Walt Dyer's famous #461
Friday found me visiting the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing. My guide was Bev Thompson, whose family took good care of me all weekend. The museum, located near York Springs is very impressive and has a vast record of archives that a person could spend a month looking at. It's collection of cars is equally as impressive, including my favorite car of all times, the 461 Brickmobile. Walt Dyer's entry in the museum is the car Lance Dewease drove to the 1996 Williams Grove Open crown. They are doing a great job with the museum and the auction on Saturday, benefiting the museum and the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame went very well according to Craig Agan.
Though it was not my first trip to Williams Grove, it was my first Williams Grove Open. Having been to a two-day WoO show there before, honestly I didn't see much different, other than the purse and a few hundred more people. Nonetheless, the Grove is always exciting and you can count on the locals running somewhere near the front! Impressively on Friday, nine (if you count the Chessons and Skip Jackson) local cars made the 16 car inversion in time trials. PJ Chesson set the new track record with a clocking of 16.588 seconds. Dave Ely was back in the family 77E scoring third quick, but his night would end with motor woes after qualifying for the dash. He took the green for the A and ducked in the pits, not to be seen the rest of the weekend. Jackson was again impressive, finishing fifth in the dash after passing Mark Kinser for a heat win. He had a top ten nailed down in the A before slowing dramatically on the white flag lap. Dewease took the dash and then held on for third in the A behind Tim Shaffer and Jason Meyers. Cris Eash wins my "Best Appearing Car of the Year" for his patriotic colors for the weekend.
The win was Shaffer's first at the Grove and many got their first glimpse of Meyers when he is on his game. Craig Dollansky finished fourth and was feeling some pain as he found out later he had fractured his scapula in his flip the night before at the Port. He is one tough hombre! Some rumors in the pits this week, had the Cormack 20, the Forbrook 5 and the Johnson U2 coming of the WoO trail next year, with the 20 and 5 possibly running locally at Knoxville. With two or three other cars already committed to running the 410 class next year at Knoxville, weekly car counts in the 40s are not unlikely. How about a 24 car field every week for the feature?
Saturday saw a car count of 44 cars. Steve Kinser definitely had a rough start, having something break on the car in time trials. He flipped hard, but got another car to start at the back of the field with. He fell one spot short of transferring for the feature in his heat race, so he utilized a provisional, started at the tail of the 28 car field, and moved up to 14th. Dewease was the man tonight, however, maneuvering to win the dash, and then leading all forty laps in dominating fashion despite a lap 19 open red for a fuel stop. Sean Michael was another impressive local coming home fifth. James Chesson was fourth after starting eleventh. Stevie Smith was running well until, reportedly, water was put in the tank under red. Oops! Todd Hestor was another impressive runner all weekend as he ran seventh on Friday night and eleventh on Saturday.
Looking at payouts is always interesting. On Saturday, Jason Hagenbuch made $125 for finishing third in the C, Lynton Jeffrey made $100 for finishing fourth in the same race. Even Billy Sims got $60 for finishing seventh (last). Greg Hodnett finished seventh in the B (the highest finishing car not to be in the A). He made $150. Mark Richard, Brooke Weibley, Ricky Lafferty, Mark Smith, Paul McMahan, and Len Thompson all made $50 and were in the B. How does that happen? I guess they would have been better off qualifying for the C, huh? It would be nice to see this purse a little higher, especially with all the seats that were filled.
Who can complain as a fan? The racing was good and this reporter had a ball! Until next time.
Bill W Media