HOUSEHOLDER: All Star Circuit of Champions to invade central Pennsylvania this weekend

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
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Kyle Larson is seen here in a file photo after winning at Port Royal Speedway last season. Larson earned four All Star wins in central Pennsylvania last season. The All Stars return to the region this coming weekend.
  • The All Star Circuit of Champions will invade central Pennsylvania this weekend.
  • The All Stars will race in the Tommy Classic on Friday at Williams Grove Speedway,
  • Saturday, the All Stars compete in the Keith Kauffman Classic at Port Royal Speedway.

The All Star Circuit of Champions will invade the region this weekend with four days of 410 sprint racing planned. 

Two nights of the swing will be in the immediate area, while the All Stars stop in Virginia on the way here, and then at Bedford on the way home.

Last year, Kyle Larson was the big winner in local All Star events. Larson won twice at Port Royal and once each at Williams Grove and Lincoln.

Lance Dewease, seen here in a file photo, earned two All Star victories last season.

Local star Lance Dewease and All Star champion Aaron Reutzel each won twice in local All Star competition last year. Both of Dewease’s wins came at Port Royal, while Reutzel won at Williams Grove and Bedford.

Single local All Star wins last season went to Danny Dietrich at Grandview, Spencer Bayston at Lincoln and Cory Eliason at Port Royal.

Thursday night, the All Stars go to the Virginia Motor Speedway before moving to Williams Grove on Friday for the Tommy Classic. The $6,000-to-win event is named in honor of Tommy Hinnershitz, who won the Grove’s first feature in 1939. Hinnershitz won more than 100 races on the national American Automobile Association and United States Auto Club circuits during his career that lasted until 1960. Joining the All Stars at the Grove will be the 358 sprints.

Saturday, the All Stars move to Port Royal for the Keith Kauffman Classic. Kauffman is, of course, the local Port Royal hero from nearby Mifflintown. During his career, he won more than 300 sprint features, with his 129 at the Port the career win standard there. It’s sure that Kauffman will be on hand to greet the $10,000 winner in the race named in his honor. The limited-late models will also be a part of the program.

The first regional All Star swing of the season will wrap up Sunday evening in Bedford. That race is named in honor of Johnny Grum, who raced out of nearby Altoona. Grum was another big winner on the local tracks, with close to 100 wins, including a win in the Williams Grove National Open. The Bedford race pays $6,000 to the winner.

Other regional action: The All Stars won't be the only action in the region this coming weekend. There's plenty of other racing as well.

The 410 sprint cars have the Weldon Sterner Memorial Race at Lincoln on Saturday. Sterner, a Hanover-area businessman, sponsored Van May’s No. 69 racers for years, hence the $6,900 winner’s share at Lincoln on Saturday. Later, Sterner was a part owner of Lincoln Speedway with Gary Gregory. The 358 sprints also compete at Lincoln Saturday.

Trailway tries again to kick off its regular Friday racing slate this week. The 358 sprints, 270cc and 600cc micro sprints and limited stocks are also on the Trailway slate.

The Lucas Oil late models visit Hagerstown Saturday for the Red Nininger Memorial Race. Nininger was a winner in both the “bugs’ that preceded sprint cars on the local circuit and in the late models during his career. The pure stocks also compete.

BAPS Motor Speedway races Saturday with the super sportsmen headlining. The limited-late models, legends, extreme stock cars and 602 modifieds are also part of the program.

PIT STOPS

Stuhler still going strong: At one point in his long career, the announcers from the national touring series of late-model racing tabbed Gary Stuhler “the Beast from the East.”

Local announcers like to call him “Mr Smooth.”

Whatever nickname you prefer, it’s hard to argue with success. 

Last Saturday, Stuhler picked up yet another win, scoring the victory at Hagerstown in the late-model feature.

If my records are accurate, that win should be the Northeast-win-leading 355th late-model win of Stuhler’s career. His first came at Lincoln on July 5, 1975. That win was during Stuhler’s rookie season of late-model competition. Since then, he’s won at nearly every track with in the area, and many outside this area.

In my recent hobby of turning photo negatives digital, I’ve run across a number of Stuhler photos, including several from that first season. One that stands out is a shot of Stuhler’s car entering Lincoln Speedway for competition in 1975. The mid-1960s-era Chevelle is on an open trailer and is being towed by a four-cylinder pickup truck. A far cry from today’s tow rigs.

After finding the photo, I also gained knowledge of the story behind the photo. Seems this was the second night of Stuhler’s career. On the previous night, Stuhler raced at Williams Grove. With his inexperience, Stuhler elected to start from the back of the feature. Seems the guy who had offered to tow Stuhler’s car to the races didn’t like that move and said he was done towing the car to the tracks. For the rest of the season, the little four-cylinder pickup pulled the car to the tracks.

That is except for one trip west to West Virginia. On that trip, the truck didn’t have enough stuff to pull the car over the mountains and they had to unload the race car and drive it over the mountain, with the tow rig following.

Tim Shaffer is shown after his Lincoln Speedway victory on Saturday night.

Shaffer enjoying solid season: Tim Shaffer’s 410 sprint win at Lincoln on Saturday was his second there this year and his third career win at Lincoln.

He has also won two 360 sprint races this season.

Known for years as “The Steel City Outlaw,” Shaffer is a welcome addition to the local circuit this season. His career has spanned seasons as a regular with both the World of Outlaws and All Stars. He began that career in western Pennsylvania a number of years ago. He spent some time on the local circuit in the Apple Motorsports entry.

During his career, Shaffer has won numerous races, although I haven’t been keeping track of Shaffer since the start, I have verified at least 160 wins, and I’m sure there are many more. I’ll have to check in with Shaffer and see if I can get a more accurate total. By far, the biggest triumph is Shaffer’s Knoxville Nationals win. Locally, he has about 22 wins.

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

CHAMPION RACING OIL

CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA

SPRINT CAR SERIES

Presented by Hoseheads

1. Danny Dietrich (1)           219

2. Tim Shaffer (2)                214

3. Justin Peck (2)                185

4. Anthony Macri (1)            181

5. Dylan Cisney (1)              173

6. Freddie Rahmer (1)         167 

7. Logan Wagner                 145

8. Chase Dietz                     136

9. Lance Dewease (2)          130

10. Billy Dietrich (1)              126