Local racing action begins to heat up

There’s plenty of racing action in central Pennsylvania this week end. The Port Royal Speedway is racing for a cure for cancer this evening. Fifty cents from every general admission ticket sold will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Relay for Life teams from Mifflin and Juniata Counties will be participating in raising funds and awareness during the show. The sprint cars, late models and pro stocks will be in action. Racing gets under way at 6 p.m.

At Lincoln Speedway the 410 sprint cars are joined by 358 late models and super sportsman. Selinsgrove Speedway has a four division show of 358 sprint cars, late models, pro stocks and roadrunner cars. Selinsgrove gets under way at 6 p.m. Lincoln races at 7 p.m.

Tomorrow there are two racing programs in the region. The Bedford Speedway opens for the season with super and limited late model cars plus street stock and four cylinder stock cars. The e-mods will join the program when Bedford switches to regular Friday night racing next week. Susquehanna Speedway hosts 410 & 358 sprint car racing at 6 p.m. The York County track is also operating tonight with a regular show.

Tire testing took place for the Indycars at Pocono International Speedway this week. Firestone Tire Company had several drivers on hand as they prepare for the July 7 race date. This marks the first Indycar appearance there since 1989. The track was repaved last year and drivers were a little scared as they turned laps in the 215 m.p.h range. Marco Andretti, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power and Dario Franchetti all turned laps.

Susquehanna Speedway has renamed its late model championship “The Billet Cup” in honor of Carl Billet who passed away recently. Billet was a driver, car builder and parts fabricator from Jonestown, Pa.

How about Tony Stewart? Stewart showed up at Williams Grove Speedway last Friday night and ran fourth in the 410 sprint car feature. Saturday it was off to Selinsgrove Speedway where he won the 358 Empire Super Sprint 360 challenge race. Stewart told an area promoter he wasn’t sure if he was going to be a NASCAR driver that runs sprint cars or a sprint car racer that also runs NASCAR. Stewart plans to run in 60 sprint car races this year which is the equivalent of a full World of Outlaws racing season.

The last two weeks have been rough in area racing. Two nasty crashes occurred at Port Royal. Greg Hodnett broke his index finger in four places back to the wrist. Hodnett was placed in a removable cast and attempted to race at Williams Grove last Friday. Hodnett was in too much pain to continue. He will continue trying until he can compete. Scotty Haus took the worst late model flip I have ever witnessed last Saturday night in turns one and two at the Juniata County oval. Haus’s car was above the tin fence behind the guardrail and landed hard. He was unconscious and life flighted to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. Haus was diagnosed with a severe concussion and one broken rib. He was released Sunday afternoon and back at work Monday. He will be out of action up to six weeks and his race car was demolished. Despite it all he remains the prankster he is as he and Tim Wilson played tricks and wrote insults on other racers’ engines at an engine shop this week.

Wilson informed me he received an engine back and installed it yesterday. Wilson will be in action at Port Royal tonight. Wilson had motor problems last Friday and Saturday night while competing at Williams Grove and Port Royal Speedways.

There will be a race car show featuring sprint cars, late models, pro stocks and a drag car on April 27. All-Star Circuit of Champions President Guy Webb confirmed that several all-star drivers will be in town and in attendance at the show. The PA Sports Network will hold a remote broadcast from the event which will be held at the Trackside Restaurant & Tavern in Mifflin, Pa. The Port Royal Speedway is holding the Bob Weikert Memorial Race later that evening.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup teams race at Texas Motor Speedway tonight. Fox has TV coverage which gets underway at 7 p.m. Last week Jimmie Johnson was the winner at Martinsville Speedway. Johnson and teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. are first and third respectively in Sprint Cup points. Danica Patrick finished 12th last week at Martinsville which is her season best. This is the seventh race of the year for the new Gen 6 cars. There is some controversy surrounding tonight’s Texas race as it is billed the NRA 500. This marks the first time the National Rifle Association has been involved in race sponsorship in NASCAR and has assured officials it will not be a political rally and no one will be handing out leaflets or making speeches according to NRA officials. Track president Eddie Gossage told reporters “It’s a sports marketing platform.” Apparently the NRA’s demographics match up well with attendants of the Texas Motor Speedway as many of them hunt.

The best NASCAR race of the weekend might be tomorrow at Rockingham, N.C. Speedway where the truck series competes at 2 p.m. Speed Channel has TV coverage.

That’s going to do it for another week. Visit a race track near you soon.