The news of the week is two veteran race car drivers will be back on track shortly. As reported in The Sentinel on Thursday, Keith Kauffman will be in action tonight at Port Royal driving the Mike Heffner owned No. 27 that has been piloted this year by Sean and Curt Michael. Sean Michael was the teams full-time driver until being injured in a crash at Williams Grove Speedway. The deal is for Kauffman to drive the car through speedweek plus a couple other shows. Rumors continue to circulate that another name driver will be leaving the area to race on the road. Kauffman is reportedly in line to drive that car should the change take place.
The other good news is that Smokey Snellbaker is returning to action driving the Mike Callahan owned super sportsman car. Snellbaker will primarily race at Williams Grove Speedway. He may also run some 358 sprint car races.
Last weeks Appalachian Mountains late model speedweek is history and "Kid Rocket" Josh Richards won the title. Richards hails from Shinnston W.V. Richards told me last Friday night at Bedford Speedway that he is ready to have his nickname upgraded to " Adult Rocket." Richards won the title by one point over Jeremy Miller of Gettysburg.
The late model speedweek will be held again in 2010. There will likely be a small switch in participating tracks. Four speedways that were not involved in the series this season have already expressed interest in being added to the show. I doubt that all four will get in, but one or two might. Hagerstown, Winchester, Selinsgrove and Bedford all were satisfied with their events. Port Royal and Lincoln were rained out. Williams Grove had a poor fan count in part due to bad weather.
Congratulations goes out to Chad Layton on winning his first race in the Middleswarth No. 7. Layton won at Central PA Speedway in Clearfield Sunday night. I made the trip to this All-Star race and I liked the track. The only problem was the dust, which was quite heavy. The racing was good and controversy occurred with three laps to go. Greg Hodnett was all over Layton in traffic when he ran out of fuel. Several other competitors did as well. The race was stopped for fuel, but Hodnett didn't get his spot back as he dropped out under green flag conditions. I don't know how many laps were run, but I will say it was a lot. The All Stars-mandate, but don't require, 30 gallon fuel tanks on their cars. Each racer still has to make weight after the race no matter which size tank is used. A bunch of guys were coming up short and the race was stopped. In fact, Layton said he was out of fuel. Mark Smith finished third and had a good point. Smith had enough fuel and was not out. The two cars ahead of him had smaller tanks and did. Smith wasn't pleased with the decision to red flag the race and felt he may have won the event had the fuel stop not taken place. Smith may have felt short changed for running what was mandated. Anyway, Layton won and was joined by sponsor Al Hamilton in the winners circle. Hamilton is originally from the Clearfield area and served as honorary starter for the feature.
The street stock class at Clearfield ran a unique feature which I enjoyed. Tim Krape finished third and was the show. Krape drove his own car and came from mid pack in the three segment race. 24 cars started the feature and ran ten laps. The race was checker flagged and the field was reduced to 15 cars. The race restarted double file and ran five more laps. The field was cut to ten cars who again started double file and ran five laps for $400 dollars to win. It was definitely exciting.
The 305 sprint cars were also part of the Clearfield event and there were plenty of people from home that raced or attended the event. The class puts on good racing wherever it goes.
Trevor Lewis raced in Jim Nace's No. 6 car at Central PA on Sunday. Lewis has taken over for Kevin Nouse as the driver of the car, but had mechanical problems during the feature.
Hopefully Kevin Nouse will land another 410 ride soon. Nouse is a good driver and person. It makes a person realize how tough it is to land and keep a good 410 sprint car ride in our area.
Lewistown's Daryl Stimeling did a great job finishing second in last Saturday night's sprint car feature at Port Royal Speedway. Stimeling re-passed Greg Hodnett on the final lap and the cheers were loud. Hodnett briefly got by Stimeling and may have thought Stimeling was a lapped car. Not so. The Bolger team has looked good the last couple weeks. They had sticker tires on the rear of their car to start the feature. If there were ever a team that could use some help, it's these guys. They are proving they can do it. Maybe someone should start a Beer Hill Gang type sponsorship for Stimeling's team at Port Royal. That group helped Lucas Wolfe along the way in starting his career.
Kenny Schrader is racing in the World of Outlaws Late Model race Wednesday at Big Diamond Speedway. There will be a meet and greet prior to the race. Big Diamond replaced Port Royal on the Outlaw late model schedule.
Ohio sprint car speedweek is here and local driver Stevie Smith is planning on traveling west. The All-Stars sanction the series and a $50,000 dollar bonus is being offered to any driver that can win four out of eight feature events. Attica Speedway kicked off action last night.
Next Friday night the Bedford Speedway hosts Fan Appreciation Night. General admission is just eight dollars for the limited late model race. Street stocks, hobby cruisers and 4 Cyl. stock cars are also part of the show. Racing starts at 7:15 p.m.
Tonight at Port Royal the sprint cars are joined by late models, pro stocks and powder puff cars. Action starts at 7.
Lincoln Speedway hosts the Daryl Gohn/Glenn Gohn Sr. Memorial for sprint cars. There's also 358 sprint cars, thunder cars and kids big wheel racing.
At Selinsgrove the 358 sprint cars are joined by late models, pro stocks and roadrunners. The sprint cars compete in the sixth annual Joe Whitcomb Memorial race which pays the winner $ 1,771.00. Whitcomb passed away on June 21, 2003 from injuries sustained while racing at the track.
In other news, Roger Penske has reached a tentative deal to purchase Saturn from General Motors. All dealers will retain their franchises. Penske will continue to have GM build the cars for at least two years. He did say he will enter discussions with builders world wide to build the cars in the future. Penske does not want to build the cars himself but prefers to be a distributor of the brand. Penske will consider involving Saturn in racing. He did say the Aura is "tailor made" for NASCAR but that nay such plans would be 200 miles down the road. Penske said the Grand-AM road race level is where he would likely start. 13,000 Saturn employees get to keep their jobs for the time being as a result of Penske's pending purchase.
Richard Childress was elected to the Board of Directors for the National Rifle Association. Childress joins Ted Nugent, Lt. Col. Oliver North, Tom Selleck and Karl Malone on the NRA Board.
Jeremy Mayfield has been counter sued by NASCAR for violating the substance abuse policy. NASCAR alleges Mayfiled willingly used medications in violation of policy with out disclosing the same to the doctor who runs the drug test program. NASCAR states they would not have allowed Mayfield to race while taking the medication had they know he was taking it. It sounds to me like both sides are lining up for a long legal battle.
The Cup cars race this week at Sonoma, CA on the road course. TNT has TV coverage from 3:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. The race starts at 5:00.
Until next time please drive safely!