Port Royal, PA – A name certainly synonymous with victory lane in Central Pennsylvania, Lance Dewease made his return to the Port Royal Speedway “Speed Palace” on Friday evening and left as a winner, earning the Night Before The Tuscarora 50 victory over a field of 65 Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions entries for a $5,000 top prize.
The victory lane visit, the result of a battle with Midwest invader, Brian Brown, after starting third on the main event grid, bumps Dewease to 34 total wins with the Arctic Cat All Stars throughout the course of his storied career, now with seven at the Juniata County Fairgrounds.
“We were pretty good here tonight for 30 laps, but I think we still need to get a little bit better for the 50-lap race tomorrow,” Lance Dewease explained, pilot of the Don Kreitz-owned/Schannauer Plumbing & Heating/Henry Sharman Builders/No. 69K. “We just had to keep our tires under us. This place was so fast here tonight.”
After withstanding a series of cautions during the first three circuits, once of which resulting in open red flag conditions while track crews cleaned up oil, Fayetteville’s Lance Dewease was able to capitalize on a solid start and maintain third in the running order, eventually taking second from Mike Wagner just as the lead pack was entering traffic for the first time near the completion of lap eight.
Lapped traffic proved to be a benefactor for Dewease during large segments the 30-lap program. By lap nine, Dewease powered his way to second beyond Mike Wagner, now chasing Grain Valley, Missouri’s Brian Brown for the top spot. Despite “Blackjack’s” ability to ring the topside of the speedway through the slower cars, Dewease continued to find ways to keep up with Brown using the very bottom of the half-mile oval, eventually erasing all of Brown’s advantage.
Brown’s lead of nearly two seconds at the midpoint of the main event was cut down to less than a second by lap 23. Dewease ultimately worked his way to the back bumper of the former Knoxville (IA) Raceway track champion on lap 24 which set up his first major bid for the top spot. A successful slide job at the entrance of turn one on the following circuit allowed Dewease to take command of the running order.
On lap 28, Brown set himself up for one last opportunity to regain the top spot back from Dewease, a desperate slide job at the entrance of turn one, but the attempt proved unsuccessful. Dewease kept control to secure his place on top of the Port Royal Speedway victory lane stage. Brian Brown held on to finish second, followed by T.J. Stutts, Greg Hodnett, and the “Madman” Kerry Madsen.
“We knew Brian Brown was going to be fast here tonight,” said Dewease. “He’s got one heck of a motor builder, so we knew he was going to be a rocket ship. This is probably the hardest I’ve had to race this year, but I definitely didn’t keep the tires under me. We are going to have to get better before tomorrow night.”
“To finish second to Lance Dewease while racing against a field of 65 cars is nothing to hang our heads about,” Brian Brown stated. “We have some positive notes to review, so we’ll come back tomorrow and try to get one position better.”
Celebrating its Golden Anniversary in 2017, Tuscarora 50 weekend at the Port Royal Speedway “Speed Palace” will continue on Saturday evening, September 9, with the 50th running of the Tuscarora 50; the biggest sprint car race in the history of Port Royal Speedway. The 50-lap finale will award $50,000 to the main event winner, as well as a minimum of $900 to each starter.
Lance Dewease is the defending Tuscarora 50 champion, claiming the $12,000 payday in 2016 over Stevie Smith, Dale Blaney, Cap Henry, and “Double-D” Danny Dietrich. The 2016 Tuscarora 50 title was the fifth of Dewease’s storied career; the most wins in Tuscarora 50 history.
Those seeking additional news and notes regarding the 50th edition of the Tuscarora 50 should visit Port Royal Speedway live on the Web at www.portroyalspeedway.com.
A-Main (30 Laps)
1. 69K-Lance Dewease ; 2. 21-Brian Brown ; 3. 11-TJ Stutts ; 4. 27-Greg Hodnett ; 5. 2M-Kerry Madsen ; 6. 29-Danny Dietrich ; 7. 55-Mike Wagner ; 8. 1Z-Dale Blaney ; 9. D4-Danny Holtgraver ; 10. 94-Ryan Smith ; 11. 12-Blane Heimbach ; 12. 99-Brady Bacon ; 13. 39M-Anthony Macri ; 14. 8S-Trenton Sheaffer ; 15. 44-Trey Starks ; 16. 20-Ryan Taylor ; 17. 17-Caleb Helms ; 18. 49X-Tim Shaffer ; 19. 10H-Chad Kemenah ; 20. 47K-Kody Lehman ; 21. 71-Joey Saldana ; 22. 12L-Lynton Jeffrey ; 23. 5B-Justin Barger ; 24. 0-Rick Lafferty ; 25. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss ; 26. 48-Tony Stewart ; 27. 5-Dylan Cisney  Lap Leaders: Brian Brown [1-24]; Lance Dewease [25-30]
-All Star Circuit of Champions Press Release. Photo credit: Paul Arch