Motorsports Comings and Goings – DTD Exclusive

By KEN BRUCE

The 2019 Pioneer Pole Buildings Racecar and Tradeshow has come to an end signaling the start of another racing season soon to begin. I had the pleasure of speaking to numerous people on Saturday to gather some perspective on the upcoming season.

Jimmy Horton has decided not to make the trek to Florida in a couple of weeks for the annual DIRTCar Nationals at Volusia Speedway. Horton has been suffering from some back issues and is feeling better but thought it would be best to get some more rest before the season kicks off at Georgetown Speedway for the Short Track Super Series opener in March.

Horton has last year’s DKM Chassis that the team debuted in October during Super DIRT Week along with a brand new DKM chassis on the way. The driver of the Halmar Racing No. 43 also has one Bicknell chassis available for use. The team’s engines are currently in the process of being freshened up for the new year which will once again see the veteran

Horton is calling Orange County Fair Speedway his home on Saturday nights. It will be a busy 2019 season for Horton as he once again will travel the STSS South series and also run numerous other specials shows. According to Fonda promoter Brett Deyo, Horton will do some traveling to Fonda to race when OCFS has off on Saturday nights…

Rick Laubach looks to rebound from last year’s disappointing season and get back on track in 2019. The veteran driver out of Hellertown, Pa., had a season in 2018 he would much rather forget. Nothing seemed to go well for Laubach last season on and off the track. With all things worked out Laubach has a fresh outlook for the upcoming season and is anxious to strap himself back in the cockpit and get it going.

Laubach will be returning to Big Diamond Speedway on Friday nights aboard the Ryan Kerr owned No. 1K. Laubach will also be back behind the wheel of the Gary Hermann No. 7 on Saturday nights, but a weekly track has yet to be decided. The Kerr car will be the primary car on the STSS South region with the Hermann car be used for other special shows. With last year’s issues behind him, look for Laubach to return to form in 2019…

New Jersey’s Ryan Krachun is looking forward to a big season ahead. Krachun will be returning to Big Diamond Speedway on Friday nights and New Egypt Speedway on Saturday’s. The team will also run the STSS South region along with other selected specials throughout the year. The team is armed with a quartet of TEO chassis’s with Morrison power under the hood. The RKR team has two spec 358 motors along with an open small block and a big block…

Eric Mack, crew chief for Stewart Friesen’s dirt effort and part owner of DKM chassis is very happy with way the upstart chassis company is doing as they have started to get teams from the NJ/PA to utilize their cars and join the “black flag crew.”  Jimmy Horton, David VanHorn and Bryan Kuhl will all be running new DKM cars this season along with New Egypt Speedway crate Sportsman driver Steve Hicks…

Billy “The Kid” Pauch plans to run the same schedule as he did last season which saw him win races at both Bridgeport and Grandview Speedways. Pauch enjoyed himself last season not being committed to running weekly and just racing at his leisure…

Walking through the show there were plenty of beautiful race cars on display but the car that stuck out to me the most was the new look on the Norm Hansell No. 357 driven by Duane Howard and apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought that as the car was voted as the “Best Appearing Stock Car” of this year’s show. The potent combination of Hansell and Howard will once again be busy in 2019 as they will compete weekly at Big Diamond and Grandview Speedways along both the STSS North and South regions. The team will also hit as many specials shows as possible at New Egypt, Bridgeport, Georgetown and Delaware Speedways…

It will be business as usual this season for Craig Von Dohren. CVD will call Big Diamond Speedway home on Friday nights driving the No. 88 for Dave Dissinger. Von Dohren will be back at Grandview Speedway on Saturday’s going for his record eleventh career track title aboard his own No. 1C. Long time car owner Dick Biever will once again provide a car for Von Dohren to run in special shows as well as the STSS South series races…

The No. 6 of Matt Stangle was sporting a beautiful new black paint scheme. Stangle is calling Big Diamond and New Egypt Speedways home for 2019 along with the STSS and other specials. In a little bit of a surprise, Matt’s father John Stangle told me the team will be heading south to Volusia Speedway for the DIRTcar Nationals with a new Martino big block currently being assembled to drop into their TEO chassis…

Traffic was heavy at the Big Diamond booth after it was released on Friday that the end of the season Coalcracker race for the 358 modifieds will be lengthened to 100 laps and pay a whopping $17,000 to the winner. With many big paying special races permeating the schedule along with additional lighting being put up plus a new red clay surface the interest has definitely picked up at the Schuylkill County dirt oval…

Speaking of Big Diamond Speedway, I had the opportunity to talk with Dave Renaldo owner of the No. 401 driven by long time racer Frank Cozze. Renaldo is very much looking forward to just racing this season on Friday nights at Big Diamond instead of traveling to different tracks all year. Renaldo also said it will be good to run where everyone is running under the same rules package…

Georgetown Speedway under the direction of Brett Deyo has put together a “Night of Wings” show slated for Friday Sept. 13th. The night will feature the United Racing Club 360 Sprints along with the Modifieds which will be sporting “Sail Panels” for the night…

Chatted with Peter Britten at the Troyer booth. Britten is anxious to get back behind the wheel of his Troyer chassis in Florida for the DIRTcar Nationals in February. Plans call for Britten to run Albany-Saratoga on Friday nights plus the Super DIRTcar Series in his own equipment in 2019…

Glad to hear that Bridgeport Speedway track prep guru Keith Hoffman will be back behind the wheel for some of the 358 spec specials. Hoffman has purchased a former TEO chassis from Clint Harrell and is excited to do some Racing this season and having some fun. Hoffman hopes to have the car ready for competition for the April 6th “Bruce Rogers Memorial” race at Grandview Speedway…

Former Modified driver Danny Hieber will back on track this season looking to compete in the STSS South region and other specials. Hieber bought a Troyer chassis formerly run at New Egypt Speedway by Tadd Cox and spent last season going over the car to get it ready for action. Hieber will have an open small-block currently being rebuilt by Clements Motors in North Carolina under the hood of his No. 11. The car will be sponsored by Bucks County International and Scrappy’s Auto Service which are both owned and run by the Hieber family. Hieber’s nephews Gary Hieber Jr., and Kyle Hieber also hope to be back behind the wheel this season after taking a couple of years off doing things like getting married and buying homes! The Hieber family has been part of the local racing scene for many many years and it will be great to have them back on the track and involved once again.

DIRTcar series director Dean Reynolds is happy with how the season is shaping up for 2019. There is large contingent of drivers currently committing to running the full series after the announcements this weekend that Anthony Perrego and Ryan Godown will be joining the traveling show this season. Also, announced on Saturday was that last year’s 200-lap big block winner at Oswego “Lighting” Larry Wight will be back as a full-time traveling member on the series joining Billy Decker on the Gypsum team…

As always, I can be reached for any questions or comments at dirtracefan25@hotmail.com or on Twitter @dirtracefan25