DALLASTOWN, Pa. — While most of the recent sprint car silly season announcements have been focused at the national level, Chase Dietz saved some regional news for late this week.
Dietz confirmed to Sprint Car & Midget on Thursday that he’ll be running the final three 410 sprint car races of the Central Pennsylvania season for veteran owner John Trone.
The 23-year-old will wheel the Trone Outdoors No. 39 at the three-eighths-mile Lincoln Speedway on Saturday night before adding a pair of races at BAPS Motor Speedway on Oct. 24 and Nov. 14 to close the season.
Dietz will become the fourth driver to pilot Trone’s car this season, following in the footsteps of Indiana young guns Cale Thomas and Justin Peck, as well as Washington veteran Jason Solwold.
It’s an opportunity that developed for Dietz, in part, because his uncle — Cory Haas — is one of the past drivers of Trone’s familiar maroon-and-white sprint car.
“I’m fortunate to have people in this business that have given me opportunities, and John is definitely one of those people,” Dietz told Sprint Car & Midget. “I’d known him and talked to him for quite a while, even before my uncle got in his car and wheeled it. Now, I guess it’s my turn.
“I had talked to John years ago (about racing for him), right around the time I got out of the 358 (sprint cars) and was getting into the 410s. He’s always been a family friend of ours and been pretty close with us. It’s a pretty tight community around this area,” Dietz continued. “Obviously, he had been through a couple guys this year and nothing was really set in stone, and that was around the time where the deal I had going with Rick Lefever just didn’t work out, so I had still been in contact with John and things just worked out where we could make this deal happen on both sides to end the season together.
“It was just a spur of the moment deal for the end of this year, but it’s a nice situation for us to be able to get a feel if we want to do something next year as far as getting an idea of how things may work out.”
Dietz’s enthusiasm for taking the reins of an entry as iconic as Trone’s No. 39 was evident in his voice.
Considering the likes of Greg Hodnett, Keith Kauffman, Doug Esh and Lance Dewease have succeeded with Trone Outdoors Motorsports in the past, Dietz said “it’s an honor” just to add his name to the list of people who have driven for the team.
“Man, it’s exciting,” said Dietz of driving for Trone. “The guys that have been in that car with that team, and even crew chiefs and crew members, there has been a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge and wins and championships that have all been in and out of that shop. It kind of lights a fire under me to want to do even better. I push that on myself anyway, but it’s going to be a bit of an adjustment.
“I’m just happy with the experience that’s there, though,” he added. “John’s been around for quite a while and, obviously, knows how to run a race team. It’s going to be nice to be a part of that and hopefully get comfortable pretty quick. We’re just going to see how these last few shows go here in Central PA and, hopefully, it all works out to maybe do something next year and build off of this.”
Dietz noted he’s not necessarily treating the next three races like an audition for the upcoming season, but he can see how some people might see it that way.
“With the amount of races left (this season) and things like that, I think you could consider is as being that way, to an extent, but in my mind that’s not necessarily what I’m worried about,” Dietz noted. “I know if I can just go out and perform the way I know we can, things should fall into place.
“Obviously, you can’t necessarily guarantee anything, especially in this sport. Things can happen pretty quick,” he added. “We’ll see how it all plays out, but I think based on how we do, we’ll discuss things after that and, hopefully, put things into place for the future.”