Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek is heading toward the finish line as just two shows remain.
Tonight, Port Royal Speedway is in action for the second time this week. Greg Hodnett was the winner Thursday night at the Juniata County oval. Hodnett was impressive as he started 14th in the feature. Hodnett always seems to rise to the occasion when big money races are run. The Thomasville driver won at Hagerstown Wednesday.
Other speedweek winners were Cory Haas at Lincoln, Daryn Pittman at Bedford and Tyler Walker at Grandview. Last night the Mitch Smith Memorial race was run at Williams Grove. Action concludes at Selinsgrove Speedway tomorrow. The super sportsmen also are part of that program. Race time is 7 p.m.
As this column was being prepared, Walker was on top of the Speedweek points chase. Pittman was second with Fred Rahmer third. Hodnett and Brian Montieth filled out the top five.
Jason Covert was the winner of the Three States Flyers Late Model program last Saturday night at Hagerstown Speedway. Hagerstown has been a tough place to win at this year. Covert became the first repeat winner of the season.
Williams Grove Speedway has another Saturday night special this evening that includes fireworks. The super sportsman class will headline the show, which starts at 6:30.
Longtime racer Paul Miller of York passed away Sunday. Miller was 82 and suffered a heart attack. He was the only president the York County Racing Club has ever known. During Miller's tenure, the YCRC built a hall of fame and organized the highly successful Injured Drivers Fund, which has helped so many in time of need. A celebration of life will be held in Miller's honor at the YCRC building July 9 at 1 p.m. The location is just off the Zions View exit (Exit 28) of Interstate 83.
I had a chance to chat with a member of the Tim Fedder racing crew this week and I was impressed after my conversation. Fedder's car weighs almost 2,400 pounds, and is equipped with a steel block motor that came out of a truck. Fedder runs well considering the caliber of competition he faces each week. The team will likely miss a week or two while their engine is being freshened.
I also visited the Tim Wilson race shop this week where the team was hard at work preparing for this week's action. Wilson has a second car that he can bring out if needed. Wilson, like most other racers, is feeling the tough economy and we spoke about the high costs of maintaining engines.
No matter what type racing we talk about, engine costs are the biggest problem in racers budgets. Should it take a $25,000 to $40,000 motor to run for a weekly sprint car or late model program? My opinion is no. However, it has become the norm and nobody seems to know how to change it.
I don't know if any one can change it. Sometimes it seems racers and promoters become their own worst enemy by allowing costs to spiral out of control. That's especially true in support classes.
I received word that approximately 11 loads of new clay were added to Port Royal Speedway last week. Some immediate improvement was noted Thursday night as there was less dust thrown out over town. The track smoothed out by feature tim. I'm told most of the clay added was in turns one and two.
A nice crowd was on hand Thursday evening and the show was completed by 10:30 p.m. Time trials took 28 minutes for 35 sprint cars. That's pretty impressive. Some tracks seem to let time trials drag on to long. Eddie and Guy McCardle were presented "Founders Awards" for their part in helping Penn Central Racing Association put Port Royal Speedway on the map for dirt track racing.
I failed to mention earlier this spring that the Lewistown-based Bolger Racing team competed in one Port Royal event. The team also plans to compete in the rained out wingless USAC show at the track. Daryl Stimeling is the driver. Stimeling drove his own car at Bedford Speedway Sunday night.
Keith Kauffman had mechanical problems Thursday night and started on the rear of the Speedweek A main. Kauffman eventually dropped out and was the first car off the track. Kauffman has scored one win this season at the Juniata County oval.
I hope you enjoy the holiday weekend and spend some time at area racetracks. They need our support. Until next time, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.