Kyle Larson will not win the PA Speedweek title in 2021.

That prediction could be considered the musing of a fool or fighting words, depeding on the audience, and in light of Larson’s utter dominance on dirt. But because of the logistics, it’s not a bold statement.

Larson turned the top dirt tracks in Pennsylvania into his own private sandbox last year when he dusted the field for the Speedweek title. Just how overpowering was the California driver? In nine races, Larson scored four victories and two runner-up finishes, placing outside the top 5 just once. And that was a sixth-place effort.

So, with Larson capable of destroying the competition on any given night, why so confident that he won’t repeat?

Because he won’t be running the full schedule thanks to his return to the NASCAR Cup Series. Where, by the way, he is obliterating the competition with wins in the last three points races, not to mention the All-Star event where he collected a check for $1 million.

The Cup Series will be at Pocono Raceway on Saturday and Sunday for a twinbill and then at Road America on July 4. That means Larson will miss Speedweek shows at Lincoln, BAPS and the finale at Selinsgrove – we think. With Larson, anything is seemingly possible, although being in two places at once would be a doozy.

That’s terrific news for Speedweek title contenders who saw a lot of the white No. 57’s tail tank last year when Larson went on an historic run, ripping off 46 wins in 97 sprint car starts, including a dozen in just 26 tries against the World of Outlaws.

So, if not Larson, who is the man to beat for the coveted crown?

How about Gettysburg’s Danny Dietrich?

Dietrich is fresh off a runner-up performance at Ohio’s Speedweek where he was second to Tyler Courtney by just 32 points. Double D had an average finish of 7.4 over seven races in Ohio, winning at Sharon Speedway while coming home second at Fremont and third at Portsmouth. He took the white flag as the leader in the latter two races, showing tremendous speed against the All Star Circuit of Champions.

The Gary Kauffman Racing team is red-hot and battle-tested, the perfect combination for what promises to be a grueling stretch of 10 races in 10 days beginning Friday at Williams Grove. Dietrich has parked the No. 48 in victory lane 11 times in Speedweek races and bagged a title in 2016.

If not for Larson’s tour de force last year Dietrich would have a second Speedweek title in hand, as he scored a pair of wins and eight top-10s in nine events in 2020.

Fellow PA Posse powerhouses including Brent Marks, Anthony Macri and Freddie Rahmer will be in the battle as well. Marks, who is back behind the wheel of his own car this season, is fresh off a win at Path Valley Speedway last Sunday. The Meyerstown driver has been a missile with four wins – including victories at BAPS and Selinsgrove, which are part of the Speedweek schedule. He also topped the World of Outlaws this season at Eldora.

Marks was fifth in Speedweek points last year, one spot behind Rahmer. Freddie has collected four checkered flags this season, with three of those coming from Lincoln Speedway and another at Williams Grove. Considering both of those tracks hold two Speedweek dates apiece, Rahmer should be in his comfort zone behind the wheel of the No. 51.

Dillsburg’s Anthony Macri is plenty capable of claiming a crown. Macri’s season has included four wins to date, including two at Port Royal, which is hosting two nights of Speedweek racing. Macri’s mastery isn’t limited to Port, making the 39M a force to be reckoned with.

Veteran Lance Dewease, like Larson, is not expected to run a full slate. Dewease’s team posted his upcoming schedule on social media and it included only six of the 10 Speedweek dates. Dewease plans to pilot the famed 69K at Williams Grove and Lincoln before skipping the next two nights. Back-to-back dates at Grandview and Port Royal are on the list but Hagerstown is not. Dewease is scheduled to run at the Grove and the Port on July 2 and 3, but not in the Speedweek finale at Selinsgrove on July 4th.

The Fayetteville native, who recently won his 100th and 101st Williams Grove features, owns three Speedweek titles (1997, 1999, 2001) and sits second in Speedweek wins at 29, just one behind Hall of Famer Fred Rahmer.

Lucas Wolfe ranks second behind Rahmer (13) and the late Greg Hodnett (5) with four Speedweek championships, coming in 2007, 2014, 2017 and 2019.

PA Speedweek Schedule

Friday – Williams Grove, 25 laps, $6,000 to win

Saturday – Lincoln Speedway, 30 laps, $9,200

Sunday – BAPS Motor Speedway, 30 laps, $7,000

Monday, 6/28 – Lincoln Speedway, 30 laps, $7,000

Tuesday, 6/29 – Grandview, 35 laps, $10,000

Wednesday, 6/30 – Port Royal, 30 laps, $7,000

Thursday, 7/1 – Hagerstown, 30 laps, $6,000

Friday, 7/2 – Williams Grove, 30 laps, $15,000

Saturday, 7/3 – Port Royal, 30 laps, $10,000

Sunday, 7/4 – Selinsgrove, 30 laps, $7,500

PA Speedweek Point Fund

1. $6,000, 2. $3,000, 3. $2,000, 4. $1,500, 5.

2. $1,200 (An additional $1,000 for the next 7 highest point finishers who compete in all events)

Contact Josh Martin at jmartin@gettysburgtimes.com. Follow on Twitter at @JoshMartin33

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