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HOUSEHOLDER: Weather problems wipe out much of local racing slate

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
YorkDispatch

Some unexpected weather problems cropped up last weekend to wipe out much of the local racing slate. Hagerstown was able to present it's Saturday racing program, with Andy Anderson picking up the late model win. However, racing for the sprint cars at Port Royal, Susquehanna and Path Valley was washed out.

Perhaps that should be amended to say weathered out. At Port Royal on Saturday afternoon, a storm moved through the area just before the gates were to open. While the storm probably only lasted for 20 minutes or so, it produced plenty of rain, and also sleet.

Sunday it got worse for Susquehanna and Path Valley. I was at Path Valley, so I can only guess about Susquehanna. But at Path Valley, during the afternoon as cars and fans were arriving there were several rain and snow squalls. Twice as cars were entering this happened, but the show went on. I'd imagine Susquehanna experienced similar problems.

At Path Valley they kept moving forward until another snow/rain squall hit during warmups. Again they got the track ready, and again they continued. This time they completed warm ups, ran time trials for the sprints, and all the heats for the micro sprints. As the first sprint car heat moved to the track the snow/rain hit again.

This time promoter Fred Rahmer decided he'd had enough, as the weather radar was now showing similar activity for the rest of the evening. Susquehanna had cancelled their races just minutes earlier.

Of course, in true fickle fashion, the sun came out just after the cancellation. I can note that before I left it was raining again at Path Valley.

Many folks thought it was wrong for two tracks to run the same night this late in the year. However, both tracks did well as far as car count goes. Both had more than a full field of cars, with 30 sprint cars at Susquehanna, and 28 at Path Valley.

Other dirt track racing

Hodnett clinches: With just two sprint car races remaining on the local racing calendar, spring Grove's Greg Hodnett has now clinched the Speedway Motors/Champion Racing Oil central PA Sprint Car series title. In fact, the top six positions are pretty much a lock now.

This weekend: The World of Outlaws sprint cars return to the area this weekend for a Saturday evening show at Port Royal. This is the second year in a row that the Outlaws have come to the Port for a late season show. Last year Ryan Smith scored his first career Outlaw win at this event.

The Outlaws have raced at the Port just eight times in their history and eight different drivers have scored wins. Local racer Lynn Paxton was the first back in 1979, while another local racer, Donnie Kreitz Jr score the win the next time the Outlaws visited in 1986.

Doug Wolfgang was still racing on the local circuit when he picked up an Outlaw win at the Port in 1987. It wasn't until 2001 that the Outlaws returned to the Port and began a string of Outlaw winners. Danny wood won in '01, with Brad Furr in '02, Jason Meyers in '03 and Donny Schatz in '04.

Smith's win last year set the score at four each as the Outlaws return this year.

The Mid Atlantic Modifieds will also be on the slate at the Port.

Hagerstown offers the "Ernie's Fall Bash" this weekend. Friday the crate late models, hobby stocks and mini stocks compete. On Saturday the late models, late model sportsman, pure stocks and All American Outlaws compete. The late model feature offers $5000 to the winner.

1970: The local 1970 racing season wrapped up on this weekend with the running of the Williams Grove National Open on Sunday afternoon. Johnny Grum scored his 18th win of the season when he parked Harry Fletcher's #66 in victory lane that day.

Following Grum across the line were Bobby Allen, Kenny Weld, Steve Ungar and Bobbie Adamson.

Local champions in 1970 were Weld at Williams Grove, Allen at Lincoln, Adamson at Selinsgrove, Elmer Ruby at Port Royal and Irvin King at Hagerstown.

Mitch Smith was the season's big winner with 21, followed by Weld with 20, Grum with 18, Lynn Paxton with 11 and Adamson and Allen with 10 each.