Area race tracks enter home stretch

Midstate racing is entering the home stretch for another season.

The Juniata County Fair will be upon us in two weeks. This weekend’s racing serves as a tune up for what should be one of Port Royal Speedway’s finest moments.

The Juniata County fairgrounds are humming with fair preparations. Work continues around the half mile oval. I visited the facility twice this week and found the final touches being placed on the new truck and tractor pulling strip located in the old infield sprint car pit area. More than a foot of new dirt was placed on that strip, ensuring plenty of grip for professional pullers during the Juniata County Fair. Lighting dedicated to the pulling area has been installed and it should be one of the best facilities of its type in the area.

Steve Stimely was at work directing the project. Stimely and counterpart Steve Swartz are hands on guys who work directly with others completing their tasks. It’s amazing what they’ve accomplished in seven years. The rewards are paying off. There isn’t going to be another speedway in Central Pennsylvania with a better facility.

Selinsgrove Speedway presents the final points race of the season tonight. Davie Franek of Wingate, N.J., holds a 300-point lead over Jason Shultz in 360 sprint car competition. Franek is a former URC 360 sprint car regular. In late model competition, 10 points separates the top three drivers. Hayes Mattern is five points up on former speedway champion Steve Campbell. Tony Adams is five points behind Campbell in third spot. Jeff Rine has dominated Selinsgrove late model racing the past decade claiming 10 track titles. Rine elected to travel this season and not defend his title. Campbell is a two time champion claiming the 1995 and 1999 honors. Adams earned top honors in 2002.

Lincoln Speedway’s final points race is next Saturday night. This evening the Adams County oval hosts the York County Racing Club and Central PA Legends cars.

I don’t want to forget that Hesston Speedway returns to action this evening with another round of the Mason Dixon Shootout Series for 358 late models. The 305 sprint cars are also on the card. Lewistown driver Ron Aurand is looking forward to that event.

It was a good racing weekend for Aurand and another Lewistown sprint car driver last week. Daryl Stimeling, veteran 410 sprint car driver, finished second at Port Royal Speedway last Saturday. Aurand ventured west to Bedford Speedway Sunday winning the 305 sprint car race there.

Aurand’s lap times were in the low 19-second bracket. Radar entering turn one clocked Aurand’s car at 123 mph. Aurand’s first career win came at the track in 2016.

Ron Aurand’s father, “Duff” is a crew member on both Stimeling’s and his son’s race car. This group is full of confidence.

Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.