My weekend at the National Open
October 4th and 5th
by Marty Reilly
Thursday at 3:30 good friend Stan Miller picked up Ashley and I and loaded
up our gear for a trip to the hollowed grounds of Williams Grove Speedway in
Mechanicsburg Pa. After a couple of stops for fuel and food we arrived at
the track at 11:00 pm.
We set up camp and caught up with some old friends it was time to get a
goodnights sleep. Waking up it was off to a Grove institution Wolf's diner
in Dillsburg for a good breakfast.
With our belly's full it was off to a must see for any race fan the Eastern
Pa Motorsports Hall of Fame Museum in Latimore County just about 15 minutes
south of the track.
When we pulled my heart skipped a beat. In the upstairs window their was a
quarter midget that I drove at the Leigh Valley Quarter Midget Club in
Kuhnsville Pa when I was seven years old in 1971. Yea I'm old. It brought
back so many memories. I actually teared up with emotion. The museum is
staffed by wonderful volunteers and run by Sprint Car Hall of Famer Lynn
Paxson. The building has so many neat cars of every type from early midgets
and sprints to vintage motorcycles and dragsters. My favorite part of the
Hall is the library dedicated to Chris Eocnomacki. It has his full
collection of books. The hall is free but they do ask for donations.
After a great time at the hall of fame is was back to the Grove for the
first night of the National Open. 63 cars graced the pits for the evening.
It was Brownstown In's Joey Saldana took fast time in his Motter Motorsports
After great heat racing action with Jason Sides, Steve Buckwalter, Brian
Leppo, Adam Will and Dale Blaney taking the wins.
It was an all Pa Posse front row of Steve Buckwalter and Don Kreitz Jr for
the 25 lap feature. At the drop of the green Buckwalter jumped into the
early lead with second row starter Dan Dietrich in second followed closely
by Kreitz. Buckwalter and Dietrich waged a good battle for the first 16 laps
when Dietrich took the lead over Buckwalter and Kreitz. While those three
were locked together 11th place starter Brian Montieth used a high line
charge to get up to 4th. Kreitz and Montieth got around Buckwaler. Kreitz
was hounding Dietrich for a few laps when the white flag waved and Kreitz
showed Dietrich his nose. Going off into turn one Dietrich went low to block
Kreitz , but Kreitz powered around the outside and for lead and his 57th win
at Williams Grove.
The Posse took care of business on their home turf with eight in the top ten
with the only outlaw driver Donny Schatz fourth and a good run for All Star
Champion Dale Blaney tenth.
After a good breakfast at camp and recouping from last night Ashley and I
went to an auction to benefit injured drivers put on by Darren Pittman crew
member Kolton Gouse. There was all kinds to memorabilia from wing panels,
tail tanks, fire suits and pictures. Yours truly ponied up $60 bucks for two
pictures. Also on hand signing autographs was Sprint Cup Champ Tony Stewart
still recovering from a broken leg from a sprint car wreck In Iowa.
After the auction a short but heavy rain struck the track about 3:00pm.
After the rain stopped the track crew did an outstanding job of prepping the
track surface for racing.
Due to the delay Outlaw officials decided to only have one lap of time
62 cars were in the pits and again Joey Saldana claimed to honors.
Just like last night the heats were fast and furious with Fred Rahmer, Sammy
Swindell, David Gravel, Rodney Westhafer and Logan Schchart taking the wins.
With the Posse again sweeping the front row with Steve Buckwalter and Fred
Rahmer it was set up for a very emotional win.
When the Green dropped for the 40 lapper it was Steve Buchwalter jumping out
to an early lead. on lap 8 Buckwalter jumped the cushion and allowed Rahmer
to get a nose by him but Buckwalter charged into turn one to regain the
On lap 14 the Hall of Famer from Salfordsville Pa made the winning pass. He
pulled out to big leads only to have a caution bunch the field back up. Not
even a lap 25 red for a fuel stop couldn't stop Fast Freddie from making
his career complete with the race he always wanted to win. He announced a
few weeks back he was retiring from racing.
Happy Retirement Freddie you deserve it.
In victory lane he said "they tried to burry me dead said I was to old to
get the job done. Guess I proved them wrong". you sure did.
Even second place finisher and current World of Outlaws point leader Darren
Pittman said he was so happy with Fred's win and this was the best second
place finish of the season. Third place finisher and rival for many seasons
Lance Dewease was very happy for Fred.
I saw people in the stands that booed Freddie actually cry with his win
In closing I would like to send my many thanks to the staff a Williams Grove
for their kindness and making Ashley and I weekend very enjoyable.
Especially Betty in the media office and several other officials who helped
us out. We hope we can come back again for many years to come
Made some great friends, Rob for hanging out with Ashley in the pits and
telling wonderful stories around the fire and 358 driver and hoping to move
up to 360's next season, Wes Irwin for his kindness and hospitality during
the rain delay. Hope to see you again next season.
Until next race.
Marty and Ashley Reilly