The Juniata County Fair ended with great racing.
The Tuscarora 50 two-day show was a success despite poor weather conditions. Rain fell both nights around the area but Port Royal Speedway managed to dodge the bullets. The Night before the 50 was special to the All Star Circuit of Champions because they finally won a race at the historic track.
Dale Blaney of Hartford, Ohio, led all 30 laps to get the win. Blaney took up racing after a standout college basketball career that saw him drafted into the NBA by the Los Angeles Lakers, although he never made the roster.
Six out of the top 10 finishers were All Star regulars. Guy Webb, All Star president, told me he was glad his guys finally got the job done.
Before I continue with last Friday nights recap, I want to congratulate four great race car drivers. Mifflin County late model drivers have kicked butt this season. Tim Wilson of McClure won Port Royal Speedway's late model title. Waylon Wagner of Lewistown picked up the Clinton County Fairgrounds Speedway late model championship. Lewistown's Nick Dickson won the Hagerstown Speedway title. Dickson not only claimed a championship but has traveled and defeated some of the Mid-Atlantic region's best late model drivers in extra distance shows.
I've watched all three drivers since they've started racing late models or even before that. All have accomplished one of their dreams.
If that isn't enough, John Heane of Lewistown won the Port Royal pro stock title. When if ever was there a single year that four major racing titles were claimed by drivers from Mifflin County. Good job guys to you and your crew.
Now on to another story, and this one is special. A young 9-year-old boy went with his grandfather last year to a local body shop where a man just painted a race car that was barely dry. The youngster looked at the car and was in awe.
The painter told him to get in the car but grandpap said no. Body man said it was a body shop and there wasn't any thing he and his guys couldn't fix and laughed. The boy climbed in and had a blast.
It turns out the body man also drives the car. As the following season finished he went on to win the track championship at at an area track. On the night the title was won family and friends gathered around to celebrate. The driver is a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan and was wearing a Steelers racing helmet.
Grandpap, the kid and driver were there. There were plenty of laughs, tears, hugs, kisses and emotion. Port Royal Speedway champion Tim Wilson took his Pittsburgh Steelers helmet and handed it to the boy, Ayden Brannon of Port Royal, who was accompanied by grandpap Steve Arnold.
A family member offered to clean the mud but Ayden would have nothing of it and insisted he wanted the helmet just the way Wilson wore it. Pictures of the helmet and celebration are on Tim Wilson's website. Ayden Bannon, you joined me, your pap and about several hundred other people that have enjoyed special moments with Tim Wilson and his entire family either at the garage in McClure or area race tracks. Both are fun places to be. Tim Wilson, you are one heckuva a great guy.
Driver shuffles for next season are starting to take place. Fred Rahmer and the CJB Motorsports team have parted ways after last weekend's Tuscarora 50. Chad Clemens owns the No. 51. It was a mutual parting of the ways and both parties agree the deal just wasn't working any more.
Brian Leppo was scheduled to run the car last night at Williams Grove Speedway, and in tonight's Jim Nace Memorial at Selinsgrove Speedway. All Star Circuit of Champions regular Paul McMahan will take over the driving duties and run the car from here out. The All Star Season is almost over.
Tires are a hot topic in sprint car racing for sure. Goodyear is pulling out and both American Racer and Hoosier Tire are vying for the business. Lincoln Speedway will host Hoosier for a tire test today. Williams Grove will host tests for both companies in the near future.
I'm not sure what 2013 will hold for Tyler Walker in the Sorokach Racing No. 35 but Walker will drive the car at Williams Grove Grove Speedway's National Open and in Charlotte, N.C. Charlie and Dawn Sorokach have put together a good race team and are not afraid to make changes. It will be interesting to see what happens.
Selinsgrove hosts the Jim Nace Memorial tonight, honoring a true gentleman - I never heard a bad word spoken of him. His greatest weekly success came at the track and Nace left us entirely too soon. He will never be forgotten. The late models are also on the program, which starts at 7.
Hagerstown Speedway is holding the Small Car Nationals tonight which include the limited late models, pure stocks, hobby stocks, and four-cylinder stock cars.
The All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars are at Fremont, Ohio, tonight.
The World of Outlaws are competing at Deer Creek, Minn., tonight. Next Wednesday they run at Eagle Raceway in Nebraska.
Port Royal Speedway returns to action Oct. 6 with the Blue Collar Nationals, a 305 sprint car event that should bring in the best up and coming drivers to race. The Labor Day Classic was rained out and will now be run on Oct. 13 with 410 sprint cars, super sportsman and a demolition derby.
That will wrap up for this week. Remember, speed is for the speedway, not the highway.
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.
ifflin County drivers prove successful on track