Hello race fans. If you want to hang out and meet the movers and shakers in auto racing then today is your day.
There will be a couple chances to do so in Juniata County.
First, the Innfield Restaurant is hosting a salute to area racing this morning that has an impressive list of drivers planning to attend. Jed Donahue's PA Sports Network is broadcasting live from the venue. The people that will be on hand or calling in by phone include Keith Kauffman, Doug Esh, Dave Blaney, 2010 Knoxville Nationals champion Tim Shaffer, David Gravel, All Star president Guy Webb, Alan Kreitzer, Steve O'Neal, Jason Davis, Terry Naugle, drag racers Penny and Mike Harpster, and Rich Poorman
Greg Hodnett will either phone in or be on hand. Race cars will be on display and prizes and giveaways will be offered. Also, Graham Taylor of Port Royal, who is the oldest driver to ever win the ARCA Rookie of the Year Award, will be on site. It's going to be whale of a morning and all the fun starts at 8 a.m.
Tonight the Bob Weikert Memorial takes center stage at Port Royal Speedway and more celebrities will sign autographs. Keith Kauffman, Jac Haudenschild and son Sheldon, and Kevin Frey will meet the fans prior to the race. Heat races pay the winner $100 each in honor of the late Jerry Reigle, the longtime respected motorsports journalist who lost his battle with cancer last August. Fast time will be worth $200 and more than $38,000 is in play in total purse money. Todd Weikert will give away boxes of meat to race fans and children have a chance to win bicycles. It's going to be a big night. Racing starts at 7.
Webb informed me by phone this week that plans are to make every effort to complete tonight's race. In the event of inclement weather, the All Stars want to make the race up quickly. The All Stars also are scheduled to race at Williams Grove and Clinton County speedways this weekend. Those races pay half of the $10,000 up for grabs at Port Royal.
Kyle Moody has landed a full time 410 sprint car ride in the Tony Pietrofitta sprint car, which is based in New Jersey. The 21-year-old from Lewisberry will race Saturday nights at Lincoln Speedway.
Bob Leiby, Tri Promoter at Lincoln Speedway, is under the weather and spent some time in the hospital recently. Get well cards reach him at 134 Sarasota Circle, Carlisle, PA, 17015.
Who is running traction control in sprint car racing? We're going to find out if that's really going on. Williams Grove Speedway is cracking down and Port Royal officials are in hot pursuit. Williams Grove will begin randomly checking MSD ignition boxes and take them from cars and send them back to the manufacturer to determine if they've been altered. A replacement box will be provided. Any team caught cheating will be fined double the amount of point money won and lose all points.
Chad Layton won last week's Tommy Hinnershitz Memorial Race at Williams Grove Speedway and became the point leader heading into this weekend's action.
Gary Wolford's fish fry will be held at Latimore Valley Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 6. The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will also be open.
Don't forget the World of Outlaws will visit Lincoln Speedway May 9 and Williams Grove May 11-12.
It's with much sadness I report the death of a friend this past week. The dean of area race announcers, Frank Sagi, died. Sagi was a member of the Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown Hall of Fame and the announcer for many years at Hagerstown Speedway. Tom Little and I have sat with Sagi over the years and we always had a blast in his company. Sagi could tell a story like no other and when he announced an event, it was like he was describing it to you with excitement over the kitchen table.
His laughter was infectious and when he was present, I always knew I was going to have fun. Sagi was way ahead of his time and produced his own radio network program years ago, "Frank Sagi's World of Racing," which was featured on 15 stations throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. The program was produced in Chambersburg.
His son, Alan, became a talented late model racer. Many of us are going to miss Frank Sagi, who's trademark comment was " Let's see who has the hot shoe tonight" as he was calling the feature line up or during the event. I'm glad I was able to co-announce an event with Sagi at Bedford Speedway a few years ago. We has a blast. Rest in peace friend. We will never forget you.
I'll be back next week with more news and opinions. Drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.