What: the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series three-race swing in Central Pennsylvania
When: Wednesday, May 15; Friday, May 17; Saturday, May 18
Where: Lincoln Speedway (Wednesday) and Williams Grove Speedway (Friday-Saturday)
Weather at race time: 65 degrees, 9 percent chance of rain, 5 mph winds on Wednesday … 74 degrees, 39 chance of rain, 7 mph winds … 69 degrees, 15 chance of rain, 4 mph winds
Knoxville, Iowa, is home to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and the Super Bowl of sprint cars, the Knoxville Nationals, but Pennsylvania and its diehard, fiery fans claim they are the true home of the raging, winged machines. The pulse. The lifeblood. Where you find the rowdiest beer guzzlers and the grittiest contingent of racers on planet earth. All housed by some of the finest, most nostalgic speedways in the country.
Behold, the greatest rivalry on dirt: the Pennsylvania Posse vs. the World of Outlaws. In detail: the Outlaws are “The Greatest Show on Dirt,” professional sprint car racers who travel the country and drive for some of the biggest names in motorsports (Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to name some).
The Posse, meanwhile, are perhaps your purest form of racers: your prototypical, 40-hours-a-week worker, then play backyard hero at Williams Grove on Friday night, and either Lincoln Speedway or Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night.
It’s a clash unlike any other in motorsports. Oh, and the social media trash talk is second to none, too.
Outlaws to watch
No. 15 Donny Schatz: 10-time hasn’t gotten off to the best start and, yet, he’s on top of the WoO standings. Two wins in 14 features isn’t Schatz-like, but we all know what he’s made of, and that’s an uncanny edge behind the wheel.
No. 49 Brad Sweet: Last year’s Knoxville Nationals champion is on Schatz’s heels (14 points behind) in pursuit of his first-ever WoO title. The Kasey Kahne Racing driver won nine times last year and he’s already triumphed twice in 2019.
No. 2 Carson Macedo: The 23-year-old Californian under Kyle Larson Racing has one win in 2019 and is emerging into a star on the WoO tour.
No. 41 David Gravel: The Jason Johnson Motorsports driver is a proven winner (25 wins the past three years) and always seems to get around Central Pa. tracks well.
No. 5 Shane Stewart: He doesn’t have a win in 2019, but with crew chief Barry Jackson, a Central Pa. native who knows the ins and outs of every track in Posse territory, Stewart will roll out with strong equipment this week.
Other Outlaws: No. 83 Daryn Pittman, No. 1S Logan Schuchart, No. 18 Ian Madsen, No. 17 Sheldon Haudenschild, No. 11K Kraig Kinser
Posse to Watch
No. 69K Lance Dewease: LD or the GOAT? I dunno. The wins speak for itself (94 career wins at Williams Grove; most-all-time), and it’s a lot to digest when it comes to Dewease’s career. He could go down as the best to do it in Central Pa. and the 53-year-old isn’t slowing down. He bagged the $56,000-to-win National Open at Williams Grove last fall and in 2019 he has three wins in four features.
No. 48 Danny Dietrich: The most polarizing figure in Pennsylvania, “the Black Sheep,” as Dietrich calls himself, will enter Wednesday night with more wins in 2019 than anyone else (four). He notoriously excels at Lincoln, the place where he grew up, and knows how to win big at Williams Grove (2016 National Open winner). There’s no one who wants to take down the Outlaws as bad as Dietrich: “I think we’re gonna kick their ass.”
No. 24 Lucas Wolfe: Last year’s Williams Grove track champion is always in the mix against the Outlaws. In fact, he was once an Outlaw regular. Wolfe has two wins and six podiums in 2019.
No. 72 Ryan Smith: He’s yet to win a 410 feature since joining Heffner Racing, but what if his first came this week vs. the Outlaws? How maddening and touching and magical would that be? Smith has certainly knocked on the door, having three podiums and eight top sixes to show for in 13 features. He just needs to put a whole night together.
No. 51 Freddie Rahmer: The son of the legendary Pa. Posse driver Fred Rahmer is last year’s Gettysburg Clash winner and he enters Lincoln on Wednesday with two speedway wins in 2019.
Other Posse: No. 1 Logan Wagner, No. 15 Adam Wilt, No. 87 Alan Krimes, No. 21 Brian Montieth, No. 70 Brock Zearfoss