Franklin, Dewease win in Speedway opener

February 24, 1997


Staff Correspondent

Rodney Franklin opened Hagerstown Speedway's milestone season by nearing a milestone of his own.

Franklin helped the dirt track kickoff its 50th anniversary season Sunday with a late model victory to close in on the all-time win record while Lance Dewease won the sprint feature.

Franklin, of Cross Junction, Va., moved within one victory of tying Denny Bonebrake's mark of 84 wins. Both Franklin and Dewease won $3,000 for their feature wins.

Charlie Schaffer broke to the lead until his drive line broke on the 18th lap. Bonebrake led the restart over Roy Deese Jr. and Franklin, who started 12th.


Franklin passed Deese on the outside to secure second on the 28th lap, before taking the lead three laps later when Bonebrake pitted with an engine fire.

Franklin won by three seconds over Deese followed by Jerry Foster, and Hagerstown's Doug Timmons and Alan Sagi.

"Denny started smoking so that gave me a little advantage on Roy because he was trying to figure out what to do," Frankling said. "It was just our luck that the outside worked."

In the sprint feature, Donnie Kreitz Jr. jumped to a half-straightaway lead over Dewease after the start. But Kreitz broke his steering when he was unable to avoid contact of a spinning car on the 18th lap.

On the restart, Dewease, of Mont Alto, Pa., edged away from Billy Pauch by a half stretch, but Pauch closed on his bumper in the final turns. Dewease squeezed ahead for the victory with Pauch and Kevin Gobrecht following.

"This race belonged to Donnie Kreitz," Dewease said. It was unfortunate he got together with that lapped car, but that's all part of racing. There in the third turn, I gave it all I had to try and hold on."

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