HOUSEHOLDER: Mother Nature refuses to cooperate

  • The entire weekend dirt-track racing schedule was wiped out by rain.
  • The Williams Grove National Open will now be held Friday, Oct. 14.
  • Lincoln Speedway hosts the Hank Gentzler Memorial Manufacturers' Appreciation Night on Saturday.

With the rain that moved through the area this past weekend, the entire racing slate was washed out.


Unfortunately, that included the much-anticipated Williams Grove Speedway National Open. All three days of that program were rained out.

Williams Grove and the World of Outlaws officials got their heads together and worked out a plan to make up the rained-out event. However, the race will now be a one-day show.

The World of Outlaws return to the area for a Saturday night, Oct. 15, show at Port Royal Speedway. The National Open will now be run on Friday, Oct. 14, and will be sanctioned by the World of Outlaws. The race will now be a 40-lap feature with $25,000 going to the winner. The scheduled three-program was to have paid $10,000 to the feature winners on Thursday and Friday and $50.000 to Saturday's feature winner.

Three times in recent memory, the National Open has been rained out and reset for a different weekend. In 2011, Jason Myers won a rescheduled National Open that was held one week later.

On two occasions, the World of Outlaws were unable to return and the payoff for the event was cut considerably — I believe to $10,000 and $15,000 respectively.  Billy Pauch won the rescheduled 1998 National Open and Cody Darrah won the rescheduled 2008 event.

While these were rained-out World of Outlaws-sanctioned National Opens, they are not the only times the National Open had to be moved to another date. Remember, last year’s race was moved to Sunday because of rain, and that also happened with an Outlaws-sanctioned event in 1993, when Donnie Kreitz Jr. won.

In pre-Outlaws days, the 1987 National Open was also delayed one day, with Joey Allen picking up the win. A year later, in 1988, the National Open was postponed a whole week, with Kenny Jacobs scoring the win.

The 1976 and 2006 events were shortened by rain. Steve Smith and Doug Esh were the winners of those races, respectively.


This weekend: Williams Grove will play host to what was scheduled to be its final event of the season on Friday evening. The sprint cars and late models race in a special “Run What Ya Brung” show, where the rules have been relaxed for both classes.

The Saturday slate has three big shows for several different divisions of cars. Lincoln Speedway hosts the Hank Gentzler Memorial Manufacturers' Appreciation Night for the sprint cars, with thousands of dollars in racing parts distributed to teams that qualify for the feature. The 358 sprints and All American Outlaws also compete.

At Susquehanna, Speedway, the super sportsman racers go in their final big event of the season — a 40-lap feature paying $2,000 to win. The street stocks and extreme stocks also compete.

Port Royal has its Blue Collar Classic for the 305 sprints on Saturday. The econo late models, extreme stocks and e-mods also compete.

50 years ago: The local racing season was quickly winding down on this weekend back in 1966. In fact, only a pair of races, at Winchester, Virginia, on Sunday made it into the record books. A Sunday show at South Penn in Everett was rained out.

At Winchester, in a make-up race, Ray Dovel drove to his 19th overall win of the season in the Lee Stultz No. S-3. In the regularly scheduled event, Chuck Brannon scored his first win of the season in the Orndorff No. 37.

While I mentioned the 1966 track champions at the beginning of the season, now that those races are winding down, it’s time to refresh your memories.

Wrightsville’s Bobby Abel scored a sweep of the championships on Hilly Rife’s three-track circuit. Abel drove his own orange-and-blue Gohn Jewelers No. 2 to track titles at Dorsey, Maryland, Lincoln and Susquehanna. Abel also won the Rife-promoted event at Cumberland, Maryland, that year.

Ray Tilley scored both titles on Jack Gunn’s circuit, winning the titles at Williams Grove and Selinsgrove. Tilley drove Bud Grim’s Trevis-built blue No. 88.

At Port Royal, it was Pete Swarmer who picked up the last of his four modified point titles at the track. Swarmer drove his own No. 1 machine, which was a former Reigester Chevy machine. Later in his career, Swarmer would win two late-model titles at the Port.

At Hagerstown, Johnny Grum won the point title in Harry Fletcher’s blue “sidewinder” No. 66. Grum would return with the same car a year later, winning more races, but falling short in the point chase.

Dovel claimed the Winchester title in the yellow-and-blue Stultz No. S-3.

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