There isn’t an All Star Circuit of Champions sprint car race this weekend in Bedford.
All Star officials tried. They wanted to race there. Bedford officials had their reasons — they didn’t make money last year. When all was said and done, it didn’t happen. That’s sad for all parties concerned. What’s even worse is that all parties come out losers, especially the fans.
Hoseheads, the industry-leading sprint car Web site, still was promoting an All Star race there this week. Somehow, no one gave them the message that it wasn’t going to happen.
The All Stars wanted and needed the race date. Bedford Speedway doesn’t need the race to survive, but could benefit from positive exposure for the track if the race was run. Bedford participates in PA Speedweek and and any chance to expose fans to the facility is a plus.
The way things work out, bad feelings will prevail, at least in the short run, especially to those that might go there Sunday night expecting a race that’s not going to happen.
I have a unique perspective on this situation because I know and consider all parties to be friends. Guy Webb is a good guy. He’s sincere, honest and wants to see promoters make money on his All Star races. J.R. Keiffer and his partners are good people, too. You may have read my account of Keiffer offering refunds to late models drivers after his Lucas Oil race a week ago. That doesn’t normally happen either. Somehow I hope both sides will take a breath and regroup because it could be good for both of them.
Tonight at Port Royal the All Stars will run the Bob Weikert Memorial race. Pro stocks and powder puff cars are also scheduled. Race fans should come out early to meet drivers. and visit the concessions.
The race honors Weikert, a National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee. Kenny Weld, Paul Pitzer, Randy Wolfe, Lynn Paxton, Jeff Swindell, Jac Haudenschild, Keith Kauffman, Lance DeWease and many more drove the 29 car to victory. Weikert left a legacy no one will match soon. His family continues to carry the torch by owning and operating their cattle business.
With much sadness I learned of Boyd “Junior” Arnold’s passing this week. Junior loved life and those he knew. He was a lot of things but most of all he was a friend. Junior was comfortable with folks from all walks of life. Lawyers, mechanics, morticians, realtors, accountants, judges, bikers, golfers, racers and Joe Sixpack all new his friendship. Junior was a racer himself — he drove some and had fun. After he stopped racing he was a dedicated fan.
Todd Shaffer was his favorite driver and more than once I received a call or comment about Shaffer’s weekend performance. Junior and I made some road trips to Newport to visit Shaffer’s late sponsor, Toad Turnbaugh. Our road trips home took some extra time because we had to stop and visit along the way. No one ever complained.
Junior was welcome everywhere we went. If you were traveling with him, you were welcome. too. No one ever said a bad word to me about Junior Arnold. Ever!
He loved people and life. He had heart problems, was exposed to Agent Orange in Viet Nam and who knows what else. It never stopped him. I thought he had nine lives. They finally ran out. It was a heck of a ride while it lasted.
Make no mistake about it, he was a racer and was Lewistown’s racing cheerleader. If it weren’t for he and Fred Rhine, I probably wouldn’t be writing this column — they were the ones that helped me get my start in this sport.
R.I.P., Junior. You won’t be forgotten.
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.