Port Royal Speedway hosts the fourth annual Dream Race Extreme this evening. The winner of the sprint car-only race will earn $15,000. Just starting the 40-lap event is worth $1,000.
Past winners include Sean Michael, Greg Hodnett and Cody Darrah. Michael and Hodnett are scheduled to sign autographs prior to the event.
This year's race is in honor and memory of Jim Nace, a longtime friend of race organizer Sue Pontius. Nace's car with Michael as the driver won the first Dream event. That winning car will be on display this evening at the track.
It is fitting the race be in memory of Nace, who grew up and lived in Juniata County. Nace was one of the nicest people one could ever meet. I would call him a gentlemen in every sense. He accomplished much and unfortunately left us way to soon after battling cancer for a number of years. Nace was a Central Pennsylvania sprint car champion. Much of his success came at Williams Grove and Selinsgrove speedways. However, he never forgot his roots at Port Royal and he will never be forgotten.
Not only is there the race itself, but, the event is a daylong activity. PA Sports Network host Jed Donahue will broadcast his show from Juniata County this morning. Donahue will be at the Innfield Restaurant & Tavern in Mifflin from 8 a.m. to noon. The Innfield will host kick off activities with drivers joining Donahue for interviews and more. A fan will go home with a new kayak courtesy of Lingle Distributing of Lewistown. Fans also can meet some drivers in a relaxed atmosphere.
At the track there will be racing movies shown in the afternoon by Lynn Schaeffer of Dillsburg. Trade show vendors will be on hand and kids big wheel racing is planned for the horse ring at 5 p.m. Parents are reminded to bring along their child's helmet. Toodles the Clown will entertain from 5 to 7.
While Port Royal is the show for 410 sprint car racing this week end, Lincoln Speedway hosts a major 358 sprint car event. The championship show also will include 305 sprint cars and thundercars. Action begins at 7:30.
Selinsgrove Speedway is in action with a regular show of 358 sprint cars, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners.
Williams Grove Speedway hosts Kids Night and its regular Saturday night special series. It is also camera and autograph night.
Bedford Speedway was idle last night as clean up continued from last week's fair. Bedford is back in action next Friday night. Greg Fetters won his first ever super late model feature at Bedford during the fair.
Rick Eckert won last Friday nights World of Outlaws late model feature at Attica, Ohio. It was the second Outlaw win of the season for the York driver.
Tony Stewart and David Stremme visited Port Royal Speedway last Saturday night. Both drivers kept a low profile and track officials did not announce they were in attendance. That was largely in part to allow the pair to enjoy the races and relax. Stewart reportedly stopped on his way back to Pocono at Selinsgrove Speedway. Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch appeared at Williams Grove last Thursday night for Kahne's Foundation fund raiser event.
It's nice to see Kameron Morral won a micro feature at Shippensburg Speedway recently. Morral is the grandson of the late car owner Roy Morral, who fielded sprint cars for Ray Tilley, Keith Kauffman, Smokey Snellbaker and others. Kameron was using the 880 car made famous by his grandfather.
From the same region I notice Cowboy Jim Kennedy is turning 76 years young today. Kennedy will celebrate by racing his 305 sprint car at Lincoln Speedway this evening. Kennedy is a resident of Everett.
Speaking of first time winners, Andy Haus scored his first victory over his father Scotty last Saturday night at Port Royal. Haus won the first make up late model feature at the track. Waylon Wagner won the regular event. Scotty Haus holds a scant 45 point lead over Tim Wilson in late model action at Port Royal. I predict the sprint and late model battles will go right down to the wire.
Chad Layton leads Rick Lafferty by 10 points is sprint car competition. Layton wrecked his car and had to borrow one from Mark Whitebread last Saturday night.
T.J. Winegardner and Mike Alleman have teamed up to finish out the 2010 season. Winegardner is back in Pennsylvania after missing most of the season due to a back injury and surgery. Alleman lost his 305 sprint motor a couple weeks back and Winegardner has a 360 engine they put in to run.
Tyler Walker and Lance Dewease have already traveled west in preparation for next week's Knoxville, Iowa, sprint car nationals. Dewease is scheduled to race in Peverly, Mo.
Big blocks are making a come back in dirt late model racing. A specially made block with a short stroke capable of making almost 1,000 horsepower and plenty of torque is being tested. Some of the top touring teams are already running small block motors near 500 cubic inches.
Yet little guys can still win if they get hooked up to the track. I think that's why late model racing is so good right now. I hope we never put a cubic inch limit on them like was done in sprint cars. Just my opinion.
Greg Biffle won last week's race at Pocono in a Roush/Fenway race car. Owner Jack Roush is recovering from serious injuries after being involved in a second plane crash. Roush nearly died eight years ago when his plane crashed into a pond. This time his plane had the right wing hit the ground while landing and then the plane did a back flip after landing first on its nose. Roush walked from the crash as did his passenger. The crash took place at the Oshkosh, Wisc., airfield last week. Roush was attending an experimental aircraft show when the accident occurred.
Pocono Raceway chairman and CEO Joe Mattioli has stated that NASCAR is over saturated and some tracks should not have two events - possibly including his own. Mattioli isn't ready to give up his second date just yet and said it was nice while the track was filling the seats. Mattioli was responding to reports about NASCAR's current economic position. Attendance is down 15 to 17 percent at many tracks and revenue is way off. The Brick Yard 400 had 140,000 tickets sold, down from 270,000 fans in 2007.
The Cup cars are at Watkins Glen for a road race Sunday. ESPN has TV coverage starting at noon. Stewart is the defending race champion.
Until next time, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel. He is associated with Port Royal Speedway.