Hello again race fans. Area speedways are canceled for this weekend with the exception of Lincoln Speedway. The pigeon hills oval has 410 and 358 sprint cars plus thunder cars tonight. Action gets under way at 6.
Local tracks opened last week and most did well. Williams Grove Speedway hit a home run last Friday night with great weather. Selinsgrove Speedway's two-day modified show went well. Port Royal had a successful opener. They should do better next week with late model racing on the schedule.
Port Royal runs a three division show of sprint cars late models and pro stocks. Race time is 7. Selinsgrove Speedway does not host its first late model show until April 9. Next week the Snyder County oval runs 358 sprint cars, pro stocks and daredevils. Racing starts at 6.
Bedford Speedway is preparing for its five division opener on April 15. They make their first big hit April 29 when the best late model show going comes to town. I'm speaking of the Lucas Oil late model series, which includes driver Scott Bloomquist. By far no dirt late model series attracts more fans in our area. May 1 is the rain date.
Selinsgrove Speedway will host the O'Reilly Auto Parts late models on Aug. 6. That's the first time the series will come into Central Pennsylvania. In time I predict the sprint cars will race there as well.
Motor problems continue to plague area sprint car teams. Greg Hodnett has endured a least four engine failures this spring. With low car counts in the region, we can't afford to loose any more teams. I've already heard of a car owner that has stated one more engine problem will force him to park his cars indefinitely.
The best news of last week end was Todd Shaffer and Gary Beam deciding to return to racing. The pair purchased a former Jim Nace racer and Beam still had one engine he owned. The pair put things together last week and Shaffer ended up leading Port Royal's feature event until lap eight. A blown tire on lap 10 eliminated him from competition. Shaffer is too good to retire completely and his presence will help Port Royal Speedway's field. I'm glad he's back and I believe he will win some races.
So what do sprint car counts look like for area tracks? I think both Lincoln and Port Royal Speedway will be in the high teens to mid-20s most nights. They will be down when the eastern division All Star Circuit of Champions races are run.
I sure hope the economy improves because low car counts equal low pit pass sales and tracks don't make money when that happens. The same situation exists in pro or street stock racing and I don't see it changing soon. I'm told even the 305 sprint car meeting had about half the normal number of competitors attend recently so car counts could be a problem there as well.
I know it's tough for everyone and I urge you to support area tracks as much as possible.
In the world of NASCAR Fontana, Calif., hosts action tomorrow. Fox has TV coverage starting a 3 p.m.
It's a quiet week in racing with the inclement weather. I'll be back next time with more news and information. Until then, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.