Most tracks call off weekend races
Hello again race fans. Weather has forced postponement of this weekend’s racing activities at Selinsgrove Speedway. The Icebreaker Modified program was scheduled for tonight at the Snyder County oval. Officials hope to reschedule the program at a later date.
Port Royal Speedway also canceled and hopes to get under way next Saturday starting at 6 p.m. with 410 sprint cars, late models and extreme stocks on the card.
So there’s no local racing this week end? Not so fast. Lincoln Speedway has assured me they will race either today or tomorrow. Action is set for this afternoon at 1 p.m. If weather is a problem, the Adams County oval will race tomorrow afternoon at the same time.
Williams Grove Speedway is set to open on March 28 at 7:30 pm with 410 and 358 sprint cars. Fireworks will also be part of the program, which kicks off the 75th season at the track. Only Bedford Speedway has a longer racing history than Williams Grove – by one year.
With little local racing activity currently taking place, I will attempt to finish cleaning up some offseason notes. First, I wasn’t aware we have a Pennsylvania racer from Johnstown competing around the world in the most difficult sports car endurance races run. Kevin Gleason, 26, is part of a four man team Rotek Racing Audi sports car operation, which has already raced in Florida and Australia this season. Gleason’s teammates are British.
NASCAR drivers Kenny Wallace, Kenny Schrader and David Stremme again raced on the dirt this week at Carolina Speedway. Wallace will also do TV work from Bristol for Fox Sports 1 today and tomorrow.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds a one-point advantage entering this weekend’s Sprint Cup action. Brad Keselowski is second. Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon round out the top five. The margin from first through fifth is just 18 points.
Three Sprint Cup races have been run and three different winners have emerged: Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and Keselowski. I would say NASCAR’s emphasis on winning races has paid off so far.
One important change was made to qualifying starting this week due to concerns for driver safety. Drivers were running up on slower race cars at race speeds and fortunately no serious accidents occurred. Cool down laps after qualifying have been banned and teams will be permitted to hook up cooling units on pit road to remove heat from the engines.
NASCAR rules previously did not allow teams to open engine hoods after qualifying without an inspector present and that caused drivers to circle the racetrack following a qualifying run while other drivers were at full race speed attempting to qualify. The whole problem started with the new knockout qualifying procedures.
Last week I attempted to explain the new Chase program. I didn’t go far enough in that I left out some things I wasn’t aware of. So, I’ll try and finish what I started. First, 16 cars get in to the Chase. Those cars have their points reset to 2,000 each and receive three bonus points for each regular-season win.
There are three knockout rounds where four drivers are eliminated. A win in any round automatically qualifies a driver to advance to the next round. Drivers advancing will have points reset to 3,000, then 4,000, and then 5,000 during each round they advance through. There are no bonus points for wins in the playoffs. These rules are in addition to those I reported last week that include gray areas NASCAR will interpret on an individual basis. Those areas include a possible driver injury or a race car failing post-race inspection.
I’m sure we will all have questions and be a bit puzzled and I intend to save my notes on this subject for future use.
One rumor I’ve heard this week is Stevie Smith may be running one of the Rahmer race team cars in select time trial shows around our region. I’ll have more information on that story as it becomes available.
Until next week, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.