After taking a week off, I'm back behind the keyboard with racing news:
Selinsgrove Speedway hosts the 358 sprint car national open this evening. Action gets under way at 7 p.m. Pat Cannon, the 2008 track champ, has to be considered one of the race favorites. The total purse for 358 cars exceeds $22,000. There's also pro stock racing on the card.
Williams Grove Speedway also has racing tonight. The event is the final Saturday night super sportsman special of the season. What a special it should be - the sportsman cars will run without wings. Also racing are 358 late models, street stocks, enduro cars and four-cylinder stocks. Action starts at 7 p.m., and admission is just $5. Plus, it's camera and autograph night.
Bedford Speedway has decided to call it a season. Promoters discussed adding a two-day show, which likely would have run this weekend. Plans were shelved and a lot of work has been done on the grounds the last few weeks. The track is all but in race-ready condition to open in 2009.
Lincoln Speedway hosts the Hank Gentzler Memorial Manufacturers Appreciation Race tonight. Denise Gentzler goes all out to gather up products and services, which are given away to the race teams. The race is a time-trial show. Lucas Wolfe won last year's race and is expected to compete tonight. Wolfe is on his way through the area after racing last night at Eldora Speedway in Ohio. The World of Outlaws race tomorrow night in New York at Lebanon Valley Speedway.
John Westbrook remains stable and in critical condition at Hershey Medical Center. Updates on Westbrook's condition are available at www.johnwestbrookracing.com.
A pig roast benefit will be held for Westbrook at next Saturday's Williams Grove Speedway National Open. The roaster will be set up in the backstretch camping area.
Jeff Shepard is slowly recovering at home from his terrible crash at Knoxville, Iowa. His progress reports can be found at www.stevekingfoundation.org.
Look for a late model speed series to be held next year. Most area tracks will participate in the program. It will not be run in a speedweek format over one whole week. Look for tracks to cooperate together and maybe run two day week end shows for the group. While it isn't firm, I expect most races to pay at least $3,000 to win and $300 to start. It should be a good deal for the area late model racers. More details are forthcoming.
How about Todd Shaffer? Shaffer won the Labor Day Classic and Night before the 50 races at Port Royal Speedway plus the National Open last week at Selinsgrove. His earnings were at least $14,500 for those three shows. Shaffer also clinched both the Port Royal and Selinsgrove Speedway point titles. He's peaking at the right time and the National Open at the grove is next week.
Hats off to Mike Erdley on winning the Tuscarora 50 at Port Royal. Erdley and car owner Randy Lisi are two good guys who give it their all. There were a lot of happy faces and tear filled eyes when Erdley parked his car on Port Royal's stage.
I also want to congratulate Mike Wagner on being the winner of the new sprint car chassis during the Challenge at the Port finale. Wagner is another guy who is well respected in the pit area and deserving of anything good that comes his way.
This week many area race fans are heading down the road to Dover, Delaware for the Camping World RV 400. The NASCAR Cup race will be televised on ABC tomorrow starting at 1 p.m. Carl Edwards is the defending race champion. Edwards' car failed post race inspection last year and he was docked 25 points and team fines.
Darian Grubb has been hired away from Hendrick Motorsports to be Tony Stewart's crew chief next season. Grubb is the engineering manager at Hendrick. Stewart has not named a crew chief for teammate Ryan Newman. The pair head over to Stewart-Haas Racing next season.
The rumor mill places Canadian Patrick Carpenter behind the wheel of the Wood Brothers No. 21 car next season. And David Stremme will drive the No. 12 Dodge next year for Penske Racing.
Look for Reed Sorenson to leave Chip Ganassi Racing before the season ends. Reports indicate the driver and owner are not getting along.
Gillett Evernham Motorsports is suing Robby Gordon for allegedly violating terms of an agreement that would have sold Gordon's race team to Gillett Evernham at season's end for $23.5 million. Gordon claims he is still willing to sell and that GEM is trying to get relief from honoring the agreement. Gordon said he will let a judge decide if they can get out of the deal.
Tony Stewart and Joey Logano, who were put on probation, saw that overturned by the National Stock Car Commission's Board of Appeals, which unanimously overturned the probation terms. Other parts of the punishment imposed by NASCAR were upheld for all car owners and teammates. Most of the situation were a result of magnets found under a gas pedal a few weeks back.
The Sept. 9 issue of RPM Racing News contains the third installment of Johnny Grum, the Altoona racing legend. I look forward to reading it.
Until next week, please drive safely!
Craig Rutherford writes about motorsports for The Sentinel. He is affiliated with Port Royal Speedway.