Selinsgrove season opener preview

Dewease returns to defend Chip Series title March 28. 3/9/03, Selinsgrove, Pa - When the gates swing open for the 2003 Middleswarth Potato Chips Susquehanna Valley 410 Sprint Series kickoff at Selinsgrove Speedway on Friday, March 28, ...

Dewease returns to defend Chip Series title March 28.

3/9/03, Selinsgrove, Pa - When the gates swing open for the 2003 Middleswarth Potato Chips Susquehanna Valley 410 Sprint Series kickoff at Selinsgrove Speedway on Friday, March 28, Fayetteville's Lance Dewease is sure to be pitside with his Hamilton Motorsports No. 77.

For 37 year-old Dewease, there is a title to defend. It was he who claimed the inaugural Chip Series crown in 2002.

He began tracking down the title in the first of four races last season, the Jan Opperman Memorial in June, when he rode home fourth. A month later he returned to the Snyder County oval to post another fourth in the Pennsylvania Speedweek finale.

Labor Day found Dewease riding home fifth and then he capped off the series with a coveted first-ever win in the 20th Annual National Open. And that set the stage for his defense of the title in 2003.

"We will definitely be back to Selinsgrove for the series shows," says Dewease.

He recognizes the effort speedway management has put into the series and the facility in an effort to revitalize it.

"Selinsgrove has been the most aggressive racetrack over the last two years as far as promotion goes and improving the track and getting it back where it needs to be," he says. "They are doing the things that they need to do to make a track good."

And Dewease has equal respect for Middleswarth Potato Chips, who again this season aside from sponsoring the series is posting a Chip Challenge. The challenge offers an extra $10,000 to any driver who can win three of the five scheduled events and one fan will win $500 if that feat is accomplished.

Dewease wants people to realize just how much Middleswarth is doing for racing.

"Middleswarth has gone so far to help racing," he comments. "They own the cars Keith Kauffman and Todd Hestor drive and then they turn around and sponsor the series end of it."

"A lot of people don't realize what kind of money it takes to own a sprint car much less to own two and then for them to get so involved with promotions, I know all of us racers really appreciate what they do."

2003 will be Dewease's 18th year behind the wheel of a sprint car after starting out in the micro sprint division in 1982 before moving into sprints in 1985. Dewease currently holds nine career wins at Selinsgrove Speedway.

Gates for the March 28 Spring Thaw series kickoff open at 6 PM with practice laps slated for 7:30. Sprint cars will vie for $2,500 to win in the 25-lap main event. The pro stocks will join the 410 sprints for the rare Selinsgrove Friday night special.

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Series Sprint