Tonight's racing at Port Royal and Selinsgrove speedways can be summed up in two words: regular show.
Port Royal hosts sprint car, late model and pro stock action. Selinsgrove has 358 sprint cars, late models, pro stocks and road runners. Action gets under way both places starting at 7 p.m.
Port Royal hosts the York County Racing Club this evening. The club gives awards to the drivers that win tonight's feature events. Fans that are members should bring along their membership cards because they will save $2 on a general admission ticket by showing their card.
At Lincoln Speedway, the Daryl Gohn Memorial race will be run for sprint cars, with 358 sprint cars and thunder cars rounding out the program. Action starts at 7:30. Hagerstown Speedway hosts the AMA Motorcycles starting at 6 p.m. Williams Grove hosts its Kids Night tonight, which includes children's racing. The super sportsman, late models, street stocks and 4-cylinder stock cars fill out the show.
Next week, Central Pennsylvania is full of big racing shows. Sadly, Port Royal and Bedford end up racing on the same night with two high dollar races. The rained out Lucas Oil late model race from April will be made up at Bedford Thursday night. There were 62 late models on hand back in April, a who's who of late model racing. The limited late models are also on the card. Port Royal Speedway hosts the Dream Race Extreme Preliminary events for sprint cars, plus pro stocks.
Speaking of the Dream Race Extreme - the race will be run Aug. 2 and pays the winner $30,000. That's not bad for 50 laps. Two-day general admission discount passes are now on sale by contacting the speedway office at 527-4414. During the Dream Race day there are two shows of professional wrestling being presented with celebrity managers. Sean Michael faces Greg Hodnett during the early show. The second show managers will be announced later.
Then there's Smokey Snellbaker. I almost thought Smokey was retired, although he has not said so. Snellbaker hasn't raced much this season since leaving his sportsman ride. Snellbaker showed up behind the wheel of a sprint car last Friday night at Clinton County Speedway, driving a car owned by promoter Vern Wasson. Snellbaker and Mitch Smith had some of their glory years driving the famed Gary's Motor Mart Special No. 5 for Wasson's father. When Smith retired, Snellbaker took over the ride and he and mechanic Dick Hench cleaned house with that racer. That was during the time the late Jack Gunn tried to run 312-cubic-inch engines in sprint cars at his KARS sanctioned tracks. The Wasson team had things figured out and enjoyed some big years with Snellbaker doing the driving.
When Mitch Smith decided to end his early retirement from back injuries, he borrowed the No. 5 to run some practice laps during a day race at Williams Grove. Right after that, Smith came back to racing and drove for Al Hamilton, enjoying continued success.
As for Snellbaker, he may drive the car again and will make a personal appearance at Port Royal July 31 to showcase his musical talents by playing the spoons prior to the race.
One last trip down memory lane: When Smith raced for Gary Wasson, they had a list of mechanics that was out of this world. If memory serves me correctly, this team had Dick Hench, Billy Gettle and Davey Brown all involved in the team.
Port Royal Speedway's sprint car point battle is going down to the wire. Alan Cole holds a 15 point lead over Todd Shaffer entering tonight's action. Mike Erdley is third just 25 points back and Greg Hodnett trails by 50 points. As you can see, it's still wide open for these four drivers.
An odd thing happened to me Thursday. I received my mail and RPM Racing News arrived. I found that odd since I already got this week's paper earlier. The date on the paper was July 8. I don't know if that was the postal service's fault or the paper, but it sure was late. I looked the paper over to see what I had missed and found out that Dean Jacobs' son, Cody, won his first career 410 sprint car race at Lakeville, Ohio. He beat his dad, who finished second. That was back on July 5.
I also have to say congratulations to Dylan Cisney on winning two feature races in two weeks. Cisney is a feature winner in the super sportsman class at Williams Grove and Port Royal. How many 16-year-old kids can say that? Cisney will be a junior at Juniata High School this year. Cisney started racing go-karts at age 7. His sportsman car is owned by his dad, Dave.
In the world of NASCAR things are not all good. Despite that, folks are trying to deal with problems as they come up. The big three automakers are all in trouble and rumors of reorganizational bankruptcy are flying around. General Motors reportedly will pull all track race sponsorships for next year in an attempt to save money. NASCAR fears one of the big three may pull out of NASCAR completely, no one is saying publicly who they think it could be.
Souvenir vendors are cutting the price on their merchandise, which is good - they were charging too much in the first place.Vendors took $30 off the price of jackets and $10 off die cast cars starting at Daytona. Even Sunoco and Watkins Glen Speedway are trying to take the bite out of coming to the races. Every fan that buys a turn 11 grandstand ticket for the Glen race receives a $20 gas card for each ticket bought.
The Nationwide series car of tomorrow has been put on hold for at least one year. The main reason given is the economic hardship it will create for small teams while the economy is not good.
Kobalt Tools is the leading candidate to replace Sears Craftsman as the title sponsor of the truck series next season. Kobalt is affiliated with Lowe's.
The Sprint Cup cars race at Indianapolis Sunday. Race time on ESPN is 1 p.m. Tony Stewart is the defending race champion. The Cup cars visit Pocono next week.
Until next week, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel. He is affiliated with Port Royal Speedway.