More driver announcements; future of tracks in question
More driver ride announcements: Doug Esh will pilot the car driven by Keith Kauffman, who has retired. Esh will take a hands-on approach to the team, which could spell success.
Greg Hodnett made his choice and it is with the Michael Heffner-owned No. 27 team. Heffner hired only Hodnett, which leaves his longtime mechanic, Lee Stauffer, searching for a job for 2014. I have no doubt he will find one quickly. I also predict that it is only a matter of time until the pair reunite somewhere because they have enjoyed a lot of success.
The main driver without a full-time ride for 2014 now is Lance Dewease. The Fayetteville driver is checking his options and may scale back his schedule next season. Dewease is a much better driver than this year’s statistics show. He is steady and doesn’t destroy equipment. Someone who wants a steady driver that will bring their car home safe and sound would be a good choice for Dewease.
The racers flea markets are here. The Farm Show Complex hosts one today. Lincoln, Selinsgrove and Bedford Speedways have swap meets Nov. 23.
Don’t forget, Susquehanna Speedway will present a 410 and 358 sprint car program on Nov. 16. The 410 feature will pay the winner $10,010. Nov. 17 is the rain date. Susquehanna also has a 200-lap enduro race scheduled for today.
Rob Sell continues to maintain he is going to run a scaled back operation with his son Derek as the driver. However, the phone keeps ringing and Sell has folks wanting to drive his car. I think he will stand his ground and field a family team. Sell provided the championship caliber car for Fred Rahmer’s success this season.
Things apparently will change at the Hagerstown, Md., next season. Rumors have longtime racer and sponsor Ernie Davis taking the helm from Lisa Plessinger. No news on who will own the facility. Frank Plessinger brought the track back to success but has not been active day to day in recent years. It was good while it lasted but may have gone stagnant. Plessinger almost stepped aside several years ago.
Another track with uncertain future is Hesston Speedway in Huntingdon County. Health problems to the owner closed the track early this year and it is now for sale or lease. It will be interesting to see how things play out.
I must also mention that the Juniata County Agricultural Society, which owns and operates Port Royal Speedway, has a bunch of director positions open when the members meeting is held Nov. 14. There will be continuity in the fact that race organizer Steve O’Neal’s contract has been extended, but no one can tell who will serve on the fair board.
How close are the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings? Less than 50 points between the top five cars. And Jimmie Johnson and Matt and Matt Kenseth are tied for the points leads. Jeff Gordon has moved into the third spot. This week’s race takes place at Texas Motor Speedway. ESPN has TV coverage starting at 3 p.m.
There is an open feud at Richard Childress Racing between Kevin Harvick and Austin and Tighe Dillon, who are Childress’ grandkids. Harvick will drive for Tony Stewart next year and took his sponsorship with him. Tempers are flaring and Harvick has stated he is leaving Childress. Tools were thrown this past week at Martinsville and suspensions were handed out because of the rift.
The season needs to end so all can move on.
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.