Where has summer gone?
Area racetracks are coming down the homestretch of their 2011 seasons. That means special racing events and high-paying purses. This evening gets the ball rolling as all three sprint car tracks have something extra going on.
Barring an unexpected change in the forecast, Port Royal Speedway plans on running tonight's feature, a track official said Friday night.
Port Royal is hosting the URC sprint cars for the first time since June 24, 1967. Earl Halaquist won that event.
It is hard for me to believe URC has only raced at Port Royal one time during its long history. URC raced the county fair circuit for many years but somehow Port Royal just didn't end up on their schedule. That will change tonight.
The race is a URC/358 sprint car challenge event and some area 358 cars will join URC at the Juniata County oval. Lance Dewease, Mark Smith and Daryn Pittman plan to join the URC regulars. The 410 sprint cars and enduro cars make up the remainder of the show.
It's also a good night to take your kids to Port Royal Speedway. There will be kids car rides around the track. I have seen this promotion done at other area tracks. It is enjoyed by the youngsters. Don't miss the chance to have your youngster driven around the speedway.
Selinsgrove Speedway also has a big night planned. The late models take center stage for the 13th annual Late Model Open. Chris Shuey won the inaugural event. Dan Stone is the defending race champion. The race is an open tire rule event, which is good for race teams. The program also is unsanctioned, which I feel is a good thing for local drivers. The 358 sprint cars, pro stocks and roadrunners also are featured.
At Lincoln Speedway the track will celebrate it's 59th year with an anniversary program. There will be twin 20s for the 410 sprint cars plus thundercars and Central PA Legends cars.
As you can see. All three tracks have great shows and that's a plus for area fans. Choosing which one to attend could be tough.
Port Royal Speedway's Juniata County Fair schedule starts next weekend. The Butch Renninger Memorial for late models is Sept. 3. The race includes a nice payday and honors one of the all time greats at the Juniata County oval. Renninger will never be forgotten as he and his family have contributed much to the success of the track. His family continues to support the facility and field a number of race cars. It should be the best late model event of the season at Port Royal.
Bedford Speedway will run one more show Sept. 2. The late models will race a 30-lap feature which pays the winner $2,000. The limited late models run for $1,000. Also on the card are street stocks, hobby cruisers and four-cylinder cars. All will have increased purse money.
The future of Bedford Speedway remains uncertain. Promoter J.R. Keiffer has not renewed his lease for 2012. It is not certain if he will do so. Keiffer has indicated he would consider selling out his equipment should someone choose to buy it. He also would consider remaining at the track with another party joining the promotional team. It's going to take some time before we know what's going to happen.
Danica Patrick made it official this week - she is leaving Indy Car racing at the end of the season. Patrick will run full time for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series and run 10 Sprint Cup races for Stewart/Haas Racing in 2012. Patrick has not ruled out competing in next year's Indy 500.
I don't like to criticize drivers but I can't believe Kyle Busch. NASCAR's resident bad boy received a 30-day suspended jail sentence, fined $1,000, must perform 30 hours of community service and lost his drivers license for 45 days. His offense? Speeding at 128 mph through a 45 mph residential zone near Mooresville, N.C.
Busch told the officer, "It's just a toy." I assume that meant the car. Are you kidding me? He needs to adjust his attitude and grow up. He is talented and should know better. Had he injured someone, the legal profession would have eaten him alive. Just my opinion as usual.
The Sprint Cup cars race at Bristol Motor Speedway tonight at 7:30 p.m. ABC has TV coverage.
Let's hope the storm doesn't get us and racing can proceed this weekend. I'll be back next time with more news and opinions. Remember, speed is for the speedway, not the highway!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorports for The Sentinel.