Tracks to honor winners tonight
Port Royal and Lincoln speedways hold their award banquets tonight. Champions will be crowned and hopefully there will be some new information about the 2017 season. Lincoln announced the Icebreaker 30 for 410 sprint cars will open the northeast racing season Feb. 25.
Offseason work continues at area tracks before winter weather arrives. Path Valley Speedway is in the process of bleacher replacement work.
Here’s an update on the silly season of racing: A new driver may be named for the Zemco No. 1 sprint car next week. The rumor mill originally placed Stevie Smith filling that seat. I’ve been informed by reliable sources Smith is not the replacement.
The shocker of the week is the firing of mechanic Lee Stauffer by Kasey Kahne Racing. Stauffer was the wrench on driver Brad Sweet’s Outlaw sprint car. No word on where the York mechanic will land next.
Local racer Billy Burkholder started his driving career in go karts. Earlier this year the Lewistown driver stepped into the Bolger Racing No. 18 sprint car, which is also from Lewistown. The group competed in the PASS/IMCA 305 sprint car class and made several starts at Port Royal Speedway. I spoke with Dave Bolger earlier this week and current plans are to continue this arrangement next year.
I know this is short notice but if you are a drag racing fan here’s an opportunity today: NHRA star Bruce Larson will make an appearance at 11 a.m. in Harrisburg at Sutliff Chevrolet. The dealership supported Larson during his touring days with one of the first funny cars built. That car has been restored and will be at Sutliff’s today. Larson started drag racing in the 1950s and currently competes in the Funny Car 1/8 mile Legendary Drag Race division.
Cumberland County High School students have a unique club dedicated to giving back to racing and the community at large.
The Cumberland Valley Racing Club meets after school and has top names in racing speaking with the kids. This week Williams Grove Speedway officials were on hand. Past visitors include Fred Rahmer, Alan Kreitzer and driver Rodney Westhafer. Maybe some of our local school student will consider this idea.
Pocono International Raceway impressed me with a fan-friendly announcement. Starting next season, any fan that purchases a grandstand, suite or club seat will be covered by a weather guarantee. In the event a Sunday NASCAR or Indy race is rained out and rescheduled to Monday, fans are eligible for a full refund of their ticket. I haven’t heard of that happening at any other NASCAR Sprint Cup track. Pocono has had severe weather issues recently, with all three races being postponed this year.
Donny Schatz and Tyler Courtney will pilot the Clauson-Marshall Racing entries at the Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jan. 10-14. The race team was formed after the death of Bryan Clauson earlier this season.
Collegeville midget racer Alex Bright will pilot a Rick Kaylor owned wingless sprint car next June during the 11th annual USAC Eastern Storm visit. Bright is the 2016 ARDC midget racing champion.
The fourth generation of the Petty racing family has spoken. 16 year old grandson Thad Moffit captured the Southeast Limited Late Model Challenger division title recently. Moffit is part of a driver development program between Petty Enterprises and Empire Racing Group. The car is painted Petty blue and bore No. 46. The traveling series competes through out the Carolinas.
Tomorrow is the final Sprint Cup race of the season. It’s also the last race for sponsor Sprint as it is leaving the series. No replacement sponsor has been named yet. Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano are in contention for the title. Ford has been the best winning brand at Homestead so does that favor Logano? Toyota will clinch its first manufacturer’s title by having a Toyota finish 26th or better.
Want to go outdoor racing one more time up north this season? The Wall Stadium (N.J.) Speedway hosts the three-day Turkey Derby next week, weather permitting. The track is a 1/3 mile asphalt facility and the racing is always good.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.