The Labor Day Holiday weekend will be a busy one on the local racing circuit.
Four tracks will offer two racing programs over the holiday weekend.
Williams Grove has racing events planned for both Friday and Sunday evenings. On Friday, it's the Jack Gunn Memorial Race for the sprint cars. This race honors the late promoter of the facility. In years past the Triple 20 program was known as the Jack Gunn Memorial. With no Triple 20 program on this year's schedule, Friday's program will be a championship 30-lap contest. The 1,000cc sidewinder micro sprints also compete, and there will be a fireworks display.
The Grove returns to action on Sunday with the Billy Kimmel Memorial Race. This one features the sprints and 358 sprints, plus fireworks.
Port Royal also hosts a two-race weekend. On Saturday, the late models go in the Butch Renninger Memorial Race, with the sprints, pro stocks and an enduro dash also on the slate for the opening race of the 159th annual Juniata County Fair.
The Port returns on Monday afternoon for the 62nd running of the Labor Day Classic for the sprint cars. Also on the daytime program are the ARDC midgets.
Selinsgrove puts the late models on center stage this weekend with a two-day World of Outlaws late-model program. Saturday the WoO late models are joined by the pro stocks and roadrunners. On Sunday, the limited-late models join the WoO late models.
Hagerstown also offers two days of racing this weekend. Friday night, the late models go in the Ronnie McBee/Speedy Hayes Memorial, a 44-lap race. The pure stocks are also on the agenda that night.
Saturday at Hagerstown, it's a "Run What Ya Brung" program for the late models, late-model sportsmen, pure stocks and hobby stocks.
Trailway is in action on Friday evening with the 358 sprints, 600cc micro sprints, limited stocks and classic cars.
At Lincoln on Saturday, the sprint cars are joined by the 358 sprints and the super sportsmen, plus fireworks.
Susquehanna Speedway Park will offer the York County National Open for its regular Saturday night series. The Steel Block Bandit late models will go for 32 laps in their feature, while the street stocks, Xtreme stock cars and the classic cars will also be on hand.
The IZOD Indy Cars will race in the area this weekend as well. The Baltimore Indy Car Grand Prix will race through the streets of Baltimore on Sunday.
FIRST SHOT: A number of drivers got a chance to race sprint cars for the first time over the last week or so.
It started last Tuesday at New Egypt, N.J., when a pair of that speedway's top modified competitors raced in the Jersey Rush. Ryan Godown, who shares a car owner, sponsors and a number with sprint-car racer Davey Sammons, raced a second Sammons car at New Egypt, while Sammons raced a second Godown modified.
At the same race, Neal Williams made his first sprint-car start. Williams drives a modified owned by the promoter of New Egypt Speedway. Williams also visited Susquehanna last Sunday.
On Saturday at Lincoln, 358 sprint competitor Tyler Ross took a ride in a second John Pinter sprint car as a teammate to Ryan Smith.
Then on Sunday at Susquehanna, former ARDC midget champion Drew Heistand drove a second Ryan Wilson sprinter, and Brad Howard, the young son of veteran racer Bob Howard, took a drive in a second of his father's cars.
1968: Labor Day weekend was a busy one back in 1968 as well.
Things kicked off with a Twin 20 show at Williams Grove on Friday evening. Junior Ritchie drove Roy Moral's No. 880 to victory in the first race, while Gene Varner was the victor in the second event in the white No. 16 machine. Ritchie's victory was his second of the season, and his performance in both races gave him the overall victory as well. Varner's win was his first of the year.
On Saturday at Lincoln, Kenny Weld drove the Don Rice Ford No. 31 to his first win of the weekend. His second would come on Monday at Jennerstown and propel his season win total to 11.
At Selinsgrove on Saturday, Mitch Smith would take one of his first rides in the famed Gary Wasson No. 5, and it ended up in victory lane. The win was Smith's 13th of the season.
On that same night at Port Royal, Lynn Paxton visited victory lane in the Emrich Chevy No. 1. For Paxton, that was his 14th win of the season.
At Winchester, Va., on Saturday, Irvin King drove his own No. 86 to victory lane. The win was King's second of the season.
Sunday evening at Susquehanna, Gus Linder drove the Mickey Banas No. 69 to his 12th win of the year.
At Hagerstown on Sunday evening, it was a Twin 20 program, and Johnny Grum drove Harry Fletcher's No. 66 to victory lane in both races. Grum liked Sunday night so well, he parked the No. 66 in victory lane at Port Royal's Labor Day Classic the next afternoon. Those three wins pushed Grum's season win total to seven.
-- Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.