Dewease among growing number of drivers changing seats

The off season ride changes continue in local sprint car racing.

Lance Dewease has secured a new car to pilot next year. Dewease will drive the Scott Dietz Motorsports No. 14 on the local racing circuit. The Fayetteville driver indicates the team plans to compete in 60 to 65 shows next year. Plans are to branch out to larger speedways as the team secures more sponsorship.

Dewease is following the pattern taken by Fred Rahmer this past season. Rahmer ran about the same amount of shows and took a hands-on approach to his race team, performing most of the work himself. Dewease will do that as well. He will take mechanic Donny Owens with him. One thing Dewease also brings to the team is sponsorship. That is becoming more of a trend these days.

I spoke with Greg Hodnett two weeks ago and was told that “car owners are looking more to drivers and what they can bring to the team.” Hodnett, Dewease and Rahmer are all drivers that do that. One thing Hodnett does not have in his new Michael Heffner ride is mechanic Lee Stauffer. However, Hodnett is a brilliant mechanical mind and is expected to do much of the work himself.

On the All Star Circuit of Champions circuit, Aaron Call and Janet Holbrook have announced they are taking a different direction for next season. Gone is The Steel City Outlaw, Tim Shaffer, from the ride after a long and successful run. The team became stagnant and pressure was put on Shaffer to perform. The group won the 2010 Knoxville (Iowa) Sprint Car Nationals, which was their finest moment. CH Motorsports is cutting back and going into a youth movement next year. Chris Bell, 18, will pilot the No. 83 car in 35 to 40 races. The youngster is signed to developmental contract with Toyota Motorsports in NASCAR. Bell has been compared to Kyle Larson, who is advancing his NASCAR career next year. Larson raced sprint cars locally this season as time permitted.

As for Bell, he is currently leading the USAC National Midget Series points in his rookie year and has won five midget features. Four races remain on the schedule. Bell plans to work next year for Toyota and fill the remaining time with USAC Midget and Dirt Championship cars for owner Keith Kunz. It will be different driving a winged sprint car. Bell has only 40 or 50 starts in a 410 mount. The team will compete in World of Outlaw and All Star Circuit of Champions shows.

The World Finals conclude tonight at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Local driver Dylan Cisney of Port Royal is competing there. Cisney scored his first career sprint car win at Port Royal Speedway earlier this year. Daryn Pittman held a 52-point lead over Donny Schatz entering last night’s action. Tonight’s program closes out the 2013 World of Outlaws racing season.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup series takes another step toward the season finale Sunday at Phoenix. Kevin Harvick is the defending race champion. ESPN has TV coverage. 52 points separate the top four drivers with two races to go.

Have a safe week everyone!

Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.