Two big events will converge in the area dirt track circuit this coming weekend.
Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions will make a four-day visit to the area, and the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing will present its 44th annual Williams Grove Old-Timers Convention.
In addition, there is one other big event that will connect the All-Stars and the Old-Timers.
Over the winter months, local racing legend Leroy Felty announced that he would be making his “Farewell Tour” this season. Felty planned to drive one of his former sprint rides at several of the vintage race car track time events this year before finally hanging up his helmet for good.
One of the events marked in bold letters on Felty’s schedule was this Friday’s All Star event at Williams Grove Speedway, which also features track time for the vintage racers as part of the Old-Timers Convention at the Latimore Valley Fairgrounds, which is the home of the EMMR.
Felty started his racing career at the long-gone Hilltop Speedway near Lebanon in 1950. He became a star of the local circuit, winning races in each phase of the local evolution of racing, from full-bodied stock cars with flat-head engines, through the cut-down bugs and into the sprints with fuel-injected overhead engines.
There were only a few rare drivers who accomplished that feat.
Felty also took some time for a new phase of local racing — the late model stock cars. He was a winner there as well. My records, which are by no means complete for the 1950s at a number of long-gone tracks, including Hilltop, show Felty with 103 wins in what has become the local sprint division. He also won 22 times in the late models.
His career ventured to what we now consider the local tracks in the mid 1950s and ventured off to the United Racing Club sprint circuit in the early 1970s. He came back to the local tracks in the early 1980s, before venturing into the flag stand at Penn National Speedway for several years as the chief starter there.
After a brief time in Florida, Felty returned home and has been a big part of activities at the EMMR in recent years.
My parents have told me that when I was very young, Leroy Felty was one of my very first “favorite drivers.” I guess I’ll get a chance Friday to see him take some final laps in a race car. By the way, Leroy Felty is 90 years old this year.
Convention: The Old-Timers Convention is dedicated to the memory of another local racing legend, Gary Wolford.
Grand marshals for the weekend are dedicated EMMR volunteers Clarence and Ruth Snavely, who have been active ever since the group reformed after the death of original promoter, Jack Gunn in 1980.
Friday, the museum opens at 10 a.m., with track time for the vintage racers at Williams Grove that night. Saturday includes a cruise-in for antique and hot-rod cars and track time at Latimore Valley for the vintage racers from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday, there's a membership meeting at 11 a.m., followed by track time from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
All Stars: The All Star sprints take on the Pennsylvania Posse sprints starting Thursday evening at Grandview Speedway.
Grandview’s own modifieds will also be part of the program. Last year, Freddie Rahmer picked up his first All Star win at Grandview, also becoming the third Fred Rahmer to visit Grandview’s victory lane.
Friday is the Jack Gunn Memorial at Williams Grove, where the All Stars will compete in a rare twin 20s program. As mentioned above, the vintage racers will also have track time. Last year, Lance Dewease and Danny Dietrich each won All Star races at the Grove, while Dewease has already picked up an All Star win there this year.
Saturday, the All Stars venture to Lincoln Speedway, where they will be joined by the Legends racers. Last year, York’s Glenndon Forsythe got the biggest win of his career when the All Stars visited Lincoln.
The All Star swing wraps up Sunday at BAPS Motor Speedway, with the 305 sprints also on the agenda. Last year, Spring Grove’s Greg Hodnett won what was only the second-ever All Star show at BAPS.
Other races: Trailway Speedway offers the 358 sprints, 600cc micro sprints, street stocks and limited stocks on Friday.
Path Valley Speedway starts a three-day weekend with the wingless super sportsmen on Friday. Saturday, the 358 sprints and wingless super sportsmen are on the program, and Sunday the motorcycles compete there.
Port Royal Speedway offers sprints, 305 sprints and the United States Auto Club wingless 360 sprints on its Saturday card, while BAPS has super sportsmen, limited late models and Xtreme stocks on Saturday.
1984: A big local weekend of racing started on Tuesday in 1984 when the sprints made a rare visit to Silver Spring Speedway.
“Ol’ Scruffy” Bobby Allen powered his own No. 1a to the Silver Spring win, which was only his second of the season. He came right back the next night, however, to best the World of Outlaws at Hagerstown Speedway for win No. 3.
Jac Haudenschild, back with the Outlaws after a brief stint in Bob Weikert’s car, won the Thursday Outlaws show at Hagerstown.
Williams Grove offered twin 20s for the sprints on Friday, with two drivers picking up their second wins of the season. In the first race, Hellam’s Bobby Weaver drove the Bill Brian No. 16 to victory, while in the second race it was Scott Tobias in the Walter Dyer No. 461 in victory lane.
Lincoln came back with twin 25s on Saturday night and the winner there also scored his second win of the season. Steve Smith liked it so much that he put his own No. 119 back in victory lane in the second race as well.
Joey Gravino put his own No. 9 in Port Royal’s victory lane Saturday for his sixth win of the season, while down the road at Selinsgrove, Brian Seidel was parking his father’s No. 98 in victory lane for his second win of the season.
Sunday at Susquehanna Speedway, it was yet another second win of the season, although the name was familiar. A very young Stevie Smith parked Jeff Creasy’s No. 19 in Susky’s victory lane that night.
Bryan Householder writes about dirt track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHAMPION RACING OIL/STIRLING LUBRICANTS
CENTRAL PENNSYLVANIA SPRINT CARS
Presented by Hoseheads.com
1. Greg Hodnett (4) 1,109
2. Lucas Wolfe (6) 998
3. Danny Dietrich (9) 893
4. Freddie Rahmer (4) 868
5. Brian Montieth (7) 773
6. Lance Dewease (10) 676
7. Anthony Macri (1) 537
8. Brock Zearfoss (2) 504
9. Cory Haas (1) 403
10. TJ Stutts 350