This weekend’s all about kids at the track

The key word today is kids in area auto racing.

Port Royal Speedway hosts its annual Kids Night this evening starting at 7. Parents are encouraged to bring children out early for all the fun that starts before action gets under way. Thousands of dollars of prizes have been collected for lucky children and the event is the biggest kids deal of the year at the track. There will also be big wheel, big foot and power cars racing for the kids. Children are required to wear a helmet.

The late models have a 25-lap championship that pays the $2,000 to win and $200 to start. The 410 sprint cars and pro stocks are also part of the show. The late models will not run time trials, which I personally like.

If you want to give your children a full day of fun there are two other alternatives to add to Kids Night at Port Royal. Middle Road Speedway in Lewistown is in action this afternoon with go kart and lawn tractor racing, along with kids bike racing and a ladies powder puff event. Action gets under way at 2 p.m.

And Millerstown Moose Lodge is hosting a race day which is open to the general public. It will be a who’s who of racing personalities on hand from all types of racing. The Lodge will host big wheel racing in the parking lot so it’s a chance for children to race twice in one day. PA Sports Network will broadcast the program live and conduct interviews with drivers. Proceeds from sales benefit local charities.

PA Sports Network has arranged for a local appearance of Elliott Sadler’s show car at Smitty’s Restaurant beside the Best Western Motel in Milroy on Aug. 5 from 6-8 p.m. Sadler will participate in a phone interview on the network while the program is in progress. Other local race cars will also be on display. And the network will do a benefit Aug. 10 at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing in Dillsburg that will feature Lynn Paxton and other former stars. Proceeds benefit the museum, which preserves the region’s racing history. The museum is open weekends.

Selinsgrove and Susquehanna Speedways are dark this evening and return to action next week. Susquehanna presents its annual Silver Spring Speedway reunion next Saturday night. Hesston Speedway is also dark until the UFO super late models return July 20.

Bedford Speedway is racing Sunday with the Three States Flyers series’ 35-lap Milt Miller Late Model Championship, which pays the winner $3,000. Racing starts at 6:30. Bedford is then dark until July 26 when the Dick Koontz/Paul Beamer Memorial is run for late models.

Hagerstown Speedway will have a Winchester/Hagerstown late model shoot out this evening which is a memorial to the late Red Ninninger. Next week at three day Monster Truck program is at the track starting July 19.

If you are a drag racing fan then this week end is for you at Beaver Springs Dragway. “Beaver Bob” McCardle is in the middle of his three-day York U.S. 30 Dragway Nostalgia Nationals. History was made there with some major national events in the 1970s. Cars and drivers that competed there will be on hand tomorrow including NHRA star Bruce Larson, Arlen Vanke, Bob Fauble, Tom Hoover, Miss Hurst Shifter, Linda Vaughn, Jungle Pam and Bunny Burkett. A car show will be held and judged by the York Menders Car Club. Gates open tomorrow at 9 a.m.

Williams Grove Speedway hosts a two-day World of Outlaws Summer Nationals program next week. Port Royal and Lincoln Speedways will be dark next week as a result. Lincoln will run Thursday evening. Tonight the Pigeon Hills oval races with 410 and 358 sprint cars plus thundercars.

Brian Leppo, who was slotted to drive the John & Pee Wee Zemaitis No. 1z car at the Grove, may see more action behind the wheel – Danny Lasoski, who was supposed to drive it at Kings Royal and the Knoxville, Iowa, Sprint Car Nationals next month has parted ways with the owners.

Danny Dietrich won the most money of any Pennsylvania driver during the recent Sprint Car Speedweek programs. Dietrich collected $15,825. Dave Blaney visited Hagerstown Speedway and won during the week-long event. Australian Darren Mollenoyux raced in every show with his own car, which cost him more than $7,000 to ship both ways. He brought fans as well.

One of the fans said he plans his vacation around our Speedweek and makes it a regular event. That is one dedicated fan that will pay to fly that far to watch sprint cars. I have often run into folks from Europe at the dirt races in Florida during the winter.

The NASCAR Sprint cup racers are at New Hampshire tomorrow. TNT has TV coverage starting at noon. The green flag flies at 1.

The Indy Cars were well received at Pocono last weekend. Scott Dixon was the winner. The fans were great and about 30,000 were on hand. The program apparently made money and the Indy cars will be there at least two more years. The track has made great progress but there’s still plenty to do. Traffic is one of the biggest problems. Also, visibility in some areas remains a problem. Overall, they have gained considerably and we need national racing in our area. NASCAR and Indy cars need it as well. It remains their closest connection to the New York City media market.

Have a great racing weekend. Until next week, remember that speed is for the speedway and not the highway.


Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.