Dream Race offers big payday, honors driver Mike Wagner
The 11th Living Legends Dream race is set for tonight at Port Royal Speedway.
The format and payoff have changed over the years. Sean Michael drove the No. 6 Jim Nace-prepared Schnee Chassis under the checkered flag in the inaugural event. The $30,000 victory allowed Nace to compete at the Knoxville, Iowa, Sprint Car Nationals that season.
Today the total purse is around $55,000. The winner’s share is smaller but money and contingency prizes are spread out through the field. Race promoter Steve O’Neal continues to tweak the race format improving the program. Tonight’s event includes time trials. There are no sprint car heat races; instead, 16-lap semi-mains with full purse will set the 35-lap A-main lineup. The winning driver in the feature earns $10,000. There’s also lap money for the top three cars.
Also part of tonight’s program is a $2,000 to win super late model feature. It will be interesting to see which late model teams compete at local speedways tonight. I’ll explain why in a minute.
So why the name Living Legends Dream Race? Each year the speedway has honored a top driver when it matters. That’s great. It allows fans a chance to meet, greet and honor their favorite stars while they’re alive and with us. Mike Wagner is this year’s recipient. Wagner resides in Harrisonville and has campaigned sprint cars for more than 30 years. Wagner’s won 11 feature events at Port Royal and two track championships.
Wagner is old school, campaigning his own equipment most of his career. Had he raced for other car owners, long term, his victories would likely be higher. His sons also are successful sprint car drivers.
Selinsgrove Speedway is hosting a two-day program this weekend which culminates in Sunday’s 360 sprint car National Open. Over the years, T.J. Stutts and Pat Cannon have been the dominant drivers during this program, combining to win eight times. My guess is Stutts will be racing at Port Royal tonight.
Earlier I questioned which race track the late model drivers may choose. Both Selinsgrove and Port Royal are paying the winner $2,000 tonight. Some area competitors may jump around depending where they feel most likely to succeed.
Tomorrow’s National Open finale pays the 360 sprint car winner $6,000 with 305 sprints and econo late models making up the Sunday night line up. Perhaps we might turn back the clock and find race fans traveling down from Pocono to catch the sprint car program. Better yet, could there be a NASCAR sighting from NASCAR’s elite?
There will be a racer’s pig roast and picnic tonight at Selinsgrove Speedway after the racing program. Race teams are encouraged to bring a covered dish and favorite beverage to the event.
Lincoln Speedway races 410 and 358 sprint cars and late models tonight. The Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown, Md., makes its yearly visit to the Adams County oval.
Tony Stewart and Kyle Larson won sprint car races this past week. Stewart scored a win last Monday night at PA Motor Speedway near Pittsburgh. Stewart and Rico Abreu are scheduled to compete at Grandview Speedway on Aug. 17.
Miss Hurst Shifter Linda Vaughn successfully survived a long heart surgery procedure recently and is now home recovering. Cards reach Vaughn at P.O. Box 9348, Laguna, CA 92677.
Brad Doty will attend the 50th annual Tuscarora 50 in September at Port Royal Speedway.
NASCAR Monster Cup racing’s silly season is under way. Ryan Blaney heads to Penske Racing next year. Blaney will be replaced at the Wood Brothers team byPaul Menard. Alex Bowman replaces Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick Motorsports.
The tricky triangle, Pocono, hosts the NASCAR Monster Cup and truck series this weekend. Fans will experience qualifying on race day for the first time.
Have a great racing weekend!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.