By Shawn Brouse
For The Daily Item
With the season now nearly over, don’t try to tell veteran 410-sprint-driver Lance Dewease that the change from mandated Hoosier tires to Goodyears in the area hasn’t been for the better in some ways.
In fact, in the September 18 Jim Nace National Open at Selinsgrove Speedway, the Fayetteville driver was one of the very few who chose to stay on Goodyears in what was an open tire race. Most chose Hoosiers, but Dewease drove to victory shod with Goodyears.
“There’s nobody that can tell me our racing’s been good the last three years,” Dewease said recently. “At least you can race on these. I’m not saying the tires are the best tires, but they’ve put it back in the driver’s hands and you don’t have guys starting up front and winning (all the time).”
The 44-year old pilot admits that the Goodyear compounds do wear down quicker than others if the car isn’t set up right, causing excessive tire spin.
But, he says, “I look it as our racing is better than it’s been, probably to me, better than the last five or six years.”
“You go back the last three years, you can’t hardly name guys that have won from 11th,” he points out. As opposed to the last several seasons when it wasn’t uncommon for a driver starting on the front row at Williams Grove on a Friday night to run off and win while nobody else could move forward.
“You have to kind of keep in mind what’s better for the races.”
Dewease moved from sixth starting spot to take the lead from Greg Hodnett on lap 24 of the 40-lap Kenny Weld Memorial at Lincoln Speedway on Saturday night to notch his third career victory in the event and his 10th overall of the year.
“It’s anybody’s race,” says Dewease of this week’s 48th annual National Open worth $50,000 at Williams Grove. Dewease has probably the fastest car in the area currently and is a top contender to vie for his fourth career Open win this weekend.
AT SELINSGROVE: To close the Selinsgrove Speedway season, Pat Cannon drove to his 10th 358 sprint win at the track Saturday and took home his second career track title. Steve Campbell won the late-model main while Jeff Rine already had the title clinched. Jason Smith won pro stocks while AJ Hoffman scored the track title. Rob Pyle won roadrunners with Ricky Bender taking the title. Cannon’s win gave him 27 at Selinsgrove, putting him three back of list topper Blane Heimbach.
SAL DANA AND HOPES HURT: After a crash with Sammy Swindell on the opening lap of the World of Outlaws main at Eldora Speedway on Friday night, Joey Saldana was hospitalized with a concussion and his title hopes were seriously hurt. He was three points back of Jason Meyers in points entering Eldora. Saldana couldn’t compete Saturday night at Lernerville Speedway and went from being 20 points back after Eldora to 85 behind. Steve Kinser moved into second place after Lernerville. WoO officials said Sunday that while Saldana has been released from the hospital, they are not sure if he’ll be able to race this weekend in the Williams Grove National Open.
ON THE MEND: Get well wishes go out to long-time sprint mechanic Dave “Cuff” Reich of Beavertown. Reich suffered a mild heart attack early last week and is on the mend. For the last 10 years, Reich has been helping out Blane Heimbach and before that he wrenched for Barry Camp.