As normal, weather-related issues again hit central Pennsylvania dirt tracks during March
When the central Pennsylvania racing season starts during winter, we should expect weather-related problems to crop up.
The snow that hit the area two weeks ago is a good example. There’s not much one can do when the track surface is blanketed in the white stuff.
Rain in March is also something that happens frequently.
Last weekend, I sat through several rain delays during days that looked, on the surface, to be perfect, at least early on. Yes, rain was predicted to hit at some time, but it sure didn’t look like it when things got going.
Friday’s racing at Williams Grove almost completely beat the rain. It was a day when the forecasts were almost spot on, as far as the time the rain would start. A beautiful sunny and warm day greeted fans when they arrived at the Grove, and things went pretty well for the first race of the season there.
A few nagging problems with some electrical things delayed things just a bit, and in the end, it was just enough of a delay to have the rain fall before the show was completed. Ironically, the things that caused some issues were things that had been checked less than a week before.
In the end, a brief rain shower hit the speedway seven laps into the final race of the night, the United Late Model Series super-late feature. That was just a teaser. The delay from that rain was probably not even 20 minutes. The race then went another 13 laps before rain hit again. This time it was just too much, and feature was called complete 10 laps shy of the scheduled distance.
What happened then? Of course, the rain stopped again.
Saturday, the forecast around the area called for rain in the early evening — a quick-moving shower that would also see the mercury drop quickly after the front moved through. Three tracks, Port Royal, BAPS and Selinsgrove, elected to postpone their shows because of the forecast. Selinsgrove postponed because the Short Track Super Series modified show that was scheduled would have required many racers to travel a long distance to race.
Port Royal elected to move the sprints to their Sunday show, adding them to an already large program of STSS modifieds and ULMS late models. They moved their starting time forward by an hour on Sunday because of the extra racing and also because Sunday’s forecast was for much cooler weather and higher winds.
One track elected to stick it out on Saturday and run its scheduled program that day. Lincoln was honest with those who called asking if the track planned to race. Callers were told that rain was forecast around 6 p.m., and that it was to be a fast-moving storm. Lincoln planned to wait it out and then get the track back in shape for racing.
The prediction was almost spot on again. Rain hit 10 minutes before 6 p.m. when the warmups were being completed. It lasted a bit longer than expected and getting the track back in shape took perhaps a little longer than track officials were expecting. Still, by about 9 p.m., warmups were completed and the racing began, ending just a few minutes after midnight. It did get much colder after the rain.
While the track surface was a bit slick early in the evening, it was almost perfect by feature time, with close racing throughout the field during the feature and four cars battling for the lead in the closing stages of the race.
This week: Williams Grove returns to action on Friday with a duplicate of last week’s show.
The 410 sprints will be joined by the ULMS super late models for the show at the Grove. Hopefully the rain will stay away and the show will go to completion.
By the way, although both of last week’s winners did get interviewed after the rains hit, management at the Grove has indicated that sprint winner Justin Peck and late-model winner Gregg Satterlee will both get their victory-lane interviews before a full crowd at the start of the program.
Lincoln will be in action on Saturday at 6 p.m. with 410 sprint cars and the season opener for the PASS 305 sprint cars. Port Royal also goes at 6 p.m. Saturday with the 410 sprints, super late models and limited late models on the slate.
BAPS will try again to kick off its season. The super sportsmen, limited late models, street stocks and extreme stocks are scheduled.
Hagerstown kicks off its season Saturday with the late-model sportsmen, Mid-Atlantic modifieds, pure stocks and hobby stocks, while Path Valley is back in action with the wingless super sportsmen headlining a show that also includes the 600cc and 270cc micro sprints and several other classes.
Selinsgrove will host a Sunday afternoon show with the 410 sprints headlining. The 2 p.m. event also includes the limited late models and roadrunners.
CHAMPION RACING OIL
SPRINT CAR SERIES
Presented by Hoseheads.com
(Wins in parenthesis)
1. Anthony Macri (2) 162
2. Brent Marks (1) 148
3. Danny Dietrich 144
4. Justin Peck (1) 114
5. Freddie Rahmer (1) 102
6. Buddy Kofoid 69
7. Chase Dietz 55
8. Pat Cannon 53
9. Lance Dewease (1) 50
9. Lucas Wolfe 50
Reach Bryan Householder at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ydsports.