N/A - Governing Body

Lance Dewease Remains Determined As Ever Entering Next Chapter

Lance Dewease Remains Determined As Ever Entering Next Chapter

Lance Dewease is racing for Brent and Barry Shearer's No. 12 team this year, his first new ride entering a season since 2016.

Mar 6, 2024 by Kyle McFadden

Few drivers, if any at all, have occupied more iconic Sprint Car rides than Lance Dewease.

Among that comprehensive list: Walt Dyer’s No. 461 Brickmobile, Al Hamilton’s apple-red No. 77, Joe Harz’s No. 88H, Mike Heffner’s No. 27, and most recently Don Kreitz’s baby-blue No. 69K, the successful seven-year run that ended last July.

The seemingly ageless 58-year-old also has a single start for Bob Weikert’s No. 29 team, which rose to prominence during Doug Wolfgang’s 1980s glory days. Racing for three National Sprint Car Hall of Famers is an honor only Steve Kinser, Mark Kinser, Danny Lasoski, Fred Rahmer, Stevie Smith, and Wolfgang can say.

So with that in mind, Dewease’s new venture with Brent and Barry Shearer — a laidback family team that his son, Cole, set up his father with — figures to be one of the more low-stakes deals of his illustrious racing career. Or is it?

“The outlook is the same,” Dewease said when asked what his outlook is for the 2024 season, which for the veteran begins on Saturday at Port Royal Speedway’s 80th annual opening day. “The outlook is to try to win races and put ourselves in position to win the big shows, no different than the last seven years.”

Those standards, based off what Dewease and Kreitz accomplished from 2016 through last July, are an average of 8.9 wins per season (71 wins from 2016 through last July).

He also won nine World of Outlaws features with Kreitz, as well as three Tuscarora 50s, two Williams Grove National Opens, and two Bob Weikert Memorials at Port Royal, which now stands as of the biggest races on High Limit Racing’s national schedule.

The Shearer team, with Brent at the wheel, has finished inside the top five only once as a 410 team: Last October’s impressive fourth-place finish at the Tuscarora 50.

“I think we’re going to be able to do it,” Dewease said. “There’s going to be some learning curve here, trying to figure out what’s good and not good, where we’re at with stuff. I’m confident we’re going to be pretty decent at places, and then some places we might struggle a little bit.”

In short, Shearer’s pole start and top-five run at last fall’s Tuscarora 50 — the fifth-richest race on this year’s High Limit schedule — is what effectively sold Dewease on the deal his son, Cole, lobbied for him to take. Dewease actually watched the Tuscarora 50 feature from Port Royal’s infield because he failed to qualify largely due to mechanical issues that set back his Macri Motorsports No. 39M team.

That very engine Shearer used to impress — a DMY Performance engine of Bloomsburg, Pa.— is what Dewease and team intend to go with at Port Royal to start the season on Saturday. The team also has two Rider Racing Engines of Mechanicsburg, Pa., at their disposal, one that the Shearers own and the other that Dewease owned during his time at Kreitz Racing.

“It’s a good motor,” Dewease said of the engine he owns through a sponsor. “The other Rider motor, it’s ran good, but it might need some help. I ran it at Charlotte, and that’s not a true test because it’s Charlotte. I need to get up home and race it. The DMY, I haven’t ran it yet. That’s the one I’ll run Saturday and the one that Brent ran fourth with at the Tuscarora 50. It has the capability.”

Rider engines are practically the only part of the race car that Dewease is familiar with. He’s never raced Eagle Chassis prior to joining the Shearer team, so the first priority is to become acquainted with the nuances of the car.

“That’s just part of the learning process,” Dewease said. “I feel like we’ll be fine down the road. I don’t know if we’ll be great out of the box. I don’t think we’ll be slow, you know what I mean? I don’t know if we’ll be winning speed out of the box. I don’t know. We’ll find out."

Dewease has filled up his March schedule more than what he's typically used to — races this Saturday at Port Royal, March 17's opening day at Williams Grove, March 22 at Williams Grove and March 23 at Port Royal — because "we don’t know where we’re going to be at as far as speed."

"We’re going to have to race to get it figured out," Dewease said. "We have to do that to know where we’re at for down the road."

Despite owning the all-time win record at Williams Grove, he expects to take his lumps at the tricky half-mile, at least in the early going until the team finds the right balance. Port Royal, however, shouldn't be much of a challenge,

“Everything I’ve done at Port Royal in the No. 39M we did it in the other cars, and it’s kind of translated into the other cars," Dewease said. "I think I have a baseline for Port Royal. The Grove, I just don’t know yet.”

Now racing apart from Don Kreitz, Davey Brown and the No. 69K team, Dewease is more hands-on.

“It’s part of how it is," Dewease said. "I basically raced my whole career being very hands-on. Barry and Brent, they’re very involved heavily with it, too. It’s a whole team (effort). It takes a team. It takes everybody communicating and everybody heading in the right direction. It’s just like any other team. We’ll have our ups and downs. We all have the same goals. And that’s to be as fast as we can and try to win races.”

Dewease doesn't have a benchmark for wins he'd like to hit this year. Surely surpassing last year's total of four — his least since he won once in 2015 — would be nice. But even then, the new team and the countless other factors that Dewease has to fight through to regain dominance is a lot to manage.

“It’s weird because you can be very fast and not win a lot of races and be so-so and win a lot of races," Dewease said. "It comes down to stuff falling your way, or goes you way. As we’ve done interviews before, you’ve heard me say this: You can be a 10th-place car and think, ‘Wow, we’re really good.’ Or you can win and think, ‘We’re not that good.’

"Nowadays, with how tight the competition is, you have to catch cautions at the right time and have starts go the way you need them to go. There’s so many factors that go into winning races, it’s crazy. Not necessarily the best race car wins the race.”

If anything, Dewease would like to be competitive and prove his best days aren't too far gone. He's never been motivated to go out and make a statement, but considering the following, he seems more determined than ever.

“There’s been a number of rides people didn’t think I’d never win in, and I won Outlaw shows in those cars," Dewease said. "Sometimes people don’t know what it all takes to go fast and win races. There’s a lot of really good people involved in racing that own race teams. They might not have a ton of money like some of the other teams, but they love the sport and enjoy it. It’s always neat to get involved with those type of people. And have success with those people when other people don’t think you can do it."

“It’s going to be neat. I’m looking forward to it,” Dewease added. “People think we’re probably not going to be very good, which they might get shocked down the road how good we truly can be. We’ll wait and see, and see what we can accomplish this year.”