Story By: SHAWN BROUSE / WILLIAMS GROVE SPEEDWAY – MECHANICSBURG, PA – It has been a very trying year for Steve Buckwalter and the Clair and Jan Ritter Team.
Buckwalter, of Royersford, turned things around a bit Friday night as he captured the Billy Kimmel Memorial and $6,000 in the 25-lap sprint car feature. It was his 12th career Grove win.
“It has been a long time coming,” Buckwalter said. “We’ve been really struggling with the car.”
Buckwalter started second and raced into the lead over Alan Krimes and Devon Borden.
“I knew Borden would be fast, and also Krimes, I figured if he beat me to turn one, it would be really tough to get around him.”
A fourth turn accident brought the race under caution with two laps completed. Brent Shearer, Robbie Kendall and Gordon Senft were involved. Everybody was okay and only Kendall didn’t restart.
Buckwalter controlled the restart as Borden took second from Krimes. Ninth starter Chase Dietz was into the top four and 17th starter Freddie Rahmer into seventh with six laps completed.
Meanwhile at the front, Borden was running Buckwalter down as they blasted around the cushion.
Buckwalter reached the back of the field and the slower car of Austin Burke. This brought Borden right to his bumper as they raced down the frontstretch. Borden ducked under Buckwalter entering turn one as Buckwalter also tried to pass Burke on the inside. It was very tight racing off the second corner with Buckwalter holding on.
“I was catching that lapped car and I didn’t realize Borden was that close,” Buckwalter said. “I knew I wasn’t close enough to slide the lapped car, but I wanted to see how good my car stuck. I got in there and slid up to him like I intended to, but then I seen Borden and had to get on the gas. I picked up the pace and ran it a little harder and the car handled it.”
Tyler Reeser stopped entering turn three bringing out the yellow with 11 laps completed.
Buckwalter’s restart was good enough to keep Borden from tying a first turn slider. Rahmer raced into fifth.
Buckwalter pulled away a bit from Borden following the restart and was in control as Dietz took third from Krimes.
Dylan Norris slowed on the backstretch bringing the field under caution again with 10 laps to go.
Borden was closer on this restart, but couldn’t clear the pass as Buckwalter raced off the second corner with the lead.
The yellow flew again with eight laps to go for Rick Lafferty.
This gave Borden another shot, but it was Buckwalter staying strong on the cushion in turns one and two.
Rahmer ducked under Dietz for third spot.
Lance Dewease, who started 18th after being collected in a heat race crash, raced into fifth. He took fourth from Dietz as Buckwalter built a comfortable lead again.
Dewease went after Rahmer for third. He’d take the spot entering turn one.
It was Buckwalter scoring the win by 2.7 seconds over Borden and the hard-charging Dewease. Rahmer and Dietz completed the top five. Kyle Moody, Krimes, TJ Stutts, Jordan Givler and Shearer rounded out the top 10.
Krimes won the first heat after a side-by-side battle with Reeser. Buckwalter won the second heat over Givler. A total of 20 sprint cars were on hand.
Sprint Car Feature (25 laps): 1. Steve Buckwalter. 2. Devon Borden. 3. Lance Dewease. 4. Freddie Rahmer. 5. Chase Dietz. 6. Kyle Moody. 7. Alan Krimes. 8. TJ Stutts. 9. Jordan Givler. 10. Brent Shearer. 11. Dylan Norris. 12. Tyler Reeser. 13. Chad Trout. 14. Bryn Gohn. 15. Austin Burke. 16. Rick Lafferty. 17. Jason Shultz. 18. Gordon Senft III. 19. Robbie Kendall. 20. Tyler Bear.