A second-generation driver enjoyed a first-time victory over the weekend.
Second-generation driver Anthony Payne won Friday’s 40-lap three-quarter-midget feature in Albany, New York. Payne’s first career indoor win was worth $2,000.
Payne started 24th and was able to avoid several large crashes on his way to the front. Tim Nye led the first three laps of the event, before Andy Jankowiak took over the top spot. Jankowiak led until he was involved in a major crash on a lap-31 restart. Only a handful of cars were able to avoid the tangle and Payne led from that point onward to score the victory.
Matt Janisch finished second, with Nye, Matt Rosselli and Briggs Danner in the top five. Rounding out the top 10 were Jankowiak, Justin Bonsignore, Jonathan Reid, Ryan Bartlett and Timmy Catalano.
Steven Svanda led all 20 laps to win the Friday slingshot feature over Joe Toth and Daniel Morgiewicz.
Jankowiak, however, was not to be denied in Saturday’s 40-lap three-quarter-midget feature. Jankowiak took the lead from Tim Buckwalter on the sixth lap and led the rest of the way for the $2,000 victory. Buckwalter finished second, with Timmy Catalano, Janisch and Erick Rudolph in the top five. Rounding out the top 10 were Anthony Sesely, Reid, Ryan Tidman, Nye and Payne.
Bonsignore soldiered on with a sick engine to finish 11th and secure the indoor season title.
In the slingshot feature, Nick Del Campo scored his first indoor win, besting Cody Kline and Matt Mertz. Kline earned enough points for the season title.
In a non-stop, 20-lap, champ-kart feature, Tyler Brown edged series champion Cale Ross for the win. The two drivers swapped the top spot several times over the last five laps of the race, with Brown taking the lead for good on the final lap. Gene Gregoric finished third.
Florida action: Donny Schatz won three of the first four features at Volusia Speedway in Florida.
Schatz won both All Star races and the second World of Outlaws race. Sheldon Haudenschild scored the opening World of Outlaws event for his first career Outlaws win.
Local racer Mark Smith won both nights of 360 sprint-car action at Bubba’s Speedway in Ocala, Florida.
1984: As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I have selected the 1984 racing season for this year’s look at history.
It was a season of major change on the local racing circuit.
In 1983, teenager Bobby Davis Jr. drove the Weikert Livestock No. 29 to 26 wins on the local circuit. Veteran driver Lynn Paxton was often Davis’ main competition during the 1983 season, and won nine races in Al Hamilton’s No. 77.
For the 1984 racing season, Davis left the Weikert camp for a full-time ride on the World of Outlaws. As for Paxton, it would turn out that his flag-to-flag victory in the 1983 Williams Grove National Open would be his last race. He more or less retired after that race.
Actually, for the second half of the 1983 season, Paxton had a teammate with Hamilton’s team. Keith Kauffman had joined the team and would continue with the car in 1984.
As for Weikert’s team, it would start the 1984 season with Jac Haudenschild as its driver. Later, Smokey Snellbaker would replace Haudenschild for a few weeks before the team ended the season with its new driver, Doug Wolfgang.
Kauffman would be the area’s big winner with 32 wins in 1984. Wolfgang would end the season with 11 wins, five of them coming on local tracks after joining the Weikert team. He also won two other races with Weikert in Sharon, Ohio.
In another big change that happened during 1984, Stevie Smith took his first laps in a sprint car. Following in the footsteps of his legendary father, young Stevie’s first season at the wheel of Jeff Creasy’s No. 19 would produce the first four of his more than 200 career feature wins. Smith’s first win came at Lernerville Speedway, but before the year was out, he would win twice at Susquehanna and once at Williams Grove.
Susquehanna Speedway provided the other big news of 1984. Susquehanna closed after one race in 1983 after several years of trying to race the small-block modifieds.
Late-model racer Jeff Hartlaub and his family purchased Susky over the winter months and opened for the 1984 season with Friday night super-sportsman and limited-late-model racing. By midseason, the format had changed to Sunday night sprint-car and super-sportsman racing with much success.
Regular weekly race tracks during 1984 were Williams Grove on Fridays, Lincoln, Port Royal and Selinsgrove on Saturdays and eventually Susquehanna on Sundays. Other local tracks that hosted occasional races for the sprint cars in 1984 were Trailway, Grandview, Bridgeport, New Jersey, and Hagerstown. The season started at Hagerstown on Feb. 26, with Kauffman scoring the win.
Motorama: The Motorama indoor car show and races will be held this weekend in the Farm Show in Harrisburg.
Motorama has auto-related activities all weekend, with racing for the go karts and quarter midgets.
Numerous race cars will be on display, along with plenty of local dirt-track information. There will also be a car show for street cars. Motorama runs Saturday and Sunday.
Lincoln: The local outdoor season opener is little less than two weeks away.
Lincoln Speedway’s Ice Breaker 30 for the sprint cars is set to go off Saturday afternoon, Feb. 24.
Last year Danny Dietrich won Lincoln’s season opener on a day that was unusual to say the least. The day started sunny with fairly warm conditions for February, but a mid-race rain storm caused the thermometer to drop 30 degrees and the show ended under the lights with blustery and cold conditions.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.