PA Sprint Car Speedweek is upon us.
Port Royal Speedway hosts action tonight. The 30-lap feature event pays the winner $5,000. Stock car fans will enjoy the pro stock program that's part of the show. Racing starts at 7 p.m. Gates open at 5.
Action shifts tomorrow to Selinsgrove Speedway, where the Jan Opperman Memorial race closes out Speedweek action. Opperman was the purest talent I ever watched drive a sprint car. His skills were beyond belief. In Central Pennsylvania, Opperman was at his best at the Snyder county oval, so it's fitting a memorial race is held there in his honor. It is a 30-lap feature paying $5,000 to win plus pro stocks. Race time is 7.
Stevie Smith won Ohio's sprint car Speedweek and the Sunday night Bedford Speedweek feature. The racing program was excellent and it was the first time in over 20 years that a dual sprint car/late model show was run at the same time on the historic track.
With new clay, the sprint cars were flying. During time trials, a radar gun was used entering turn three. Keep in mind, this is where the cars are slowing down to enter the corner. The top speed recorded entering the corner was 134 mph. That's fast. Think what it must have been about three quarters of the way down the straight stretches. Another factor to consider is that the Bedford track runs up hill on the back stretch and down hill on the front. That means it should be slower entering turn three than turn one. Jack Pencil beat Jeff Rine in late model action.
The gender barrier has been broken again at Port Royal Speedway. Eighteen-year-old Nicole Bower beat the boys during 358 sprint car action. Bower impressed me with her poise and personality. This young lady just graduated from Cedar Cliff High School. She has a bright future ahead of her if she continues to progress.
Two other youngsters that made a name for themselves were Aaron Ott and Logan Schuchart. Ott is the son of engine builder Donnie Ott. This young man won both the 410 and 360 sprint car feature last Friday night at Williams Grove. To get your first two wins there on the same night is amazing. Schuchart won the 358 sprint car feature last Friday at Trailway Speedway. Schuchart is the grandson of legendary driver Bobby Allen. Scruff owns the car and makes the set up calls on the racer. Schuchart will be a sophomore at Spring Grove High School in York County this fall. Congratulations to all.
Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and David Stremme will appear at Williams Grove Speedway Aug. 5 as part of the benefit race for the Kasey Kahne Foundation. Kahne will race in the 358/URC sprint car challenge. Busch and Stremme will drive super late models.
Jeremy Mayfield has won the latest leg of the legal battles against NASCAR. An injunction was issued by the courts that will allow Mayfield to race. Mayfield stated in published reports that this means more to him than any race he has ever won. It seems the test results and the levels were so high that Mayfield would have likely had serious health issues or been dead. It was suggested his teeth should have been rotted out by the alleged levels in the test. This is exactly why no one anywhere should rush to judgement or presume it's OK to trash another person's reputation until the facts come out. Mayfield has to try and resume relationships with other driver and sponsors. Some of them rushed to judgement and may have been wrong. I've seen that type thing happen here at home and it's not a good situation. That's something for us all to think about. A couple name drivers may owe Mayfield an apology.
Daytona International Speedway hosts holiday action tonight starting at 8 p.m. Kyle Busch is the defending race champion. TNT has TV coverage starting at 6:30.
Happy holidays to all. Get out and enjoy a race this week end. As the little boys say, speed is for the speedway, not the highway. Please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel. He is associated with Port Royal Speedway.