The weather is going to bless us this evening and we all should be glad for that. Plenty of racing awaits fans attending Port Royal Speedway. The super sportsman cars make their first appearance of the year and are joined by the sprint cars, late models and pro stocks, which will be having their first added-purse show of the season.
Jess Trometter and Chad Snyder are area contractors who have a love for pro stock racing. Trometter owns two race cars, which were driven last week by Tim and Tom Krape. Tom has been running Trometter’s primary car on a weekly basis. Trometter hopped in the back-up car earlier before turning the wheel over to Tim Krape. Both race cars are top notch equipment.
Tonight’s pro stock feature will pay extra money. The purse will be at least $750 to win. Second place will pay $475; third, $400; fourth, $325; and fifth, $230. Money still is being collected and it is uncertain what the final payoff will be. Special thanks go out to Trometter and Snyder for their efforts.
Last week, fans witnessed a great three division show of racing at Port Royal. Rick Lafferty won his first sprint car feature since 2006. Lafferty held his line in the middle of the turns while Lance DeWease went high and low attempting to pass him. Lafferty led all 25 laps. Cale Grubb continues to improve and posted a fourth-place finish in the feature. Dan Stone used his aggressive driving style to excite the crowd while winning the late model feature. The best feature of the night was the pro stock race, where Brian Towsey, Tim Krape and Derick Garman dueled it out. Garman won the race and broke the one-lap track record. The new mark is 24.6 seconds. Derick is the grandson of Kenny Garman, who raced at Port Royal in the late model class.
Bedford Speedway was scheduled to open last night and I’m anxious to find out how they fared with their new clay. Last week’s Bug Night was canceled so they will have to race on the new clay right off the bat. The late models race there next week and the race pays $5,000 to win. Drivers expected to compete include Donnie Moran, Earl Pearson Jr., Dan Schlieper, Scott James, Terry Casey, Steve Casebolt, Wayne Chinn, Billy Drake, Dan O’Neal, Justin Ratliff, Bart Hartman, Jeremy Miller, Scotty Haus, Jeff Rine, Scott Rhodes, Wayne Johnson, Chris Harr, Larry Wright, Dave Troutman, Eric Zembower and others. I understand that Matt Parks, a Port Royal regular in his own car, will be racing Bedford driving The Tom and Mary Ann Gill No. 55.
Hesston Speedway’s MACS late model series race that was canceled last week will be made up on May 11.
Congratulations go out to Jeremy Miller of Gettysburg on winning his first career World of Outlaws late model race ever. The win came at Virginia Motor Speedway April 11.
I notice Jimmy Hawley is returning to western Pennsylvania sprint car racing after several seasons off. Hawley is popular out there and will share the seat of the Rudzik No. 49 with Dale Blaney, who will run select shows that don’t conflict with his All Star ride.
Race car drivers, listen up: Here’s a story. Last week at the Cumberland, Md., MACS late model race, Lewistown driver Nick Dickson became ill. He had a number of symptoms and Dickson was being checked further this past week. He never raced after becoming light headed and having hearing problems that caused the race engines to bother him. After drinking a soda, Dickson thought he could go out for warm-ups. The light headedness came back and father Ken had him taken to the ambulance. IVs were started and they were off to the hospital. The most apparent cause so far was dehydration. Dickson is like many other drivers who don’t eat much on race day. Many of the guys I know prefer to wait until after they’re done racing before they eat. Doctors gave Dickson the speech: Drink plenty of clear liquids and hydrate yourself 24 hours before you race. Eat a good meal early in the day before you go to the track. I have an idea Nick Dickson will listen after traveling that far and never getting to race. Other racers should keep it in mind too!
Plenty has been said this week about random drug testing in NASCAR after reports surfaced that former Craftsman- and Nationwide-series driver Aaron Fike stated he had used heroin on a race day at Memphis last season. Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne had plenty to say. Kahne said he had suspicions about Fike last season. These drivers are critical of the current policy which calls for reasonable suspicion before tests are done. All favor regular random tests in the garage area.
Jeremy Mayfield and Haas CNC Racing have mutually parted ways on good terms this week. Their cars have not been competitive.
Female NASCAR tech inspector Brienne Davis, 28, was killed in a car accident last week. She joined NASCAR in 2004 after working for Dale Earnhardt Inc. Her duties were to check carburetors and manifolds. Previously Davis built engines at DEI.
The Sprint Cup racers have the weekend off before heading to Talladega next week. Chevrolet is currently on top of manufacturers’ points standings despite winning only two races. Ford is second with Toyota third and Dodge fourth. Ford has three wins, Toyota two and Dodge one.
With the death of Williams Grove Speedway owner Morgan Hughes, the family and manager Justin Loh will continue to operate the facility. Condolences go out to the family, Grove management and staff.
I’ll be back next week with more news and opinions. Until then, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.