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Dietrich makes most of trip to Eldora

Sentinel file photo by MIKE GOSS
Danny Dietrich (48) slides in front of Rico Abreu (24) during a Speedweek race at Port Royal Speedway. Dietrich traveled to Eldora this past weekend for the King’s Royal and scored a second-place finish after David Gravel who was ruled to be light at the scales.

NEW WESTON, OH — Danny Dietrich wasn’t even planning on running the King’s Royal at Eldora Speedway last weekend.

But, as the Gary Kauffman Team enjoyed brunch after a Sharon Speedway rainout on Sunday, July 11, they decided to head West and not East back to Gettysburg.

It turned out to be a fantastic decision.

In his first King’s Royal A-main start, Dietrich crossed the line third behind Tyler Courtney and David Gravel, who was found light at the scales handing second and $20,000 to Dietrich and the No. 48 crew.

Dietrich talked about the finish as he did routine maintenance to the car in between the two races late Saturday afternoon. He’d make that race as well coming home 10th after finding a good rhythm in the middle groove of the speedway. He thinks he had about five Eldora starts prior to last weekend.

“We want to be better and win this damn thing,” Dietrich said. “It’s frustrating to be so close and not win. We’re pretty happy and I’m proud of these guys for doing what they did.

“I don’t think anybody tried harder than I did to get out of the rubber and pass somebody,” Dietrich said. “I was trying pretty hard on David because I thought if I could get past him, I could get past Tyler. Just couldn’t get past David. I wanted to make sure I was close enough that if something happened, I was there to capitalize on it.”

Dietrich has raced a lot lately earning the PA Speedweek title and a runner-up in Ohio’s.

“We’ll keep it rolling,” Dietrich said. “The biggest objective is to go have another really good, solid run, and hopefully we can do one better but bring this thing home in one piece.”

Dietrich raced forward from the eighth starting spot.

“I felt like I had the fastest car in the second half of the race,” he said. “It takes me a while to get going around here because I don’t have that many laps. I have to get comfortable in the seat, and figure out where I need to be on the race track. We were good before the rubber came in and got to third. We were good. Just needed to get a little closer to the front.”

Dietrich talked about the decision to stay in Ohio.

“My one friend and sponsor said, ‘you might as well stay out here.’ I texted Gary and he said I don’t know why you’re coming home so early. That made our mind up.”

Dietrich has been Kauffman’s only driver since coming into the sport over a decade ago now.

“He’s one of the best car owners to have,” he said. “All car owners get a little frustrated at times. That’s no different than any driver. We have our moments, but it’s an honor to drive for him and great to race for your friend. He’s an idol to me. He’s like a father figure to me. We have a lot of fun. He has a lot of faith in me, and Jake and the crew to make the right decisions. I know he’s proud of us today.”

Dietrich wasn’t bothered by the long wait to run his heat race. After qualifying eighth, he started third and finished second in his heat race, which was on track Thursday when it started raining again.

“The biggest thing was making sure we had a good heat race,” he said. “Getting a good start was important because starting third wasn’t the best place to be. We knew we were going to have to make some money moves at the start and we did. You hate to get a little pushy, but if you don’t, you don’t run second today, either.”

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