Column By: JUSTIN SNYDER / RPW – MECHANICSBURG, PA – Central Pennsylvania dirt racing is filled with a lot of history. The list of drivers who have ran a sprint car at one of the various tracks spread throughout the area is filled with the “who’s who” of the sport.
Even more impressive is the listing of team owners who have provided the drivers the opportunity to race and the fans the opportunity to cheer on their favorite driver on any given night.
On May 25, 2018, Williams Grove Speedway will host a race honoring one of the area’s most successful owners in Walt Dyer. The Walt Dyer Tribute Race for the 410 Sprint Cars will pay $4610 to the night’s winner and $400 to start.
The event will be a Hoosier Tire Diamond Series race and will feature an extended point fund for the top 5 finishing drivers. Also on the bill for the night will be the PASS IMCA 305 Sprint Cars along with a display from the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing focusing on the many “Brickmobile” cars, drivers and history.
Past drivers will be on hand to honor the famed owner and sign autographs along with possible retro paint schemes to be run for the night’s event.
“As a track that prides ourselves in our history, we feel it very important to honor those who have played an instrumental part in making Williams Grove Speedway the track it is today,” said speedway general manager Justin Loh, “Not only will this race allow us to celebrate what Walt Dyer and what his drivers brought to Central PA racing, but it will allow us to educate the younger generation as well. I think this is a great addition to the schedule for a very worthy man.”
Dyer began owning sprint cars in the area in 1967. His “Brickmobile” Dyer Masonry #461 is one of the most iconic paint schemes to ever run and played host to various drivers throughout a 30 plus year stint before retiring from full-time competition in 1998-99.
No driver accomplished more behind the wheel of the car as Fayetteville’s Lance Dewease Motorsports. First teaming up in 1991 and racing together for 7 ½ years, Dewease and Dyer captured 132 feature victories. No bigger of a win came than the 1996 World of Outlaws sanctioned Williams Grove National Open where the duo became to only non-outlaw regular to sweep the Outlaws 2 nights that season.
Dewease currently drives the Don Kreitz Jr. owned 69k and has already penciled in the event for their 2018 schedule. He’s credits Dyer with jump starting his career and is looking forward to racing in honor of him.
“Walt deserves an event like this. He did a lot for our sport for many years and especially me as a driver,” said Dewease. “When I got in his car, he was taking a big chance on a young kid who didn’t have much of a resume at the time. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Dewease looks back fondly on his time racing for Dyer. With 87 career victories at “The Grove”, he’s 3 short of tying Fred Rahmer for first on the all-time 410 feature winner list. With many of them happening while driving the #461, Dewease would love nothing more than to move one step closer to that feat by taking home the checkered flag that night.
“We were always pretty good wherever we went, but we won a ton of races at Williams Grove during that time period,” said Dewease. “Walt was everything you could ask for in an owner and let me drive the way I wanted and always gave me the equipment I needed to be successful. “
“We were able to build ourselves into a pretty good team in 7 ½ years that I think we ranked among the best in the entire country during our time together. I’m extremely proud of our accomplishments and I’m looking forward to paying tribute that night to a great man. It be a pretty special moment to win that race and I’m really looking forward to the night.”
General admission prices for the night’s event will be $18 for adults and $10 for youth. More details regarding potential tributes and drivers attending will be released in the near future.