The local racing season has concluded and some of the banquets have already been held.
That means it's time to begin a look at the local track champions for the 2016 racing season.
I’ll start this week with the full-sized, open-wheel cars.
Spring Grove’s Greg Hodnett had an outstanding season with the 410 sprint cars this season. All told, Hodnett won 19 410 sprint-car features. He added four 360 sprint victories to bring his season total to 23.
With 19 wins in the 410s, Hodnett outdistanced all other competitors, so it’s really no surprise that he won the Speedway Motors/Champion Racing Oil Central Pennsylvania Series point title. That title was Hodnett’s sixth in the last seven years and his seventh overall local title.
Hodnett also won the Williams Grove 410 sprint-car title. Only three of Hodnett’s 19 wins came in 410 competition at the Grove, but he was also very consistent and that put him on top of the title chase. The title is Hodnett’s third in a row at the Grove and his fifth there overall.
At Lincoln, Alan Krimes used two wins and amazing consistency to secure his second track title in the last three years. In fact, he and second-place man Brian Montieth have swapped the Lincoln title each of the past four years.
Doug Esh, a former Lincoln champion, is this year’s Port Royal sprint-car champion. Only one of Esh’s three sprint-car wins this year came at the Port, but again consistency won him the track title.
On the 358 sprint-car side of things, it seems the season was wide open. Three of the four champions in the 358s this year won their first titles. Jeff Halligan won the overall Central Pennsylvania title for the 358s. Halligan won just one race all season, but used consistency for the title.
The same applies to the new Lincoln 358 sprint champion, Chandler Leiby, who also won only once this year. Of course, at Lincoln this year two was the most races any driver won, and there were 14 different winners in 17 races. Leiby, who graduated from high school in June, topped another June high school graduate, Matt Campbell of Fawn Grove, for the title. He was also one of only four drivers who qualified for all of the feature races.
At Williams Grove, Kevin Nouse won his third title in the last four years. “Mighty Nouse” scored two of his four season wins at the Grove.
Trailway 358 sprint champion David Holbrook was the division rookie of the year in 2015 and stepped it up to win the title this year. Holbrook won twice at Trailway on his way to the title.
Selinsgrove is the only local track to run the 360 sprints and has done so for the past three years. Mark Smith won his second title in those three years this season. Smith scored four of his 10 360 wins this season at Selinsgrove.
Selinsgrove also had a race within the race, and named a 358 champion as well. That was Eric Parker, who did the best of those racing the under-powered engines.
The URC races around the area with its 360-powered sprint cars. This year, Davie Franek secured the point title with five of his nine wins coming on the URC tour.
The super-sportsman cars moved to Susquehanna this season and it was a championship battle for the ages. When the dust settled after the final point race at Susky, two drivers were tied for the point lead and officials had to move to the tiebreaker to determine a champion. Russ Mitten edged Wellsville’s Scott Geesey on the basis of three wins to two.
On the national level, Donny Schatz raced to his eighth World of Outlaws sprint-car title. The title was Schatz’s third in a row. He won 25 times on the Outlaw tour this season, but only one of those wins came in our area.
Chad Kemenah regained the All Star title for the first time since 2005. The title was Kemenah’s fifth with the series. He scored just one win this season with the All Stars and that one was in the region, coming at Bedford.
Open house: The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will have an open house this weekend. The museum is going through an expansion project, so visitors will get a chance to see the beginning of the new building.
Saturday is set aside for drag racing, with York’s Darwin Doll in charge. Part of Sunday’s activities will include a memorial for longtime EMMR supporter Gary Wolford.
Christmas party: Meanwhile, on Sunday, the York County Racing Club will hold its annual Christmas party at the club hall in Zions View with lunch starting at noon.
As always, the YCRC will provide the main course, with each family asked to bring along a covered dish. There will be entertainment for the youngsters and young at heart, and the guy from the North Pole is set to make an appearance. Bring along a gift for Santa to give your youngsters.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.