Outlaws to Port in final Pa. appearance of year

COMMENTARY

The World of Outlaws make their final appearance of the year in Pennsylvania at Port Royal Speedway tonight. As many as 50 sprint cars are expected to compete for a $10,000 top prize. The main event is 30 laps.

Lance Dewease has won six races this year at the Juniata County oval. That’s impressive, especially since Dewease didn’t race weekly anywhere this season. Brock Zearfoss, the 2017 track champion, scored four wins at Port Royal plus a victory against the Outlaws at Williams Grove in July. Greg Hodnett and Lucas Wolfe, who finished second in this race to Logan Schuchart last season, give the PA Posse fans their best hopes for victory.

The World of Outlaws are led by Donny Schatz of Minot, North Dakota. Schatz is 40 years old and seeking the ninth WoO championship of his career. Schatz has won 18 races this season. Schatz previously scored a Port Royal Outlaw win in 2004.

While Schatz is the overall Outlaw favorite, David Gravel from Connecticut can’t be overlooked. Gravel won two of three Outlaw races during the National Open weekend at Williams Grove Speedway. Logan Schuchart, an Outlaw regular from nearby Hanover, can’t be overlooked either. Other Outlaw possibilities include Brad Sweet, who won at Port Royal in 2015, and Daryn Pittman.

Bragging rights are on the line. Since the Outlaws first raced at Port Royal Speedway in 1979, they have won six of 10 A-division races. Six additional Gum Out Series events, a B-division Outlaw group, were claimed by Pennsylvania drivers.

While the World of Outlaws show is the star attraction tonight at Port Royal, there’s modified racing action as well. The developing Mid Atlantic Modified Series continues to grow and will present a $1,000 to win. This restricted class race car has taken hold in many parts of the country. It is cost effective racing on smaller race tires. It’s exciting to watch. It hasn’t gained as much popularity in the midstate yet due to the strong sprint car, late model and econo-late racing the area has.

Race time is 5 p.m. Gates open at 2.

Last week’s Blue Collar Classic headlined by 305 sprint cars had a four-division total car count of 136.

The most enjoyable race for me to watch was the Xtreme stock feature last Saturday night at Port Royal. Herm Renninger was on a mission while scoring the win. Renninger made two daring moves out of turn two onto the back stretch on successive laps.

The first time Renninger darted from sixth to third splitting cars while moving by. A lap later Renninger split the lead and second place car darting through the middle from third to take the lead. Renninger never looked back while recording the win.

The completed Musco lighting system at Port Royal is a huge improvement. I couldn’t find a single dark spot on the entire speedway. Congratulations on a job well done by Steve Stimely, Steve Swartz, track crews and Musco.

The Talladega NASCAR race could begin with controversy. Pennsylvania activist Gene Stilp has burned combination Nazi/Confederate Flags to protest hatred, racism and both flags outside the Bloomsburg courthouse as well as the Bloomsburg Fair. Last week Stilp took his demonstration to Dover, Delaware, prior to the Xfiniity race. Stilp has filed for a permit with the Lincoln, Alabama, Police Dept to hold a protest at the Talladega Super Speedway prior to the Monster Cup race.

Stilp has been warned he may receive a much different reception in Alabama than he encountered in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Stilp says he is going with an open mind hoping to influence some change in the south. Previously Stilp’s displays and demonstrations have attracted attention from ESPN and USA Today.

Enjoy your day and consider catching a race.

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Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.

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