If the weather forecast holds, local dirt-track racing fans can look forward to the best weekend of the young season.
Temperatures are supposed to reach into the mid-60s both Friday and Saturday with zero percent chance of rain.
Let's hope the weather folks are right, especially after all the area racing action was wiped out last Friday and Saturday by the winter conditions. Only Sunday's show at Susquehanna Speedway was able to get the best of Old Man Winter in what was hopefully his last gasp of the season. The Susky show was won by Spring Grove's Greg Hodnett.
This coming weekend, Friday action finds Williams Grove presenting its second Yellow Breeches 500 series race of the season for the sprint cars. It's a regular handicapped program that offers up a regular purse of $3,600 to win at the front of the field, but offers at least $500 to every feature starter. The PASS 305 sprints join in the program.
Trailway will again attempt to open its season with the 358 sprints headlining a Friday program that also offers 270cc micro sprints, limited stock cars and classic cars. Path Valley has its second wingless super sportsman show of the season, along with crate late models. Carmen Perigo Jr. won the opening wingless super sportsman feature at "The Path" two weeks ago.
Saturday Lincoln offers the sprints, 358 sprints and limited late models, while Port Royal has sprints, late models and PASS 305 sprints.
At Susquehanna Saturday, the super sportsmen are joined by the ARDC midgets, extreme stock cars and minivans for York County Racing Club Night.
Selinsgrove will attempt to open its season on Saturday, with a big event for the 360 sprint cars. The 360 Showdown will pit Selinsgrove’s regular weekly field against the 360 stars of both the URC and ESS organizations. The late models and pro stocks also compete.
Hagerstown has the late models, late model sportsmen, crate late models, pure stocks and hobby stocks on its Saturday program.
1966: Since most of last weekend’s racing action was rained out, it’s probably a good time to look back at what happened on this coming weekend 50 years ago.
It also works out well since this coming weekend was the first nearly full weekend of racing around the area in 1966. It also marked the only really full weekend of racing in April that year. The next two weekends were mostly washouts.
The weekend started with two racing programs on Friday evening. Williams Grove and Winchester, Virginia, both raced that Friday night. It would be the second weekend in May until the third Friday track, Dorsey, Maryland, would join them. A week after that, Bedford would become the fourth Friday track in the area for the season.
Opening day at Williams Grove found the ever-popular Leroy Felty racing to victory in his Hackenberg Chevy No. 7. Felty was already a veteran racer, having started in the early 1950s at the Hilltop Speedway. He was to become one of the few drivers who won in all three steps of the local evolution of racing, from stock cars to bugs to sprint cars. He had also already added late models to his win list.
At Winchester, it was another veteran driver, Red Ninninger, who drove to the opening day victory. Ninninger was driving the blue No. 37 racer. An accomplished stock car racer, Ninninger was also quick in the bugs of the day. Later, he would move to the late model ranks.
Saturday action around the area that weekend found Lincoln, Selinsgrove and Port Royal opening their gates for the season. The South Penn Speedway in Everett would join the Saturday slate in June.
Lincoln’s opener fell to one of the 1965 season’s top runners. York’s Bobby Myers drove the Gurtizen No. 51 to the win at Lincoln. Myers had been a top late model driver for a few years before his breakout season in the bugs in 1965. Unfortunately, part way through the 1966 season, the Gurtizen team would revert back to a one-car team with Bud Folkenroth the primary driver, and Myers’ car was sold. It became the car that launched the career of one of this area’s legendary drivers, Smokey Snellbaker. Myers' win at Dorsey in May would be his last.
The Selinsgrove opener was the first of the 42 wins that Ray Tilley would score that season in Bud Grimm’s Floyd Trevis-built No. 88. That car, built to the standing rules, but more like a sprint car, had much to do with this area switching to sprint cars in the coming seasons.
At Port Royal, Mitch Smith became the season’s first repeat winner in the Flock Brothers' “Flying Tiger” No. 2. In fact, Smith was on a roll, and scored his second Susquehanna win in a row the next day to bring his season total to three.
At Hagerstown on Sunday, West Virginia dairy farmer Irvin King drove his familiar red-and-white No. 86 to his first win of the season.
There was also racing at Williams Grove on Sunday afternoon. The URC sprint cars were there for a special appearance. In that day, the URC cars were full-up wing-less (actually even cage-less) sprint cars. Western Pennsylvania star Ted Wise drove to the URC win that day.
EMMR: It’s already the third Sunday in April, and that means the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing has a third Sunday round table scheduled. This month will feature the late models, with museum volunteer Barry Klinedinst presiding.
Manchester’s Klinedinst knows what he’s talking about with late models. His Hall of Fame career with the stock cars found him owning and wrenching late models that won all over the East Coast from the mid 1960s through the mid 2010s.
This round table will attract many of the area’s biggest stars in each of its previous two years. Drivers from every era of local late model racing are also expected.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2016 SPEEDWAY MOTORS/CHAMPION RACING OIL
CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT CAR SERIES
PRESENTED BY HOSEHEADS.COM
Each driver is listed with his car number, total points and season wins.
1. 27 Greg Hodnett 308 3
2. 21 Brian Montieth 195 1
3. 51 Freddie Rahmer 160 1
4. 48 Danny Dietrich 143
5. 07 Doug Esh 142
6. 19M Brent Marks 138
7. 87 Alan Krimes 116
8. 11c Cory Haas 111
9. 17B Steve Buckwalter 110 1
10. 15 Adam Wilt 107
11. 1/5W Lucas Wolfe 102
12. 25 Aaron Ott 100 1
13. M1 Mark Smith 92
14. 55 Mike Wagner 90
15. 5 Dylan Cisney 70
16. 16 Gerard McIntyre Jr 69
17. 23 T J Stutts 67
18. 59 Jim Siegel 66
19. 8 Billy Dietrich 64 1
20. 3z Brock Zearfoss 61
21. 0 Rick Lafferty 60 1
22. 94 Ryan Smith 56
23. 2w Glenndon Forsythe 55
24. 3 Pat Cannon 50 1
24. 4 Kasey Kahne 50 1