Tuesday, September 20, 2016

2016 Dirt Classic Preview; Unique Format and Invaders Set to Tangle at Lincoln

This coming Saturday Kasey Kahne presents the third annual Dirt Classic at the fabulous Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Pa.  The event has grown over the previous two seasons, and this year should be no different as many outsider stars are planning on testing their luck against the vaunted Pennsylvania Posse in the second biggest race in Central Pennsylvania all season, and one of the biggest non-sanctioned races in the United States.  The event is a fan-friendly event, and with the unique format it is a must see show for any sprint car fan.

Pat Miller Photo

The Format - The Dirt Classic carries a very unique format with time trials setting the lineup for heat races.  From there things get interesting.  There are two sets of heat races with drivers being lined up heads up from time trials in the first set, and completely inverted in the second set.  Passing points are awarded and the top point getters are locked into the A-Main

Purse - The event pays a whopping $20,000-to-win, and a huge $1,000 just to start the A-Main event.

Now for who you should be looking out for!

The Favorite

Lance Dewease - At this point I don't see how anyone else can considered the favorite to win.  After teaming up with Donnie Kreitz Racing over the off-season, Dewease has been on an absolute tear.  They have won an amazing ten events this year.  That may not seem all that impressive until you look at the fact that they have only entered 20 events this season.  Yes you read that right.  They have won 50% of the events that have entered this season.  One of those wins was the Pennsylvania Speedweek event at Lincoln earlier this season.  They did not enter the World of Outlaws race at Lincoln.  Look for Dewease to be in contention all night long, and he is most definitely the favorite to bring home the big check.

Who else to watch for:

Pat Miller Photo

Greg Hodnett - Despite being a Port Royal regular, Hodnett has four victories at Lincoln this season which is an impressive feat for anyone, much less someone who hasn't ran there on a weekly basis.  Hodnett also leads Central Pennsylvania in victories with 21 victories, and is second only to Donny Schatz in winged sprint car wins in the nation.  It has been a great season for Hodnett, but he's still searching for that major victory to really establish his dominance, and the Dirt Classic at Lincoln could be the victory he's looking for.

Stevie Smith - Don't look now, but Stevie is getting hot.  After a slower than usual start to the season for the pilot of Fred Rahmer's No. 51s machine, the team has figured things out over the last couple of months.  An All Star victory at Port Royal the night before the Tuscarora 50 and a runner-up finish in the major Port Royal event the next night has shown the speed that Smith and his team have been looking for.  He also was the inaugural winner of the Dirt Classic, and a runner-up finisher in last year's event which means he knows how to get around Lincoln, and more importantly he knows how to score big points in this type of a format.

Pat Miller Photo

Brian Montieth - The Edge is having a little bit of a down year by his standards, but he is always fast at Lincoln, and more importantly he picked up the win in this event last season which shows that he has the speed to get the job done.

Pat Miller Photo

Danny Dietrich - Hot and cold would be a good way to describe Dietrich's season to this point.  When the Gary Kauffman-owned 48 is hot, then they are tough to beat, but when they've been cold they've been very average.  But Lincoln is Dietrich's base track and he has always seemed to get the job done there in big money shows.  He has beaten the World of Outlaws there twice, and the last time the All Stars were in town, Dietrich was in victory lane.  If Dietrich takes home the win in the Dirt Classic we shouldn't be all that surprised.

Terry McCarl - Of the invaders that are coming in to Lincoln this weekend, McCarl probably has the best chance to run good or possibly pick up the win.  A lot of people don't know this, but McCarl has picked up a victory at the Lincoln Speedway.  Years ago in an early season show, McCarl piloted the legendary Weikert's Livestock No. 29 machine to a victory at Lincoln.  So there is a little bit of experience there as the track is not brand new to McCarl like it will be for some of the invaders, but he is still facing an uphill battle in competing with the likes of Dewease, Hodnett and Smith.

James McFadden - The Kasey Kahne-owned No. 4 machine is going to be piloted by Australian James McFadden.  McFadden is a hard-charging driver who can get to the front when his car is on, and there should be no doubt that the Kahne No. 4 machine can get the job done.  McFadden had a successful sting in Pennsylvania earlier this season filling in for injured driver Pat Cannon in the Highlands No. 3 machine.  The stint even saw them qualify for the Knoxville Nationals.

Tim Kaeding - California native Tim Kaeding is one heck of a wheel man.  While he may not have the experience at Lincoln that you would need to win a show like this, he can adapt very quickly.  Don't be surprised if Kaeding runs very good this Saturday.

Pat Miller Photo

Alan Krimes - This year's Lincoln Speedway track champion should not be considered a sleeper, but Krimes is always a sleeper.  No matter how good he runs, and no matter how well he does against stiff competition, Krimes never seems to get the credit he so richly deserves for as good as he is.  Krimes winning the Dirt Classic might be a surprise to some, but it shouldn't be.

One thing is for sure.  The Dirt Classic at the Lincoln Speedway should be an excellent show.  Lincoln is known for great racing, and with the type of field that is expected this weekend at the big show, it should be no different.  If you can make it out there I would recommend this show to anyone.  I know I will be there.

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