Weather continues to delay racing season
Winter weather continues to place the local 2014 racing season on hold. All area action is off again this weekend. Selinsgrove Speedway is scheduled to open next week but it’s unlikely that will happen Port Royal has pushed its March 15 opener to the 22nd .
Despite the weather, the sprint car silly season is already starting. Upcoming United States Auto Club open wheel sprint car star Chris Bell replaced Tim Sheaffer in Aaron Call and Janet Holbrook’s No. 83 car for what was to be a 50-60 race limited schedule. The team planned to race on the All-Star and World of Outlaws circuit. That plan apparently lasted through Florida. Bell left the team and returned to his former racing program of wingless and 360, 410 cu. In sprint cars. The Call/Holbrook team will continue their original plans with another driver.
Lucas Wolfe is doing two racing programs at one time right now. Wolfe signed to drive the Zemco Speed Equipment No. 1 car from Tower City, PA and competed with them recently in Florida. This past week Wolfe showed up in his former full time World of Outlaws Allebach Racing ride competing Wednesday night with the Outlaws at Las Vegas, Nevada’s dirt track. I’m told Wolfe plans to drive the Zemco car locally in PA. I’ll pass along more details as they become available.
The Port Royal Speedway staff continues track improvements despite the weather and is finishing work on catch fence replacement in turns one and two. Nine high guardrails will be found in the first turn area when racing resumes. Check the tracks web site for pictures and information.
Kurt Busch will attempt to do the Indy 500/Coca Cola 600 double duty with the full support of his NASCAR car owner Tony Stewart on May 25. Stewart will travel to Indy to watch Busch start the race. Busch is the fourth driver to date to attempt the feat. Other drivers include Stewart, Robby Gordon and John Andretti. Mark Martin will be on standby at Charlotte in case Busch’s arrival is delayed. Michael Andretti will field the car for Busch to drive at Indy. Tony Stewart has been the most successful driver doing the double to date. Stewart finished ninth and 14th respectively at Indy and Charlotte in 1999. Stewart is the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles in 2001. Part of the proceeds from the days racing will benefit Armed Forces Foundation and other military charities dedicated to men and women that defend our freedom.
NASCAR visits Las Vegas this week end with Nationwide racing scheduled tomorrow. ESPN2 has coverage starting at 4:15. Sam Hornish won last year’s race. Sunday Fox presents action starting at 3 pm. Matt Kenseth is the defending race champion. Jeff Burton will make the first of his final abbreviated season as a Cup racer for Michael Waltrip Racing before becoming a Sprint Cup analyst for NBC TV next year. Burton will run 6-14 races for Waltrip this year.
OK, here goes my attempt to explain the new Sprint Cup Chase qualifying procedure’s for 2014.
First qualifiers are the 15 drivers with the most wins over the first 26 races run. They have a spot in the chase as long as they are in the top 30 teams in points and attempt to qualify for each race to that point.
The 16th spot is guaranteed to the point leader after the first 26 races. If there would be 16 winners the points leader still gets in and one winner would be eliminated by record on wins then points. If there are less than 16 winners the field will be set by the winless drivers highest in points.
If a driver is injured, I.e., Denny Hamlin last year, who missed races, he could still get in as a race winner. Now, if your race car fails post-race tech inspection, you could, although not necessarily have your win taken from you for the infraction and be kept out of the chase. I assume that means NASCAR will look at severity of infraction before making a final determination.
At the end of first 26 races, qualified drivers will have their points reset to 2,000 each with three bonus points given to each driver who won a race. Every three races three drivers will be eliminated from the chase.
There will be a point when drivers will have their points reset to 3,000 points each and at the last race the champ will be determined by who scores the highest finish among the top four.
There are some crazy scenarios that could come up and we will see how that plays out. Confused? I am. The fact this is the fifth change to the chase in ten years tells me it hasn’t worked out right yet. One thing I will say is the racing has been better so far this season.