The Jim Nace Memorial National Open at Selinsgrove Speedway is this evening at the Snyder County oval. The late models and speedsters also are part of the program, which gets under way at 7 p.m.
Nace was a five time track champion at the track. Four-time National Open winner Todd Shaffer will drive a "Camel Express Trucking" No. 26 car in memory of Nace. The car is the Gary and Patty Beam-owned racer, which normally carries No. 88. Shaffer's car is wrenched by Jim Russell, who also was mechanic for Nace in many of his wins.
The race will have two 22-lap segments that each pay the winner $6,000; if one driver wins both, the payoff goes to $26,000. The winner of the first race will start sixth for the second segment.
Nace first drove the No. 44 Nace Bus Service Car which, if memory serves me correctly, was a converted super sportsman car. Nace won the 1976 Tuscarora 50, defeating Keith Kauffman. Nace ultimately had more fame and fortune at Selinsgrove while Kauffman made his a name at Port Royal. Both grew up as farm boys from Juniata County.
Nace lost a long battle with cancer last November. He was one of the nicest guys you could find in a pit area and truly was a gentlemen on and off the track. This is the second memorial event to honor him this season. Port Royal Speedway renamed the Dream Race in Nace's honor as well.
Who are the big guns from past Selinsgrove National Opens? Fred Rahmer and Todd Shaffer are four-time champions. Lance Dewease won last year's race.
Jim Yoder beat son Dylan during last week's Selinsgrove late model action. It was the elder Yoder's first win of the year at the track. Selinsgrove Speedway's 358 sprint car title is going down to the final points race on Sept. 25. Pat Cannon holds a 75 point lead over Blane Heimbach.
Lincoln Speedway hosts the 36th annual running of the Sportsman 100 tonight at 7. Scott Dellingger is the defending race champion. The race was formerly held at the now-defunct Silver Spring Speedway.
Alan Cole is the 2010 track champion at Clinton County Speedway near Lock Haven. Promoter Vern Wasson has announced he will return for 2011.
It's been 13 years since Williams Grove Speedway had a first time champion in the 410 sprint car class. Things will change this year - Greg Hodnett was the points leader heading into Friday.
The 2010 season is complete at Port Royal and Bedford Speedways. Jason Covert closed out the year as the final winner at Bedford. Covert is also the Three States Flyer's Champion for the year. The HKM Management team has signed a new three year lease on Bedrord Speedway and will be in control through the end of 2013. Jeff Rine won the super late model title at the track while Rick Singleton scored his first limited late model championship. J.R. Keiffer hopes to host a Dirt Track Summit for track operators during November.
One final Bedford note. Track managemnet is dealing with a lawsuit filed by one local citizen trying to put the track out of business due to dust. Management plans to defend itself against the suit and has every intention to open the 2011 season. This is the type suit that closed Windber and Ebensburg Speedways. Those track operators' pockets weren't deep enough to fight and they folded up shop.
I doubt Bedford is going any where as it is politically connected and has had Penn State University prepare an economic impact study on the track a couple years back. When that study was done, PSU determined the track alone put over $6 million into the Bedford County economy. More race tracks should have studies done. That kind of money coming into a community is big in today's economic times.
Nicole Bower won the Will Gamble Award last week during the Tuscarora 50. That honor is presented to the highest non-qualifying Port Royal Speedway regular that doesn't make the starting lineup. Bower, of Mechanicsburg, is a student at Delaware State University. Her father is a PBA Bowling professional and her family owns a number of bowling centers. Bower is going to be a good race car driver as well. She has already won a 358 feature at Port Royal and it won't be long until she scores a win in 410 racing action.
Davey Sammons, who raced with the URC 360 racing series this season, is planning to move up to 410 sprint car action next year. Sammons family owns and operates Area Auto racing News of Trenton, N.J. The paper is an industry leader in racing news and opinions.
Until next week, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes abour motorsports for The Sentinel. He is associated with Port Royal Speedway.