Outlaws at Grove again tonight; two tracks dark

COMMENTARY

The World of Outlaws invasion of Central Pennsylvania continues this evening at Williams Grove Speedway. Race time is set for 7:30 p.m. After the racing program, there will be a fireworks show.

David Gravel won Wednesday’s Gettysburg Clash Outlaws event at Lincoln Speedway. The PA Posse managed two top-five finishes. Danny Dietrich came home third with Brian Montieth fifth.

Port Royal and Lincoln speedways are dark tonight because of the Outlaws’ visit to the Grove.

Selinsgrove Speedway plans a full slate of 360 sprint car racing. Super late models will battle it out in the first of three challenge series races planned at the Snyder County oval. The challenge events are staged in cooperation between Selinsgrove and Port Royal. The 360 sprint and late model feature winner each receive $2,000.

Hesston Speedway will again attempt to open the 2017 season tonight. The Mason Dixon Limited Late Model Shootout Series will present the first of two programs planned for the Huntingdon County oval this season.

Johnny Grum was one of the most popular race car drivers to ever race in the state. Grum was especially liked at Williams Grove, Port Royal, Hesston and Bedford. Bedford will pay tribute to Grum next Friday with a $4,000 to win super late model event to kick off Memorial Day weekend. Bedford also runs next Sunday with topless limited late models, a 50-lap 305 sprint car feature plus 4-cylinder stock cars and vintage stock cars.

California driver Tyler Walker will return to the midstate for the first time in several years for the Weikert Memorial program at Port Royal next weekend.

By now most of us have watched replay video of Aric Almirola’s vicious crash at Kansas Motor Speedway.

Almirola’s accident reminded me of Kevin Swindell’s paralyzing sprint car wreck at Knoxville, Iowa, two years ago. Both drivers dropped out of the air landing hard with a lot of the impact on the race car frame itself. I realize a sprint car and a Cup stock car are two very different things but the G-force of the landing was severe. Drivers wearing HANS safety devices have no movement to speak off and their body absorbs much of the force. In Almirola’s case it’s alleged the rear coil springs came off his car, meaning there was nothing left to absorb the energy except the car frame and Almirola. Almirola will recover. It could of been a lot worse.

For the record I’ve spoken with several race car drivers that feel their HANS safety device has caused injuries. What hasn’t been determined is whether they would have been worse without the equipment.

Souvenir merchandise trailers are back at NASCAR tracks starting this weekend. The return was necessitated after fans complained about the super store approach tested this year.

And Stewart/Haas racing is close to a settlement with Nature’s Bakery. The healthy products company sponsored Danica Patrick last season and failed to make the final installment of its 2016 debt. Nature’s Bakery contends it didn’t receive the return on the investment it were told to expect.

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

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Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.

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