Tonight, history will be made when the USAC sprint cars invade Port Royal Speedway for the first time.
USAC has been to our area before at Williams Grove and Selinsgrove speedways. In years past the local drivers beat USAC three times - Mitch Smith and Jan Opperman each accomplished that feat.
The Luke Bogar Speed Equipment No. 99 has been restored and will be on hand tonight at Port Royal. Jan Opperman beat USAC with the car at Eldora Speedway in 1974. I remember watching him run in the top three on ABC TV's Wide World of Sports live at Terre Haute, Ind. I was excited because here was a car and driver from Central Pennsylvania on national television and doing well.
Opperman had to change the car number from 99 to 90 when competing with USAC. They knew Opeerman and Snyder County residents Ralph Heintzleman and Terry Reidinger were there for sure. It was just a fun time to be around sprint car racing and our area was blessed to have some of the best.
The evening will be filled with nostalgia as the Williams Grove Old Timers and Penn Central Racing reunion will be held at the track. Leroy Felty and longtime car owner John Regester will be honored with the track's "Founder's Award." It should be a great night. USAC will race wingless and local drivers Daryl Stimeling and Mark Smith will go that way. Smith already has tried running without a wing this year in the Midwest and qualified in four out of six events. His best finish was 11th.
Speaking of Daryl Stimeling, I must state that he lost a heartbreaker at Port Royal last week when a tire went flat while leading. Winner Lance Dewease stated there was no way he would have beat Stimeling had the flat tire not happened. That's racing luck.
Bob McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., made a late-race pass over Nick Dickson of Lewistown to win the Charlie Grinestaff Memorial Wednesday night at Lincoln Speedway. Dickson finished second.
Guy Webb's All Star Circuit of Champions are in the area and raced last night at Williams Grove. They are at Lincoln Speedway tonight. Webb or one of his drivers will be a part of tomorrow's PA Sports Network broadcast from City Island in Harrisburg.
The broadcast is part of the United Cerebral Palsey benefit fundraiser and will be a coming together of several sports. Long time Phillie's catcher Bob Boone will also be on hand and be part of the show. The racing segment will be from 11:30 until noon.
The Zemco Speed Equipment team and Texas racer Sam Hafertepe have parted ways after a brief stint. No news on who will drive the car.
Curt Stroup will be racing the Sorokach No. 35 as Justin Henderson has left the team. Tyler Walker will also drive the car in time trial shows.
Elsewhere, PA Speedweek is fast approaching us. It's a good time to take vacation and head to the racetrack of your choice.
Selinsgrove Speedway hosts a late model championship race tonight along with 358 sprint cars, pro stocks, and roadrunners.
Looking at early season points battles, Dan Dietrich is on top of Lincoln Speedway's 410 sprint car chase. Greg Hodnett is the leader at Williams Grove Speedway. Chad Layton is the leader at Port Royal and Pat Cannon is on top at Selinsgrove. In late model action Tim Wilson is on top at Port Royal and Jeff Rine leads at Selinsgrove.
The Sprint Cup racers are at Pocono International Raceway tomorrow. Race time is 1 p.m. TNT has TV coverage. Jeff Gordon is the defending race champion. He is tied with Bill Elliott as the leading winner at the track with five wins.
Pocono has been repaved and I will be anxious to see how things go there. It should be much better as I've never known the track that it hasn't been rough and bumpy. The event has also been shortened to 400 miles, which is more than enough. The rough track was one of several reasons the Indy cars quit racing there years ago. I hope all goes well for the track.
That's going to do it for this week. Until next time, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.