We're in the midst of Pennsylvania Speed Week for sprint cars in the midstate.
Rain has been a big part of the program as Bedford Speedway was washed out Sunday and Monday. Doug Esh won the opener at Lincoln Speedway June 28. Fred Rahmer scored the win at Grandview. Wednesday night Jeff Shepard won at Hagerstown.
Hard showers hit Port Royal Thursday just as speedway gates opened. After a lengthy wait, officials canceled the Speed Week program. The night also was scheduled to be a Challenge at the Port night. The speedway returns to action tonight with the same Speed Week program and challenge series. The sprint cars will race for $7,000. $2,000 more than Thursday's winner was to receive. Pro Stocks also are on the card with a regular points race. Gates to the track open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7.
Fans are reminded to come early and register to win the fair week party pack of tickets which will be given away at next month's Butch Renninger Memorial race. The winning fans will also be invited to pre-Tuscarora 50 activities which include a picnic on race day. Sprint car drivers attempting to qualify Saturday night will be registered for a chance to win a new J&J Racing Chassis. The first-non qualifier receives a Hoosier Tire from Hoosier Mid Atlantic. Additional monies have also been posted courtesy of local fans.
Organizers John Garloff, Steve and Jesse Ramsey, Jack Elam and Scotty Best made the challenge series possible. The challenge nights have been a big hit with racers and fans.
Work has started on moving the front stretch lights at Port Royal Speedway. Light brackets have been hung and the wires were run to several poles. Look for a brighter racetrack when work is completed.
Last week, a scary situation came up at Port Royal. The track's safety lights went out during the 358 sprint car feature. Officials finished the 358 race by posting wreckers along the track to flash their caution lights if a problem came up. Corner flag men were given red flags along with their usual yellow ones. The race was finished without incident.
Officials opted to postpone the 305 sprint car feature because they did not feel comfortable starting a full field of cars double file without safety lights. Most people understood. A few did not. You would have thought the world was coming to an end. The overall safety of the drivers was considered and I think the right decision was made. The event will be made up July 19.
Don't forget that Kids Night 12 is July 12 at Port Royal. Major sponsors have stepped up to make Kids Night possible. Children will have some nice prizes that night. Big Wheel, Big Foot and bicycle racing will be part of the show. Parents should bring helmets for their children to participate in racing activities.
The All Star Circuit of Champions race at Eldora Speedway tonight. Ohio cars and drivers are making a lot of noise right now as several ride changes are taking place. Hopefully, I'll have more information next week, but it looks like Tim Shaffer, Brock Mayes and others are involved.
Selinsgrove Speedway hosts the National Open for Late Models this evening. Hopefully things will go better than last week at the Snyder County oval. I've been informed that rain hit the track as the late models entered turns one and two to start the feature a week ago. A major pile up of half the field destroyed several cars. I've been through this situation before and I can tell you it's a bad deal. Some times there's not much you can do. The frame shops were busy this week repairing cars.
The Sprint Cup cars are at Daytona, Fla. tonight.
Driver changes are in the midst of taking place. Trade paper reports have Tony Stewart gone from Joe Gibbs Racing. Look for a formal announcement shortly.
Have a happy holiday weekend. I'll be back next week with more news and opinions. Until then, drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.