Big races honoring past stars slated for holiday weekend on central Pa. dirt-track circuit

BRYAN HOUSEHOLDER
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  • The Todd Shaffer Tribute Race is slated for Friday at Williams Grove Speedway.
  • The Bob Leiby Memorial event is scheduled for Saturday at Lincoln Speedway.
  • Port Royal Speedway will play host to the Butch Renninger Memorial on Saturday.
  • The Port will also play host to the 70th Labor Day Classic on Monday afternoon.the

The holiday weekend brings on a slew of big races to the central Pennsylvania dirt-track circuit, with many of the events named in honor of past local stars.

Williams Grove Speedway in Cumberland County opens the weekend on Friday evening with a tribute race to former racer Todd Shaffer. The 410 sprint cars compete in the Todd Shaffer Tribute Race, with the 358 sprints also on the racing slate.

Shaffer moved from go-karts to sprint cars in the early 1980s and put together a career that saw him win numerous championships, and 196 races in sprint cars. 

Like many former racers, Shaffer is not real fond of attending races when he’s not competing, although he has spent some time in the pits with a few other teams since he stopped driving. 

Last weekend, Shaffer made some race visits. His daughter is dating All Star series driver Cory Eliason, who won at Lincoln Speedway in Adams County last Saturday.

Of Shaffer’s 196 wins, 38 came at Williams Grove.

The 358 sprints headline at Trailway Speedway in Adams County on Friday, where they run in that track’s biggest 358 sprint race, the Trone Outdoor Championship test.

Also slated on Trailway’s program are the 600cc micro sprints, street stocks and scramble cars.

Leiby honored at Lincoln: Lincoln offers up the Bob Leiby Memorial event Saturday for the 410 sprint cars.

There will be a twin-20s format with two separate 20-lap features, with each paying $3,000 to win. The central Pennsylvania legends cars are also on the program.

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Bob Leiby, along with his brother Don, were longtime fans of the sport who ventured into race car sponsorship with drivers such as Maynard Yingst, Stevie Smith and Steve Smith. They then became involved with the promotional team at Williams Grove for a few years before buying Lincoln along with Alan Kreitzer. Later Bob Leiby joined Tim Hughes for a few years of promotion at Selinsgrove Speedway in Snyder County, as well. Bob Leiby continued to hold an ownership interest in Lincoln until his death several years ago.

Port Royal to recognize Renninger and hold Labor Day Classic: Port Royal Speedway will host two fair races this weekend.

The 167th annual Juniata County Fair kicks off on the fairgounds that is the speedway’s location. The 410 sprints compete at the Port Saturday, but the big race of the evening is for the late models, which will compete in the Butch Renninger Memorial Race. Limited late models also compete.

Renninger lived less than a mile from the Port and raced late models there for many years, while also serving on the board of the Juniata County Fair. Over the course of his career, Renninger won 69 races in the late models, with 41 of them coming at the Port. As he grew older, Renninger scaled back to racing in enduros and died just after competing in one of those events.

The Port returns to action on Monday afternoon with the 70th annual Labor Day Classic for the 410 sprint cars. An afternoon race with the fair as a backdrop brings back memories of years gone by for many fans. Also scheduled on the Labor Day card are the wingless super sportsmen and the four-cylinder stock cars.

Gary Wolford Sportsman 100 slated for BAPS: Back to the Saturday slate, BAPS Motor Speedway in northern York County offers up the biggest race of the season for the winged super sportsmen -- the Gary Wolford Memorial Sportsman 100. 

Started at Silver Spring Speedway in the mid-1970s, the Sportsman 100 has a long and storied history. When Silver Spring closed, the race moved to Lincoln for several years before moving to BAPS when that track became the Saturday night home for the sportsman racers. The 602 modifieds and the limited stocks are also on the program.

Gary Wolford was for many years the face of the super-sportsman circuit, although his career actually started with the stock-car class that evolved into today’s sprint cars. Wolford won five times in those cars before settling into the super-sportsman class. In the sportsmen, he remains the all-time career winner with 147 wins. Twelve of those wins came at BAPS when it was known as Susquehanna. Just last week, Wolford’s grandson, Tyler, got his best finish in a super sportsman when he finished second to Russ Mitten.

Selinsgrove is set for a Sunday evening program over the holiday weekend. The 410 sprint cars and the late models will compete along with the roadrunners.

Danny Dietrich, shown here in a file photo, helped uphold the pride of the Pennsylvania Posse with his victory Sunday at BAPS Motor Speedway against the All Stars.

Danny Dietrich earns win vs. All Stars at BAPS Motor Speedway, plus other Sunday racing

Upholding Posse pride: Danny Dietrich’s win in Sunday’s All Star-sanctioned Johnny Mackison Clash at BAPS upheld a little bit of Pennsylvania Posse pride.

Dietrich’s win followed defeats in the other two nights of All Star action this past weekend.

Thursday at Grandview Speedway in Berks County, All Star point leader Tyler Courtney held off a late charge by central Pennsylvania series point leader Anthony Macri, of Dillsburg, to score the win in the opening event.

Cory Eliason is shown after his All Star win on Saturday night at Lincoln Speedway.

Cory Eliason drives to All Star win at Lincoln Speedway, plus other weekend racing action

Williams Grove was rained out on Friday, but on Saturday at Lincoln, Eliason took home the win, with Gerard McIntyre Jr. the first Posse car across the line in fifth.

Sunday, however, Dietrich raced from the 10th starting spot to take the lead away from All Star Hunter Schuerenberg with just two laps remaining. This time around, Schuerenberg was the only All Star in the top five.

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

(Victories in parenthesis)

1. Anthony Macri (7)               1030

2. Danny Dietrich (3)              955

3. Freddie Rahmer (6)            904

4. Lance Dewease (7)             881 

5. Brent Marks (7)                  774

6. Logan Wagner (2)              551

7. Chase Dietz (3)                  535

8. Alan Krimes (1)                  522 

9. Dylan Cisney (1)                 480

10. Justin Peck (3)                 450