After a few slow weeks during the holiday season, the local auto-racing scene gets busy with its winter schedule.
It starts with two big events this weekend.
The York County Racing Club plays host to its annual Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday evening, Jan. 6, at the Wyndham Gardens in West Manchester Township. Each year the YCRC inducts six new members into its Hall of Fame. In addition, several special awards are presented and the champion of the Champion Racing Oil/BR Motorsports Central Pennsylvania Sprint Car Series is honored.
Diehl Stremme to speak at YCRC event: The YCRC also has a guest speaker for its banquet. This year, for the first time, that speaker is a woman — Ashley Diehl Stremme. Stremme grew up near Port Royal Speedway, helped on her father’s sprint car and drove a few races herself. Then she began entering and winning a number of racing-related pageants, including Ms. Motorsports.
Her success in these events led her to a job in Charlotte, the hotbed of NASCAR racing. While there, she met a married then NASCAR driver David Stremme. Now she is co-host of the Winged Nation sprint-car show with Steve Post. She also recently won the Mrs. USA Pageant.
Indoor racing: Also on tap for this weekend is indoor auto racing at Allentown’s PPL Center. Racing for the three-quarter midgets will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings, Jan. 5-6. The champ karts and slingshots will also compete.
The Allentown races are the first of the winter indoor racing season on the cement floor. Other events follow at Atlantic City on Jan. 26 and 27 and at a new venue in Albany, New York, on Feb. 9 and 10.
Upcoming events: Looking at other events in upcoming weeks, the YCRC will have a general membership meeting at its club hall in Zions View on Wednesday evening, Jan. 17. Sprint-car driver Tyler Esh will be the guest speaker.
The Auto Racing Club of Hagerstown has its annual banquet set for Saturday, Jan. 20.
That will be a busy weekend. It is also the weekend for the Motorsports Show near Philly. The Motorsports Show is one of the area’s biggest. The biggest name thus far among the show’s guests is Tony Stewart.
EMMR activities: In addition, that weekend is the start of the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing’s Third Sunday Round Table. The EMMR will start the season with its own head honcho, Lynn Paxton, interviewing a few of his old friends. Longtime local racer Irvin King is one of the first to be mentioned. Of course, that weekend also falls right around Paxton’s birthday.
Other EMMR events over the winter include a drag-racing-oriented Second Saturday Round Table with York’s own Darwin Doll on Feb. 10. The March 3 Sunday Round Table will be presented by the Flemington (New Jersey) Speedway Historical Society on March 18.
Area shows: Of course, York’s own racing show is upcoming as well. The Racing Extravaganza in the Utz building on the York Fairgrounds is set for Feb. 3 and 4.
There is also the Motorama Show in Harrisburg’s Farm Show complex on Feb. 17 and 18.
Then, of course, the local outdoor racing season is set to begin Feb. 24, at Lincoln Speedway.
Track improvements: Some news about improvements at local tracks.
Susquehanna Speedway, which is now known as BAPS Motor Speedway, has added a lot of fresh clay to the speedway surface and is in the process of building sky boxes.
Selinsgrove Speedway is in the process of moving the pit area from the infield of the speedway to an area outside turns three and four.
Trailway Speedway has added some fresh clay and some new LED lighting in the pit area. Trailway opens with AMA Motorcycles on March 31. The regular Friday 358 sprint events start April 13.
It’s possible that some big improvements will be seen at Lincoln Speedway as the season progresses. Depends on getting township approval.
ASCS racing: In a related note, Selinsgrove will join Williams Grove in presenting two nights of ASCS 360 sprint-car racing in early May. This will be a national event for the ASCS cars.
Openers: Port Royal’s season opener is set for March 10, while Williams Grove will again try a Sunday afternoon opener in March.
The All Stars open Florida sprint-car racing at Bubba’s in Ocala on Feb. 1-3.
Rahmer honored: Fred Rahmer will be one of the inductees when the Eastern Motorsports Press Association holds its banquet later this month.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch.