For the past three years, Susquehanna Speedway Park has scheduled its final sprint-car race of the season for the second weekend in November -- a week after the World of Outlaws tour closes out its season in Charlotte.
For the past two seasons, Hagerstown Speedway has been forced by weather conditions to move its season-ending race to that same weekend.
This year, the local season will end with the Final Showdown at Susquehanna on Nov. 10 and the Brawl in the Fall at Hagerstown on Nov. 11.
For years I've heard some race fans say that the local racing season starts too soon and ends too early. Old-timers always say that the local season went much longer in the past. I figured it was time to check things out, and see if that was true.
Actually I found that most of the really late-season races came in more recent times. I found 19 races in November before 1970 with three postponements. Since that time there have been 34 races with seven postponements. What's more, I found that of the 53 races run in November, 19 of them were run at tracks that were closed before the 1980s began.
So, which track has raced in November the most often? Not surprisingly, it's Hagerstown, which is the southern-most track on the circuit. What is surprising is that Hagerstown's 13 November sprint-car races is only one more than Lincoln's 12. The old Reading Fairgrounds is next with 11 November sprint-car races.
The old Bowling Green Speedway that closed in 1956 after just four seasons of racing, held eight races in November. Susquehanna has five, Williams Grove has two and Port Royal and Selinsgrove have each raced once in November.
The earliest November race I found was Port Royal's very first race for the stock cars that evolved into the local sprint cars. That was on Nov. 11, 1950, and Elmer Gray was the winner. The Port began weekly racing the next year.
Lincoln raced on Nov. 1, 1953, while both Lincoln and Bowling Green were snowed out on Nov. 8. Then Bowling Green came back and raced for the next three weeks, with its final race on Nov. 26.
Bowling Green got three of four races in during November of 1954, with the final race falling on Nov. 28. That's the latest November date I have on record.
In 1955, Bowling Green and Susquehanna went head-to-head on the first two Sundays in November.
It wasn't until 1963 that another November race went into the record books. That year Williams Grove raced on the first Sunday, and Lincoln raced on the second Sunday.
Lincoln then hosted three November races in 1964 and two in 1965.
It was 1971 before Williams Grove put another November race into the local record books. Reading then hosted between one and four races in November each year between 1974 and 1977, ending with a total of 11 November races over the four years. It was 1984, before Hagerstown tried another November race. They lost both races that year, but got in eight of 10 scheduled races into the books between 1985 and 1987.
Susquehanna and Lincoln each got one in the books in 1988, while Susky lost its 1989 attempt. Selinsgrove did run a November race in 1989.
Lincoln got in one in each of the next four years, but Selinsgrove lost one in 1993.
Hagerstown raced twice in November of 1994, once in 1996, and once in 1998.
No one tried it again until Susquehanna in 2010. So far, the November races have met with good conditions in each of the last two years.
So, who has won the most local races in November? It's a tie between three drivers. Bobby Allen, Kenny Weld and Buzz Wilson have each won four times in November.
Three-time November winners are Steve Smith, Dick Tobias and Bobby Abel. Fred Rahmer, Cris Eash Bobby Wolfe, Van May and Johnny Mackison Sr. have each won twice in November.
Single November wins have gone to Donnie Kreitz Jr. Chad Layton, Daryn Pittman, Kenny Jacobs, Stevie Smith, Dave Kelly, Keith Kauffman, Joey Allen, Dan Dietrich, Dale Blaney, Lance Dewease, Billy Pauch, Kramer Williamson, Kenny Adams, Todd Shaffer, Bud Folkenroth, Hal Browning, Bobby Myers, Harvey Richards, Scott Smith, Elmer Gray and Dave Leppo.
December? After talking about November racing, does anyone remember the Grand Reopening of the Nazareth National Speedway?
A quick history of that track. It was built as a 1 1/8th-mile dirt track in 1969, but closed after a few years. Former Reading promoter Lindy Vicari reopened the track as a one-mile dirt oval in the early 1980s, and operated it for several years before selling it to Roger Penske, who converted it to a paved track. Penske and then the International Speedway Corp operated it for a number of years, hosting Indy Car and NASCAR Grand National and truck races. It has just been sitting there for a number of years now.
The Grand Reopening I referred to earlier happen when Vicari was set to open the one-mile dirt track. Foul late-season weather kept pushing the Grand Opening later and later until the track finally opened with modifieds and USAC Dirt Champ cars on the first weekend in December. If my memory is correct, that race is when Keith Kauffman scored his one career USAC Dirt Champ car victory.
This weekend: Susquehanna has the Turkey 200 enduro planned for this Saturday.
Big- and small-car enduros and minivan racing are on the schedule.
Also, the big race-car flea market is set for Saturday at the Farm Show complex.
-- Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dis patch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdis patch.com.