BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

All Stars invade midstate; Port Royal is tonight

COMMENTARY

Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions sprint cars are in Pennsylvania this weekend. Three races are planned.

Action began last night at Williams Grove Speedway and will shift to Port Royal Speedway tonight. The traveling group will compete in the 30-lap Keith Kauffman Classic A-main, which pays the winner $5,000. Super late models also are on the card in a 25-lap challenge series event. The six race program alternates between Port Royal and Selinsgrove speedways during the season.

The All Stars finish off their weekend Sunday night at Bedford Fairgrounds Speedway in a $5,000 to win program honoring late sprint car owner Roy Morral. Action starts at 6:30 p.m. Bedford will host a second All Star program later this season.

A large contingent of race cars are expected to follow the All Stars. All Star regulars Chad Kemenah, Caleb Helms, Caleb Armstrong and others will be joined by defending race winner Dale Blaney, brother Dave Blaney, Lance Dewease and a host of others. The PA Posse is expected in full force. It should be an outstanding weekend of racing.

Selinsgrove Speedway is dark this evening and will return to competition next Saturday. Last week, Dave Franek won the 37th annual Jack Gunn Memorial over Greg Hodnett. McClure’s Brad Mitch won the pro stock feature for the second week in a row.

Lincoln Speedway presents the 14th annual Weldon Sterner 410 Sprint Car Memorial race, which pays the winner $6,900. Also on the card are 358 sprints and super sportsmen.

Tony Stewart had a full week to date. Stewart testified in the Kevin Ward wrongful death lawsuit filed against him. I started to read his testimony but haven’t had time to finish it so I won’t comment until I do. The week improved when Stewart practiced for the Little 500 sprint car race which will be held at Anderson Speedway in Indiana next month. Driving 500 laps on 1/4 mile of asphalt in a non-winged sprint car has got to be tough. Stewart will pilot the Hoffman Racing No. 69 in the event.

Tonight during Port Royal Speedway’s Keith Kauffman Classic Kauffman is expected to spend time behind the microphone reminiscing about his long career. The Mifflintown veteran is a National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee who has raced and won all over the country as well as internationally. Kauffman retired as the winningest driver and track champion holder to date at Port Royal.

I have mixed emotions about Dale Earnhardt Jr. announcing his retirement at season’s end. I’m sad to see him go, but glad he’s leaving on his own terms. I pray he stays healthy without injury. Privately, I’ve been telling friends I figured Earnhardt would race no more than two years. When reports surfaced he was discussing his contract with Hendrick Motorsports I thought he might stay longer. I was shocked when Earnhardt said this is it.

I’ll add this prediction: Earnhardt Jr. isn’t he last current Cup driver I expect to walk away early.

Earnhardt Jr. will drive at least two Xfinity Series events in 2018. The door remains open to compete elsewhere on occasion. Kasey Kahne Racing posted on its social media page a picture, in jest, of a sprint car with a caption telling Earnhardt they have an open seat for him. I chuckled because that’s not likely to happen.

Have a great racing weekend. I’ll be back next time with more news and opinions.

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Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.

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