Hello again race fans. The season is winding down and there's still plenty of news. Not all of it is good. I'll get to that in a bit, as I'm choosing to start with better things to talk about.
First, Greg Hodnett is the 2010 Williams Grove Speedway track champion. It is Hodnett's third title for the Jim and Sandy Kline owned race team. I'm happy for them as they are all good people and deserving of the honor. The last points race at the Grove was held last night.
This evening, the Saturday night Grove series will conclude with super sportsman, 358 late models, street stocks and 4-cylinder stock cars. Fireworks are also part of the program. Racing starts at 6:30.
Lincoln Speedway concludes the season this evening at 6. The 410 sprint cars and thunder cars make up the program.
Congratulations go out to Justin Henderson and car owners Charlie and Dawn Sorokach on winning their first sprint car feature at Williams Grove Speedway last week. The team had a horrible year and things are starting to turn around since employing Jim Shriner as crew chief. Henderson plans to stay in the car for 2011.
I noticed Cowboy Jim Kennedy won a 305 sprint car heat race last week at Lincoln Speedway. The 76-year-old youngster can still get the job done in 305 racing for sure.
Glenn Donnelly, former owner and operator of DIRT Motorsports had a six year non-compete clause in his contract after selling out to the World Racing Group. That non-compete is over and Donnelly is planning on constructing a 3/4-mile race track in New York, not far from Syracuse Fairgrounds which he used to promote. It looks like Donnelly is preparing to challenge World Racing's fall spectacular which just ran last weekend. Don't bet against Donnelly as he can get the job done.
Speaking of Syracuse, last week, four World of Outlaws sprint car drivers ran a five-lap match race for the fans. The event was well received and speeds of 170 MPH were achieved. Drivers were a little nervous to say the least. Lucas Wolfe, Steve Kinser, Jason Sides and 360 driver Keith Dempster participated. The last time a 410 sprint car race was staged at Syracuse was 1995. Some fans feel the place hasn't been the same since.
Stewart Friessen, a Canadian, won the 200 lap big block modified event last Sunday at Syracuse.
Speaking of Modified stock cars, the sportsman modifieds will be part of Susquehanna Speedway's Candy Bowl special on Oct. 30. ARDC Midgets, 600 c.c. micro sprints, legends, thunder cars and mini vans are also part of the program.
The UFO late model series raced at Roaring Knob Speedway near Markleysburg last Saturday. Jason Covert beat Jeremy Miller for the $5,000 victory. The field was full of regional stars and guess what? Mifflin County driver Tim Wilson pulled off an 11th place finish in the main event. Good job Timmy. Wilson lives in McClure.
Jim Yoder, of Selinsgrove, won't last week's Chili 100 run at Hummingbird Speedway near Falls Creek Another area veteran, Luke Hoffner, finished second. Hey the local guys do well on the road and we should be proud.
Now for the sad and serious news. Jerry Reigle, former writer for The Patriot News and current staffer and assistant editor for Area Auto Racing News shocked us all when we opened this week's paper to find no column for the second week in a row. Instead, Reigle announced he has been diagnosed with cancer and is beginning treatment soon. Reigle found out last week as he was preparing to travel to Super Dirt week in Syracuse. Doctors instructed him to stay home. Reigle spoke with Tom Little of Port Royal, Guy Webb of the All Stars and myself last weekend and seemed OK. He said nothing to anyone until the paper came out. To say the least, we were all shocked. Reigle has a good attitude and states he will beat it. I hope he does. I like and respect him a lot and consider him a friend. He is also the best at what he does, in my opinion. I can always go to him for information or advice. Get well soon buddy!
You might remember Shane Hmiel, son of Steve Hmiel, who works at Earnhardt/Ganassi Racing. The younger Hmiel received a lifetime ban from NASCAR over substance abuse. He has since turned his life around and USAC licensed him to race in their divisions. Hmiel ran with the wingless sprint cars when they came to central Pa. earlier this summer. Hmiel was seriously injured in a Silver Crown dirt car accident last Saturday night at Terre Haute Speedway in Indiana.
His car flipped onto the concrete wall cage first and part of the roll cage collapsed. It was a freak accident, but serious to say the least. Hmiel has two fractures to the neck and a broken back. He also has some spinal cord damage, but is able to move so far which is good. Several surgeries have already been performed and he is being kept sedated.
Tony Stewart is a life long friend and mentioned Hmiel during post race interviews last week. Hmiel won six races with USAC this year and faces his biggest struggle yet. He is at Indianapolis Methodist Hospital which is where motorsports Dr. Terry Trammel works from.
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel. He is associated with Port Royal Speedway.