It's time to drop back in time again on the local dirt-track circuit.
Annually, I pick a year from local auto racing history to cover during the course of the season. I always pick a year in which the date coincides with the current year, then I document the winners from each weekend during the course of the season.
Last weekend, I went back into the files to put together the history lesson for the 2019 season. This time, I’ve decided to drop back in time 28 years to the 1991 racing season. While very few of that season’s winners are still racing, many of their offspring are at the peaks of their careers now. I think you'll find it to be an interesting look back in time.
The 1991 racing season on the local circuit saw two Friday tracks, three Saturday tracks and a Sunday track in regular action. One local driver, meanwhile, ventured west every Sunday and put together a championship season.
The local sprint cars were racing for a $10,000 point fund on the overall circuit that was sponsored by Busch Beer and WSBA Radio. Champion Fred Rahmer also went home with a new pickup truck that year. The one thing many folks don’t remember is that each track also pumped its point fund money into the overall fund, so there were no individual track point payouts that year.
The tracks did keep separate points, so track champions were also named. Rahmer, who drove for the recently deceased Bud Lawrence that season in the Busch Beer WSBA Radio No. 99, was also the track champion on Saturday night at Selinsgrove Speedway and Sunday night at Susquehanna Speedway.
Donnie Kreitz Jr drove his own No. 69K sprinter to his second of four consecutive Williams Grove Speedway titles, while Mike Wagner won the Port Royal Speedway title in his own No. 55 without winning a race all season.
The Sunday traveler that season was Todd Shaffer, who drove Gary Turnbaugh’s No. 11 to 13 wins and the track title at Sharon, Ohio, that season.
While still known as a big winner in the late models, Clinton County’s sprint car champion that year did well in sprint cars as well. His name was Bobby Croop.
The area’s biggest winner that season, Steve Smith in his own Leiby’s Mobile Homes-sponsored No. 19, was the Lincoln Speedway champion. That title was the last of his nine Lincoln crowns. Smith drove to 23 wins that season, 11 at Lincoln, five at Williams Grove, four at Susquehanna and one each at Hagerstown and Grandview speedways and the JAX Raceway in Florida.
Shaffer was the area’s second biggest winner if you count the 13 Sharon wins in his total. He also won five at Selinsgrove, including a World of Outlaws race, four at Port Royal, one at Williams Grove and one at Hagerstown.
Kreitz had 19 wins that season and Rahmer had 17.
Former local racer Frankie Kerr started the season out with wins at Selinsgrove and Williams Grove before taking his act on the road with the All Stars. He claimed the All Star season title that year, driving the No. 23S for Stan Shoff. Kerr took over the Shoff ride when its former driver was let go.That driver went on to a stellar career as well. His name was Jeff Gordon.
Traveling racer Kenny Jacobs spent that season driving local owner Leon Wintermyer’s sprinter and won several races in Florida before the local season even started. He ended the year with nine wins.
Stevie Smith raced for Al Hamilton that year, and ended his first traveling season with wins at Eldora, Ohio, and in the Williams Grove National Open.
Super sportsman star Larry Jackson drove a sprint car for Gary and Patti Beam that season and scored his only career sprint win.
Keep watch as the 2019 season goes along to find out more about the 1991 racing season.
Indoor races at Trenton: This weekend is the first of the winter indoor races and the only one on a dirt surface in the area.
The wingless 600cc micro sprints will compete inside the recently renovated CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, New Jersey.
Thursday and Friday nights will feature split fields. The 120 entries are broken down into groups of 60 for their qualifying night. Each night will have heat races and four qualifying features. Saturday will have double G, F, E, D C, and B mains to narrow the field down for the 50 lap A-main feature.
The slingshots will be a part of Thursday’s show and the Champ Karts will compete on Friday. Racing starts at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday. Saturday’s winner will pocket $5,000.
The stars of micro-sprint racing will face a stiff challenge from masters of other forms of the sport. Sprint, modified, late model and midget stars have entered the event to offer up a challenge to the micro racers. Local champions Lucas Wolfe and Brian Montieth will both be racing.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.