Good weather means good weekend for racing

COMMENTARY

What a difference one week can make. Snow left the region quickly and area speedways plan to operate tonight.

Port Royal Speedway’s operating schedule starts when gates open this afternoon at 2. Hot laps begin at 4:30 with opening ceremonies at 5. The 410 sprint cars are joined by super and limited late models. Super late model drivers compete for a top prize of $3,500. The race winner is a guaranteed starter in the Appalachian Mountain Late Model Speedway race at Port Royal in June.

Lincoln Speedway continues its season today with 410 and 358 sprint cars starting at 4. Danny Dietrich won the season opener Feb. 25.

Selinsgrove Speedway will conduct race car tech inspections at the track this morning. Cars can practice on the half-mile oval from 2 to 5 p.m. The season opener is April 8.

Williams Grove Speedway placed USAC Eastern Storm and World of Outlaws race tickets on sale recently. Call the speedway office at (717) 697-5000 for more information.

Path Valley Speedway is scheduled to run this evening with 305 sprint cars, Mid Atlantic Modifieds, and various micro sprint classes on the card.

More than 400 tons of new clay has been placed on the Path Valley oval. Other improvements to the facility include guardrail and wall work. New lighting will be added shortly.

The new Super Sportsman schedule is out for Central Pennsylvania. Williams Grove has one race date. The remainder are at Susquehanna and Lincoln speedways. Path Valley hosts the sportsman cars without wings on a regular basis starting in April. Those events are on Friday nights and are not part of the official sportsman series. Overall, the group is returning to its small-track roots, which better suits the cars and budgets.

Danny Dietrich plans to compete in four of the USAC Eastern Tour wingless sprint car events held in Pennsylvania in June. Dietrich will campaign a car owned by Tom Buch in races at Grandview, Lincoln, Williams Grove and Port Royal. Action starts at Grandview June 13.

Lance Dewease recently announced the first two shows the Donnie Kreitz Jr. Racing Team plans to enter this season. Those events are at Susquehanna Speedway April 9 and Williams Grove April 14.

The Jackson Township historical preservation has posted some interesting photos and stories recently on Facebook about the wooden board track known as Altoona Speedway near Tipton. The former speedway site is now the plant location of the New Pig Corporation off I-99 near Delgrosso Amusement Park. The board track operated from 1923-31 and was a high speed/banked 1.25 mile oval. Crowds of 70,000 persons were reported. At least one fatality was recorded — 1929 Indy 500 winner Ray Keech. The untimely accident took place two weeks after Keech’s win at the Brickyard.

Which leads me to more local history that I hope our readers can help me recall. There were at least two rear-engine cars that entered to compete in the sprint car class at Port Royal Speedway. The years should be early 1970s. One I believe was owned by the late Bill Scheaffer. There was a second car I think had connections to the Belleville area. Who can help me out with some driver and car owner names? There’s still a few of us old enough to remember this.

The Greater Cumberland Maryland Speedway refused to close thanks to diehard racers and fans in that region. Last Saturday the reward of their efforts began to pay off. The track reopened with an enduro race that drew 70 cars. The covered grandstand was packed. Mud finally ended the program without a winner. Nobody cared. The next event is April 8, a 100-lap, $1,000 to win enduro followed by practice for regular division cars.

Let’s hope for clear skies and great racing today. I’ll be back again next week.

¯¯¯

Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.

COMMENTS