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HOUSEHOLDER: Local fans, racers get good news about 2021 Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
717-505-5403/@ydsports
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The 2021 Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek schedule has been set and there's good news for local racers and fans.

Speedweek will move back to the 10-races-in-10-days schedule from a few years ago. Additionally, the purses and the point fund prizes have been increased.

Red Robin will return for the second year as the title sponsor of Speedweek, and with its return the point fund for the series will increase from $17,700 to $20,700 for 2021. The Speedweek champion will take home $6,000.

The winner’s share of the standard purse for Speedweek will also increase from $5,000 to $6,000. That comes after Speedweek officials increased the start money from $400 to $500 last year.

Of course, many of the Speedweek events offer more than the standard purse. In fact, only two events on this season’s slate offer only the standard purse for their events.The opening event at Williams Grove will be the first of the standard-purse events.

The opening night of Speedweek at Williams Grove will be on Friday, June 25, with $6,000 to the winner of the 25-lap feature. The first Saturday of Speedweek will be June 26, when Lincoln Speedway hosts the Kevin Gobrecht Memorial. That event offers $9,200 to win in honor of the No. 92 on Gobrecht’s family-owned sprinter.

BAPS Motor Speedway rejoins the Speedweek fold on Sunday, June 27, with a race that offers $7,000 to the winner, and Lincoln’s second race of the series will be on Monday, June 28, with another $7,000 on the line for the winner.

Grandview Speedway offers up $10,000 to win on Tuesday, June 29, with Port Royal’s first race of the series on Wednesday, June 30, offering $7,000 to win. Speedweek goes “south of the border” on Thursday, July 1, to Hagerstown, for the Johnny Grum Memorial,  a race with the standard $6,000-to-win purse.

Williams Grove is back on Friday, July 2, with the Mitch Smith Memorial that offers a Speedweek-high $15,000 to win. Port Royal’s Greg Hodnett Tribute will be held Saturday, July 3, and offers $10,000 to win.

Speedweek wraps up on Sunday, July 4, at Selinsgrove, where the Jan Opperman/Dick Bogar Memorial will offer $7,500 to win in honor of that track’s 75th anniversary.

It should probably be noted that that this year the All Star series has no races currently scheduled during the dates of the Pennsylvania Speedweek.

PIT STOPS

Return of another Speedweek: After 20 years, the Western Pennsylvania Speedweek will return this year.

Several tracks in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio will band together during the first week of June to offer up a revived Western Pennsylvania Speedweek.

Mercer will kick things off on Wednesday, June 2, followed by Thunder Mountain on Thursday, June 3; Lernerville on Friday, June 4; Sharon, Ohio, on Saturday, June 5; and Tri City on Sunday, June 6.

Western Pennsylvania Speedweek will offer a standard purse of $3,000 to win and $250 to start.

Early Outlaw slate wiped out: Between extreme weather in the south and COVID-19 restrictions on the West Coast, the World of Outlaws sprint schedule seems to have been put on hold at this time.

Last weekend’s races in Magnolia, Mississippi, and Monroe, Louisiana, joined the previous weekend’s events in Georgia and Alabama as being postponed by extreme cold and snow in the south. Next weekend’s events in Paige, Texas, have also been postponed already.

The only silver lining for southern sprint fans is that the spring West Coast swing has also been put on hold because of the COVID restrictions still in place in California. As a result, some of the tracks in the Southeast are looking at rescheduling events during what would have been the California swing.

Lincoln to try again: Last week’s snowfall also forced Lincoln to set aside its plans to open the local season last weekend.

However, with warmer weather predicted for this week, Lincoln officials are hoping they can kick start the local season this weekend. Lincoln’s Ice Breaker for the sprint cars is now set for this Saturday afternoon, with $5,000 awaiting the winner.

Lincoln has a Sunday raindate for this weekend.

Historically, this Saturday’s date doesn’t hold much promise for local racing. Lincoln has twice been forced to cancel Feb. 27 dates because of snow or wet grounds. Williams Grove has also been shut down twice on Feb. 27 by weather, and Hagerstown has lost one show on Feb. 27 to snow.

Sunday’s date, Feb. 28, holds much more promise. Lincoln has raced twice on that date, and Hagerstown has completed one event on the 28th. Weather has forced Lincoln to postpone one race on the 28th, while Williams Grove and Hagerstown have each lost one race on that date as well.

The earliest race on Feb. 28 was in 1988 at Hagerstown. Fred Rahmer drove the Ben Cook “house car” No. 33 to the win that afternoon at Hagerstown. Rahmer’s win that day came over Kenny Jacobs, with Bobby Allen, Paul Lotier and Stevie Smith in the top five.

Lincoln’s first Feb. 28 race was held in 2009. That day Brian Montieth, in the Jerry Parrish No. 21, drove to the victory over a very stout top five that included Greg Hodnett, Daryn Pittman, Fred Rahmer and Lance Dewease.

Lincoln also raced on the 28th in 2016. That day, Hodnett, in the Michael Heffner No. 27, drove to the win over Adam Wilt. Montieth, Gerard McIntyre Jr. and Jim Siegel completed the top five.

Shaffer wins in Florida: Tim Shaffer drove the locally-based Michael Heffner sprint to his second 360 win of the season Saturday at the Southern Speedway in Milton, Florida.

Shaffer’s win came over Mark Smith, another driver from the local circuit. Garet Williamson, Connor Loeffler and Zane Devault rounded out the top five. Other local drivers to make the feature were Davie Franek (13th), Michael Walter II (17th) and Glenville’s Todd Gracey (22nd).

Bryan Householder writes about dirt-track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdispatch.com.