Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek begins today

The 23rd edition of Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek kicks off tonight at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg. The sprint cars will compete in nine races in 10 days and will be going after more than $240,000 in prize money.

The series moves to Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown on Saturday night before wrapping up the weekend at Big Diamond Speedway, near Minersville.

Although it’s a long 10 days for the race teams, Speedweek races do pay well. All three races this weekend will pay $5,000 to the winner and $400 to take the green flag. The 10th place finisher will receive $1,000.

After a night off on Monday, the series begins a grueling six-night run at Grandview Speedway, near Pottstown, on Tuesday night. Speedweek drops just south of the Mason-Dixon Line on Wednesday night, July 3, to compete at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway. Both Grandview and Hagerstown pay $5,000 to win.

The series returns to Lincoln Speedway on Thursday, July 4, for the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial, paying $7,000 to win, and then returns to the Grove on Friday night for the $10,000 to win Mitch Smith Memorial.

Port Royal Speedway hosts Speedweek on Saturday night, July 6, and the series concludes on Sunday night, July 7, with the Jan Opperman Memorial at Selinsgrove Speedway.

In 2012, Brian Montieth of Phoenixville won the first two races. Greg Hodnett won at Grandview and Mifflintown’s Keith Kauffman won at Hagerstown. Logan Schuchart and Stevie Smith split main events at Williams Grove. California’s Tyler Walker won at Port Royal and Lance Dewease won at Selinsgrove.

Here’s a look at Speedweek history at Port Royal:

Hodnett has won three of the last five Speedweek races at Port Royal. Kauffman has four Port Royal Speedweek wins (2001, 2002, 2004, 2007). Walker won last year and Justin Henderson won in 2011. Current World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series driver Cody Darrah won in 2008.

Jeff Shepard won Port Royal’s first Speedweek race in 1998 and Dewease won in 1999. Don Kreitz Jr. won in 2000 and Mark Smith in 2003. Todd Shaffer won in 2005 and Fred Rahmer in 2006.

Rahmer, of Salfordville, leads the all-time Speedweek wins list with 30 victories and 13 series championships. He’s won the last two and has four wins this season in central Pa.

Hodnett, of Thomasville, ranks second on the Speedweek wins list with 22 wins and three championships. He has three wins this season.

Dewease, of Fayetteville, ranks third in Speedweek victories with 19 and three titles as well. From there, the all-time Speedweek win list really drops off with Kreitz Jr. and Kauffman tied with eight wins. Cris Eash has six. Millerstown’s Shaffer has five Speedweek wins along with Billy Pauch and Steve Smith.

Danny Dietrich of Gettysburg and Brent Marks of Myerstown lead the central Pennsylvania sprint car win list in 2013 with five wins apiece.

A total of 148 races have been held in Speedweek history at 12 different tracks with 28 different drivers winning at least one race.

Other champions include Lucas Wolfe in 2007, Kauffman in 1996 and Steve Smith in 1991.

Drivers earn points toward the Speedweek title each time they are on the track including qualifying, heat races and the main events.