NASCAR’s off, but the local tracks are running

NASCAR is idle this weekend due to the Easter holiday. Locally, most area speedways are in action.

Port Royal Speedway presents 410 sprint cars, late models and econo lates. The first 200 youth entering the grounds receive a free Easter treat. Kids can scramble for Easter eggs in the speedway infield prior to the start of racing.

At Selinsgrove Speedway 360 sprint cars are joined by late models and pro stocks. Lincoln Speedway hosts 410 and 358 sprint car racing tonight.

Beaver Springs Dragway will be dark due to the holiday.

Here’s a brief update on the season thus far:

Doug Esh said it was time to “back it up” in the performance department and so far Esh has done exactly that. Esh is a two-time winner at Port Royal. He also has a two more top 10 finishes between Port Royal and Williams Grove speedways. Lynton Jeffrey is the other 410 winner at Port Royal this season.

Mifflin County racer Tim Wilson is improving his performance while battling handling problems.

One group that continues to shine are the Tyson Hill racers, Trent Brenneman and Devin Hart. Both finished their feature events in the top five last week at Port Royal. Plus they dusted an oldie but goodie, Herm Renninger, off the shelf and Renninger responded by winning the xtreme stock car feature. Renninger was the 2004 enduro champion at Port Royal. It’s been several years since since Renninger campaigned regularly.

In sprint car competition, T.J. Stutts has a well-known name serving as his 410 sprint car crew chief. The mechanic is none other than uncle Todd Shaffer of Millerstown. The pair are improving together. Stutts set fast time last week at the Juniata County oval.

Lincoln Speedway has seen three different 410 sprint car winners. Danny Dietrich is a two-timer. Brian Montieth and Gerald McIntyre have won once each.

Selinsgrove Speedway opened last week and Danville’s Jeff Rine won his 12th late model season opener. Jason Schultz claimed top honors in the 360 sprint car class.

Port Royal Speedway is preparing for two weeks of high-dollar racing this month. Next Saturday 410 and 305 sprint cars are on tap. Sunday night, the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model Challenge Series led by national champion Scott Bloomquist invades the oval for a 50 lap A-Main that pays the winner $10,000.

In two weeks Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions visit Port Royal for the Keith Kauffman Classic. The winner earns $5,000.

Recently, I asked for help searching for information about two rear-engine sprint cars that raced at Port Royal Speedway during the 1970s. Turns out some answers were under my nose. A man named David Hollinger posted a picture of Bill Sheaffer’s no. 739 rear engine car on the Western PA Racing History Facebook page. One of Sheaffer’s brothers, Matty or Jim, drove the car in 1973. Ken Stitt has scoring records for the car and contacted me saying he drove the car himself during the 1974 racing season. Other drivers included “Cowboy” Jim Kennedy, Kenny Dickson and Mike Wagner (not the current driver by that name) in 1975.

It’s believed this car was sold for parts and may have been cut up for scrap.

The other rear engine car was owned by a man named Dan Daley (or Dailey) from York County. Sam Yoder from Centre County was the driver. I’m still seeking information on both of these race cars. Thanks to Stitt, Tom Houck, Ron Aurand and Mike Shawver for their information.

Have a happy Easter weekend! I’ll return next week.

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Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.

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