Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sprint Hot Stove Report: Part II - Central PA

Welcome back for the 2nd edition of the Sprint Hot Stove Report. Reverting back to the part one of the Hot Stove Report, we can see that racing in Ohio will have as much excitement during the off-season as it does during the racing year. Remarkably, as complicated as the sprint scene in Ohio may look, it pales in comparison to the state of the Central PA area. Let's take a look:

Local legends Fred Rahmer and Keith Kauffman have ran their final races and in turn hung up the steering wheel. It's difficult to think of  two men that have meant more to a racing region than these two men have over the past decades, but I'm confident that their void will be filled with all of the upcoming talent that is spread throughout the 410 and 358 sprint divisions.

Former World of Outlaw competitor Greg Hodnett has spent a lot of time racing in Central PA as of late, most recently piloting the Trone Outdoor #39 machine. Owner John Trone has reluctantly called it quits as a team owner, at least for the time being, citing health concerns as a major obstacle. Hodnett experienced a lot of success in the #39 sprinter and has made plans to replace fellow driver Lance Dewease in the Heffner Motorsports #27 in 2014. Hodnett ran the 2nd Heffner car in a few races to finish out the year, including a top 5 effort during his final start of the season at the $10,010 to win finale at Susquehanna Speedway Park.

Lance Dewease, as previously mentioned, is the odd man out at the Heffner Motorsports organization after a seemingly lackluster season. Dewease has since agreed to pilot the Dietz Motorsports #14 entry in the coming season, replacing Gerard McIntyre as the driver. This sprint team has solely ran the Central PA tracks, so I wouldn't be looking for Dewease to be out and about as much as we're used to seeing.

Brian Leppo replaced Danny Lasoski in the Zemco 1z partway through the season and it appears that he will stay the driver heading into next season. Leppo and the Zemco team recently competed at Susquehanna Speedway Park's season-ending sprint race. Leppo had a great race car under him and was breathing down the neck of race leader Derek Sell before he made contact with the wall, sending him flipping violently down the frontstretch and into turn 1. Hopefully the recent events will not effect the team's plans heading into 2014.

Central PA regular Doug Esh is moving on from the Tom and Fran Chiapelli owned 98 to replace the legend, known as Keith Kauffman, in Gary Heckman's 8H. The newly formed team has stated that they will be competing weekly at Port Royal Speedway and in time trial shows at the historic Williams Grove Speedway.

With Rahmer and Kauffman retiring from the racing world, the PA Posse could find themselves in a state of flux in the near future. The young runners of Logan Schuchart, Jacob Allen, and Brent Marks plan to compete more often with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars in the 2014 campaign. We'll have to wait and see if anyone fills their shoes and can consistently compete for wins while they are out on the road.

Posse Land may have already found two bright stars with great futures ahead with the likes of Ryan Smith and Derek Sell. Ryan Smith has been running under the guidance of famed driver Donnie Kreitz Jr for the past couple years and has branched out to become the full-time driver of the Rob Warko Racing #94. Smith recently made his debut in the car at The Dirt Track at Charlotte during the World Finals and opened many eyes with his impressive performance. Young runner Derek Sell will step into the driving role of his family owned #20s sprintcar. Sell, after being mentored by Fred Rahmer during the entire season, won in only his 2nd feature start of the year earning him a cool $10,010 at Susquehanna. Fast Freddie proved the dominance of the car in 2013 by winning the Lincoln Speedway, Williams Grove Speedway, and Central PA points championships.

After a long and grueling 2013 racing season spanning from late February to the middle of November, teams finally have a chance to cool down and catch their breath - not for long though, with only 94 days until the opening "Icebreaker 30" at Lincoln Speedway on February 22nd!

No comments:

Post a Comment