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Lincoln Speedway’s Dirt Classic is weekend highlight

Sprint car racing’s month of money continues tonight at Lincoln Speedway.

The third annual Dirt Classic will be run in conjunction with the Kasey Kahne Foundation. Racers from all over the country invade the Adams County oval in hope of claiming the $20,000 winner’s share of the A-main. While the top prize is good, starting the event is worth $1,000.

A unique qualifying procedure will be used that includes time trials and two sets of heat races. Points will be awarded to the drivers every time they take to the track. Those points will determine the starting lineup for the feature event.

The Dirt Classic is the biggest non-sanctioned sprint car race in Central Pennsylvania this season.

Stevie Smith won the inaugural Dirt Classic. Brian Montieth is the defending champion.

Outside invaders from across the country are expected including Tim Kaeding from California, former NASCAR star Dave Blaney, Terry McCarl, Lynton Jeffrey and Bill Balog. James McFadden from Australia also will attempt to qualify. Eyes may well be on one team Lynn Paxton appropriately named ” the over the hill gang.”

Lance Dewease has been the man to beat when he is in action. Dewease has entered 21 races this season teaming with car owner Donnie Kreitz Jr. and mechanic Davey Brown, and the trio have won 10 of those races. They’ve defeated the locals, World of Outlaws and All Stars. Dewease recently hit pay dirt at Port Royal Speedway’s Tuscarora 50, where he became the first driver to win the race five times. It was also Dewease’s 100th win at the Juniata County oval.

I wouldn’t bet against the Fayetteville driver tonight.

Qualifying races were held around the country for tonight’s Dirt Classic. All Star Circuit of Champions point leader Dale Blaney won a qualifying event, but he will not be at Lincoln this evening because the All Stars are in action at Eldora Speedway in the Four Crown Nationals program. Blaney holds a scant 22-point lead over Chad Kemenah entering weekend racing. Sheldon Haudenschild is third in All Star points, trailing Blaney by 56.

Congratulations to Lucas Wolfe on winning last week’s Jim Nace Memorial National Open sprint car program at Selinsgrove Speedway. Wolfe earned $8,000. The Mechanicsburg driver lapped up to the 11th place finisher in the A-main.

Selinsgrove’s National Open closed out the inaugural season of promotion under Steve Inch, Alan Kreitzer and Michael Heffner. Look for the three to make changes to the race program for 2017.

Greg Hodnett held a 120-point lead over Brian Montieth in Williams Grove Speedway points as weekend racing got underway Friday. The title appears to be going down to the wire in the final World of Outlaws programs next weekend at the speedway.

The new National Sprint Car poll was recently released. Donny Schatz is on top – no surprise there. Lance Dewease is fourth. Greg Hodnett is ranked 11th, Stevie Smith 17th, Lucas Wolfe 18th and Danny Dietrich 19th.

Patricia Driscoll, the 38-year-old former girlfriend of Kurt Busch, was indicted on seven federal charges for allegedly stealing from the military charity she formerly oversaw. Authorities say she took more than $599,000 from 2006 to 2014. Driscoll is the woman who accused Busch of hitting her head off the wall of his motorhome during the fall Dover race weekend two years ago.

Finally, I want to pose a question to all that follow NASCAR: Do rule infractions really mean anything substantial?

Last week, Jimmie Johnson and race winner Martin Truex Jr.’s cars failed post-race inspection. Certain race teams repeatedly fail post-race inspection. Winning cars have failed.

I know NASCAR wants the fans to go home knowing they saw the winning race car but until they actually disqualify a car, take their points and money, the infractions are going to continue. I also have to question the practice of allowing the burnout and trashing of tires and body panels in post race celebrations. Are teams intentionally damaging their cars body to hide rules infractions? To me it’s time to end the practice and return to driving a cool-down lap and parking the car.

Sponsors put a lot of money into these teams. Why appear to waste it by trashing the car after the race? Something to consider.

Until next week, please drive safely.

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Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.

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