Hello again race fans. It appears the weather is going to cooperate this weekend and we can get back to racing. It seems like forever since we have raced at Port Royal and Selinsgrove speedways. That should happen tonight.
Port Royal Speedway has the premier sprint car show of the weekend. Guy Webb's All Star Circuit of Champions invades the Juniata County oval tonight for the Bob Weikert Memorial race. Webb's group is led by Knoxville Nationals winner Tim Shaffer of Aliquippa. The steel city outlaw should be joined by Dale Blaney, Greg Wilson and others.
Local drivers that signed up for the All Star eastern championship also should be in the field. The eastern title pays the winner $20,000. There's plenty of money and contingency awards available to racers. The 30-lap A main pays $7,100 to win. With bonus money for heat races, fast time, lap money, etc., a clean sweep could earn the winner $10,150.
I've been told that Richard Childress chose car No. 29 to replace car No. 3 after Dale Earnhardt's death in part because of his relationship with the Weikert family. Childress also has agricultural interests, which include cattle and a winery. The Weikerts and Childresses have done business with each other and RCR Racing is one of many sponsors of tonight's race.
Money has been added through the week so who knows where it will stop. Tyler Walker will pilot a Weikert's Livestock-painted Keen racing car in the event. Walker's driving style would have suited Bob Weikert just fine. Fans have a chance to go home with some goodies as well. Bicycles will be given away to kids and packages of meat will be handed out. Weikert did that many years ago and that promotion was a huge success. I'm sure it will be well received tonight. Action gets under way at 7.
The sidewinder sprints and pro stocks also are part of the show.
Bob Weikert was one of a kind and fans either loved or hated him as a car owner. There was no middle road. Weikert's best years came during the Doug Wolfgang era with Davey Brown and Fred Grenoble turning the wrenches.
Weikert would wind up the crowd with his boastful comments. But it wasn't really bragging because Weikert's teams could back it up. Grenoble went on to be featured with Weikert on the now-defunct Nashville Network's "Hidden Heroes" series, which brought more national attention to our area's racing. Weikert and Al Hamilton, along with other local car owners, did as much to put local racing on the map as anyone. Both hired the best drivers. Notable drivers that ran well for Weikert included Kenny Weld, Paul Pitzer, Keith Kauffman, Bobby Davis Jr. and Randy Wolfe. Tonight we honor one of the all time greats.
At Selinsgrove Speedway the pro stocks take center stage with a 20-lap feature. The 358 sprint cars, late models and roadrunners are also in action starting at 7.
Lincoln Speedway is racing 410 and 358 sprint cars plus thundercars tonight at 7.
Williams Grove Speedway hosts another Saturday night special $5 general admission show this evening. Susquehanna Speedway will be in action tonight with a regular program as well.
Clinton County Speedway is now open for Friday night action.
Hagerstown Speedway hosts the steel block bandits late model series tonight. Rick Singleton was looking forward to competing with that series with car owner Sam Barley. I spoke to both during each of Port Royal Speedway's 2011 late model events.
Barley was proud of Singleton's driving ability and the pair meshed well. Singleton was up beat after two top 10 finishes at the Juniata County oval despite his car weighing 400 pounds more than the super late models he ran against. I'm sure Singleton's plans are under review.
Barley unexpectedly passed away this past Sunday at his Bellwood home. He was 73. Some of you will remember him as Johnny Grum's brother-in-law, who accompanied him to the races when Grum drove the Harry Fletcher-owned No. 66 sprint car. Barley passed from apparent heart problems, for which he was to have undergone some type of procedure this past week. Barley never made it that far.
He was a good guy who will be missed by many in the racing community, especially those of us that have been around the sport most of our lives. He will not be forgotten.
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.