith. 

A red flag stopped the race with 6 laps  to go, after Gernard McIntyre put his car on its side in turn four. After the wreck was cleaned up the green flag flew again for a exciting 6 lap dash. Again Smith tried to get past the #69k, but Dewease was doing everything he could to keep the competition behind him. 

With in a couple laps left Dietrich put his foot down and made a hard charge past Smith, and right up to the rear bumper of Dewease. Dan came up a bit short at the checkards, but he put on a heck of a show late in the race. 

It was really cool to to Dewease and Kreitz in victory lane after so long at Lincoln. These two have had a good season so far this year, with a long season to go. 

Next up for PA Speedweek is Party at the Path Sunday night for round two of the week long series. 

Dewease, Dietrich, Smith, Hodnett,and Wolfe rounded out the top five in the A-main. 

We had a great time at Lincoln, and I will definitely be back this year some time for another show. I got home around 3:15 in the morning, but it was well with trip. If you get a chance to head to Pa for a sprint car race this summer. Do it,  you would be disappointed. 

Just in Greg Hodnett won Sunday’s Path Valley race. 

Thank you for stopping by,

I will see you at the track. 


John Zachary Photography.

NHRA Not What It Used To Be

Posted: June 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

NHRA drag racing made a smart move at the end of last season buy signing a tv deal with FOX sports. I think Fox is doing a great job with the coverage so far this year. I miss Mike Dunn for sure. Tony P is doing fine, but I still would like to have Dunn behind the mic. With Fox carrying the races I hope the ratings are up for the good of drag racing.  

Local drag strips seem to be doing well with full classes, and some new blood in the sport. The other day I was reading that the very popular TV show Street Outlaws has helped get more people into the sport of drag racing. If you haven’t heard the NHRA banned street outlaw stars from participating in a NHRA events last year. They do not promote street racing ,and never have. That’s why Wally Parks encouraged people to come racing with the NHRA. He hoped it would stop the illegal street racing and provide a safer place for young hot Rodders to showcase their love for speed.

In my opinion Street outlaws is popular because of the characters that are in the weekly show. Sure the cops trying to catch them in the first few seasons was kinda funny, but we all knew it was fake. In our house we love the cars and the people that represent the different cars. Each night the racing is for the most part great to watch. Farmtruck and Azn make us laugh out loud all the time. Who knows how much of the pre and post race drama is staged, but it is why we watch. We want some one to root for, and root against. The cars have their own personalities that we love or hate too.  

This is what the NHRA is missing. Drama, good guys and gals, bad guys and gals. I’m sure there are things going on behind the scenes that would make it more appealing to the fans. We don’t need fist fights, but some calling out and maybe a few stories about the home life of the drivers during a televised event. 

Now for the cars, they are all the same. Billboards for corporate sponsors running down the track. One can not tell one make from the other.  Where is the Chevy, Ford rivalry? It’s gone. How about naming the cars like they used to do. Give us something to grab hold of and cheer for. I want some rivalries in all of the classes. Let me pick who to cheer for either the good or the bad, make me pick one. It’s all to polished for TV. I think it is hurting the sport, and has been for awhile. 

We have lost our heroes in the sport. Purdome, Bernstein, Johnson, Glidden, Amato. For some reason it is tough to choose someone in each class that I can really get into. I think they are all to bland. Trust me I have tried to start following a few racers and root for them all of the time, but I find myself just watching the race and not really passionate about any one driver. 

Now on the other hand while watching Street Outlaws we have our guys we like and the ones we can’t stand. For what ever reason we pick sides. I love that, that is how it should be. Reality TV is popular, like it or nor it is huge. Why can’t drag racing be more like that, but not staged for tv. I’m sure there are enough stories going on at every event that we the fans would love to see.  This would let us get more personal with the drivers every week. Building a love or not so much with them on a weekly basis. 

  Maybe I’m way off base here, but I know what I like and modern day NHRA drag racing on TV is good but not great. Going to a live event is totally different. You can get behind the scenes more, plus the sounds and smells are unexplainable to anybody that has not been to a race. TV will never be able to grab the side of the sport, it’s a shame they can’t. That’s why Street Outlaws does so well the sounds and smells are not needed as much, because they have a great story line week after week. We look forward to the next show to see what is going to happen with so and so. That’s what we love. We are built to pick sides,so why don’t  we in professional Drag racing?  

   The pro stock class can barely make a full field some weeks. The nitro classes have like three car owners, and the stands are not real full for the most part. When you have teammates running against each other most of the time, it takes the excitement out of it. I am not saying I have the answers to this, but someone should step back and see what made this sport so popular in the past. Street outlaws have itched a spot that has woke up young and old race fans, let’s hope the NHRA can scratch their itch soon. 

If you have any free time this summer go check out a local drag race in your area. Walk around the pit area, talk to some drivers.  If you enjoy cars you will enjoy a day at the strip. Pick a few cars to cheer for during the day, and see how much you get into each race. 

That’s it for now just wanted to get this off my chest. Thank you for stopping by.

See you at the track.