Weather permitting, Lincoln opens Saturday

  • Lincoln Speedway is set to open the local dirt track season on Saturday afternoon.
  • Despite the recent nasty weather, renovations at Susquehanna Speedway are progressing.
  • York County racers excelled in recent late model action in Georgia.

If Mother Nature decides to cooperate, this weekend could bring the end of the 2016 indoor racing season, and the start of the 2016 outdoor racing season.

Spring Grove's Greg Hodnett continued his dominance this year by winning the Harry Fletcher Tribute Race at Path Valley Speedway on Sunday night.

The Battle of Trenton for the indoor racers and the Icebreaker 30 for the outdoor racers are both scheduled.

The indoor races in Trenton will be held on Friday and Saturday evenings. Friday will feature Triple 20 qualifiers for the three-quarter midgets, plus the champ karts. Saturday is the main event for the TQs, plus the slingshots. Sunday is reserved for the kids in the quarter midgets.

Meanwhile, back here at home, Lincoln Speedway near Abbottstown is scheduled to open the outdoor season on Saturday afternoon with the Icebreaker 30 for the sprint cars. The Lincoln opener has been the first on the local schedule every year since 1994.

I got a chance to drive by Lincoln last week, and noted that all the snow is gone from the racing surface, and very little snow remains on the east parking lot. The west parking lot was still about 30 percent snow covered.  What that means is that the weather conditions during the week will determine if Lincoln can open this Saturday.

As of Monday, Saturday's forecast calls for a high of 42 degrees and partly cloudy skies, with no chance of rain. The forecast for the coming week has highs in the 40s and 50s every day except for Friday, when high is just 37. There's a chance for precipitation on several days

Last year, Spring Grove’s Greg Hodnett won Lincoln's Icebreaker and went on to lead all drivers in local wins during the season.

It's been three years since Lincoln was able to open its season in February. Last year it took four weeks to get the season started, and the previous year it took three weeks to get going.

This is the 23rd year Lincoln has tried to open the season in February and they have been able to do it on 12 occasions. Four weeks is the longest the track has had to postpone the opener, and that happened only twice, the first time and the last. Both of those times, Lincoln opened a day late, on Sunday afternoon of the fourth week.

Three times the opener has been postponed three weeks and once it was two weeks late. The others were just one week late.

One thing some fans have asked is how often has Lincoln been able to keep racing once it got started. I did some record checking and the results were surprising. For the most part, once Lincoln got started, it kept racing with minimal weather-related postponements.

Most times, once Lincoln started, there was only one weather-related postponement during the first month of racing. There were, of course, exceptions to that rule.

HOUSEHOLDER: Racing Xtravaganza a hit

In 1997, when Lincoln opened on Feb. 22, the track suffered rainouts on March 1 and April 12, and then went the rest of the season without any other weather-related postponements.

On the other side of the ledger, in 2007 Lincoln opened a week late on March 3, and then suffered three weather-related postponements in a row before the season really got going. The 2005 season wasn’t much better, when Lincoln opened two weeks late on March 12 and then suffered three rainouts in April.

The records show that Lincoln has suffered only one weather-related postponement in the month after they opened in 17 of the 22 years since the track went to February openers.

Fred Rahmer leads all drivers in wins during Lincoln’s opening event with seven. Bobby Allen is second with five.

Among active drivers, defending track champion Brian Montieth, and Stevie Smith are the win leaders with three each. Montieth has won every other year since 2009, which would make him a good bet for this season.

Susquehanna progress:  I also got a chance last weekend to stop by Susquehanna Speedway to see how progress is going with all the improvements being made there.

Despite the recent bad weather, things have been busy at Susky.

The new jersey barrier wall along the backstretch is completed and new catch fencing has been placed along it.

When I was there around lunch time on Saturday, work was progressing on the grandstand renovations and on track safety lighting.

The aluminum floor boards have been completed on half of the grandstand, and brackets are in place to mount the seats on that half of the stands. Work was in progress on the other half of the stands..

At the same time, crews were working to upgrade the traffic lights around the speedway. The upgrade will include LED lights and also strobes for the yellow and red lights.

Crews were also working to upgrade the area around the concession stand in the first-turn area, and I believe the work on the restrooms has been completed.

Florida racing: With racing completed now in Florida, it should be noted that late model racer Rick Eckert, from York, won an early World of Outlaws late model race at Screvins, Georgia.

Eckert also had some other top runs. On the night Eckert won, Newberrytown’s Jason Covert finished third, so York County had two drivers on the podium that night.

Bryan Householder writes about dirt track racing for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at