By Mike Leone


(Markleysburg, PA)…Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex wrapped up a beautiful three-race weekend on Sunday night in the inaugural “Dirt Classic” Qualifier presented by J&K Salvage. The “410” Sprint Cars were back for the second time in three weeks and for just the third time ever at the scenic Markleysburg, Pa. 3/8-mile oval. Capturing wins were Danny Dietrich-“410” Sprints, Ryan Montgomery-RUSH Late Models, and Mitch Ward-Mod Lites.

For the third time in as many Sprint Car races at Roaring Knob, the feature came down to the final laps. Last year, Lance Dewease made a last lap pass of Tim Shaffer; two weeks ago Sprint Car greats Dave Blaney and Jac Haudenschild dueled with Blaney getting back by in the final laps for the win; on Sunday night, Danny Dietrich made the PA Posse proud stealing the $5,000 win away from western Pa. favorite and All Star Circuit of Champions racer Danny Holtgraver on the final lap. The 30-lap feature went non-stop in just over eight minutes and thirty seconds.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to get him or not,” revealed the Gettysburg, Pa. racer. “I had a chance to do it the last three or four laps. It felt pretty good when I went down there so I waited until the last minute. I didn’t know if I was going to clear him, but it worked. We’re racing for the lead on the final lap- it was a slide job for the win. I hope he lifted, but it’s what I had to do to get here.”

An invert four put Haudenschild and Cole Duncan on the front row of the feature. Duncan used the highline to power past Haudenschild, while Holtgraver slipped under the “Wild Child” for second on the opening lap. Dietrich started fifth and battled with Greg Hodnett the first two laps before making the pass for fourth.

Duncan, who won a $5,000 to-win Sprint show at Path Valley Speedway in 2012 and last year won his first ever in central Pa. at Lincoln Speedway, looked strong early on as he opened up a near straightaway lead by lap five. Duncan’s comfortable lead though was short-lived as Holtgraver began to close the margin on lap seven as traffic loomed ahead for the leader.

Duncan caught the back-markers on the eighth circuit and Holtgraver was right on the leader on lap nine as Haudenschild and Dietrich closed in making it a four-car race for the lead by lap 10. Dietrich went to the bottom in turns three and four on lap 12 and made the slider stick to grab third from Haudenschild.

With Duncan trying to maneuver his way through traffic, Holtgraver eyed his opportunity and snuck around Duncan on the extreme topside of turn four on lap 13 to take command of the event. One lap later, Dietrich put the pressure on Duncan with Haudenschild looming behind. With the battle intensify for third, Holtgraver began to open up his lead on lap 17. Dietrich went to the bottom of turns one and two and performed a slider on Duncan to take second on lap 18.

Holtgraver had his hands full trying to get around Carl Bowser and Mike Lutz on laps 18 and 19 and this allowed Dietrich, Duncan, and Haudenschild to close back in and it was once again a four-car race for the lead with 10 laps to go. As the laps ticked off caution-free, the running order up front stayed the same. Dietrich began looking for opportunities to get past Holtgraver as he tried various lines around the racey 3/8-mile oval.

On lap 28, Dietrich dropped to the bottom of turns one and two and was able to pull even with Holtgraver, but Holtgraver had the momentum around the topside to maintain his lead. Dietrich stayed right with Holtgraver then with the white flag waving, Dietrich shot hard to the bottom again in turns one and two. This time he found enough bite and slid up in front of Holtgraver. As the two raced down the backstretch, Dietrich got an excellent run into turn three not allowing Holtgraver the ability to go under him.

Holtgraver instead went to the outside in turns three and four. For a moment it looked like he might have enough run off the topside of turn four to out-drag Dietrich down the frontstretch, but at the finish it was Dietrich by a winning margin of just 0.307 of a second. Dietrich became the third different winner in as many Sprint Car shows at Roaring Knob in the Gary Kauffman-owned, Sandoe’s Fruit Market/Hickory Run Orchards/Carlisle Auto Salvage/Weikert’s Livestock/Racers Used Parts-sponsored #48.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for putting the time, effort and money into these shows,” stated Dietrich, whose first ever win in western Pennsylvania also garnered him a guaranteed starting spot in the $20,000 to-win “Dirt Classic” presented by Kasey Kahne on September 27 at Lincoln Speedway. “Getting a guaranteed starting spot in that race is a big gigantic bonus. That wasn’t on my mind. We came here to win. I want to thank everyone for coming out. I know all of the drivers appreciate the fans and I hope we put a show on for you.”

Holtgraver, who last won on May 23 at Lernerville Speedway, earned $2,000 for his runner-up finish. The Pittsburgh, Pa. racer said, “It’s obviously disappointing to finish second and I can’t repeat what I was thinking on the last lap, but the way things have been going the last several races, we’ll take this and move on. Congratulations to Danny Dietrich.”

Duncan was a solid third and received $1,500 for the show position driving his family-owned #22. “We had a fast car from the time we unloaded,” stated the Lockbourne, Ohio driver. “I think driver error cost us this race. I flat screwed up in traffic and should have moved my wing back earlier. Nonetheless it was a great race and a great track tonight.”

Haudenschild, who dropped to third at the last Roaring Knob show, was fourth and earned $1,400 over Hodnett in fifth, who garnered $1,300 in his first ever appearance. Danny Smith came from 12th to finish sixth. Western Pa. locals Jack Sodeman, Jr. and Brandon Matus were seventh and eighth. Former full-time World of Outlaws racer and central Pa. native Lucas Wolfe was ninth in his first ever Roaring Knob appearance. Mike Wagner, who set fast time and finished runner-up on May 18 at Roaring Knob, was 10th and still earned $1,000.

Hodnett set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 14.313 to earn the Precise Racing Products/Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic $100 gift card. Heat winners were Haudenschild, Sodeman, and Logan Wagner.

A second “Dirt Classic” Qualifier presented by J&K Salvage will be held Sunday, June 8 at Bedford (PA) Speedway for $5,000 to-win followed by the “Dirt Classic” presented by Kasey Kahne on Saturday, September 27 for $20,000 to-win at Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, Pa.

“410” Sprint Car Feature (30 laps, $5,000 to-win): 1. DANNY DIETRICH (Kauffman 48) 2. Danny Holtgraver (Hunter 10H) 3. Cole Duncan (22) 4. Jac Haudenschild (Rogers 9W) 5. Greg Hodnett (Heffner 27) 6. Danny Smith (4) 7. Jack Sodeman, Jr. (23Jr) 8. Brandon Matus (13) 9. Lucas Wolfe (Allebach 5W) 10. Mike Wagner (55) 11. Logan Wagner (Salathe RG3) 12. Ryan Smith (Warko 94) 13. Alan Krimes (87) 14. Brandon Spithaler (22) 15. Carl Bowser (10) 16. Mike Lutz (McMillin 5M) 17. Dan Shetler (7K) 18. Brad Howard (49) 19. Adam Kekich (McMillin 5) 20. Bob Howard (49) 21. Brent Matus (33) 22. Dan Kuriger (08)-DNS.

Precise Racing Products “410” Sprint Car Time Trials (track record 14.039 Caleb Helms 5/3/13): 1. Greg Hodnett 14.313 2. Danny Holtgraver 14.331 3. Cole Duncan 14.458 4. Jac Haudenschild 14.588 5. Danny Dietrich 14.655 6. Brandon Matus 14.659 7. Ryan Smith 14.758 8. Lucas Wolfe 14.840 9. Logan Wagner 14.845 10. Mike Lutz 15.001 11. Jack Sodeman, Jr. 15.029 12. Danny Smith 15.095 13. Mike Wagner 15.108 14. Brandon Spithaler 15.223 15. Dan Shetler 15.295 16. Carl Bowser 15.345 17. Brad Howard 15.378 18. Adam Kekich 15.390 19. Bob Howard 15.489 20. Brent Matus 15.807 21. Alan Krimes NT 22. Dan Kuriger NT.

“410” Sprint Car Heat 1: 1. Jac Haudenschild 2. Mike Lutz 3. Greg Hodnett 4. Ryan Smith 5. Carl Bowser 6. Mike Wagner 7. Bob Howard 8. Dan Kuriger-DNS.

“410” Sprint Car Heat 2: 1. Jack Sodeman, Jr. 2. Danny Dietrich 3. Danny Holtgraver 4. Lucas Wolfe 5. Brad Howard 6. Brent Matus 7. Brandon Spithaler.

“410” Sprint Car Heat 3: 1. Logan Wagner 2. Danny Smith 3. Alan Krimes 4. Cole Duncan 5. Brandon Matus 6. Dan Shetler 7. Adam Kekich.

High Gear Speed Shop RUSH Late Models: RYAN MONTGOMERY, Rick Strickler, Michael Lake, Josh Holtgraver, Bob Gordon, Chad McClellan, Derek Rogers, Troy Shields, David Friedrich, Bryan Rankin, Dylan Lewis, Mike Ott, Mark Wells, Jonathan Sines, Clinton Hersh.

Krause Electric Mod Lites: MITCH WARD, Alan Knepper, Lynn Knepper, Braeden Dillinger, Zak Kimbrew, Nick Nash, Jarred Barclay, JC White, Jeff Fornash, Logan Hitt, Shane Hitt.

Roaring Knob will be back in action this Saturday night, June 7 with the “Bill Hendren Memorial” for the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Series paying $1,500 to-win plus contingencies. Also on the card will be the Super Late Models, Street Stocks, Mod Lites, Chargers, and Four Cylinders.

Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex is a 3/8-mile clay oval located near Markleysburg, Pa. just off of scenic Route 40 at 380 Fearer Road (look for the road sign) just seven miles east of Nemacolin Woodlands on the right, one mile west of Yough Lake on the left. Check out the website at www.roaringknob.com or call 410-857-3821 (office) or 724-329-0306 on race day.