Holiday brings plenty of great racing action

Holiday racing specials are what’s on tap this weekend. Let’s hope the weather cooperates because there is a lot of racing to be done.

First up is the Butch Renninger Memorial race tonight at Port Royal. The Three States Flyers late model series comes to town for a 33-lap feature that pays the winner $3,333, plus $33 in lap money, a $100 hard charger award and heat races pay $33.

The 159th annual Juniata County Fair kicks off this evening and that will create a perfect backdrop for a big time late model event. The Three States Flyers top three point men entering the event are Mark Pettyjohn, Jason Covert and Kenny Pettyjohn. Greg Saterlee is the defending race champion.

What did Butch Renninger mean to so many of us that looked up to him and considered him a friend? First he was the glue that kept the former Port Royal Speedway and Juniata County Agricultural Society Board of Directors together for many years. He was one heck of a racer, having won three Port Royal late model championships and 41 feature events. By far Renninger was one of the most exciting, colorful drivers to ever race at any area speedway.

Sparks would fly, an occasional temper could flair, maybe a longshot fisticuff but if that did happen a good laugh would occur and the fun followed. The scraps were seldom but even they put excitement in the program. Getting to a race with Renninger was half the fun.

The stories still are told of Tommy Little riding down the main street in Mercersburg on the back of a motor home en route to Hagerstown Speedway. Needless to say, life with Butch Renninger was seldom boring. Along the way Renninger won at other area tracks as well. He was very dedicated to the fair board, and made it a point to support and attend the Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown Banquet yearly. A good family man of faith, he also operated several successful business with wife Carol. A lot of us miss Butch Renninger. Tonight we honor him.

While on the subject of the Butch Renninger Memorial race, Mifflin County drivers have fared well. McClure driver Tim Wilson and Lewistown’s Waylon Wagner are past winners of this race.

The late models also take center stage this week end at Selinsgrove Speedway where the World of Outlaws late model group invades the Snyder Couty oval. The program is a two-day affair. Tonight’s preliminary program includes a 40-lap feature that pays the winner $8,000. Sunday’s race goes 50 laps for $10,000. That’s a big payday for late model racers.

Nick Dickson of Lewistown is the defending race champion of the late model national open. Word has it Dickson will likely set this year’s race out awaiting a new Rocket Chassis. Dickson has been campaigning Mastersbuilt by Huey cars and apparently has not been satisfied with performance.

Lincoln Speedway finishes their points races this evening and has a three-card open wheel show. Susquehanna Speedway runs the 13th annual York County Nationals program featuring the 358 limited late models.

Don’t forget that Port Royal Speedway also hosts a turbo diesel truck and tractor pull Sunday night and returns with racing Monday at 2 p.m. for the 62nd running of the Labor Day Classic. This year’s version features 410 sprint cars and ARDC Midgets.

Elsewhere, Lucas Wolfe is driving a second sprint car for Michael Heffner and won last Friday at Williams Grove. That set off rumors that primary driver Lance Dewease could be out of a ride next year. Also Greg Hodnett’s car owner John Trone is having health issues, which could mean no team, making Hodnett available. Several other name drivers could be seeking rides as well.

Have a great holiday weekend and enjoy family, friends and some great racing.


Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.