HOUSEHOLDER: Mother Nature forces Lincoln Speedway to push back season opener another week
- This past weekend's Ice Breaker 30 at Lincoln Speedway was postponed due to inclement weather.
- It is the second straight week the event has been postponed. They will try again this weekend.
- Mother Nature not cooperating isn't new. History shows the season-opening races at Lincoln and Port don't usually happen in early March.
The score now stands at Mother Nature 2, Local Tracks 0.
Weather again forced the postponement of the Ice Breaker 30 at Lincoln Speedway last weekend.
Lincoln will try again this weekend to present the Ice Breaker 30 for the sprint cars on Saturday afternoon. Then on Sunday afternoon, Port Royal is set to open its season with sprint cars and late models.
Both sprint car races this weekend are to pay $4,000 to win, while the late models will race for $2,200 to win at the Port.
Lincoln has lost its first two attempts to present its season opener, while this is the Port’s scheduled opener for the season. It’s also a break from normal for the Port, which usually races on Saturdays.
While it is not unusual for tracks to lose early season races due to the weather, things have been abnormal with our local weather. Mid- to late-week snow the past two weeks have caused the cancellations. Perhaps this will be the week. Could it be that the Port might even get to present the first show of the season this year?
Port's earliest starts: The Port has only opened the local season seven times in its history, while Lincoln has only lost having the first race of the season once since it started hosting the opener back in 1994.
Port Royal hosted its first recorded race on Sept.10, 1938. The AAA “big cars” (now known as sprint cars) were on the docket for the Fair Race that year, and Russ Campbell was the winner.
Jerry Dunmoyer won the AAA race the following year and then racing didn’t return until the 1946 Fair at the Port.
Multi-time national champion Ted Horn won the next three Fair races at the Port. In 1949, the AAA raced twice at the Port. In May, Lucky Lux was the winner, while at the Fair in September, it was Indy 500 winner Bill Holland in victory lane.
Things changed at the Port in 1950. The Fair race was won by legendary local ace Tommy Hinnershitz, but on Nov. 11 of that year, the Port presented its first race for the local stock cars that were becoming so popular. Elmer Gray, one of many drivers in the field from the Reedsville Speedway just up the road near Lewistown, scored the win.
For the 1951 racing season, the Port switched to weekly stock car racing starting on May 30. Curt Zook won the first season opener for weekly racing at the Port. They have been at it at the Port every year since.
Only once in its 68 years of weekly racing, however, has Port Royal been able to open this early. In fact, the earliest season opener on record at the Port was on March 10, 1990. URC star turned local ace Dave Kelly won that race.
The Port has opened once on March 11, with Dan Dietrich winning in 1988. March 12 has seen two Port Royal openers. In 1983, Bobby Davis Jr. won, and in 2016, it was Greg Hodnett in victory lane.
Lincoln's earliest starts: Lincoln, on the other hand has opened on or prior to March 9 20 times in its 66-year history.
Fred Rahmer is Lincoln’s leading opening-day winner with seven. At the Port, Todd Shaffer leads all opening-day winners with six victories.
As for those weather issues we’ve had of late, the longest that fans at Lincoln have had to wait for the weather to clear for the opening race is four weeks and one day. That was in 1994.
At the Port, things have been a little tougher. Fans there once waited six weeks and then saw the opening-day feature rained out, which made it seven weeks before the opening feature of the season made it into the record books. That happened in 1993.
Last year, Lincoln opened one week late with Dover’s Chad Trout scoring the win. At the Port last year, Lance Dewease won the opener four weeks after it was originally scheduled.
Indoor races: If the weather stays bad outdoors, the Sammons family promotions Indoor action wraps up this weekend.
The TQ midgets, along with Slingshots and Champ karts, will be racing at an all new venue on the Fairgrounds at Syracuse, New York. The site of the new building is very close to where the now gone “Moody Mile” held races for many years in Syracuse. There are complete programs on Friday and Saturday at Syracuse.
A look back to 1991: This weekend did see racing in 1991.
Lincoln and Selinsgrove raced on Saturday evening, while Williams Grove was in action on Sunday afternoon.
At Lincoln, Steve Siegel raced to his first win of the season in his own No. 2 sprinter. Up the road at Selinsgrove, it was Todd Shaffer parking Gary Turnbaugh’s No. 11 in victory lane for the first time that year.
On Sunday at Williams Grove, the day started with a make-up feature from the previous week and then continued with a full program, In the end, it was the same driver in victory lane for both events. Steve Smith pushed his season win total to five in his own Leiby’s Mobile Homes No. 19.
Race results: The World of Outlaws raced last Wednesday and Thursday at Las Vegas.
On Wednesday, Tim Shaffer scored the win over Tim Kaeding, Donny Schatz, Rico Abreu and Giovanni Scelzi.
Kyle Larson, Daryn Pittman, Cory Eliason, Brad Sweet and Christopher Bell rounded out the top 10. Brent Marks was 11th, Hanover’s Logan Schuchart 12th and Hanover’s Jacob Allen 26th.
On Thursday, Schatz passed Pittman on the final lap for the win. Schuchart, Ian Madsen and Larson completed the top five. Rounding out the top 10 were Carson Macedo, David Gravel, Shane Golobic, Jason Sides and Shane Stewart. Allen was 21st.
Reach Bryan Householder at email@example.com.