Season-ending special races continue this weekend. Williams Grove Speedway hosts the 48th annual National Open for sprint cars this evening. The World of Outlaws-sanctioned event pays the winner $50,000. Everybody who's anybody will be attempting to compete. Greg Hodnett is the defending race champion.
What's also on the line is bragging rights. The Central Pennsylvania racers have defeated the Outlaws the last eight times they have come to Williams Grove. The locals want to keep the streak alive, and, the money at home.
Not only is the race big for teams, but it is the largest racing tailgate party in the region. As part of the festivities, a pig roast is being held today starting at 11 a.m. outside the back stretch pit entrance. Proceeds benefit the York County Racing Club Injured Drivers Fund. And, a chili cook off is being held as well. There also will be silent and live auctions plus door prizes. The cost is $8. Racing begins at 7:45 p.m.
If you are a late model fan, The Rock at the Cumberland, Md., Fairgrounds Speedway will finish up a two-day show this evening. The race, known as "The Big Kahuna," will attract most of western Pennsylvania's best late model racers. I'm sure some of our area racers will be there as well.
If the long trip to Cumberland isn't your thing then you might want to go to the Clinton County Fairgrounds Speedway near Lock Haven. The late models have a 50-lap feature this evening. starting at 6. Pro stocks and micro sprints also are part of the show.
If modifieds are your thing, the Big Diamond Speedway in Minersville is hosting the Diamond Nationals tonight and tomorrow. The small block modifieds are featured tonight starting at 7. Tomorrow the big block mods race at 5 p.m.
Want to go racing during November? Susquehanna Speedway is hosting a 410 sprint car race Nov. 13. And the Wall Stadium Speedway in New Jersey will host its 37th annual two-day Turkey Derby featuring asphalt modifieds Nov. 26-27. It's cold but this show always draws a big crowd. The event has a rain date of Dec. 4.
I notice Richard "Cuffy" Reich, long time mechanic for Barry Camp, suffered a mild heart attack last week and is on the mend. Reich has helped Blane Heimbach since Camp's retirement.
Joey Saldana was injured during the Eldora Speedway's World of Outlaws sprint car feature two weeks back. The Outlaws raced last Saturday night at Lernerville Speedway near Pittsburgh and Saldana did not compete. Saldana is questionable for the National Open tonight.
Pat Cannon clinched the Selinsgrove Speedway 358 sprint car title last week and is closing in on the Williams Grove title as well. In fact, Cannon should win the Central PA 358 title from Hoosier Tire.
Lucas Wolfe of Mechanicsburg plans to run 360 sprint cars in Arizona and California after the Outlaw season concludes next month at Charlotte. After that it's off to Australia to race this winter. Wolfe keeps getting better and is eighth in Outlaw points this year.
NASCAR's Cup race takes place in Kansas tomorrow. ESPN has TV coverage starting at 1 p.m. Tony Stewart is the defending race champion. Jimmie Johnson enters the event fresh off a win last week at Dover. Johnson is a six-time winner this season and is currently trailing Denny Hamlin by 35 points in the point standings.
Speaking of Hamlin, his recent run in with Richard Childress Racing drivers has resulted in his own team basically telling him to shut up and race. Joe Gibbs Racing President, J.D. Gibbs told Hamlin last week to "stay out of the fray." His crew chief told him the were trying to win a championship and didn't need any distractions.
Hamlin's teammate, Kyle Busch, has announced he will close down his own race team at season's end if he can't replace sponsorship from an Indian tribe gaming company, which backed out after a change in tribal leadership. Busch fields trucks for himself.
That's going to wrap it up for this week. I'll be back soon with more news and opinions. Until then, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel. He is associated with Port Royal Speedway.