It's again time for one of the area's most anticipated motor-racing events.
The 24th annual Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek starts Friday evening at Williams Grove Speedway. There are nine big sprint-car races in 10 days, with nearly $250,000 on the line for the competitors.
This year, Jake's Way Back Burgers is sponsoring the series that will visit seven different tracks, ranging in size from the quarter-mile bullrings at Path Valley and Grandview to the full half miles at Williams Grove, Selinsgrove, Port Royal and Hagerstown.
The series kicks off Friday evening at the historic Williams Grove Speedway. Friday's race at the Grove is the shortest of the series. The 25-lap feature will offer $5,000 to win. Joining the sprint cars at the Grove on Friday is a vintage race-car exhibition by the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing.
From the Grove, it's off to Lincoln Speedway on Saturday evening. At Lincoln, the sprint cars will contest the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Race over a 30-lap distance with $7,000 for the winner. The Legends series cars will also be a part of Lincoln's show, which means Gobrecht's brother, Scott, will be in competition.
After Lincoln, the series returns to Path Valley Speedway near Spring Run on Sunday for the first time since the 1990s. This is a much-anticipated event, since "The King of Speedweek," Fred Rahmer will promote the show. Now retired as a driver, the 13-time Speedweek champion, will take a major stab at promotion.
The 40-lap feature on Path Valley's high banked quarter-mile track will pay the standard Speedweek purse, with $5,000 to the winner. However, Rahmer has come up with numerous bonuses for the competitors and the winner of this race could go home with as much as $7,800 if he had a perfect night. The winged 600cc micro sprints are also on the slate.
After taking Monday off, Speedweek moves to Grandview Speedway on Tuesday evening. Another high banked quarter-mile oval, Grandview will offer $5,000 to win a 35-lap feature. Joining the sprint cars on the Grandview show will be the Race of Champions Modifieds.
Speedweek slips "South of the Border" on Wednesday evening for action at the Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland. Hagerstown will offer $5,000 to win its 30-lap feature on the wide sweeping half mile. The EMMR vintage racers will again offer an exhibition.
Thursday evening Speedweek moves to Port Royal for the first of two shows at that big half mile this year. Thursday's event at the Port will offer $7,000 to win a 30-lap feature. The econo late models will also compete.
On Friday of next week, Speedweek moves back to Williams Grove for the "Crown Jewel of Speedweek," the Mitch Smith Memorial Race. This one pays $10,000 to the winner of the 30-lap feature. The limited-late models and fireworks complete the program.
It's back to Port Royal on Saturday, July 5, when the 30-lap feature will pay $5,000 to win. On Saturday, the Port adds the late models and Xtreme stocks to the slate.
Speedweek wraps up Sunday, July 6, at Selinsgrove for the Jan Opperman Memorial Race. This one is again 30 laps, with $5,000 to the winner. The super sportsmen and 305 sprints are also on the program.
Other weekend races: Trailway races Friday evening with the 358 sprints, classic cars, 600cc micro sprints and limited stocks, while Williams Grove is back in action on Saturday with the super sportsmen, limited-late models and street stocks in the Saturday Night Series.
Selinsgrove will offer up the Firecracker 30 for the URC 360 sprints on Saturday. The late models and pro stocks also compete.
Hagerstown's Saturday show is the Johnny Roberts/Bonebrake Memorial Race for the late models, plus late-model sportsmen, pure stocks and hobby stocks.
Susquehanna Speedway Park will offer up the 305 sprints, limited-late models, Xtreme stocks, road warriors, minivans and figure-eight racing Saturday, and Port Royal gives the sprints the night off for Speedweek, and offers truck and tractor pulling instead.
1980: This was a wet weekend in 1980.
Williams Grove managed to get the weekend started right, and Smokey Snellbaker won his fourth in a row there. The win for Snellbaker was his sixth overall that season in the Lloyd's No. 56.
Lincoln beat the rain on Saturday when Van May drove the Weldon Sterner No. 69 to his fourth overall victory of the season. Port Royal got started on Saturday, but its features were rained out.
Selinsgrove lost its first attempt at returning to Saturday racing after trying Fridays earlier in the season, when the program was rained out.
Then on Sunday at Susquehanna, it was another program where the features got rained out.
Did he say that?: Word going around Lincoln Saturday was that NASCAR rookie phenom Kyle Larson gave this area's racers some major credit Saturday afternoon.
Larson won the NASCAR Late Model Series race on the road course at Sonoma, Calif., that afternoon. When asked in victory lane if there was anything he couldn't do in a race car, Larson is said to have replied, "win a sprint car race in central Pa."
— Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPEEDWAY MOTORS/CHAMPION RACING OIL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT CAR SERIES
Presented by Hoseheads.com
(Wins in parenthesis)
1. Greg Hodnett (3) 563
2. Danny Dietrich (3) 426
3. Brian Montieth (2) 355
4. Alan Krimes (2) 333
4. Lance Dewease (1) 333
6. Donnie Kreitz Jr. (2) 297
7. Blane Heimbach (2) 296
8. Gerard McIntyre Jr. (2) 285
9. Doug Esh (2) 266
10. Rick Lafferty (1) 259
11. Jim Siegel (2) 234
12. Cory Haas 226
13. Stevie Smith (2) 210
14. Chad Layton 184
15. Daryn Pittman (3) 180
16. Lucas Wolfe 179
17. Mike Wagner 175
18. Robbie Kendall (1) 172
19. Mike Erdley (1) 170
20. Austin Hogue (1) 156
21. Brent Marks 151
22. Justin Barger (1) 148
22. Adam Wilt (1) 148
24. Steve Buckwalter (1) 134
24. Steve Owings 122
Associated sponsors: Winters Performance, Maxim Chassis, RAACE, Hoosier Tire Mid Atlantic, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, ButlerBuilt Professional Seat Systems, Conroy Pneu-Control, Schnee Chassis
Product sponsors: VRP Shocks, Shaver Wesmar Gear Drives, RE Enterprise, Panchos Racing Products, KSE Racing Products, Kreitz Oval Parts, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, Rod End Supply, Zemco Speed Equipment, Saldana Racing Products, Hinchman Racewear, Triple X Race Co., ATL Fuel Cells, DriverWebSites.com.
RENEGADE 358 SPRINT SERIES POINTS
(Wins in parenthesis)
1. Kevin Nouse (5) 515
2. Brad McClelland (4) 439
3. Chase Dietz (2) 355
4. Matt Campbell (2) 337
5. Chandler Leiby 315
6. Niki Young (1) 274
7. Robbie Kendall (2) 266
8. Tyler Esh 227
9. Brock Zearfoss (1) 211
10. Adrian Shaffer (2) 207