Once again I find myself writing about a friend who left us too soon.
Area Auto Racing News assistant editor and columnist Jerry Reigle, of Camp Hill, lost a year-long battle with cancer earlier this week. Reigle passed away Tuesday morning.
I was surprised but not shocked when I got the news. My last conversation with Reigle was several weeks ago and he told me he was doing well and believed he was responding to treatment. A couple weeks later, Reigle took a turn for the worse and now he's gone.
His memorial service is at 10 a.m. today in the Family Life Center, 27 W. Shortcut Road, Newport. A fellowship gathering will follow a private burial, also in the Family Life Center. Donations in Reigle's honor may be made to the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing, P.O. Box 688, Mechanicsburg, PA, 17055, or the Humane Society of Harrisburg, 7790 Grayson Road, Harrisburg, PA, 17111.
Jerry Reigle was the dean of area race columnists in the sense that he was the go-to guy that many of us contacted when seeking information for a story. Whether working for the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, where he spent much of his career, or for Area, Reigle was never selfish with his knowledge and willingly allowed me and other racing writers to use what he had. If it was good for the sport, it was OK by him.
Reigle served on the Eastern Motorsports Press Association board of directors. He received numerous honors for his work, some of which is on display at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing in York County.
I've been involved in motorsports media since the late 1980s and during that time there has been just one other person who commanded the respect that Jerry Reigle had. Bob Chorpenning came first and was the equivalent of Jerry during the '80s and '90s. Ironically, Chorpenning also worked for Area. Then came Reigle. I'm wondering who will step up and fill the void we are going to feel with Reigle's death.
Truly, the good die too young. R.I.P., Jerry. You may be gone but will not be forgotten.
Tonight we honor another man who left us way too soon. His departure changed the landscape at the Port Royal Speedway and it has never been the same. I'm speaking of Butch Renninger.
The Renninger Memorial race kicks off the opening night of the Juniata County Fair. The late models race a 33-lap feature which pays the winner $2,500. Lap leaders earn $33 per lap. The sprint cars and pro stocks also are part of the program.
Monday afternoon, the Labor Day Classic kicks off at 1 p.m. The sprint car feature is worth $3,000 to win. Also part of the program are the late models, pro stocks and sidewinder sprints. Todd Shaffer is the leading Labor Day winner with six. Earl Bryner won the first Labor Day event in 1952.
Last week's rained out Selinsgrove late model open will be run Oct. 8. The event has been postponed twice due to inclement weather.
Tonight is the final points race of the season at Hagerstown Speedway. Big Diamond Speedway also wraps up its points chase this week end. Port Royal's point battle will run through the Tuscarora 50 Sept. 10.
Don't forget the Living Legends Twin 20s will be run Sept. 9 at Port Royal Speedway. The first feature honors Keith Kauffman; the second honors Walt Dyer. Past drivers and car owners will be on hand to honor both men. It should be a great show.
Bedford Speedway concluded its 2011 season last night. As of now, it looks like J.R. Keiffer will be staying put at the track with a possible new partner. A limited schedule of about 10 races is planned for next season.
The anniversary race rained out last week at Lincoln Speedway will be made up Oct. 21. Twin 20s will headline the show for the sprint cars.
This is also the final weekend for the three-part Kart-a-Rama series at Mifflintown Airport.
The main attraction is the Kevin Gobrecht "Dash for Cash," a 32-kart field of 375-pound "Animal" karts that pays the winner at least $1,000 for a 20-lap feature. The Sunday race honors Gobrecht, who raced at the airport during the 1980s before losing his life in a sprint car while racing with the World of Outlaws in 1999.
Cody Darrah put Kasey Kahne's sprint car in the winner's circle in Edmonton, Alberta, last Saturday night. The 22-year-old youngster from Red Lion started 12th in the feature. It was Darrah's first win on the road with the World of Outlaws. Darrah did beat the Outlaws at home a couple years ago.
The Sprint Cup cars are at Atlanta this weekend. The race is on ESPN Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. Two races remain in the regular season. Tony Stewart is the defending race champion.
Have a great holiday weekend. Hopefully, the rain stays away and racing can proceed. Until next week, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.