Speedweek opener goes to Dietrich

MECHANCISBURG – Danny Dietrich held off Brian Montieth to win the Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek opener Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway.

For Dietrich, of Gettysburg, it was his fifth overall win of the season, second at the Grove, and worth $5,000. It was his second career Speedweek win.

“Now, that’s exciting,” Dietrich said in victory lane before even climbing from his Gary Kauffman-owned No. 48. “I knew Brian was there. I could hear him and I knew I was going to get slid. I was racing hard to get back to him. The game plan worked out and I beat him off the corner and that’s what mattered.”

Rick Lafferty grabbed the early race lead over Dietrich and Alan Krimes. Lafferty and Dietrich raced on the cushion, while Krimes tried to make the bottom work.

Doug Esh and Montieth both used the top to drive around Krimes into fourth and fifth, respectively.

Adrian Shaffer spun in the second corner with four laps completed to bring out the race’s first caution.

Esh went to the bottom on the restart in turn one and Montieth blasted by and into third. Montieth threw a big slider at Dietrich for second in turn three and made the pass. However, the red flag flew for a backstretch flip negated the passes. Australian Darren Mollenoyux was uninjured.

Krimes got around Montieth on the restart with Lafferty leading Dietrich and Esh. Montieth took fourth back from Krimes. The top five were all racing around the top groove of the speedway with Lafferty enjoying a comfortable lead with 10 laps completed.

That’s when Dietrich began to close on the leader. Lafferty went low to block a third-turn pass. Dietrich was under him in turns one and two, but Lafferty led off the corner. Dietrich got by off turn four the next around to lead lap 14. Montieth got going again and drove by Esh and Lafferty to second.

Montieth quickly closed and took a crack at Dietrich in turns one and two, but couldn’t make the pass and lost some ground. Dietrich was passing traffic and Montieth got back to him.

He would try again on the final lap, but couldn’t clear him in turns one and two as they were side-by-side. Montieth tried one final time in turns three and four, but Dietrich won by 0.190 seconds over Montieth.

The bottom groove started to come in as Krimes and Kreitz finished third and fourth followed by Greg Hodnett in fifth. Lafferty, Lucas Wolfe, Esh, Cory Haas and Brent Marks rounded out the top five.

Wolfe set fast time over the 34-car field with a lap of 16.687 seconds. He earned an extra $300 for the third time this season. Greg Hodnett, Donnie Kreitz, Montieth and Brent Marks were the top five timers.

Lafferty, Krimes, Esh and Dietrich won the 10-lap heat races. Those four drivers, along with the top four qualifiers that didn’t win their heats, were in the eight-car feature line-up inversion. Ryan Smith won the consolation.

The racing was delayed twice during the evening due to electrical problems, including a light outage just as the A-main was set to run.

The 2014 version of Pennsylvania Speedweek continues tonight at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown and tomorrow at Path Valley Speedway, near Spring Run, about one hour south of Port Royal off Route 75. Retired Hall of Famer driver Fred Rahmer will promote the latter event.

The Speedweek points after Round 1 are as follows: Dietrich, 162; Montieth, 147; Krimes and Kreitz, 138; and Hodnett, 136.