Speedweek highlights busy weekend at area tracks

Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek is here.

Williams Grove Speedway opened the long week of racing. This evening it’s on to Lincoln Speedway near Hanover. Tomorrow Big Diamond Speedway conducts competition before drivers and mechanics have Monday off.

Through the week the racing hits Grandview, Hagerstown then back to Lincoln Speedway and Williams Grove.

A week from tonight it is Port Royal Speedway’s turn. The series finale is at Selinsgrove next Sunday. All shows except the Mitch Smith and Kevin Gobrecht Memorial races pay the winner $5,000. The Smith race is worth $10,000 and the Gobrecht feature is worth $7,000. That’s nine races in 10 days. That’s impressive.

Here are some thoughts to consider: Three men have won 71 of 148 features run and 19 out of 22 championships. Who are they? Fred Rahmer is the all-time leading speedweek winner with 30 checkered flags and 13 titles. He’s having a consistent season and should be a major factor. Greg Hodnett has won 22 times and earned three titles. Lance Dewease has nineteen wins and three titles.

Other speedweek champions are Lucas Wolfe, Keith Kauffman and Steve Smith. Look for Danny Dietrich, Stevie Smith and Brent Marks to be contenders as well. Last year Keith Kauffman slipped in for a win at Hagerstown Speedway. And Alan Krimes has to be on my list. I could go on and there will be someone who sneaks in for an unexpected win – that’s what makes the series so exciting.

So let’s look at what else is going on. Selinsgrove Speedway hosts the Firecracker 30 for 358 sprint cars tonight along with a regular program of late models, pro stocks and roadrunners.

Port Royal has Twin 15s for the late models, which are joined by the 305 sprint cars, pro stocks and endure cars. It’s also camera and autograph night at the Juniata County oval and children can take race car rides around the track.

Hesston Speedway has another UFO late model race set for July 4. The 55-lap feature will pay the winner $4,044 to win. Support classes will also see increased purse money.

Beaver Springs Dragway holds a regular three-day program this weekend that finishes Sunday with The IHRA Summit Drag Car Series. Race time for that one is at 2.

And the World of Outlaws late model series is at the Lernerville Speedway tonight near Pittsburgh.

More information is being presented on the fatal crash that claimed Jason Leffler’s life at Bridgeport, N.J. Apparently a torsion stop may have broken, which threw his car into the concrete retaining wall at about 150 mph. I doubt if we will ever have a true cause and I’m about done talking about this sad situation. The race will be rescheduled as a benefit for Leffler’s son Charlie. Proceeds will be marked for the child’s education.

Look for Kyle Larson to run select speedweek races as his NASCAR schedule permits. Danny Lasoski will drive the Zemco sprint car during speedweeks.

Kentucky Speedway hosts Sprint Cup racing this weekend. Race time is 7:30 tonight on TNT. Race coverage begins at 6. Brad Keselowski is the defending race champion on the 1.5 mile oval. Martin Truex Jr. won last week’s road course event in Sonoma, Calif. Jimmie Johnson holds a 25-point lead over Carl Edwards in the season-long point standings. Johnson, Edwards and Matt Kenseth are tied for the most victories this season. Iron man Bobby Labonte is sitting out this week’s race, ending his consecutive start streak at 704. Look for Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski to compete in the track’s Nationwide and truck races this weekend.

Next weekend the Indy Cars return to Pocono International Raceway for the first time in more than 20 years. July 7 is the date. James Hinchcliffe won the Indy race last week at Iowa Speedway.

We have plenty of racing choices the next couple of weeks in Central Pennsylvania. Until next time please drive safely.


Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.