Winter weather puts local raceways on hold

Hello, race fans. Racing season in Central Pa. is on hold for the time being. Lincoln Speedway canceled today’s second attempt to start the season Thursday afternoon. I spoke with Alan Kreitzer, Lincoln co-promoter, who told me there was still a substantial amount of snow at the Adams County oval. With more snow predicted, I’m not optimistic next week’s attempt to get under way will fare any better.

In addition, due to conditions Port Royal Speedway has canceled its practice day that was scheduled for 1-4 p.m. on March 8. Racing is set to begin March 15 when the sprint cars are joined by the late models for the season opener.

Selinsgrove Speedway opens its doors March 15 with a practice session and then the 358 & big block modifieds one day later. Each feature event will cover 40 laps. Williams Grove Speedway starts March 23 with practice and races on the 28th. Opening day at the Mechanicsburg oval includes 358 & 410 sprint cars.

Last week I mentioned the Danica Patrick/Richard Petty controversy over Petty’s comments that Patrick will never win a race unless she is the only driver on the track. Tony Stewart said the issue should be settled by Patrick challenging Petty to a race in equally prepared cars. Before the challenge was issued by Patrick, Petty was interviewed on Fox & Friends morning TV program last week and said he is 76 years old and hasn’t been in a race car for 25 years, but accepts that challenge.

The ball is back in Patrick and Stewart’s court now and time will tell if any more becomes of this story. What did happen is that Stewart explained his take on Petty’s comments concerning Patrick’s ability as a driver.

“I think he forgets NASCAR has changed a lot since he was a driver and how hard it really is now,” Stewart said. “Man did he really think about what he said before he said it.”

Stewart explained that Patrick has everything she needs to be a success, is a good listener and asks good questions. Stewart also described how difficult it is for her because she is more in the spotlight than when he, Jimmie Johnson and others broke into NASCAR racing. Stewart said he and Johnson tore up more race cars than Patrick when they started and no one really noticed because they were watching everyone else, which allowed them to operate below the radar.

Stewart also said that Ricky Stenhouse, Patrick’s boyfriend, drove sprint cars and midgets for Stewart and tore up almost everything Stewart owned at the time. Following that, Stenhouse got the feel as a driver in about two weeks’ time and became good.

Stewart said he and others have done the same thing and Patrick is in that stage right now. I agree with Stewart’s analysis of drivers destroying cars and becoming great because I have watched many of our area’s best sprint car drivers do that very thing before reaching stardom. The point Stewart makes is it’s too early in Patrick’s career to pass final judgment. I think Stewart’s right.

Last week’s article Tabitha Goodling wrote for The Sentinel on Ashley Stremme was excellent. Stremme is a class act and has accomplished much in her young life. I noticed husband David raced on the dirt at Volusia Raceway Park outside Daytona during Speedweek in the UMP Modified class. Current plans for Stremme include more dirt racing while seeking other opportunities. Stremme has the talent to be very good in NASCAR if the right ride comes along. I wish the couple well.

While on the subject of NASCAR drivers and dirt, I notice that Kenny Schrader and Kenny Wallace are entered in this week’s modified dirt car events in Columbus, Miss. They are also making personal appearances around the area for sponsors. I like that they have not forgotten their roots. Schrader is a team owner supplying cars in many circuits and Wallace will continue his work in media covering Sprint Cup and Nationwide series events.

NASCAR races at Phoenix, Ariz. this weekend. The Nationwide cars compete today with TV action on ABC starting at 3:30 p.m. Sunday’s Cup action is covered by Fox and gets underway at 3 p.m. Carl Edwards is the defending race champion.

This is the 50th anniversary of the track, which is unique with flat straight stretches and two different sets of banking at each end. To celebrate the milestone, there will be a display of cars driven at the track by various drivers including A.J. Foyt’s roadster that won the first race held there in 1964. Other items of interest are the Silver Crown cars of Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. Racers piloted by Alan Kulwicki and Dale Earnhardt Sr. and others will also be displayed.

The World of Outlaws race in Las Vegas, Nev. next Wednesday and Thursday before heading to California. The Outlaws have nine races in Central Pa. this year which is more than they’ve had in a long time.

I will finish by saying I hope you enjoyed last week’s Daytona 500, which I feel had more excitement than any NASCAR Cup race I’ve watched in a long time. Congratulations to Dale Earnhardt Jr.

I planned to attempt an explanation of the Chase rules for the new season but will hold that until next week. Until then then please drive safely.