Tracks celebrate season, begin preparation for next

It’s banquet night for Port Royal and Lincoln speedways this evening. Both tracks will crown champions and honor the top drivers in their respective classes.

Brock Zearfoss is the 410 sprint car champion at Port Royal. Mike Lupfer took top honors in the super late model division. Tim Fedder is the econo late champ. Bill Powell won the xtreme stock title. Tyler Reeser claimed the 305 sprint car title.

Port Royal’s event will be held at the community hall on Fourth Street in Port Royal.

At one time area tracks released a good deal of news about the next season at their banquets. Port Royal already has been breaking news about next year. Opening Day is set for March 10. June will be busy as the Juniata County oval hosts a Tri-Track Late Model Challenge race June 2. The USAC wingless sprint cars compete June 18. Oct. 12, the Short Track Super Series arrives with a modified and 410 sprint car doubleheader. The World of Outlaws sprint cars will run a two-day race program Oct. 26-27.

Susquehanna Speedway entered into a five-year naming rights deal for the race track starting next season. The York County oval is the first regional track to enter into a naming rights arrangement.

Selinsgrove Speedway’s offseason work continues as new clay has arrived at the oval. The pit area is in the process of being moved outside the race track. The Snyder County oval’s annual Race Car Show at the Susquehanna Valley Mall is scheduled for Feb. 25-March 2.

Beaver Springs Dragway has posted its special events schedule on social media. It looks like the dragway is set for a big season.

Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell are entered in this year’s Turkey Night USAC midget/sprint car program at Ventura, California, Speedway. Larson is the defending midget car race champion.

Earlier I mentioned the Tri Track Late Model Challenge Series for 2018. Apparently there’s not going to be a late model speedweek series next year. Bedford, Port Royal and Williams Grove speedways have joined forces for a three-race challenge series paying each feature winner $3,000. Starting the main event is worth $300. No word on any other tracks’ participation.

Sprint Car Hall of Fame driver Bobby Kinser recently passed away at the age of 86. Kinser is the father of Steve Kinser, King of the Outlaws. Bobby Kinser was as tough as they come also. The elder driver won 29 track titles and over 400 feature events during his 40 year career.

Williams Grove Speedway announced it will pay the winner of next year’s National Open for Sprint Cars $56,000.

Clearfield Speedway has been sold to UMI Motorsports, an off-road performance chassis part manufacturer. The track will be renovated with a road course added and used for racing and testing. The asphalt oval will be maintained and may see the installation of softer barrier walls.

There’s going to be another sprint car series in our state. The RUSH Series is known for limited engine rules in late model and modified competition. RUSH will offer a crate motor, non-wing sprint car series in Western Pennsylvania next year.

Gerald Mcintyre will pilot the Coldren Motorsports sprint car during in 2018. No news on where the team will compete on Saturday nights.

Joey Saldana has landed a ride with Rudeen Racing to pilot its No. 26 sprint car next year. Saldana will primarily compete with the World of Outlaws and All Stars.

The 47th annual Dirt Car Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park has been expanded to a 12-day racing program this winter. Action runs from Feb. 6 to 18 at the half-mile dirt oval. The All Stars kick things off for open wheels on Feb. 7 and 8. The World of Outlaws compete Feb. 9 to 11. Outlaws late models and Dirt Car modifieds are in action Feb. 12 to 17.

Donny Schatz wrapped up his ninth World of Outlaws sprint car title and fourth in a row last week at the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Schatz scored 21 wins during the season.

Danny Dietrich won the overall Central Pennsylvania 410 sprint car championship worth an extra $6,000 from Champion Oil Products. Dietrich finished one point ahead of Lucas Wolfe.

Tony Stewart will appear at the Motorsports Race Car and Trade Show signing autographs from noon to 2 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks.

Locally, Ruth Hower passed away Nov. 1 at her Port Royal home. Hower, along with the late Barb Erhard, were the longtime secretaries of the Juniata County Agricultural Society and Port Royal Speedway. Both were on the job when my career started at the Juniata County oval. These ladies kept the organization under control and organized in the days before computers, electronic bookkeeping and banking. Neither will be forgotten by those of us old enough to remember. Hower was 91.

Until next time please drive safely!

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Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.

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