Throughout his illustrious 40 year career, Lance Dewease has driven for some of the greatest all time Central Pa 410 Sprint Car owners. He has also built a few winning teams from the ground up with help from his owners, crew and sponsors. The most recent was last year when he began driving for Scott and Chris Dietz.
After a humble beginning in Sprint Car racing, at the wheel of his own No. 2D, young Dewease got his first big break when Bob Weikert hired him to drive his famous “Beefmobile.” Lance, a native of Fayetteville Pa., then moved on to drive Walt Dyer’s “Brickmobile.” After a seven and a half year stint, Dyer and Dewease had accounted for 132 features. By this point in his career Dewease had established himself as one of the men beat if you ventured to Central Pa.
In 1999 he signed on to drive for Joe Harz, a man who was no stranger to Victory Lane. Dewease and Harz continued their winning ways, taking 46 wins in just two and a half years.
Lance’s career stats continued to mount. At the end of the 2001 season he joined forces with Al Hamilton. After a three year relationship they accounted for 44 wins. Dewease had already compiled one of the greatest careers on the famous Central Pa Sprint Car circuit. Think about this… Dewease drove for Weikert, Dyer, Harz and Hamilton. What else could a Sprint racer ask for?
But by the time the 2004 season ended Dewease was looking for a ride. He found it when he and Pete Postupack joined forces. Postupack had an established team but one not as well financed as Lance’s previous owners. The two of them went to work securing sponsorship and building their team into a winner. Lance and Pete recorded 28 wins in three seasons.
At the end of 2007, Dewease began driving for Don Owens. Once again together they built a team into a winner. After standing in Victory Lane 35 times Owens retired as an owner, but not as a sponsor and friend.
Dewease spent the 2013 season driving Mike Heffner’s “high profile” Lelands Sprint Car team. They ran strong together winning three features and the $20,000 All Star Circuit of Champions Eastern Regional Championship. However they went their separate ways at the end of the season.
Once again Lance was looking for the right ride for 2014. The now 48-year old veteran decided to take an offer from Scott and Chris Dietz to drive their C&C Dietz Builders No. 14. The Dietz’s somewhat modest team had Gerard McIntyre in the car the year before with limited success. There was some talk about Lance’s future after he made the announcement that he would drive for the Dietz’s.
Dewease had won close to 300 features and still there were some doubters. They had the odds stacked against him, but Lance didn’t flinch. He simply made the statement that he and his crew would build the team into a winner. He was happy to be joining the Dietz team.
The new operation was assembled during that winter and by the time the 2014 season began Lance was ready to silence the doubters. He finished fifth in the season opener at Lincoln. The team then went through the usual new team ups and downs. On May 3, they won their first race at Susquehanna. By now Dewease was running in the top- ten just about every night out. As the summer heated up so did Lance. On June 12 he won at Lincoln, and followed that up the following week at Williams Grove. Only that win was the Summer Nationals, a $20,000 World of Outlaws event. That was also Lance’s 300th career victory.
Sometimes things aren’t actually as they appear. In a conversation with Lance at Lincoln’s 2015 opener on Sunday, he explained some things. When asked how he felt about last year’s results he was quick to reply.
“I wasn’t surprised, I expected it,” he said. “With any new owner you go through the growing pains and working on the communication. But I always expect to win or run good. I don’t come here to just race, I come here to run up front.
“Those owners weren’t all that big when I start driving for them. Walt (Dyer) had one and half motors when I began driving for him. We built the team together and the wins came. The same for Joe (Harz). He didn’t have all that much equipment when I started driving for him. What he had was good. Back then (Al) Hamilton was the only owner that had a big team when I started driving for them.
“There are a lot of little things that go into this that the fans don’t see from the grandstands,” continued Lance. “There are a lot of things that have to happen that they don’t understand.
“I’m excited about racing for this team this year,” he emphasized. “All we have to do is get rid of those DNQ’s and DNS’s.”
As I said before things aren’t always what they appear to be. We tend to remember those owners for their success and think of them as “big buck” operations. This isn’t always true. The key to this game is that you get the best out of what you have. The one constant in Lance Dewease’s career has been that he has played a big role in building racing teams and winning.
Ironically Dewease failed to qualify on Sunday. The track was very tricky due to all the moisture in the ground. When you get a bad draw, start in the back and then have to fight an ill handling car it can be a long day.