Tracks look to run this weekend

COMMENTARY

Area auto racing is officially in full swing. Three nights of action are on tap this weekend, weather permitting.

Port Royal Speedway will attempt to continue the blistering pace that earned the track the nickname ” the speed palace.” Track records fell last week in the 410 and 305 sprint car classes plus the late models.

Last week, Doug Esh outran Greg Hodnett to earn his first Port Royal sprint car win of the season. Action gets under way tonight at 6 with a four-division program of 410 sprint cars, super late models, econo lates and xtreme stock cars.

It’s opening night at Selinsgrove Speedway this evening. The Empire 360 super sprints join the super late models and pro stocks at the Snyder County oval. Race time is 6.

Lincoln Speedway presents its fourth race date of the season tonight. The 410 and 358 sprint cars are joined by the street stock cars starting at 6. Danny Dietrich is a two-time 410 winner. Brian Montieth won last week’s event.

Hagerstown Speedway hosts a regular stock car program tonight. Gary Stuhler won last week’s 70th season opener at the Hub City oval.

Susquehanna Speedway will attempt to operate twice this weekend, Tonight is a regular weekly program. Sunday evening at 6, the 358 and 410 sprint cars invade the York County oval.

Bedford Speedway was forced to cancel its opening program, but will try again Sunday. It will be interesting how many additional late model teams head west for this program.

Trackside Restaurant and Tavern in Mifflin will host a celebrity server/bartender night April 13. Race car drivers and other celebrities will work the crowd for tips that will be donated to Port Royal Speedway’s Kids Night program.

Last weekend was great for former NASCAR Cup racers now competing on dirt. Kenny Wallace, Kenny Schrader and Tony Stewart all won dirt races around the country. Wallace won in Illinois. Schrader visited Oklahoma and Stewart raced in Florida. The trio ran modiified stock or sprint cars.

It was nice to see Brad Keselowski walk into the stands and celebrate his win with race fans after last Sunday’s NASCAR race in Martinsville. Keselowski’s actions came on the heels of fellow racer Kyle Larson’s comment that Cup drivers have lost touch with the fans. I believe Larson is right in his analysis.

Richard Petty’s grandson, Thad Moffitt, will make his ARCA Racing debut tonight at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Moffitt will drive a Petty blue No. 46 during the program, which will be broadcast live on MAV TV starting at 9.

Pocono International Speedway continues to refurbish and improve its facility before the 2017 season race schedule begins. 5,197 feet of SAFER barrier has been added to the Tricky Triangle in hope of making the raceway one of the safest on NASCAR’s schedule.

Alabama gang member Red Farmer is 84 years young and still actively racing dirt late models at the Talladega dirt track. Farmer had heart surgery a week ago Wednesday. My eyebrows rose when I found out Farmer raced his dirt car last Saturday, winning a heat race. Farmer and Bobby Allison are the last two original members alive from the Alabama Gang.

All news wasn’t good this past week. Grandview Speedway owner/promoter Bruce Rogers passed away. Rogers was 82. Retired NASCAR late model sportsman driver Sam Ard passed at age 78. AMA Pro Flat Track rider Jamison Minor expired last Sunday from injuries suffered Saturday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Please remember their families in your thoughts and prayers.

I’ll return next week with more racing information. Have a safe weekend!

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Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.

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