Buckwalter dominates Walter Dyer Tribute race for first win

MECHANICSBURG — Steve Buckwalter started on the pole and led all 25 laps of the Walter Dyer Tribute race Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway.

Buckwalter, of Royersford, earned $4,610 for his first Grove win of the season in a car owned by Clair and Jan Ritter of Selinsgrove.

“I figured I had to get the jump,” Buckwalter said. “He got me on the first start. We left the same on the second start, but under the red I got the temperature up in the motor, and it took off better. I was so good on the bottom. A couple times I thought about going around the lapped cars, but you don’t know where the guys are behind you and sometimes if you get out of line, you get passed, and I don’t know how I could explain to the car owner that we ran the bottom and moved off the bottom and gave the lead up.”

Buckwalter showed admiration for Dyer after the win.

“It’s guys like him that helped put this place on the map,” Buckwalter said of Dyer. “It’s definitely something special to win.”

The red flag was displayed before a lap was completed for a four-car crash exiting the fourth turn. All drivers were okay.

Buckwalter shared the front row with TJ Stutts and got the jump on him on the second start. Buckwalter streaked to a big lead in the early laps over Stutts and track point leader Greg Hodnett.

Buckwalter reached lapped traffic with eight laps completed and led by just over two seconds. Hodnett made the pass of Stutts for second. Lance Dewease, who was racing Donnie Kreitz’s car painted-up like Dyer’s old 461 “Brickmobile,” raced with Anthony Macri for fourth.

Dewease finally made the pass of Macri as Buckwalter maintained a comfortable lead with 10 laps to go. Hodnett began to close on him, but never got close enough to make a move for the lead as Buckwalter stayed tucked behind two lapped cars over the final laps.

“I didn’t know where anybody was, so I stuck to the bottom,” Buckwalter said. “If the top was coming in, somebody would have been by me sooner. Everything worked good. I’ve got to thank my crew. I was out in Indiana last night running the Silver Crown car and got back today and they had everything ready. I got about five or six hours of sleep. I’ve got to thank Buzz from A-1 Engines. He turned our season around. The last couple years we had nothing but engine trouble. Every since we put this thing together over the winter, we haven’t had a lick of trouble — not one engine problem.”

His final margin of victory was .805 over Hodnett, who extended his point lead. Stutts, Dewease, and Macri completed the top five. Brock Zearfoss, Lucas Wolfe, Cory Haas, Aaron Ott and Brian Montieth rounded out the top 10.

Dewease set fast time over the 28-car field with a lap of 16.556. Hodnett, Buckwalter, Wolfe and Stutts completed the top five in qualifying time trials. Montieth, Stutts and Anthony Macri won the heat races. Alan Krimes won the consolation.