Dewease claims 29th Speedweek victory fending off Larson
MECHANICSBURG, PA – Lance Dewease held off Kyle Larson to open Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek Friday night at Williams Grove Speedway.
Dewease’s 99th Grove win, and 29th overall in Speedweek competition, was worth $5,000 and came in front of a huge crowd at the Grove’s first race since March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is an unbelievable crowd tonight,” Dewease said. “Its great to see all the fans come out and have fun.”
Dewease was fine-tuning a new engine all night long.
“My guys work really hard,” Dewease said. “We had a new engine in tonight thanks to two of our sponsors. It’s a little bit different than what we’re used to and we’re working on it. I ran out of fuel with one to go. I don’t know if we’re totally out or didn’t pick all of it up. We got here. That’s all that matters.”
Dewease, of Fayetteville, figured somebody was closing on him, but didn’t know it was Larson over the final five laps.
“I didn’t have time to look at the scoreboard a whole lot,” Dewease said. “I was hanging on and Mike Wagner was kind of in the lane where I needed to go and held me up a little bit and I knew somebody would be coming, but I didn’t know who was second.”
Dewease knows Larson will be tough to beat during Speedweek.
“Kyle’s learning how to slow down to go fast,” Dewease said. “He’s getting a lot better at that than he used to be. We get along really good and we’re going to have some fun this week during Speedweek. We need to be on our toes to keep him and all the other guys behind us.”
Dewease is one win away now from 100 career at the Grove and one win away from tying Fred Rahmer for most Speedweek wins with 30.
He’ll get those chances Friday night when the Grove hosts the $15,000to win Mitch Smith Memorial.
“The Mitch Smith Memorial is a big race for us locals and it would be nice to get 100 in that race,” Dewease said. “We’re going to celebrate this one and then worry about tomorrow night. That’s what we do. This is a hard week for us. That’s why we don’t run them all. My mechanic (Davey Brown Sr.) is getting older, but he’s still doing a hell of a job.”
Larson has either finished first or second in about a month’s worth of racing.
“I was running a lot harder than those guys were in front of me,” Larson said. “I got to second and I felt like I was in a good spot there. I couldn’t quite close enough like I needed to down the backstretch to pull the trigger on him going into three. I knew that was probably going to be the spot where I could get by him. He was entering a little slower and higher and there was a lane I could have gotten by.”
“I made a mistake and lost some ground and then got hung up down the front stretch inside a lapped car coming to the white. It was a good race. I ran extremely hard. I want to get a win at Williams Grove, but to run second to Lance and this team is still really special.” Brian Montieth started and the pole and raced into the lead over Dewease to start the 25-lap main event. Danny Dietrich raced by TJ Stutts and into third off turn two.
Stutts and Larson traded sliders for the fourth spot. Larson would eventually make the pass work and seventh starter Freddie Rahmer droveby Stutts as well.
A red flag stopped the race with six laps completed when Landon Myers and Matt Campbell crashed in turn two. They were okay. This erased Montieth’s 1.4-second lead.
Montieth controlled the restart running the top groove as Dewease tried to make the bottom groove work. Rahmer challenged Larson for fourth.
Two more laps were completed before the yellow flew for Robert Ballou in turn two.
Rico Abreu and TJ Stutts made contact on the backstretch with Stutts hitting the inside fence bringing out another caution with nine laps completed. They were racing just outside the top five. Abreu made repairs and returned. Stutts was unable to continue.
Dewease tried a slider on Montieth on the restart, but Montieth turned back under him exiting turn two. Meanwhile, the battle for third was three-wide off turn two between Dietrich, Larson and Rahmer.
The leaders traded sliders again in three and four and were side-by-side down the frontstretch. Dewease secured the lead as they raced off turn two.
Dietrich had maintained third, but Larson finally made the pass stick. Montieth stayed right with Dewease, but slowed and pitted with eight to go.
Larson was quickly tracking down Dewease as they began lapping slower cars. Larson jumped the cushion giving Dewease some breathing room, but then Dewease got held up by Mike Wagner allowing Larson to close again.
Dewease got by Wagner and so did Larson after another lap, but that gave Dewease enough of a cushion scoring the win by .931 over Larson.
Rahmer, Dietrich and Ryan Smith completed the top five. Anthony Macri raced from 11th to sixth and Brent Marks from 12th to seventh. Lucas Wolfe, 15th starter Jeff Halligan and 18th starter Brock Zearfoss rounded out the top 10.
Abreu set fast time over the 38-car field with a lap of 16.645. Montieth, Larson, Stutts and Dietrich won the heat races. Matt Campbell won the B-main.
Speedweek continues Saturday night at Lincoln Speedway with the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial paying $9,200 to win and then onto Selinsgrove Speedway Sunday night for the Jan Opperman / Dick Bogar Memorial paying $5,000 to win.
Sprint Car Feature (25 laps) 1. Lance Dewease. 2. Kyle Larson. 3. Freddie Rahmer. 4. Danny Dietrich. 5. Ryan Smith. 6. Anthony Macri. 7. Brent Marks. 8. Lucas Wolfe. 9. Jeff Halligan. 10. Brock Zearfoss. 11. Kyle Moody. 12. Kyle Reinhardt. 13. Rick Lafferty. 14. Robbie Kendall. 15. Chase Dietz. 16. Mike Wagner. 17. Robert Ballou. 18. Brian Montieth. 19. Tyler Bear. 20. Rico Abreu. 21. TJ Stutts. 22. Adrian Shaffer. 23. Matt Campbell. 24. Landon Myers.
DNQ: Mark Smith, Cale Thomas, Doug Hammaker, Steve Buckwalter, Jared Esh, Chad Trout, Justin Whittall, Nicole Bower, Troy Fraker, Kody Lehman, Brett Michalski, Logan Wagner, Dylan Cisney, Sammy Swindell.