The 23rd edition of Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek has been battling Mother Nature since the start.
Thus far, Speedweek has been winning.
While a number of tracks around the area were rained out over the weekend, all three Speedweek races did make it into the record books.
However, rain was a factor in all three events. Williams Grove had a shower just before the gates opened, and then some drizzle while running the feature. Lincoln went into overdrive when a large storm appeared on the weather radar, and just barely managed to complete its feature before the deluge hit. Big Diamond had plenty of rain in the area before and after the show.
Thus far, however, Speedweek has gone on, and three races have produced three winners. Greg Hodnett scored his 23rd Speedweek win at Williams Grove, Alan Krimes scored his third Speedweek win at Lincoln, and Texan Sam Hafertepe Jr. scored his first Speedweek win at Big Diamond. Hafertepe leads the series standings over Hodnett and 13-time champion Fred Rahmer.
Rahmer also moved his personal sting of top-10 finishes up to 34 with finishes of eighth, second and eighth over the weekend.
In addition to Hafertepe, this year's series has attracted visitors such as former World of Outlaws champion Danny Lasoski, Australian Darren Mollenoyux and Charlotte's Eric Riggins Jr.
Wingless star Brady Bacon joined the series at Big Diamond, and plans to work Speedweek visits around his USAC schedule. Bacon has a USAC race Thursday, but plans to make the rest of the Speedweek shows.
TIME: I've hit on this before, but this is too good to pass up.
In Saturday's Speedweek show at Lincoln, Stevie Smith set fast time in time trials. His lap was exactly .002 seconds faster than second-place Hafertepe. Third-place Rahmer was .013 back.
There were 19 cars within a half second of fast time, and all 36 cars timed within .9 seconds of the fastest time.
At Big Diamond on Sunday, Lance Dewease set fast time by .009 over Rahmer, and 21 of the 24 cars were within .8 seconds.
BONUS: A few years ago, Eshenaur Fuel Oil started offering a bonus for any driver who could win the sprint-car feature at Williams Grove with a last-lap pass.
When Craig Eshenaur was racing, he was always an "on-the-gas" type driver, and he liked the idea of a bonus for a last-lap pass.
The bonus started at $100, and was not claimed very often, so this year the value was upped to $250. It's been claimed each of the past two weeks. Two weeks ago, Brent Marks passed Stevie Smith on the last turn for the win. Last Friday's Speedweek show found Hodnett passing Danny Dietrich on the last lap for the win.
SPEEDWEEK: Speedweek action picks up again Tuesday night at Grandview for Thunder on the Hill.
The sprints go 35 laps for $5,000 to win. Grandview's ever-popular 358 modifieds will also compete.
Wednesday evening, Speedweek moves to Hagerstown for a 30-lap feature with $5,000 to the winner. The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will have an exhibition of vintage race cars.
Thursday, it's back to Lincoln for the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Race. That one goes for 30 laps, but offers $7,000 to the winner. The Legends Series racers will also be in action.
Friday at Williams Grove it's $10,000 to win for the Mitch Smith Memorial Race. The All-American Outlaws and fireworks round out the program.
Port Royal is the site of Saturday's Speedweek show, with $5,000 to win the 30-lap feature. The late models and an enduro dash complete the show.
Speedweek wraps up Sunday at Selinsgrove for the Jan Opperman Memorial Race -- another 30-lap feature with $5,000 to win. The super-sportsman racers are also on the slate.
OTHER RACES: Susquehanna Speedway Park hosts the 305 sprints, 600cc micro sprints, Legends, sportsman modifieds, sidewinder micro sprints and classic cars on Wednesday evening.
Susky then takes a couple of weeks off for its "summer break" before returning to action on July 20.
Trailway is in action on Friday with the 358 sprints, limited-late models, street stocks and 270cc micro sprints.
Lincoln will host the 358 sprints, 305 sprints and All-American Outlaws on Saturday, while the super sportsman racers go in the Firecracker 40 at Williams Grove. The limited-late models and street stocks are also on the Grove's slate.
Selinsgrove hosts the 358 sprints, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners Saturday, while Hagerstown offers up the AMA motorcycles this Saturday.
1968: This was a big week in local racing circles back in 1968 as well.
No less than a dozen races were reeled off between Wednesday and Sunday.
Lincoln and Port Royal both raced on Wednesday evening. Ray Tilley and the Bud Grimm Ford No. 88 made a rare visit to Lincoln and walked off with the victory in the 100-lap feature. Tilley's win was his 16th of the season, and would not be his last of the weekend.
At Port Royal on Wednesday evening, Johnny Grum parked Harry Fletcher's No. 66 in victory lane for the second time that season.
Action moved to Susquehanna and Jennerstown on Thursday evening. At Susky, Tilley was back in victory lane for the second time in two nights, and the 17th time that season. At Jennerstown, Milt Miller parked the "Hemi Hummer" No. 49 in victory lane for the fourth time that season.
On Friday at Williams Grove, it was Mitch Smith claiming his seventh win of the season in the Regester Chevy No. 6. Saturday's slate will filled with shows. At Selinsgrove, Tilley got his third win of the weekend, and 18th of the season. Lincoln's Saturday race found Rick Schmelyun Sr. scoring the win in Al Hamilton's No. 77. The win was Schmelyun's second of the season. Leroy Felty parked his "Velvet Jet" No. 7 in victory lane at Port Royal on Saturday. The win was Felty's fourth of the season. In Winchester, Va., Don Davis won for the fifth time that season in his No. 21, while at Jennerstown, Miller scored his second win there that week, and his fifth overall that season.
Sunday at Susquehanna, Florida star Bill Roynon won his only local race in his school bus yellow No. 9. Milt Miller's third win of the week came on Sunday night at Hagerstown.
-- Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go here for the sprint-car point standings.