BY: TODD HEINTZELMAN
Alan Krimes scored the biggest win of his sprint-car career in the Mitch Smith Memorial at Williams Grove Speedway on Friday night. The event was race number six in the Pennsylvania Sprint-car Speedweek series.
Krimes, of Denver, earned $10,000 for his first career Grove victory in a car owned by his father, Larry.
“I didn’t know if I’d ever win here,” Krimes said. “We’ve struggled here and had some bad luck. I feel like I should I have won four or five. I guess if you’re going to pick one to win, this would be the one.”
Krimes will cherish his commemorative checkered flag.
“I’ve been waiting a long time to get one of these checkered flags,” Krimes said. “The names that have stood here where I’m standing right now, it’s kind of unbelievable. I didn’t know how close those guys were. Once I got the lead, I didn’t feel all that great.”
The Krimes family continues to compete with the higher dollar operations.
“It’s a family run team,” Krimes said. “Everybody that works on the car is part of the family. It’s pretty cool to have everybody standing here in victory lane at the Grove.”
Danny Dietrich of Gettysburg grabbed the early lead in turn one from polesitter Sam Hafertepe Jr.
The caution flag flew on lap two for Adam Wilt’s third turn spin and interrupted an intense race for second between Hafertepe, third starter Krimes and fifth starter Fred Rahmer.
Krimes would take the second spot on the restart with an inside move off turn two. Krimes got a great run off the inside of turn four as Dietrich worked the cushion. They were side-by-side at the flagstand on lap five with Krimes scored the leader.
Doug’s Esh’s frontstretch crash brought out another caution flag.
Dietrich stayed with Krimes as the battle raged for fourth between Hafertepe, Rahmer and seventh starter Greg Hodnett, who won the past two Speedweek races at Hagerstown (Md.) and Port Royal. /p
The caution flag flew on lap 11 when Steve Buckwalter spun in turn one.
Rahmer tried to pass Hafertepe on the restart, but got out of the groove allowing Hodnett to drive by. Hodnett would also drive by Walker and Hafertepe.
Dietrich continued to race in the leader’s shadow and they nearly made contact on the backstretch as Dietrich tried to squeeze between Krimes and the wall.
Tyler Walker, who came into the night as the Speedweek point leader, and Aaron Ott made contact on the frontstretch and Walker’s sprinter came to a stop against the inside frontstretch guardrail. The race was then stopped to allow teams to refuel on lap 18.
Hodnett used a third turn slider to take the runner-up spot from Dietrich on the restart. With eight laps to go, Krimes had a comfortable lead. Rahmer and 11th place starter Brian Montieth traded fourth. Dietrich would drive back by Hodnett with six laps left.
Dietrich began to reel Krimes back in with three laps to go as Montieth caught Hodnett for third.
Krimes, who moved into second place in Speedweek points, would score the win as Hodnett got under Dietrich for second in the final turn. Montieth then passed Dietrich at the line for third. Rahmer finished fifth.
“We changed a couple things under the red,” he said. “We were coming up on that lapped traffic and I was getting worried. I knew it was two or three to go and I was trying to not run up on them.”
Ott, Hafertepe, Brian Leppo, Lance Dewease and Chad Layton completed the top 10.
Rahmer set fast time over the 34-car field with a lap of 17.525. Daryn Pittman, Rick Lafferty, Hodnett and Don Kreitz Jr. won the 10-lap heat races. Brian Montieth won the B-main.
Fred Rahmer 729
Alan Krimes 718
Greg Hodnett 713
Daryn Pittman 688
Tyler Walker 678
Brian Montieth 651