Dietrich gets 19th win at the Grove

MECHANICSBURG — Danny Dietrich took the lead from rookie Landon Myers on lap 16 and went on to win the 25-lap sprint car feature Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway.

Dietrich earned $3,600, plus a $500 bonus, for his first Grove win of the season and fifth overall in the Gary Kauffman owned sprinter. It was his 19th career Grove win.

“I could see where his car was fast and where it wasn’t,” Dietrich said. “We got better as the fuel load burnt off. I could see where I needed to pass him where he was slower on the race track. I was able to capitalize on that. He’s been doing a really good job.”

Myers and Adrian Shaffer won the heat races and shared the front row for the start of the 25-lap sprint car feature.

Myers grabbed the race lead. Shaffer was trying to hold onto second when his sprinter popped a wheelie down the frontstretch. When it came back down, it veered left and hard into the inside frontstretch guardrail. His car flipped bringing out the red flag. Tyler Ross also flipped in turn four. Both drivers were okay.

On the second start, Myers had the lead again over Eric Tomecek. However, a five-car crash on the frontstretch brought the red flag out again. Cars involved included TJ Stutts, Jim Shuster, Kody Lehman, Dwight Leppo, and Nicole Bower. No injuries were reported.

The third attempt saw Myers take the lead again, but Lucas Wolfe raced into second. Last week’s winner Steve Buckwalter was racing third when he jumped the turn four cushion. Dietrich, who originally started seventh, drove by and into third.

Myers maintained a comfortable lead over Wolfe as Dietrich began to track him down. Dietrich took over second as they raced into turn one.

Dietrich ducked under Myers as they raced into turn three. They were close at the line, but Myers led the lap. Dietrich, however, took the lead the next lap. From there, he drove away.

“It was nice to see a cushion back at the Grove,” Dietrich said. “It’s not just a cushion you could flat-foot around on which is nice because it takes some skill. It’s something we haven’t seen in a long time. I think it makes for good racing.”

Defending track champion Freddie Rahmer took third from Cory Haas. Wolfe and Rahmer closed on Myers in the final five laps.

Wolfe took second and then Rahmer followed him by into third.

Dietrich’s final margin of victory was 4.5 over Wolfe. Rahmer, Myers and Haas completed the top five. Greg Hodnett, Buckwalter, Rodney Westhafer, Anthony Macri and Mallie Shuster rounded out the top 10.

The conclusion of the 358 sprint car feature was first on the schedule. Rain postponed the race after four laps a few weeks ago. Selinsgrove’s Cody Keller was supposed to restart as the leader, but a fourth turn crash during practice sidelined him.

So, with Keller not restarting, Todd Rittenhouse Jr. led the field back to green with 16 laps to go.

By the half-way point, Rich Eichelberger challenged Rittenhouse for the top spot. He made the pass down the backstretch on lap 14. From there, he pulled away to a convincing win.

Troy Wagaman Jr. nipped Rittenhouse at the line for second. Dwight Leppo and Brie Hershey completed the top five.

In the regular 20-lap feature, Doug Hammaker took the lead from Brie Hershey on the opening lap. Chase Dietz and Hershey threw sliders at each other for a few turns before Dietz secured second on lap five.

Hammaker had a comfortable lead over Dietz when the caution flew with 11 laps completed. Dietz challenged him for the lead, but then the red flag stopped the race when point leader and defending champion Kevin Nouse flipped over the first turn fence with six laps to go.

Hammaker controlled the ensuing restart and the final laps. Dietz, Wagaman, Hershey and Matt Findley completed the top five.