Dietrich takes the Grove

MECHANICSBURG – Danny Dietrich let a win slip away at Williams Grove Speedway when Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek began on June 28.

He made up for that bigtime on Friday night.

Dietrich, of Gettysburg, drove by Donnie Kreitz on lap 17 and went on to win $10,000 in the Mitch Smith Memorial. It was his third Grove win of the season. It was the sixth night of the Speedweek series.

“We were pretty good from the get-go,” Dietrich said. “Donnie was good too and had a lot of corner speed. It was making it hard to slide him in three and four. I saw Fred (Rahmer) stick his nose in there and I knew I had to get by Donnie before I got racing with Fred. This is one of the biggest local shows of the year and it feels good to put it on the frontstretch. I should have had one last week, but driver error on the last lap.”

Kreitz started on the pole and grabbed the early race lead over Brady Bacon and Dietrich. Brent Marks battled Rahmer for fourth. Eighth starter and fast timer Greg Hodnett was up to fifth.

Bacon got high in the first turn and flipped with one lap completed, bringing out the red flag. He was okay.

Kreitz continued to lead as Dietrich, Rahmer and Marks worked the cushion and Hodnett the bottom.

Kreitz went to the top and Dietrich was able to close to within a few car lengths. Hodnett finally passed Marks for fourth off turn two on lap eight.

Dietrich would try to get under Kreitz in turn three, but could only get next to him and Kreitz pulled back into the lead off turn four.

Hodnett closed on Rahmer before swapping fourth with Marks on lap 12. Rahmer, meanwhile, closed on the leaders.

By lap 15, Dietrich was next to Kreitz again as Hodnett took third from Rahmer. The top five were very close as they raced around.

Dietrich would finally get under Kreitz and slide into the lead in turns three and four to complete lap 18. Marks would try to take second from Kreitz with eight laps to go, but Kreitz would get back by in turn two. Hodnett would get back around Marks for third.

Dietrich would pull away over the final laps to score the win. Kreitz would hold off Hodnett for second. Marks settled for fourth and Logan Schuchart passed Rahmer for fifth.

Rahmer, Stevie Smith, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Chad Layton and Adam Wilt rounded out the top 10.

Hodnett set fast time over the 34-car field with a lap of 16.980. Kreitz, Rahmer, Bacon and Layton won the 10-lap heat races. Gerard McIntyre Jr. won the consolation.

Hafertepe unofficially leads the point standings headed into the final two Speedweek races at Port Royal tonight and Selinsgrove tomorrow night. He’s 40 points ahead of Rahmer and 52 ahead of Hodnett. Marks and Smith are top five in points.