Even though December arrives this weekend, it could be a very busy few days for local race fans.
The Indoor Winter Racing Series starts this weekend in Trenton, New Jersey. There's an open house at the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing. And the York County Racing Club has its Christmas party.
For the first time in many years, indoor dirt-track racing returns to the Northeast, with the event inside Trenton’s Cure Insurance Arena. The wingless 600cc micro sprints will compete on both Friday and Saturday evenings.
Friday’s show will consist of heat races and qualifying features. With more than 100 entries expected and a passing-points format, it should be quite a show. Saturday will consist of a series of qualifying features leading up to the main event.
Lincoln champ Brian Montieth is entered, as is Ryan Smith, who finished second in the All Star series points this year. Local sprint racer Steve Buckwalter is also entered, along with his cousin, Tim Buckwalter. Michael and Brian Carber will be there, along with drivers such as Billy Pauch Jr., Alex and Brendon Bright and Anthony Sesely.
At the EMMR, it will be a holiday open house weekend. The museum will be open Saturday and Sunday, with special events planned each day. Sunday afternoon there will be a round-table discussion as a tribute to late famed car owner Bob Weikert. Weikert’s family is expected, as are some former drivers, including Paul Pitzer.
The YCRC’s annual Christmas party is scheduled to begin at noon Sunday. The club provides the main course and each family is asked to bring a covered dish. There will be entertainment and, of course, Santa will make a visit. Parents are asked to bring a gift for Santa to present to your child.
YCRC banquet: The York County Racing Club’s annual hall-of-fame banquet is fast approaching.
Each year, the YCRC adds six members to its hall of fame, along with presenting several special awards. The 2018 banquet is set for Jan. 6.
The guest speaker will be Ashley Diehl Stremme. She grew up within earshot of Port Royal Speedway and just a few miles from hall-of-fame driver Keith Kauffman. Her father, Joe Diehl, raced sprint cars at the Port and elsewhere.
Stremme started as a crew member for her father and then did some racing of her own, racing go karts at Banana Speedway and powder puffs at Port Royal, where she had a career-worst finish of second.
She moved on to beauty pageants, where she was Miss Motorama in 2003, Ms. Stacker 2 Racing Series in 2004, Ms. Motorsports in 2005 and Ms. Grand Prix of Cleveland Champ Car Series in 2006 and 2007.
During the 2006 season, she met NASCAR driver David Stremme, and they married in 2011. They have built a successful business building dirt-track modifieds of the IMCA type.
Living in North Carolina, in 2016 she entered the Mrs. North Carolina pageant and won, moving on to the Mrs. USA pageant, where she won again.
Stremme also works with MRN’s Steve Post as a co-host on the television show Winged Nation. She travels the country attending sprint-car races when she’s not watching her husband racing his modified.
Season's big winners: A quick look at this season’s biggest winners around the area finds that Danny Dietrich topped area sprint-car drivers with 13 410 sprint wins. Twelve came on the local circuit, with the other coming against the All Stars at New York’s Lebanon Valley Speedway.
Lance Dewease, Greg Hodnett and Lucas Wolfe each had 12 wins. All of Dewease’s wins were in a 410, while Wolfe had eight 410 wins and four 360 wins. Hodnett had seven 410 wins and five 360 wins.
Mark Smith topped the 360 sprint ranks with 10 wins. He also added one 410 win, with that coming at Port Royal.
Doug Hammaker and Steve Owings led the 358 sprints with five wins each. All of Owings’ wins came at Trailway, while Hammaker split his between Williams Grove, Lincoln and Susquehanna.
Kenny Edkins had never won a super-sportsman race before this year, but he won a season-high six at Susquehanna this season.
Jeff Rine led the late models with 12 wins this year. Rine won five each at Selinsgrove and Port Royal, with two more coming at Bedford. Kyle Lear won 10 races in the limited-late models, with seven at Hagerstown, two at Potomac and one at Winchester. Justin Weaver was close behind with nine wins, three at Winchester, two at Hagerstown and one each at Williams Grove, Susuquehanna, Port Royal and Path Valley.
Strinestown’s Tommy Slanker led the street-stock-type cars with seven wins at Selinsgrove.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.