Racing season gets off, slowly

Racing season is slowly starting in Central Pennsylvania.

Lincoln and Selinsgrove speedways managed to race while Williams Grove conducted a practice session. Lincoln managed another strong program. Selinsgrove had a sparse car count on a cold Sunday afternoon.

Danny Dietrich enjoyed a big night at Lincoln, scoring his 19th career win at the Pigeon Hills oval, which tied him with his father at the track. During an interview earlier this week on MRN radio’s “Winged Nation,” Dietrich said he will be racing at least twice during the month of April at Port Royal Speedway.

Dietrich plans to compete in the Bob Weikert Memorial event and one other show to tune up beforehand. Dietrich will not run for points anywhere this season.

Lance Dewease made his first start of the season and indicated his team is not ready for the big tracks – he will stick to Lincoln the next couple weeks. Lincoln returns to action tonight with 410 sprint cars, super sportsman, and legends cars.

Blane Heimbach won the Selinsgrove show last Sunday over Chad Layton. It was Heimbach’s first 410 sprint car win at the track despite owning 36 358 victories there. No racing is planned at the big track this weekend.

There is a major go kart program with a $10,000 payout on the 1/5 mile track. Next Saturday the Snyder County oval presents a regular program of 360 sprint cars, late models, pro stocks and road runners. Race time is 6.

Port Royal Speedway will attempt to start the season tonight at 5. The 410 sprint cars are joined by late models and the new econo late model class. The first 600 fans receive a free schedule magnet. Dave Blaney and Scotty Haus won openers last season. The 305 sprint cars make their first start at the Juniata County oval next Saturday.

Logan Wagner is expected to make his 410 sprint car debut this evening at Port Royal. Wagner has done well in the 305 class the last several years.

Beaver Springs Dragway was scheduled to conduct Friday night street racing last night. The Snyder County strip starts its Sunday daylight programs next weekend.

Mason Zeigler was victorious at Hagerstown last weekend in super late model action. Jason Covert, C.S. Fitzgerald, Jim Yoder and Kenny Moreland followed. Dylan Yoder finished seventh. Mifflin County drivers Tim Wilson and Nic Dickson finished 13th and 15th respectively. Port Royal regulars Andy Haus and Mike Lupfer were 16th and 19th. The Hub City oval has a regular five division show of stock cars tonight starting at 5.

Rick Eckert of York is two for two in late model action having won at Hagerstown two weeks ago and Winchester, Va., last Saturday night.

Path Valley is set to race tonight with mini sprint and stock racing plus V-8 street stocks, 305 sprint cars and 4-cylinder stock cars. Bedford Speedway hosts a car show and practice session next Sunday before racing April 13. Susquehanna Speedway opens next Saturday with late models, super sportsman, legend cars and street stocks.

Washington state’s Trey Starks is a 410 sprint car driver who competed last week at the Stockton, Calif., World of Outlaws show. Following that program, Starks announced he was loading up his equipment and heading here for several weeks to race with the PA Posse. Starks will race at Williams Grove and make a decision on Port Royal or Lincoln Speedway after he arrives.

Hill Valley Speedway in Shirleysburg has been sold to Marshall Whitsel Jr. and wife Michelle. Whitsel’s father previously owned the track and it has been leased out to others the past few seasons. No word on the couple’s plans yet but I’m sure they will be forthcoming shortly.

Lynda Petty, matriarch of the Petty family, passed away Tuesday after a bout with cancer. Petty was active helping found the NASCAR Racing Wives Auxiliary and served on her local school board where she was at one time President. Petty was 72.

Congratulations to Matt and Katie Kenseth on the birth of their fourth child, a daughter named Clara Mae earlier this week.

Denny Hamlin has been cleared to race at Martinsville Speedway after withdrawing at the last minute due to blurred vision. Doctors found a sinus infection and sliver of metal in Hamlin’s eye. Sam Hornish Jr. substituted for Hamlin last week.

David Stremme has secured a Sprint Cup ride for Martinsville this weekend driving the No. 33 Hillman Racing Chevrolet. Stremme is originally from South Bend, Ind., and is married to Juniata County native Ashley Diehl.

Look for sprint car racer Dave Blaney to race in Sprint Cup action this weekend driving an unsponsored car owned by Randy Humphrey.

Kyle Larson had a career NASCAR week at Fontana, Calif., scoring his first ever Nationwide victory. Larson backed it up with a second place run Sunday during the Sprint Cup event. Larson is a former sprint car racer who has competed locally as recently as last season.

Jim Nabors has announced he will make his final live presentation singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” at the annual Indianapolis 500. Nabors said he’s enjoyed every minute but health issues and traveling from his home in Hawaii have caused him to call it quits. Overall, Nabors has performed at Indy 35 times.

That is going to wrap it up for another week. Please drive safely!

Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.