Two national touring groups will visit the area this weekend.
The All Star Circuit of Champions sprint cars and the Lucas Oil late models both make local stops.
The All Stars, now owned by NASCAR star Tony Stewart, will visit Williams Grove on Friday and Port Royal on Saturday. The Lucas Oil late model series is at Hagerstown on Saturday. Add in the Fred Rahmer-promoted sprint car event at Path Valley on Sunday, and it's a big weekend.
The All Stars come east with a new series owner, a new race format and a new race director. Many folks may not realize that Reading-area native Don Grabey has taken over the race director position with the All Stars, a position he held with the World of Outlaws for many years.
Friday at the Grove, the All Stars share the bill with the limited late models. The Grove show will be a regular All Star show. The format includes time trials against only the cars in a driver's heat race, and a revenge draw for the dash line up. The feature Friday pays $5,000 to win.
Saturday at Port Royal, the All Stars invade for the Bob Weikert Memorial Race. The event honoring the longtime local car owner will offer $15,000 to the winner. The econo late models and Xtreme stocks are also on the program.
The Lucas Oil late models are at Hagerstown Saturday for the 33rd annual Stanley Schemtrompf Memorial Race. Schemtrompf built the Hagerstown oval back in the 1940s. The feature is 50 laps. Late model sportsmen and pure stocks are also on the card.
Rahmer takes his second stab at a Path Valley promotion on Sunday evening. The sprints go for $5,000 to win and lots of bonuses. Rahmer will promote two more shows at the high-banked, quarter-mile oval this season. The 600cc micro sprints will also be on the program.
There's plenty of other local racing this weekend as well.
Friday's slate also includes the 358 sprints, 270cc micro sprints, limited stocks and street stocks at Trailway, the wingless super sportsmen at Path Valley and URC 360 sprints at Big Diamond.
Lincoln will host the sprints, 358 sprints and Legends on Saturday for York County Racing Club Night. The 358/360 sprints, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners race at Selinsgrove Saturday.
Susquehanna Speedway Park will host the limited late models, street stocks, Xtreme stocks, road warriors, minivans and the 305 sprints on Saturday.
Car counts: There has been some concern in the area this season about car counts at the race tracks.
It's still too early in the season to make any accurate guess on what will happen as the season progresses, but there are some real signs of life at some tracks.
The weather has been a factor in how many race cars show up at a track. Friday races have been hurting for cars. Last Friday was the best Friday in terms of weather that we've had so far this year, and even then it rained in the morning.
The counts at the Friday tracks were better last weekend, although still not great. Williams Grove offered a large sprint car purse for the Tommy Classic and still drew only 26 sprint cars. The super sportsman field checked in at 24. So far this season, the sportsman racers haven't had the really large fields of the past, but they've had a full field for every race.
The sprints at the Grove had their first full field of the season. At Trailway, the 358 sprint car count has been very slim. Just eight the first Friday and 11 last Friday.
The 358 class has been kicked around for car counts the past several years, but wait. Last Saturday was a really nice day, and guys (and girls) have had more time to get ready. Lincoln drew 37 358 sprints Saturday. Add in 32 sprint cars and 24 street stocks, and there were no car count problems at Lincoln last week. The crowd count was really, really good too.
I still say it's too early in the season to worry about car counts. There are teams that have cut back to one night a week, but counting Port Royal's 25 cars on Saturday, there were 57 sprint cars on the local tracks last Saturday. Lincoln had 37 358 sprints on the same night Selinsgrove had 21 360s, so the limited classes aren't doing too badly either.
Late model round table: Sunday afternoon's late model round-table discussion at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing went very well, with another fine turnout of both past and present late model racers on hand.
Perhaps the highlight of the day was the unveiling of the recently restored No. 21a Ford Maverick late model that late model legend Gary Stuhler drove in the late 1970s and early 1980s for car owner Butch Devilbiss. Sunday was the first time Stuhler had seen the car since back in the day when he was racing it.
1970: This was a big weekend back in 1970 as well. It started with the touring USAC sprints at Reading on Friday evening. Local racing legend Dick Tobias topped USAC that night at his home track. Tobias, a local champion at Williams Grove, Selinsgrove, Port Royal and, of course, Reading, was a USAC regular that season. The Reading win that year was one of six career USAC wins for the driver who would lose his life in a USAC sprint car race at Flemington, New Jersey, in 1978.
Saturday racing found action at Lincoln, Port Royal and Selinsgrove. At Lincoln, popular Hal Browning would drive to his first win of the season in the Hampton-Palmer No. 6. Lynn Paxton put Roy Emrich's No. 1 in Port Royal's victory lane for his first win of the season, while at Selinsgrove, Jan Opperman got his second win of the young season in Harold Hank's No. 4.
On Sunday afternoon racing moved to Williams Grove, where Bobby Allen got his first win of the season in Roy Emrich's No. 3. That evening action switched to Hagerstown, where Johnny Grum got his second win of the season in Harry Fletcher's No. 66.
— 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 Central PENNSYLVANIA Sprint Cars
Presented by Hoseheads.com
1. Greg Hodnett (2) 263
2. Danny Dietrich (2) 202
3. Lucas Wolfe (1) 184
4. Brian Montieth (2) 182
5. Brent Marks 172
6. Aaron Ott (1) 156
7. Lance Dewease (1) 122
8. Cory Haas 118
9. Austin Hogue 115
10. Alan Krimes 107
12. Freddie Rahmer 78
13. Steve Buckwalter 73
14. Mark Smith 71
15. Kyle Moody 67
16. Davey Sammons 62
17. Jim Siegel 60
18. Robbie Kendall 56
19. Glenndon Forsythe (1) 50
19. Stevie Smith (1) 50
19. Rodney Westhafer (1) 50
22. Adam Wilt 49
23. Gerard McIntyre Jr. 44
24. Mike Wagner 38
25. Doug Esh 35
25. Nate Snyder 35
25. Ryan Smith 35
CAPITOL RENEGADE 358 Sprint Series
1. Doug Hammaker (1) 151
2. Brad McClelland (1) 107
3. Issac Sneeringer (2) 105
4. Cody Fletcher 95
5. Adrian Shaffer 78
6. Todd Rittenhouse Jr. (1) 75
6. Jeff Rohrbaugh 75
8. Kevin Nouse 70
9. Kody Lehman 65
10. Chandler Leiby 59