Story By: KASEY KREIDER / LINDA’S SPEEDWAY – JONESTOWN, PA – Despite a season plagued by rainouts and poor weather, eight deserving track champions for the Linda’s Speedway were crowned at the conclusion of the 2023 season, and will be honored at the banquet on December 2nd at the Holiday Inn in Grantville for their achievements.
Entering the season, Sunset Outlets put a bounty up for any driver who could dethrone Mike Boyer as Mt. Gretna Roller Rink 270 Micro Sprint champion. At the conclusion of one of the most competitive seasons in recent memory, the season points battle was decided by just one point, as Brandon Heist claimed the title over Brayden Spencer.
Heist – a two-time Wingless 600 champion at the Jonestown quarter-mile – piloted Dave Walter’s No. 12R to two wins and 10 top-five finishes in 12 points-paying races. In what ended up being the final points race of the year, Heist beat Spencer by one position to break the deadlock atop the standings.
After years of trying, Richie Hartman finally claimed one of the “big three” micro sprint championships at the Linda’s Speedway. Despite a season heavily impacted by rain, Hartman showed dominance in the Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic Wingless 600 Micro Sprints, as the pilot of Mark Gray’s No. 39 won two of the five points races before claiming another victory in the National Open tune-up race. Hartman’s efforts were good enough to claim the title by five points over runner-up Cole Dewease.
In the season-opening race for the Stolz Stove Sales Winged 600 Micro Sprints, Bloomsburg’s Ben Stolz finally broke through for an elusive Linda’s Speedway win in 600 competition. After a season-long battle with Jason Sechrist, Stolz and the No. 77 team came out on top in the championship fight by just two points after the final race of the year.
Richie Hitzler returned to championship form in the Mike’s Towing & Recovery 600 Modified division, as he pulled away from a crowded points battle down the stretch and picked up his sixth Linda’s Speedway championship in a season that also included a Modified 50 triumph. Hitzler also went on to claim the Xcel 600 Modified Tour championship driving Ray Gradwell’s No. 9.
The Hoffer Paving All Star Slingshot division saw a familiar face claim the title once again, as Brett Bieber went back-to-back at Linda’s Speedway for his fifth total championship at the track. Bieber scored the title on the strength of three wins, and the Oley native finished inside the top five in all but one feature event.
In the J&J Auto Body Junior Slingshot division, it was Chase Schott claiming his second title at the track after a near-perfect season, one that the Lebanon native parlayed into the 2023 Junior Slingshot World Championship.
Eric Hollenbach came out on top after a Bernheisel Race Components Charger season that saw a much-increased level of parity amongst the class. Hollenbach used a win in the season-opening Justin Witmer Memorial Race to propel him to his fifth championship in the division, but his first since returning to it full-time.
The second season of the reborn Appalachian Auto Front Wheel Drive division also saw increased parity, as each race saw a different winner. The championship belonged to a driver who didn’t win a race however, as Rob Pyle instead used remarkable consistency to claim the track title.
All of the champions and top points finishers will be recognized at the annual awards banquet at the Holiday Inn in Grantville on December 2nd. Ticket information for the event will be coming out shortly.
Additionally, reserved parking spots for the 2024 racing season are now available. Those looking to renew their spots from this past season will need to bring their money to the banquet in order to pay for next year’s spot. After the banquet, parking opens up to everyone on a first-come, first-served basis.
Linda’s Speedway thanks all of its loyal race fans, drivers, and sponsors for their support throughout the 2023 season, and we are already excited and looking ahead to 2024!
2023 Final Point Standings (Top 5)
MT. GRETNA ROLLER RINK 270 MICRO SPRINTS
STOLZ STOVE SALES LLC WINGED 600 MICRO SPRINTS
WINGLESS 600 MICRO SPRINTS
MIKE’S TOWING & RECOVERY 600CC MODIFIEDS
HOFFER PAVING ALL STAR SLINGSHOTS
J&J AUTO BODY JUNIOR SLINGSHOTS
5- Javon Garrison
BERNHEISEL RACE CARS CHARGERS
APPALACHIAN AUTO LLC FRONT WHEEL DRIVE