The points chase at Port Royal Speedway is going right down to the wire. Only two shows remain to crown champions.
The sprint car battle finds Todd Shaffer (1330) on top. Shaffer leads Mike Erdley (1290) by 40 points heading into tonight's action. Alan Cole (1285) is in third place, just 15 points behind Erdley. Mark Smith (1240) is fourth, 45 behind Cole. Keith Kauffman (1185) is in the fifth spot. Kauffman trails points leader Shaffer by 145.
Erdley and Kauffman have not won a feature race. That's a situation both would like to change. The sprint cars are joined tonight by the late models, pro stocks and enduro cars. Action gets under way at 7 p.m.
Last week at Port Royal, Todd Snook drove his best late model race of his young career. Snook moved up from the pro stock class and has been getting better every week. Snook finished second to Scotty Haus after leading several laps. Snook definitely looks like he is going to make it as a late model driver. As for late model points, Haus hold a 90 point lead over Mitch Hack.
The pro stock division presents the Deryl Stong Memorial race this evening. The 20-lap feature has extra purse money for the drivers. Stong was a long time competitor at the Juniata County oval and stock cars were his thing. He went on to operate a successful auto parts business, which is managed today by his daughter Lisa. Stong was also good at building engines and helped other competitors. He has been missed by many after passing too young from heart problems.
Lincoln Speedway has its own points chase going on in the sprint car class. Fred Rahmer dropped from the lead back to fourth position after attending Port Royal's Dream Race Extreme and the Knoxville Nationals. Cris Eash is the new points leader over Brian Montieth, Niki Young and Rahmer. Eash has 6065 points, just five ahead of Montieth and 55 in front of Young. Rahmer is 85 points behind.
The URC sprint cars join the 410 sprinters tonight at Lincoln. Action gets under way at 7:30.
At Selinsgrove Speedway it's a regular show of 358 sprint cars, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners. Action begins at 7.
The All Star Circuit of Champions race at Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis, Ark. Dale Blaney holds a five-point advantage over Lance Dewease.
The World of Outlaws race at Dacotah Speedway in Mandan, N.D., tonight before moving on to Minot, N.D., Sunday.
Williams Grove Speedway has a big show lined up for Tuesday night. Dave Blaney, Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart will race in the Ollie's 360 Challenge, which is a benefit race for the Kasey Kahne Foundation. The Kahne Foundation helps chronically ill children and disadvantaged youth. Fred Rahmer has a 360 ride for the show. As for Blaney, Kahne and Stewart, all three have won feature races at Williams Grove. Kahne won the 2000 Grove 410 sprint car opener. Blaney has won seven races and Stewart won a modified race there in 2003.
Congratulations go out to Rick Lafferty on winning his first career 410 sprint car feature at Williams Grove last Friday night. Lafferty now holds wins at Port Royal, Williams Grove and Lincoln.
Here's the latest update on Jeff Shepard. Shepard suffered a serious head injury at Knoxville, Iowa, on Aug. 7. He is responding to commands, but no one knows how fast he will recover. Other than a bruise on his shoulder, his only injury is to the brain. He could snap out of it quickly or it could take a long time - there's just no way to tell. His family and car owners John and Pee Wee Zemaitis are in Des Moines, Iowa, staying with friends. Shepard is at Methodist Hospital in Des Moines. Cards and other items may be sent to Shepard's Service Center, P.O. Box 830, Finksburg, MD., 21048.
The Southern 500 name has been returned to Darlington Raceway. The track too tough to tame will again host this race next May. The track is continuing to rebuild after losing one of its Sprint Cup dates. They have repaved, added lighting and a new infield tunnel plus seats just in time for their 60th anniversary season next year.
The Cup cars race at Michigan International Speedway Sunday. ESPN has TV coverage staring at 1 p.m.
That's going to do it for this week. Get out and enjoy a race at a local track. There's plenty of them to choose from. Don't forget that speed is for the speedway and not the highway!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel. He is affiliated with Port Royal Speedway.