Hello race fans. The Port Royal Speedway is dark this evening while Williams Grove Speedway hosts its second day of World of Outlaws racing. Last week's Port Royal racing was special to me.
Tim Wilson won not one but two late model features at the Juniata County oval. Wilson had to earn both races and he did. A good time was had by all hs supporters afterward and will be a night that won't be forgotten anytime soon.
Keith Kauffman came close to winning his first sprint car feature of the season and will hit the winner's circle in the future. Rick Lafferty ended up winning that event and did a good job. The evening was good in my opinion.
Unfortunately for all those involved their momentum was lost because no racing will be held at Port Royal tonight. Still, it's something to build on.
Port Royal will be hosting the USAC sprint cars next month in a $6,000 to win, non-wing race that I'm sure is going to attract a huge crowd. I'm anxious to view that race because it has been a long time since I've watched a sprint car being backed into a corner at the track.
Last week Eric Zembower finished third at Bedford Speedway after leading the first 18 laps of the feature event. Jack Pencil was the winner. Pencil has Bedford figured out for sure.
As I mentioned, Williams Grove Speedway is hosting the big show this week end and it will be interesting to see if the PA Posse can once again beat the touring stars. It is amazing me that history is being repeated in the sense that the best outside drivers are once again trying to locate in Central Pennsylvania to race with our drivers because we race more and pay decent purse money. That was the norm in the 1970s and '80s. Somehow we got away from that and now it is coming back. It's nice to see.
The PA Sports Network with Jed Donahue is planning to expand it's coverage with auto racing in a major way starting next week. Tune in between 11 and 11:30 a.m next Saturday morning for details. Their coverage will be a weekly thing in season.
Last week Nick Dickson of Lewistown won the late model feature at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway. Congratulations on that. Nick's father Ken and late uncle Rick were a fixture in local racing. The pair blazed the trail and had great success in the area. I remember Ken winning his last Port Royal feature event and stating he was turning the reins over to his son, who he said assured him he could get the job done and win races.
Nick Dickson proved his dad and uncle right. He has done the job while traveling through out the area. Back in the day. Rick Dickson helped put a car under Kenny and Nick and they both got the car to the winner's circle. While we were in the off season, Rick lost his battle with cancer and passed away. He is missed for sure and Kenny, Nick and the team have picked up the pieces and continued to win despite their loss. Rick Dickson is proud of them I'm sure. Between Kenny and Nick, they have won 55 races at the Juniata County oval and other area speedways as well. Rick Dickson was a key factor in that and is certainly missed. He won't be forgotten.
The World of Outlaws played to a full house at Lincoln Speedway Thursday night and the travelers got beat. Danny Dietrich put one on them to capture his first ever Outlaw win. They don't like to lose in Peensylvania. Lincoln hosted the Outlaws for the first time in 14 years.
Selinsgrove Speedway hosts the Jack Gunn Memorial for 358/360 sprint cars tonight. Gunn made the Snyder County oval a national name when he promoted the track. Gunn has been gone for over 30 years but his legacy lives on.
Gunn brought the best cars and stars to Central Pennsylvania to race with our regulars. His biggest find was luring Jan Opperman to the area. Opperman and Mitch Smith dusted USAC during their careers at Williams Grove and Selinsgrove. Gunn once promoted four tracks at the same time - both the Groves, Hagerstown and Penn National.
A couple weeks ago I mentioned traction control in sprint car racing. I spoke to one promoter who told me he was going to throw out the rule book and go back to the old days of "run what you brung." Another friend correctly pointed out to me that no one needs to run an "MSD" ignition box in a sprint car with a magneto and they are also correct. So what do we do? Think about it and you decide. I see both points.
The weekend weather should be good and if you can, get out to an area speedway to view your favorite drivers. Hopefully, next week we will have more to talk about as the weather hasn't cooperated of late. I plan to be here to bring you my views. I've missed a couple weeks because I've had some health issues since December. I'm getting back on track and thank my family and some dear friends for hanging in there with me.
Let's go racing. I 'll be back next week.
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.