HOUSEHOLDER: Ugly starts plague area tracks on weekend

  • Lincoln, Port Royal and Selinsgrove had tough starts to last weekend's races.
  • Lincoln and Port Royal had major crashes, while Selinsgrove also had a first-lap crash.
  • Once the races got going, however, all three went very, with lots of exciting action.

It seems that tracks in the area had trouble getting their sprint car features started on Saturday evening.

The 410 sprints at Lincoln and Port Royal each had major crashes at the start, while Selinsgrove also had a first-lap crash with the 360 sprints. Once the races got going, they went very well, with plenty of exciting racing.

It was just tough to get going.

All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Series owner Tony Stewart made a racing appearance at the Tuscarora 50 at Port Royal Speedway over the weekend.

At Port Royal, the crash at the start was perhaps the worst of the three. Some lane changing at the front of the starting field saw Friday’s Williams Grove winner, Doug Esh, clip the front of Lucas Wolfe’s sprinter, sending Wolfe flipping in front of the field. In all, eight cars were involved, with relative newcomer Cory Thornton taking a wild ride after his throttle stuck open during the crash.

All drivers got out of their cars on their own, but Thornton did take a trip to the hospital to be checked for injuries. The really bad part for the Port was that it had a short field of just 18 cars to start with. One didn’t make the call for the feature. In the end, just 12 cars restarted and then the race went non-stop.

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At Lincoln, a really weird situation started a first-lap melee. Several cars near the back of the 24-car starting field tangled just as the green flag was thrown. Two of those cars came to a halt in the third turn before even taking the green flag to start the race. Several others suffered damage in that shuffle.

But that tangle wasn’t the end of the first-lap weirdness. Because of the turn three crash, the flagger had to bring out the caution flag before the whole field had taken the green. It's a situation no flag man ever wants to encounter. As you would expect, several cars tangled in the first turn when the yellow came out, with the previous feature winner, Freddie Rahmer, and also York’s Adam Wilt, flipping. Between the two separate tangles, seven cars were involved. All but three — Rahmer, Wilt and David Quackenbush — were able to restart. No one was injured.

At Selinsgrove, young third-generation driver, Jordan Thomas, took a wild ride at the start of the 360 sprint feature. On any other night, that crash would have been talked about the next day, but on this night it seemed mild. Thomas was OK as well.


This weekend: Plenty of big races are scheduled this weekend around the area. Williams Grove kicks things off with the Tommy Hinnershitz Memorial Race for the sprint cars Friday evening. This one pays $6,000 to the winner. The street stocks join the sprinters at the Grove and the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will have restored cars in the infield for photo opportunities.

Trailway also races Friday, with the 358 sprints, 600cc micro sprints, limited stock cars and Legends.

Tony Stewart’s All Star Sprint Series will venture into the area for racing Saturday at Port Royal and Sunday at Selinsgrove. At the Port, the All Stars will be joined by the late models in the first stop of the Route 35 Challenge Series of races. The Port and Selinsgrove will work together with this series this year.

Selinsgrove actually takes Saturday off , but races Sunday with the All Stars. All Star races pay $5,000 to win.

Port Royal’s race will be known as the Keith Kauffman Classic, in honor of that track's leading feature winner. Kauffman should be on hand to greet his former competitors. Selinsgrove’s race will honor the memory of its leading sprint car winner, Ray Tilley.

At Lincoln on Saturday, the sprints and 358 sprints headline. The Legends are also on hand and they will have a full program, plus the make-up of a feature that was rained out on April 2.

Susquehanna hosts the super sportsmen, street stocks and road warriors on Saturday.

Hagerstown has its first big late model race of the season Saturday. The Lucas Oil Late Model Series will invade for the 50-lap Stanley Schetrompf Memorial race. The late model sportsmen and pure stocks also compete.

1966: It was a very wet weekend in the area 50 years ago.

Eight tracks scheduled races, but the only one that got into the record books was a USAC sprint car race at the Reading Fairgrounds. That was on Friday evening, and Greg Weld, older brother of local standout Kenny Weld, scored the win. The Welds hailed from Kansas City, Missouri, but Kenny migrated east to race the local circuit. It was during that 1966 season that Kenny Weld became a local regular.

Notes: Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.

Most local tracks now draw pills for starting positions in heat races. I get to see first hand how this works out.

Sometimes, a driver who draws the highest pill in the bag gets a chance at a second draw. Two weeks ago at Susquehanna, Greg Hodnett drew that highest pill, a number 50. Hodnett was allowed a second draw, and he drew the 49. It didn’t matter, Hodnett still won the feature.

Last Saturday at Lincoln, something even stranger happened. There were three women racing at Lincoln Saturday, Nicole Bower in the 410 sprints and Ashley Cappetta and Brie Hershey in the 358 sprints. Bower drew the number one for her heat. Not to be outdone, Cappetta came up and drew the number one for her heat race. Hershey sent her father, former racer Tim Hershey, to draw for her. He drew a number two. So all three women started from the front row of their heat races.

To most folks from this area, Route 30 is known as the Lincoln Highway. Sunday night at Bedford, I heard a new name for the historic highway. Bedford’s announcer call Route 30 “Speedway Alley.” That’s because three well-known Pennsylvania speedways are within a stone’s throw of the highway.  Of course Bedford is one, as is our own Lincoln Speedway. The other is Jennerstown. The now shuttered Latrobe Speedway is also along Route 30.

Bryan Householder writes about dirt track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at


Each driver is listed with car number, points and wins.

1. 27 Greg Hodnett  413 5
2. 21 Brian Montieth 234 1
3. 07 Doug Esh  212 1
4. 48 Danny Dietrich 201
5. 51 Freddie Rahmer 174 1
6. 87 Alan Krimes  151
7. 19M Brent Marks  150
8. 1/5W Lucas Wolfe  127
9. 11c Cory Haas  123
10. M1 Mark Smith  122
11. 3z Brock Zearfoss 112
12. 17B Steve Buckwalter 110 1
13. 55 Mike Wagner  108
14. 15 Adam Wilt  107
15. 25 Aaron Ott  100 1
15. 52 Austin Hogue  100
17. 5 Dylan Cisney  95
18. 16 Gerard McIntyre Jr 85
19. 59 Jim Siegel  84
20. 23 T J Stutts  77
21. 8 Billy Dietrich  64 1
21. 20 Ryan Taylor  64
23. 5 Tyler Ross  60 1
23. 0 Rick Lafferty  60 1
23. 12 Blane Heimbach 60