Hello again race fans. Once again weather is an issue for this week's area racing. At press time, action was still on at local tracks.
Port Royal Speedway moves to a 7 p.m. starting time this week. Three divisions are planned. The 410 sprint cars are joined by the late models and pro stocks. General admission gates open at 5.
Juniata Junction Restaurant is hosting a car show today from 1 to 4 p.m. Lance Dewease, Mike Erdley and Nicole Bower will have their race cars on display. I'm sure other racers will be there as well. Door prizes will be given away. The rain date is next Saturday. Juniata Junction is located at the intersection of old Route 22 and state Route 75 off the Port Royal exit of U.S. 322.
At Selinsgrove Speedway, 358 sprint cars are joined by the pro stocks and daredevil stock cars. Pat Cannon is the defending 358 champion at the Snyder County oval and already has won two races elsewhere this season. A.J. Hoffman won the opening pro stock feature at the track. Race time is 6 p.m. Friday's go kart and micro races were canceled.
The track also announced a purse increase for the pro stock class. The winner will earn $400. Second place is worth $225. Third will receive $175, fourth $ 150 and fifth $115. That's a nice payday for a regular show.
Williams Grove Speedway announced that tow money will be increased to sprint car teams at the track this season. That's good news considering the high cost of fuel.
Hagerstown Speedway is set to open with late models as the headline class. The Maryland oval opens at 7 tonight.
Lincoln Speedway is hosting the 410 sprint cars and 358 late models tonight at 6. Lincoln was the lone 410 sprint car track to race last week. Brent Marks was the winner. Greg Hodnett finally had his luck change and finished third.
Bedford Speedway opens April 15. The Lucas Oil Late Model Series visits the track April 29. May 1 is the rain date.
More news came out about Todd Shaffer and Gary Beam's return to racing. The pair made arrangements to purchase the former Jim Nace racer Thursday afternoon. Jimmy Russell and crew started to put the car together and the car was fired Saturday morning. Saturday afternoon it was off to the racetrack where Shaffer led Port Royal's season opener for a number of laps. A tire failure wrecked Shaffer and the team had bent parts to replace. It's good to have the pair back. Shaffer apparently is thinking of running 10 to 20 shows this season.
Longtime Williams Grove Speedway announcer Bruce Ellis lost his wife recently after a lengthy illness. Denise Ellis was a supporter of racing and worked with her husband at times. She was laid to rest last Monday. Cards reach Bruce Ellis at 107 Coxe Street, Hazleton, PA 18201.
I notice that the Kentucky Colonel, Steve Francis, left the World of Outlaws late mode circuit in favor of the Lucas Oil series this season. Francis has been an outlaw regular since the series started in 2004. The main reason appears to be economics - Lucas has more races closer to Francis' Ashland, Ky., home.
National Speed Sports News printed its final edition March 23. The paper was in existence for 77 years. Chris Economaki started selling the paper at local race tracks when he was 14 years old. Economaki made a penny profit on every paper he sold. Economaki is 90 now. His daughter published the paper the last several years.
Once based in Trenton, N.J., the paper moved to North Carolina to be in the hub of NASCAR racing. Now it's gone forever. The paper was for sale but no one stepped forward to buy it. I'm told that pension issues for longtime employees made it unattractive to prospective buyers. Area Auto Racing News is attracting many of Speed Sport's former subscribers. I always enjoyed both papers and it's sad to see NSSN go away. The paper was good until the end and was the only true national trade paper on the market.
NASCAR driver Scott Speed is in a legal dispute with Red Bull Racing about his contract, which was terminated after Kasey Kahne's services were procured last fall. The suit provides us all some insight into how Sprint Cup drivers are paid. Speed received a base salary each year plus a percentage of the purse money the team won. For any top 10 finish it was a 50-50 split; 11th through 20th paid Speed 45 percent, and from 21st back 40 percent. His base salary was to increase each year from a low of $300,000 to a high of $1 million last season.
No wonder drivers are trying to reach the top level of NASCAR racing. There's still good money there.
The Sprint Cup cars race at Martinsville tomorrow. Denny Hamlin is the defending race champion. Fox has TV coverage starting at 1 p.m. MRN has radio coverage locally.
That's going to do it for another week. I'll be back next time with more news and opinions. Until then, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorports for The Sentinel.