It was during the Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek show at Selinsgrove Speedway in 2016 when Jake Waters suffered serious burns during a crash in the early stages of the 305 sprint-car feature.
Waters condition at the time was very serious, and for a while doctors feared for his life.
Waters beat the odds, however, and has been a frequent visitor to the races over the past two seasons. In fact, he actually helped with announcing the 305 races at Port Royal Speedway last summer. The Port is considered his home track.
At the end of last season, Waters got back in a car for warm-ups one night at Port Royal and began putting his own car together for racing action this season. The first time or two things didn’t go so well, but last Saturday night, Waters returned to the scene of his accident and put together a great run.
No, he didn’t win the feature, but he did come away with a fifth-place finish at Selinsgrove. There were 32 305 sprint cars at Selinsgrove, so it was truly a great performance.
Waters grew up around racing. His father, Curt Waters, is a longtime mechanic from the area. Curt Waters is perhaps best known for his many years as the crew chief for Keith Kauffman when Kauffman was driving his own No. K33 racers.
It was inspiring to hear about Jake Waters making such a strong run at Selinsgrove after his life-threatening accident.
This weekend: The United States Auto Club Midgets will venture into the area this week for a four-day Eastern Swing.
The swing will begin Thursday at Path Valley Speedway, where the wingless super sportsmen will join the action.
They move to Linda’s Speedway near Fredricksburg on Friday, Lancaster County’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway on Saturday and wrap things up on Sunday at BAPS Motor Speedway. The BAPS show will also include 360 sprint cars.
Williams Grove Speedway offers up a Yellow Breeches 500 Series race for the sprint cars on Friday, along with the 358 sprints.
At Trailway Speedway on Friday, it’s the 358 sprints, 600cc and 270cc micro sprints and street stocks in action. Trailway returns to action Saturday with a junk-car demolition derby, plus limited-stocks, figure-eight and powder-puff racing.
Saturday at Lincoln Speedway, the sprint cars are joined by the 358 sprints and the classic cars, along with a kids' big-wheel race. Port Royal Speedway hosts the sprints, late models, econo late models and 305 sprints on Saturday.
BAPS is also in action on Saturday with the super sportsmen, limited-late models and street stocks. It will also be a kids' night.
Selinsgrove hosts the 360 sprint-car National Open on Saturday. A $5,000 prize awaits the winner. Also on the card are late models, pro stocks and vintage racers from the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing.
1984: The World of Outlaws were in the area on this weekend in 1984.
They started with a three-day show at Williams Grove that saw three different drivers visit victory lane. Sammy Swindell, in the No. 1, won the Wednesday evening show, while Brad Doty drove the Coors No. 18 to victory on Thursday. In Friday’s main event, it was Steve Kinser, in another Coors-sponsored racer, of course No. 11, who visited victory lane.
Saturday at Lincoln, Bobby Davis Jr., in the Consolidated Credit No. 6, made it four different winners in four nights.
The United Racing Club sprints also visited the area that weekend. Friday night at Hagerstown, Dave Kelly, in the Kelly No. 17, drove to the victory, while at Selinsgrove on Saturday, Donnie Kreitz Jr. was the winner in the family-owned No. 69n.
Selinsgrove also had its regular sprint cars on the Saturday card, and Maynard Yingst got his eighth local win of the season in Gary and Patti Beam’s No. 88.
Port Royal was rained out that Saturday.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.
CHAMPION RACING OIL/STIRLING LUBRICANTS
CENTRAL PENNSYVANIA SPRINT CAR SERIES
Presented by Hoseheads.com
1. Greg Hodnett (4) 1,079
2. Lucas Wolfe (5) 918
3. Danny Dietrich (9) 875
4. Freddie Rahmer (3) 771
5. Lance Dewease (10) 676
6. Brian Montieth (4) 623
7. Brock Zearfoss (2) 488
8. Anthony Macri (1) 453
9. T.J. Stutts 350
10. Cory Haas (1) 336