HOUSEHOLDER: Labor Day weekend to feature loads of local dirt track racing
As is usually the case, the local racing circuit will be a busy place over the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Williams Grove, Port Royal and Selinsgrove each have two racing dates set for the weekend, with big events at other ovals as well.
Williams Grove kicks off its weekend with the Jack Gunn Memorial Race on Friday evening. As it did last year, the event honoring the late speedway promoter will use the format used by the Australian World Series of Sprint Car Racing. This format uses a series of two heat races for each car, with points setting the feature lineup. The 305 sprints will also be a part of the program.
On Sunday evening, the Grove returns to action with the Billy Kimmel Memorial Race. The event will feature the sprint cars and the 358 sprints. The 358 sprints will compete in the final leg of the Nouse Signs and Graphics Summer Series.
Port Royal's two shows coincide with the opening of the Juniata County Fair on the historic fairgrounds. Saturday, the UFO late models are featured in the Butch Renninger Memorial Race. The sprints and econo late models also compete.
Port Royal returns on Monday afternoon with the 64th running of the Labor Day Classic. Sprint cars highlight this event, which also features the econo late models and the legends.
At Selinsgrove, the World of Outlaws late models come to the area for a two-day show on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Joining the WoO late models on Saturday are the pro stocks, while on Sunday the limited late models join the show.
On Friday at Trailway, the 358 sprint cars race in the first leg of the Lincoln/Trailway Shootout. Also on the Trailway program are the Legends, limited stocks and street stocks.
The Shootout moves to Lincoln on Saturday as part of a three-division, open-wheel program. The event honors longtime area car owner J.L. Howard. Sprint cars highlight, along with the 358 sprints and super sportsman racers. There will also be fireworks.
Susquehanna Speedway Park plays host to the York County Nationals for its Saturday stock car program. The Saturday show features the limited late models, street stocks, Xtreme stocks, road warriors, minivans and classic cars.
Hagerstown will play host to Championship Night Saturday, with track champions being decided in the late models, late model sportsmen, pure stocks and hobby stocks. The Penn Mar vintage stocks will also be on hand.
Legends of central Pennsylvania: What a crowd Fred Rahmer Promotions pulled in Wednesday evening for the Legends of Central Pennsylvania Sprint Car Racing show at Lincoln. It had to be one of Lincoln's largest crowds in recent memory.
Todd Shaffer won the featured race, which saw a dozen area legends compete in 410 sprint cars one more time. Shaffer and Kenny Adams each led the feature race. Also competing were Kenny Jacobs, Cris Eash, Keith Kauffman, Steve Siegel, Steve Smith, Steve Stambaugh, Jeff Shepard, Billy Pauch, Bobby Weaver and Lynn Paxton.
The race was the first time Paxton had sat in a sprint car since 1984, while Smith hadn't been behind the wheel since 1996. Stambaugh also ended his career in the mid 1990s.
All of the cars were done in graphics that closely resembled paint schemes from the driver's heyday at the wheel. Many of the graphics were done by Rahmer's son, Brandon, who hadn't even been born when most of the cars had raced. Brandon Rahmer did a wonderful job with the graphics and then also in his own racing career, scoring his first career win in Lincoln's Saturday show.
The 358 sprint feature at Lincoln on Wednesday evening was won by Phil Walter, who at one time or another had raced against all but one of the drivers in the Legends' race. Walter's win was his first since contracting Lyme disease late last summer.
Shootout Dash winner Danny Dietrich kept the theme alive. He is the son of another of the area's past champions, Dan Dietrich.
York County drivers: York County drivers Austin Hogue, of Dover, and Cory Haas, of York, put on quite a show at Williams Grove on Friday evening. Haas passed Hogue for the lead just past the mid point of the race, and then Hogue returned the favor on the final lap to score the win.
When Brandon Rahmer won at Lincoln on Saturday, he joined another York County driver, Chase Dietz, as the second first-time Lincoln sprint car winner in three weeks. Dietz, the 2014 358 sprint champion at Lincoln, had won there on Aug. 15.
Dietz is Haas' nephew and has been driving the Scott Gobrecht-owned 410 sprint at Lincoln, while competing in the 358 sprints at Williams Grove on Fridays in the Godfrey machine.
Dietz had a third-place finish in the 358s at the Grove on Friday, which is his worst finish there since the third race of the season. After mechanical problems in the first two races at the Grove, Dietz had racked up a string that included two wins and four second-place finishes before Friday's third.
1970: Labor Day weekend was a busy one in 1970 as well, and the "Linglestown Leadfoot," Mitch Smith, had a very productive weekend. Smith drove Gary Wasson's No. 5 to wins in both ends of the twin 25s program at Williams Grove on Friday night, then won Saturday at Selinsgrove before wrapping up his weekend with a win in the Labor Day Classic at Port Royal on Monday. Those four wins pushed Smith's total to 20 for the season.
Bobby Allen didn't do badly that weekend either. Allen drove "Shorty" Emrich's No. 3 to victory lane at Lincoln on Saturday, and then returned to victory lane in the Hub City 100 at Hagerstown on Sunday. At the end of the weekend, Allen's win total for the season stood at seven.
The other weekend winner was Johnny Grum, who won at Port Royal on Saturday. Grum's win in Harry Fletcher's No. 66 was his 16th of the season.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Sprint car standings
Speedway Motors/Champion Racing Oil Central Pennsylvania Sprint Car Standings
Presented by Hoseheads.com
1. Greg Hodnett (15) 1,628
2. Danny Dietrich (14) 1,454
3. Brian Montieth (8) 1,119
4. Lucas Wolfe (3) 1,000
5. Brent Marks 783
6. Lance Dewease (1) 730
7. Alan Krimes (2) 636
8. Aaron Ott (1) 629
9. Stevie Smith (8) 619
10. Steve Buckwalter (3) 540
11. Cory Haas 476
12. Austin Hogue (1) 420
13. Doug Esh (2) 254
14. Jim Siegel (1) 236
15. Tim Glatfelter 228
16. Brock Zearfoss 225
17. Mike Wagner 223
18. Kyle Moody 217
19. Robbie Kendall 200
20. Logan Wagner (1) 197
21. Freddie Rahmer 194
22. Ryan Taylor 190
23. Dylan Cisney 186
24. Davey Sammons 180
25. Adam Wilt 177
CAPITOL RENEGADE 358 SPRINT CAR SERIES STANDINGS
1. Doug Hammaker (5) 966
2. Brad McClelland (7) 827
3. Matt Campbell (2) 758
4. Issac Sneeringer (5) 639
5. Cody Fletcher (2) 638
6. Adrian Shaffer (3) 511
7. Jeff Halligan (3) 467
8. Kevin Nouse 460
9. Chandler Leiby (1) 436
10. Seth Kearchner (1) 427