Hagerstown’s Small Car Nationals Up Next
Port Royal, PA – September 12, 2023
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Mgmt
Photo Credit: WRT Speedwerx / Brian Rhoad
Devin Hart said two things coming into the 2023 season.
First, his main goal was to win the Butch Renninger Memorial, a race held annually at Port Royal Speedway in honor of his grandfather. A win in that personally important race has eluded him in his first nine years in a limited late model.
Second, he had no plans to race for points. Instead, he would race where it made sense for his team and they would take a shot at some of the bigger races when they could.
You might think we’re about to tell you he accomplished his goals. Well, you’re right. He did. But in doing so, he managed to win a points championship too.
DATE: Friday, September 1, 2023
- Event: Final Points Race
- Track: Hagerstown Speedway
- City, State: Hagerstown, MD
- Quick Stats: 19 cars, Heat 1st (4), A-main 1st (1)
DATE: Saturday, September 2, 2023
- Event: 20th Annual Butch Renninger Memorial
- Track: Port Royal Speedway
- City, State: Port Royal, PA
- Quick Stats: 31 cars, Heat 1st (4), A-main 1st (3)
DATE: Sunday, September 3, 2023
- Track: Selinsgrove Speedway
- City, State: Selinsgrove, PA
- Quick Stats: 25 cars, Heat 2nd (7), A-main 18th DNF (4)
Hart has raced a limited late model since 2014 and he has won a lot of races at Port Royal Speedway during the years since he started, but in nine attempts to win the Butch Renninger Memorial he had not been able to be the first one to the checkered flag.
He certainly had been close though. As a matter of fact, his stats are astoundingly good in the race. In his first nine attempts at the Renninger Memorial Hart had finished on the podium five times and in the top five a total of seven times.
He just had not won it yet. Hart didn’t think it was possible to want to win it more than he did but the desire grew deeper every time he came up just short.
With 31 cars on hand, there were plenty of good teams who were there with the same goal. Hart made it clear in his heat race he was ready to give it his best shot again. He drove from 4th to the lead on the opening lap and never looked back, taking the win by 3.2 seconds in his Lucky Buck, Hungry Run Wine Cellars, FK Rod Ends, JDS Racing, Penske Racing Shocks, Barron’s Racing Engines, Centre Boot Company, Gridiron Pizza & Gridiron Pub, Harling’s Hoagies, Brown’s Automotive, Rocket Chassis XR1 No.33k.
Hart started 3rd in the 25-lap feature event and jumped into 2nd on the opening lap. For the next 18 trips around the Juniata County Fairgrounds half-mile oval, he pursued leader Spike Moore, trying to find a way to the top spot. With nine laps remaining he pulled alongside Moore and the race was on in lapped traffic.
On lap twenty he made the pass by driving under Moore into turn three to take command of the race. Only five laps, 2.5 miles, remained between Hart and the goal that mattered more to him than anything in racing. While he tried to hit his marks and keep Moore at bay, his entire family held their collective breath.
With four laps remaining, the caution lights flashed on and forced Hart to deal with a restart.
Hart survived the restart and drove a smooth final three laps.
Finally, it happened. Hart crossed the line first, with a 1.282 second advantage, to win his grandfather’s race.
“I can’t believe this just happened.”, an emotional Hart said as he was congratulated by cousin Trent Brenneman in victory lane. Brenneman, who is also family to the late Butch Renninger, had also come up short on winning the race over the years and shared in Hart’s desire to someday win it.
“I can’t believe we just won this thing. Every year everyone tells Trent and me it’s just another race but it’s not. You can’t come in here with that mentality. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work.“, Hart explained to Port Royal Speedway announcer Brad Strawser.
“My whole family is here every year making this race happen. This is the 20th year now remembering my pap. Everybody knows what a great guy he was around these fairgrounds. I have to thank everyone on my crew, my family who always supports me, and of course my wife who lets me do this every week.“
THE UNPLANNED CHAMPIONSHIP
As Hart had stated in March of this year, he had no plans to race for points. He had been there and done that before. He won the track championship at both Port Royal Speedway and Selinsgrove Speedway in 2021. This year he was thinking more about winning at tracks he had not won at before and hopefully winning a couple of the bigger events he had not won before.
By April 7th this year, Hart already had wins at Winchester (VA), Port Royal (PA) and Bedford (PA). He ventured to Hagerstown (MD) on April 8th and qualified up front before the show rained out.
The way the schedule worked out, Hart’s option on April 15th was Hagerstown. He finished 3rd that night. On May 6th he returned to Hagerstown because they were running the makeup feature from April 8th that he had already qualified for, plus a full show. That night he collected a win and a runner up finish.
The season reached mid-June and Hart had already raced six times at Hagerstown, versus two at Port Royal, plus a few other one-off races. It was all a result of rain outs and scheduling options, but the bottom line was that Hart was now in command of the point standings at Hagerstown.
He was also on top at Port Royal, so Hart figured he would pick the races he wanted to run, where ever they were, and things would shake out on their own.
One of the races Hart wanted to win in July was a Steel Block Bandits race, which was…where else…Hagerstown. He gave it a shot and finished 2nd in that race.
Ultimately, Hart rolled into Hagerstown Speedway on September 1st for their final points races of the season looking to clinch the championship that he never intended to pursue.
He didn’t back into the title either. That night he drove from 4th to 1st to win his heat, then led every lap of the feature to clinch the title with his third win there this season. Hart’s worst finish in eleven races at the Maryland facility coming into that night was 5th, and he had only been off the podium two times in those eleven races. He had been astoundingly consistent.
“We never set out to do this but the way things fell into place, when we reached mid-summer, I figured why not try to win one here. It was something I had not done before, so I’m pretty proud of that, especially when we were able to clinch it with a win and run so consistently here all year.”, Hart shared.
Hart and the KHK Motorsports team will be at Hagerstown Speedway Saturday, September 15th for the Late Model Sportsman portion of the Small Car Nationals.
SEASON STATS (Limited Late Model)
20 races, 9 wins, 19 top 5’s, 19 top 10’s, 19 top 15’s
HUNGRY RUN WINE CELLARS
Wine making started as just a hobby for Steve Flood in 2011, but as he became more passionate about the craft and his friends and family continued to be impressed with his wine, he thought that he might be on to something special. Over a decade later that something special has turned into an award-winning winery, wine bar, and full menu restaurant. Steve and Katy Flood have owned and operated Hungry Run since 2015 and love sharing their passion with others.
Wine Bar and Bistro
Hungry Run is proud to offer a beautiful 3,000 sq ft wine bar and full menu restaurant located in Lewistown, PA. At Hungry Run we elevate the dining experience, whether it’s with our locally sourced meats and produce or cooking over our wood-fire grill. Join us at the table over a glass of wine for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Whether you’re looking for a romantic night out, wine flights with friends, or a family outing, there is something here for everyone.
Where to Find Hungry Run’s Products
Visit HungryRunWineCellars.com to learn where to find their products and so much more!
THANKS TO OUR PARTNERS!
The entire team would like to express their appreciation to all their partners for the support during the 2023 racing season!
Hungry Run Wine
FK Rod Ends
Penske Racing Shocks/Doug Distasio
James Stevens/JDS Racing
Barron’s Racing Engines/ Tom Barron
Centre Boot Company
Baker Outlaw Carburetors
RN Moyer Hauling
Accu•Force Dynos & Testers
Mifflin Hill Beverage
Dave Poske’s Performance Parts
Lyndon Imes Auctioneering & Tent Rental
HRF Heishman Racing Fuel
Scheaffer’s Racing Oil
Glick Fire Equipment Company
Keizer Racing Wheels
Walker Performance Filtration
JR Toner/ Abel Signs
Sauder Brothers Concrete
Diversified Machine, Inc. / DMI / BullDog Rears
Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
Checkered Treasures-Motorsports Collection
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