PORT ROYAL, PA — Ending a perfect weekend for the Fayetteville, Pennsylvania, native, Lance Dewease scored the richest payday in the history of Port Royal Speedway on Saturday evening, dominating 44 of 50 circuits around the Juniata County Fairgrounds “Speed Palace” to claim the 50th running of the Tuscarora 50 worth $50,000.
Dewease, now with an unprecedented six Tuscarora 50 titles, started sixth on the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions main event grid, taking command officially on lap seven over Kunkletown’s Ryan Smith and Central Pennsylvania hotshot, Danny Dietrich. Despite a competition yellow during the midpoint of the 50-lapper, Dewease remained flawless during his campaign at the top of the running order, crossing under the final checkers nearly four seconds ahead of Smith, Brock Zearfoss, a hard-charging Lucas Wolfe, and the “Madman” Kerry Madsen.
“I know how to run this place for 50 laps,” Lance Dewease said on the Port Royal Speedway victory lane stage. “We didn’t push it real hard at the beginning just because I didn’t want to overheat my left rear. I probably could have ran a little faster, but I didn’t want to yet. This is all about this team right now. We have a 16-race-old motor in here. It’s the ‘little engine that can.’ My team works their butts off every time we show up to race. It’s definitely hard work that gets us here.”
The “Kunkletown Kid” Ryan Smith and Western Pennsylvania’s own Carl Bowser led the 27 starters to green for the 50th running of the Tuscarora 50. Smith earned the early advantage, racing back to the flagstand for the first time with Danny Dietrich, Lance Dewease and Carl Bowser in tow. Utilizing the very topside of the speedway, Ryan Smith kept command for the first six circuits.
By lap three, Lance Dewease had worked his way underneath Dietrich for second. Four circuits later, Dewease was battling for the top spot, ultimately working underneath Ryan Smith with a textbook slide job at the entrance of turn one. Dietrich followed Dewease’s tracks and also worked by Smith, keeping pace with the familiar No. 69K until traffic spoiled Dietrich’s momentum on lap 10.
Working as an advantage for the race leader, traffic eventually intensified which allowed Dewease to escape from the rest of the field. By the time the race was stopped for a competition yellow on lap 25, Dewease’s command was built to nearly four seconds. During the closing laps before the yellow, Ryan Smith battled back to regain second over Dietrich on lap 17. Brock Zearfoss, who started ninth on the main event grid, also raced around Dietrich to claim third on lap 19.
When green flag conditions resumed on lap 26, Dewease was able to pick up right where he left off and return to the bottom of the speedway. By lap 29, Dewease regrew his lead to 2.5 seconds, still flanked by Ryan Smith and Brock Zearfoss. Even when the trio raced into traffic once again, Dewease maintained all momentum, ultimately crossing under the final checkers 3.948 seconds ahead of Smith and Zearfoss.
“We were fortunate enough to win our heat race which put us in a good starting position,” said Dewease, pilot of the familiar Don Kreitz-owned/Sharman Builders/No. 69K. “We had to free ourselves up a little bit during that break. When I got into lapped cars, I started to get really tight. This car loves the clean air. This win is really special to all of us.”
In total, Lance Dewease earned $56,350 during his weekend visit to the Port Royal Speedway “Speed Palace.” The pair of Arctic Cat All Star victories increases his career win total to 35 with “America’s Series.”
Returning to Central Pennsylvania for one final time in 2017, the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions will continue the month of September with trips to Selinsgrove Speedway and Bedford Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturday and Sunday, September 16-17, respectively. The 35th Annual Jim Nace Memorial/National Open at Selinsgrove Speedway will highlight the weekend venture to the Keystone State, awarding an $8,000 top prize; the final event of the 2017 season at the Penn Township half-mile.
Those seeking additional news and notes pertaining to the events at Selinsgrove Speedway and Bedford Fairgrounds Speedway should visit each facility live on the Web at www.selinsgrovespeedway.com and www.bedfordspeedway.com.
-All Star Circuit of Champions Press Release
-Photo Credit: Vince Vellella