Local racing is heating up in Central Pennsylvania this weekend. Most area tracks are in action tonight. Port Royal hosts a four card program of sprint cars, late models, pro stocks and ladies powder puff racing. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing at 7.
Selinsgrove Speedway has 358 sprint cars, late models, pro stocks and roadrunners. At Lincoln, the sprint cars are joined by super sportsman and 358 late models. Lincoln has announced it will run a six race series for 358 Late Models this year. All races will pay at least $900.
Selinsgrove and Lincoln both race this evening at 6.
Hagerstown Speedway has a three division show of late models, limited late models and pure stocks. Action starts at 7.
Port Royal’s season opener went off without a hitch. Cool temperatures kept the fan count down. Car counts also were smaller than expected, but the racing was competitive. Coincidentally, all three opening night winners in sprint car, late model and pro stock action were the same as last year — Todd Shaffer, Dan Stone and Tim Krape, respectively. Terry Naugle won the enduro dash.
Greg Hodnett made his debut as a Port Royal regular last week. Hodnett plans on being at Port Royal as much as possible. It was also good to see Jeff Sheppard and the Zemco team on hand. Hopefully they will be there more, too. Todd Shaffer summed it up well. Shaffer told everyone how tough Port Royal sprint car action is going to be this season.
He’s right. I can see drivers winning a feature one week and struggling to make the top 10 the next time out.
Speaking of Todd Shaffer, he seems to have mellowed just a bit with age. Shaffer is still as good as ever behind the wheel. His Gary and Patty Beam- owned racer is top notch and they are having fun racing. Shaffer seems to enjoy more family time and watching his daughter compete in sports herself. I can’t quite explain it, but Todd Shaffer is a different person and it's all good. I wish him and his team a successful season.
A benefit event was held in Bedford Friday for retired racer Jim Nave and his wife.
Nave’s home burned a couple months back and the couple lost most of their belongings. Bedford promoter J.R. Keiffer and wife Mary Ann took the Naves in while they are getting back on their feet. Unfortunately, Lu Nave’s health deteriorated and she was placed in a nursing home. Essentially, Nave lost his home and wife’s day-to-day companionship in the span of a week.
Most of Nave’s racing trophies and memorabilia were destroyed. Port Royal and Bedford officials put together some new trophies and items that were presented to him Friday night. Nave is a former late model champion at both tracks and speaks well of racing and fans at Port Royal Speedway. Should anyone be interested in passing along any donations or other items of interest for Nave, send them to Port Royal Speedway at P.O. Box 295, Port Royal, PA 17082, or drop them at the speedway office. Officials will make sure they get forwarded to the Naves.
I was informed Thursday that Port Royal President Tommy Little has been scheduled for a hip replacement later this month. I’m sure Tom will be down for a bit but not out. Little has done a good job over the years as Port Royal’s front man. He has a good bunch of support people around him and the racetrack will do just fine while he gets fixed up. I’ll be glad to see him get fixed up because I know he’s in a lot of pain.
Selinsgrove Speedway fans got some good news this week. According to an article in The Daily Item, the fire company there, which is the majority owner of the track, has decided not to sell the facility.
Racing was already guaranteed through 2010, when promoter Charlie Paige’s lease expires. The fire company president told the Sunbury newspaper he’s willing to sit down with Paige and talk about a new lease.
The All Star Circuit of Champions sprint cars were scheduled to race Friday in Ohio and Lance DeWease was scheduled to compete. DeWease is second in All Star points behind Fred Rahmer after the Florida swing. DeWease will follow the All Star tour full time this season. Rahmer will not. DeWease is scheduled to race at Lincoln Speedway tonight.
Lucas Wolfe is racing with the World of Outlaws in Missouri this weekend. Rick Eckert of York is third in World of Outlaws late model point standings. The Outlaw late models come to Port Royal in June and Bedford in September.
Look for the All Star sprint cars to race at Clearfield as they continue to add dates to their schedule. O’Reilly Auto Parts is the series sponsor.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series is in Texas this weekend. Jeff Burton is the defending race champion. Burton holds a 39-point lead over Kevin Harvick entering this week’s action. Fox has TV coverage Sunday starting at 2 p.m.
Until next time, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel.