In 1978, Ted Johnson embarked on a journey to gather some of the greatest sprint car drivers from across the country and have them compete against each other traveling across this nation. He dubbed that series the World of Outlaws, and the rest is history. From legendary names like Steve Kinser, Sammy Swindell, Doug Wolfgang, Mark Kinser, Dave Blaney, Danny Lasoski, and Donny Schatz, the names of World of Outlaws champions reads like a who’s who of sprint car racing. All of the greats have competed either with the World of Outlaws as touring regulars, or against the World of Outlaws as locals who wanted to pick up the big win. None of those locals though across the country can match the amount of wins against the Outlaws that the Pennsylvania Posse have.
|Pat Miller Photo|
Since the dawn of the World of Outlaws series in 1978, their events have been a staple at central Pennsylvania race tracks. Williams Grove has hosted the most events, but Lincoln and Port Royal have also hosted their fair share. You could also include tracks like Selinsgrove and Hagerstown among area central PA tracks that have hosted Outlaws events. Although there are many great drivers in many great regions across this country that are capable of beating the Outlaws on any given night, very few of those drivers have been able to do it on their home turf as much as the Pennsylvania drivers have been able to over the years.
Let’s take a look at Williams Grove alone. The list of locals who have won at least one Outlaws event at the Grove is rather extensive. It started in 1978 when Kramer Williamson won the first WoO show at the Grove. From there Lynn Paxton, Keith Kauffman, Bobby Allen, Doug Wolfgang, Stevie Smith, Donnie Kreitz, Lance Dewease, Kevin Gobrecht, Fred Rahmer, Greg Hodnett, Doug Esh, Brian Leppo, Cody Darrah, and Chad Layton have all won at least one WoO race at Williams Grove. Kauffman, Allen, Wolfgang, Smith, Kreitz, Dewease, Rahmer, and Hodnett have all won multiple WoO shows at the Grove. That’s 15 different local drivers who have won WoO races at the Grove. That’s a staggering number compared to the other tracks across the country.
At Lincoln, the Outlaws took a hiatus for a number of years after Fred Rahmer took home a WoO win in 1998. They returned in 2012, and since then there have been four WoO shows run Lincoln in the more recent stretch. Out of those four, Daryn Pittman is the only WoO regular to win. Danny Dietrich won twice, and Stevie Smith won once. Before the recent stretch Steve Smith, Stevie Smith, Bobby Allen, and Billy Brian Jr. were all regulars who took home WoO wins at Lincoln.
|Pat Miller Photo|
At Port Royal, there have been only 8 WoO shows ever ran there. Three of those eight were won by Pennsylvania Posse drivers. Lynn Paxton in 1979, Donnie Kreitz in 1986, and Ryan Smith in 2014. Also Doug Wolfgang won in 1987, but I’m not sure if he was still running most of the time in PA for Bob Weikert back then or not.
Outside of the local central PA tracks the locals have also had some decent success against the WoO outside of their area. Like Jeff Shepard winning at Volusia, Fred Rahmer winning at Lernerville, Lance Dewease winning at Charlotte, Greg Hodnett winning at Delta Bowl, Donnie Kreitz winning the Kings Royal at Eldora, and Joey Allen winning at Attica just to name a few.
Look, I’m not saying that there are not great drivers across the country that beat the Outlaws. Look at Knoxville regulars, California drivers, and Ohio drivers. They are all capable of, and have beat the Outlaws on numerous occasions, but not nearly at the rate of the Pennsylvania drivers. This has led to a special rivalry that is unmatched anywhere in the country. The fans help make this rivalry as well. The atmosphere at a WoO show in central Pennsylvania is not matched by many other places in the country. And the rate at which the locals win is what helps create that atmosphere. When the Outlaws come to town they know they have their hands full with the local drivers, and the fans love it. The WoO will be at Lincoln this Wednesday, and at Williams Grove on Friday and Saturday. I would highly recommend anyone who has the chance to take in these shows.