All Stars invade Port Royal for Weikert Memorial
There’s one headline race in Central Pennsylvania tonight and that takes place at Port Royal Speedway.
The All Star Circuit of Champions invade the Juniata County oval for the annual Bob Weikert Memorial race. A stellar field of cars is expected. I anticipate 40-plus sprint cars on hand.
Time trials get underway at 7 p.m. The race winner receives $10,000 of the $34,000 total purse. Additional contingency money is also on the line.
So who will be on hand to compete? A national and local list of top stars. Jac and Sheldon Haudenschild from Wooster, Ohio, plan to be there. Tim Kaeding of San Jose, Calif., also is a likely entry. Brad Sweet of Grass, Calif., will drive a Kasey Kahne-owned KKR Racing No. 49 entry. All Star regulars Dale Blaney from Hartford, Ohio, former Knoxville Nationals champion Tim Sheaffer of Alliquippa, Danny Holtzgraver, Justin Henderson, Danny Lasoski and others will be on hand.
Who are the PA Posse stars expected? Pretty much everyone that is a Port Royal regular plus Alan Krimes and Danny Dietrich. Fred Rahmer will stay put at Lincoln Speedway this evening.
And there’s one more NASCAR name to add to the Port Royal entry list tonight: Kyle Larson of Sacremento, Calif., should be in the field. You may remember Larson was involved in the horrendous crash during the truck race at Daytona International Speedway that left many spectators injured. Larson’s engine became dislodged from his racer and went into the stands. Larson went on to win the Rockingham, N.C., truck contest two weeks ago.
The Pro Stocks and enduro cars fill out the show. Gates open at 5.
At Lincoln Speedway the 358 and 410 sprint cars are joined by the Central PA Legends cars. Green flag is set for 7.
Selinsgrove Speedway is the place for late model racing this evening. The Snyder County track hosts a $2,500 to win late model championship which also pays $200 dollars to start. The 358 sprint cars, pro stocks and roadrunners join the program. 7 p.m. is starting time.
Locally Fred Rahmer is the man to beat in sprint car action. Rahmer already has won three races had scored 11 top fives in 13 starts. That’s pretty impressive.
The Trackside Restaurant in Mifflin hosts an outdoor race car show and radio broadcast today as part of the All Star challenge this weekend. The fun gets under way at 8 a.m. PA Sports Network host Jed Donahue joins Trackside management in hosting the event, which features race cars, drivers, racetracks and promoters.
All Star President Guy Webb will be joined by Alan Kreitzer of Lincoln Speedway and Steve O’Neal of Port Royal. Drivers Keith Kauffman, Tim Sheaffer, Dale Blaney, Tim Wilson, Terry Naugle, Pete Leister and former Port Royal late model champion Graham Taylor are expected to appear. Taylor is the oldest rookie of the year in the ARCA racing series and has several starts in NASCAR Cup action. Taylor is currently drag racing and all type local race cars are being displayed.
So what else do we have to talk about? Stevie Smith will be returning to local sprint car wars May 10 at Williams Grove Speedway as part of the Chad Clemens Motorsports team. Clemens and former driver Fred Rahmer parted company at the end of last year and both have moved on to success elsewhere. Clemens hired former outlaw driver Paul McMahon to run with the World of Outlaws full time this season. Clemens still wants to maintain a local presence in racing and Smith should do that nicely.
It is unfortunate that Richmond is running its Sprint cup race tonight. I say that because the All Star sprint cars planned to compete last night at Williams Grove. Tony Stewart and Dave Blaney were scheduled to race there. With the Cup race being tonight the pair will not be at Port Royal.
Kyle Busch is the defending race champion. Busch’s win last year at the Virginia track was his only one of the season. Fox TV has coverage beginning at 7. The green flag drops at 7:30. Jimmie Johnson holds a 37-point lead over Kasey Kahne entering the event. Brad Keselowski is third.
Denny Hamlin continues to rest after crashing at Fontana, Calif., recently. This race marks Hamlin’s fourth straight out of competition.
While I’m on the subject of NASCAR racing, what is your opinion of the decision to severely punish Matt Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing for having one connecting rod under the minimum weight requirement? Kenseth was docked 50 driver points plus three bonus points that would have been applied to seeding for the Sprint Cup chase.
His crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, was fined $200,000 and suspended six races. Owner Joe Gibbs and manufacturer Toyota also were fined or had points taken from them.
I don’t feel one connecting rod being light in Kenseth’s motor deserved that severe a punishment. I could have seen it if they were all light and the team was trying to lighten the rotating mass weight inside the engine to gain an unfair advantage. That was not the case. Three grams of weight is all we are talking about. That’s about one envelope. Anything that would have been more severe would possibly result in a motor being out of balance and blowing apart.
Get out and enjoy local racing this week end. The weather should finally be good. Please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.