The local racing season is officially underway.
Last Saturday, Lincoln Speedway opened with a good crowd and 30-car field of 410 sprint cars. Adam Wilt came away the winner of the Icebreaker 30. Lee Stauffer turned the wrenches on Wilt's car for the first time and the pair seemed to mesh immediately. Alan Krimes, J.J. Grasso, Kyle Moody and Glenndon Forsythe followed.
Racing continues today at the Adams County oval with action starting at 6 p.m. Gates open at 4. On the card are the 410 and 358 sprint cars plus 358 late models.
Port Royal Speedway was scheduled to operate last night and today but elected to hold off one more week. Next Saturday the 410 sprint cars and late models are joined by the new econo late model class. Race time is set for 5 p.m., with gates opening at 3.
Selinsgrove Speedway hopes to operate tomorrow with a 410 sprint car program that pays $4,000 to win and $300 to start. Greg Hodnett is the defending opening day winner. The Snyder County oval has a tech day for race cars this morning from 8 a.m. until noon. The smaller micro/go cart oval will run a practice session this afternoon from 2-5 p.m.
It's worth mentioning the small track will host a $10,000 to win go kart race later this spring. I'll have more information on that in a future column.
Hagerstown Speedway opened last week with World of Outlaws driver Rick Eckert scoring the late model win. It was Eckert's 22nd win at the Hub City, Md., oval. Hagerstown is racing tonight starting at 5. With no late model racing at Port Royal or Selinsgrove Speedway tonight, look for several local drivers to head south to Hagerstown or Winchester, Va., to compete. I expect Andy Haus and Tim Wilson to show up at Hagerstown.
Last week Logan Schuchart of Hanover came into his own on the World of Outlaws sprint car tour. Schuchart is in his rookie outlaw season and finished second to Rico Abreu at Thunderbowl Speedway last Saturday night in Tulare, Calif. Schuchart also ran well during Friday's preliminary program before chassis issues caused him to fade to an eighth place finish. For Abreu it was also a great night as the California driver claimed his first outlaw feature win. The Outlaws race in Stockton, Calif., tonight.
One more note about Rico Abreu: I can't believe how short he is. Abreu actually looks more like a horse race jockey than race car driver. His right foot is mighty and I expect more good things from him this season.
One driver struggling is 58-year-old Sammy Swindell. He is winless this season. Don't let that fool anyone - Swindell will soon get going and be a force to be reckoned with.
Fred Rahmer transitioned from driver to car owner last week and told the Patriot-News it was more nerve racking to watch his sons compete than drive a race car himself. A number of racing moms have told me it's tougher to watch their kids than husband compete also. I'm sure the Rahmer kids will do well in time.
On a sad note I must mention area racing lost a good guy last Friday afternoon. Dave Eriksen, Hesston Speedway owner and promoter, lost a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 58. Services were held Wednesday in Huntingdon. Eriksen was a successful businessman and race promoter. Hesston Speedway enjoyed success under his direction. The track is available for sale or lease.
Another person passed during the off season that I have failed to mention. Longtime mechanic Fred Grenoble passed away Jan. 19. Grenoble was liked and respected. I was privileged to have him as a friend. Grenoble turned wrenches for some of the country's best sprint car drivers.
Ten drivers went on to be inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa, with 11 going into the York County Racing Club Hall of Fame. I remember Grenoble best for his work with Doug Wolfgang, Keith Kauffman and the Weikert's Livestock Racing Team. Grenoble was featured on the Nashville Networks "Hidden Heroes" series during the 1980s. Grenoble lived in Milesburg.
What would Kenny Wallace like to do with his time? Race dirt cars full time. Wallace explained on his Facebook page this week he works for Fox Sports and does other NASCAR activities to pay the bills at home and fund his dirt modified team along with sponsorship. Wallace plans to run 50 dirt shows this season. Wallace stated he would quit doing everything racing-wise except dirt if he would have won the Mega Million drawing this past Tuesday.
Let's hope the weather continues to improve and more area speedways open their doors. Until next week, please drive safely.
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.