After 74 races at 11 different tracks, it all comes down to one event.
The battle for the overall Champion Racing Oil/BR Motorsports Central Pennsylvania Sprint Car Series title will be decided Saturday at Susquehanna Speedway.
Danny Dietrich enters the final local race of the season with a 31-point lead over Lucas Wolfe. If Wolfe finishes third or worse, Dietrich automatically wins the title.
If Wolfe should win at Susky on Saturday, Dietrich has to finish fifth or better to hold on to the crown. If Wolfe finishes second, Dietrich must be 10th or better.
The $6,000 top prize will be decided this weekend.
Spring Grove’s Greg Hodnett is locked into the third-place position. Brock Zearfoss and Lance Dewease will settle the fourth and fifth positions on Saturday. Freddie Rahmer is locked into sixth, Brian Montieth is locked into seventh. Dale Blaney and T.J. Stutts will battle for eighth, while either York’s Cory Haas or Alan Krimes can claim 10th.
The action at Susky on Saturday is known as the “Sprint Showdown,” and will feature the 410 sprints racing for $5,000 to win. The 358 sprints are also on the program. Racing is set to start at 4 p.m.
Jake Waters: More than a year after suffering serious burns in a 305 sprint-car crash at Selinsgrove Speedway, Jake Waters was back in a 305 sprint car Saturday at Port Royal Speedway — not to race, but Waters drove in warm-ups.
He filled in for Kirstin Hess, who was late getting to the track. After driving in warm-ups, Waters returned to what was to be his normal gig for the evening. He served as the announcer for the entire 305 sprint portion of the program at the Port.
Testing new formats: Saturday at Port Royal, the URC 360 sprints produced 34 cars, and the PASS 305 sprints had 28.
The 410 sprint field was a slightly slim 18. Of course, a number of the 410 drivers also had 360 cars on hand to compete in both divisions.
With 18 cars on hand for the 410s, the Port decided to test a different qualifying procedure. They ran two nine-car heats with a major twist.
The lineup for the heats was by pill draw. The heats were then broken into two six-lap segments. The first segment went straight up by the pill draw, which was followed by a brief caution period, while the cars were realigned to a complete invert of the pill draw, and then the second six laps were run. Points were awarded for each segment, with the highest point driver starting on the pole in the feature. The rest of the feature was aligned by point finish from the heats.
As it turned out, on the front row for the feature were the two drivers who battled for the Port Royal point title this year. Dylan Cisney started from the pole and point champion Brock Zearfoss started second. Zearfoss led every lap to win the feature.
Indoor winter racing: There will be two new events on the winter indoor racing schedule this year.
The Trenton race will be dropped from the three-quarter midget schedule this year and an event will be added in Albany New York.
Trenton has not been forgotten, however. It will host a completely different race. Trenton is the hometown of the Sammons family, who promote the indoor winter racing series. Try as they might, the Sammons just haven’t been able to make their hometown event as successful as the other races on their indoor slate.
So, on the weekend of Dec. 1 and 2, they are going to go in a completely different direction. The cement floor of the Cure Insurance Arena, that is usually coated with “coke syrup” to produce a sticky racing surface, will now be completely covered with clay and the first indoor dirt race in the northeast in many years will be held.
The wingless 600cc micro sprints will be the focus of the racing event. The Sammons are expecting around 100 entries for the race. The format hasn’t been totally worked out yet, but expect Friday’s event to include heat races and qualifying features, with no time trials. Saturday will probably be the so-called alphabet soup of qualifying mains, leading up to the A-Main.
The rest of the Indoor racing schedule for this winter will be the traditional three-quarter midget shows, with both the Champ Karts and Slingshots as added divisions.
The event in Allentown’s PPL center is slated for Jan. 5 and 6. The crown jewel of the series, the Gambler’s Classic in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, is set for Jan. 26 and 27.
The new event on the schedule is the race in the Albany Times Union Center. That race weekend is set for Feb. 9 and 10.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.
2017 CHAMPION RACING OIL
CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT SERIES
PRESENTED BY HOSEHEADS.COM
1. 48/29 Danny Dietrich 1495 12
2. 24/5w Lucas Wolfe 1464 8
3. 27 Greg Hodnett 1234 7
4. 3z/58 Brock Zearfoss 1057 7
5. 69k Lance Dewease 1035 11
6. 51 Freddie Rahmer 977 6
7. 21 Brian Montieth 870 3
8. 1/55 Dale Blaney 507
9. 11 T J Stutts 500
10. 39 Cory Haas 462
11. 87 Alan Krimes 455
12. 5 Dylan Cisney 396
13. 16 Matt Campbell 347 1
14. 44 Trey Starks 339 2
15. 5 David Gravel 339 4
16. 25 Aaron Ott 338
17. 16 Gerard McIntyre Jr 314 1
18. 3 James McFadden 303 1
19. 15 Donny Schatz 295 1
20. 07 Doug Esh 285 2
21. 12 Blane Heimbach 264 1
22. 55 Mike Wagner 255
23. 0 Rick Lafferty 242 1
24. 39 Anthony Macri 238 1
25. 9 Daryn Pittman 236