It's been a tragic and trying month for the Richards’ family of York County.
Early in the month, former racer Al Richards, of York Haven, suffered a heart attack while driving home form York. His unexpected death was a shock to the whole family. Just about two weeks later, his younger brother Perry, of Strinestown, died after a long illness.
Anyone who knows the Richards family knows that it's always been a tight-knit bunch. Two deaths in such a short time hit hard.
Saturday night, there was a bright spot for the family. Manchester’s Eddie Richards, son of yet another brother, Ed, drove his street stock to victory at Susquehanna Speedway.
The sight of the familiar Richards No. FOUR in victory lane had to ease some of the suffering.
Eddie Richards grew up around racing. While his father Ed wasn’t a driver, he worked on the car owned by late brother Bill and driven by Al and several others over the years. Eddie was almost always at the races with the family.
A few years ago, Eddie got his chance to race. He has stuck with the street-stock class at Susky, and his cars have always carried the FOUR number that his family made famous in the area. His win Saturday was the fifth of his career.
Last year the team celebrated its 40th year in racing.
In Saturday’s race, Eddie took the lead on the 13th of 20 laps and led the rest of the way to best yet another York County driver with a long family history in the sport, Mike Potts of Manchester.
This weekend: Williams Grove will kick off this weekend’s racing on Friday evening.
The sprint cars will go in the first of the Yellow Breeches 500 series. While the race features the regular $3,600 to win, last place pays $500. The 358 sprints will make their first Williams Grove start of the season.
Trailway opens its season on Saturday afternoon with the 270cc and 600cc micro sprints, plus the Legends cars.
Lincoln moves its starting time back to 6 p.m. Saturday, when the sprint cars and 358 sprints are joined by the All American Outlaws. At Port Royal Saturday evening, the sprint cars are joined by the late models and the 305 sprint cars.
Susquehanna is back in action on Saturday with the super sportsmen, as well as the limited-late models, street stocks and Xtreme stock cars. Hagerstown hosts the late models, late-model sportsmen, crate late models, pure stocks and hobby stocks on Saturday.
Visitors: There were a number of visitors to the area tracks last weekend. Wisconsin star Bill Balog was here for the weekend, racing at both Williams Grove and Lincoln. Balog finished 14th at the Grove and 12th at Lincoln.
Australian Lynton Jeffery was on hand at Port Royal Saturday and scored his first local win. Jeffery races at Knoxville, Iowa, weekly. Western Pennsylvania racer A.J. Flick was also at the Port, but finished outside the top 10.
At Lincoln, there were a slew of outsiders among the 34-car field of sprint cars. The one who fared the best was New York state driver Coleman Gulick, who finished fourth. As a 16 year old a number of years ago, Gulick won twice at Clinton County. He moved on to wingless racing in Indiana, and then winged racing in the Midwest. His visit to Lincoln was a surprise, but he did well.
Western Pennsylvania racers George Hobaugh, Gary Kreiss and Ralph Engel Jr. all came to Lincoln as well, but missed the show, finishing fifth, sixth and seventh in the consolation, which qualified four cars for the feature.
Glenville’s Chris Knopp, once an opening-day winner at Lincoln, returned to sprint cars after several years racing limited-late models. Knopp finished 18th in the feature. Former sprint-car star Todd Gracey, of Brodbecks, returned to racing with a 358 sprint-car ride. He finished eighth in the 358 feature.
Fish fry: Things are coming together for the annual Gary Wolford Fish Fry at the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds on May 7.
The event, which started at Wolford’s Brogue shop years ago, will continue this year. Wolford died last year, but the event will continue in his memory.
One of the highlights of the affair is the “Blindfold Race.” Most of the teams have been set.
On the female side, one car will include Williams Grove and Lincoln chief scorer Tena Shaffer, Dana Montieth (wife of sprint racer Brian Montieth) and Gloria Wilbur (wife of sportsman racer Steve Wilbur).
For the super sportsmen, the team will consist of Steve Wilbur and Carmen Perigo Jr. For modified fans, the team is Ryan Watt and Shawn Fitzpatrick. Right now, Brian Montieth is looking for a partner for the sprint-car team.
1972: On this weekend in 1972, the local slate was still just Sunday afternoon racing at Susquehanna and Hagerstown.
Susquehanna got rain at feature time and had to move the feature to a later date. Hagerstown did manage to complete their sprint-car feature. Kenny Weld, driving Bob Weikert’s famed No. 29, drove to his second win of the season. Arch rival Jan Opperman finished second, with Johnny Grum, Bobby Allen and Bobbie Adamson in the top five.
2017 CHAMPION RACING OIL
CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT SERIES
PRESENTED BY HOSEHEADS.COM
(Wins in parenthesis)
1. Danny Dietrich (2) 100 2
2. Greg Hodnett (2) 80 1
3. Kyle Moody 51
4. Lynton Jeffrey (1) 50 1
5. Dale Blaney 49
6. Brock Zearfoss 46
7. Brian Montieth 45
8. Cory Haas 44
9. Lucas Wolfe 42
10. Freddie Rahmer 38
10. Doug Esh 38
12. Mark Smith 37
13. Jim Siegel 35
14. Billy Dietrich 30
15. Chase Dietz 28
16. T.J. Stutts 26
17. Gerard McIntyre Jr. 25
17. Coleman Gulick 25
17. Rick Lafferty 25
20. Mike Wagner 20
21. Alan Krimes 18
21. Matt Campbell 18
23. Chad Trout 14
23. Dylan Cisney 14
25. Shane Hoff 12
26. Brandon Rahmer 10