PORT ROYAL, Pa. – In a PA Posse battle of old-school against new-school, Lance Dewease proved veteran experience still rules by topping Monday’s rain-postponed Bob Weikert Memorial at Port Royal Speedway.
Dewease came out on top of a furious battle with young gun Anthony Macri for much of the 30-lap feature, then drove away from Logan Wagner after Macri crashed out en route to a $29,000 payday.
It marked Dewease’s second career win in the Bob Weikert Memorial, but his first time hoisting the event’s coveted bull-head trophy.
When the National Sprint Car Hall of Famer won his first Bob Weikert Memorial on May 20, 2006, the customary prize wasn’t yet being awarded at the crown-jewel Central Pennsylvania sprint car race.
“I’ve never won the Weikert race when they’ve given away those bull heads, so this is the first time I’ve gotten the bull heads,” Dewease noted with a smile after his 42nd All Star triumph and 119th career 410 sprint car victory at Port Royal. “That meant a lot. This is a special race.”
Though Dewease and Macri provided much of the show Monday evening, the race began with Cory Eliason and Hunter Schuerenberg on the front row, as Dewease started third and Macri gridded 10th.
At the initial start, Schuerenberg ripped around Eliason to lead the opening lap as Mike Wagner rose to second, followed by Brent Marks and Dewease. By lap four, it was nearly a two-second margin for Schuerenberg, but Marks made the pass for second at that point and quickly closed on the leader.
As Schuerenberg was coming off turn four to complete lap six, Marks was coming with a full head of steam, getting side by side at the flagstand before sliding Schuerenberg for the lead in turn one.
Coming off turn two, however, that slide job ended in disaster as Marks bounced the right-rear of his No. 19m off the outside wall and broke a rear end, slowing to a crawl as fluid trailed out in a line.
Schuerenberg jumped Marks’ rear tire with his left front but was able to continue as the leader.
That lead vanished on the ensuing restart, as Dewease powered inside Mike Wagner for second in turn one, then stayed low in the third turn to clear Schuerenberg for the top spot on lap seven.
From there, Dewease turned on the jets, opening up a 1.872-second advantage nine laps in before a spinning Jared Esh erased the advantage and set up the beginning of Dewease and Macri’s titanic battle.
When the green flag returned, Macri stormed to fourth, before a masterful display two laps later that saw him rip high around Mike Wagner and then dive low on Schuerenberg to rise to second on lap 11.
A yellow for the spun car of Jeff Halligan moments later bunched the field back up, then let loose the clash of two titans as Dewease and Macri waged war for command over the field.
Dewease held the point from laps 12 through 16, but on lap 17 Macri fired a slider through turns one and two that netted him the lead for a moment before Dewease drove back past the No. 39m.
But the battle the pair put on in traffic on laps 19 and 20 was electric. Macri got a run on Dewease and missed leading lap 19 at the flagstand by a nose, then slid Dewease in turn one before the pair split the lapped car of Cap Henry down the backstretch.
Dewease then threw a slider at Macri in turn four, but Macri edged him out to lead lap 20 just before Bill Balog and Justin Whittall tangled in turn two, forcing an open red for refueling that restacked the field.
After that, Dewease showed the dominance that he used to win 118 prior 410 sprint car features at Port Royal on the race-deciding restart. He shot to the bottom of turn one like a dart, slid up in front of Macri and the die was cast.
As Dewease stayed committed to the bottom, then inched higher to try and disrupt the air on Macri’s top wing, Macri kept hammering the cushion trying to get back to Dewease and make one more run at the lead.
However, the Dillsburg, Pa., native hit the ledge too hard coming to four to go, shearing the right-rear wheel off the car before he hit the guardrail on corner exit, ending his night. Macri was uninjured.
That left Dewease free to cruise home to a 2.951-second victory over Logan Wagner, with series point leader Tyler Courtney making a last-lap pass off turn two to secure the final spot on the podium.
“Anthony was really fast here; he pounds the wall hard,” Dewease said of the late battle for the lead. “When I got back in front of him, I felt like he was going to have to wreck it to get by me [again]. I guess he hit the wall too many times, right?
“We were really good on starts and especially on the bottom and middle of the race track,” Dewease added. “I could run flat out then, but as we ran, I got looser. So we tightened things up a little bit there under that red. I knew Anthony wasn’t going to go down easy.
“He probably thought he didn’t have to worry about me, but we could fly through three and four after a caution really well … and we got him and held him off.”
Making the night even better was the fact that it was the 87th birthday for National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Davey Brown, Dewease’s longtime crew chief.
“Man, at 87 years old, he still works on this race car and his drive to make this race car as fast as he can is amazing,” Dewease noted.
“If I get to that age and have that desire and that work ethic, I’ll be happy as heck!”
Danny Dietrich charged from 17th to fourth, with Mike Wagner closing the top five.
Schuerenberg faded to sixth, followed by Rico Abreu, Blane Heimbach, Eliason and Ian Madsen.
The All Star Circuit of Champions season continues June 3 at Fairbury (Ill.) American Legion Speedway.
1. 69k-Lance Dewease , 2. 1-Logan Wagner , 3. 7bc-Tyler Courtney , 4. 29-Danny Dietrich , 5. 55w-Mike Wagner , 6. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg , 7. 24-Rico Abreu , 8. 12-Blane Heimbach , 9. 26-Cory Eliason , 10. 11-Ian Madsen , 11. 5-Paul McMahan , 12. 5w-Lucas Wolfe , 13. 33w-Michael Walter , 14. 5c-Dylan Cisney , 15. 45-Jeff Halligan , 16. 33-Gerard McIntyre , 17. 10-Zeb Wise , 18. 13-Justin Peck , 19. 2-A.J. Flick , 20. 29b-Michael Bauer , 21. 4-Cap Henry , 22. 39m-Anthony Macri , 23. 17b-Bill Balog , 24. 67-Justin Whittall , 25. 35-Tyler Reeser , 26. 98-Jared Esh , 27. 19-Brent Marks .
Lap Leader(s): Hunter Schuerenberg 1-6, Lance Dewease 7-19, Anthony Macri 20, Lance Dewease 21-30.
Hard Charger: 29-Danny Dietrich [+13]